We all knew firsthand that we had been socialized as females by patriarchal thinking to see ourselves as inferior to men, to see ourselves as always and only in competition with one another for patriarchal approval, to look upon each other with jealousy, fear, and hatred. Sexist thinking made us judge each other without compassion and punish one another harshly. (p. 14)I've been thinking about the ways women compare ourselves to one another, and the lethal effect that competition has on relationships for a long time now. I've never thought of it being linked to sexism, but in retrospect, it hugely is.
Here are a few examples I can think of:
- We diminish attractive women by making them out to be stupid.
- We snarl at women with whom "our" men might enjoy some sort of connection.
- In order to have friendships with other women, we sacrifice ourselves by pretending we're less than we really are.
- In order to have friendships with other women, we sacrifice them by pretending they're less than they really are.
- We reject women based on their choices of dress, particularly when clothing displays a womanly form.
- We establish connection with one woman by disparaging others.
- We reject friendships with women in favor of friendships with men, claiming that women are in some way separate from or beneath us.
- We have to feel better than someone else in order to feel adequate ourselves.
- We belittle women's sexuality, either its absence or its obviousness.
How are we as women perpetuating sexism? We can react against it in men and still lash out with it against other women. This matters. It shreds the bonds of love, affection and support that human beings were created for. Can you see it in your life? Can you envision the generosity and freedom of a world without it?