That song by Helen Reddy from 1971, which not many from my generation would have known had it not been the karaoke song of choice by Miranda Hobbs in Sex & The City 2. Nevertheless, I immediately fell in love with it, especially the lyrics.
Never in history has the female population had as much power and as loud a voice as we do now. In a society where so much is dictated by women, almost every aspect of our daily life is curated by some woman of stature and influence, it is inexplicable why so many of us still face scrutiny on a regular basis. The days women had to work overtime in order to establish their presence should be long gone, but in fact it exists and, in many ways, even amplifies. The unfortunate twist though is that it is not the men that are the cause of this ‘new’ glass ceiling effect, it is in fact other women. Often note-worthy women. I have come to realize that most of the time established ladies who have achieved success on whatever given merit, give the up-and-coming generation the cold shoulder. Whether it is their way of testing the new-comers or assessing their boundaries and capabilities, I believe there is more to it. Unfortunately, this goes against any notion that we have been thriving for in terms of gender equality. Perhaps I could wrap my head around the ideology that, this approach may motivate someone to work harder and prove them otherwise, but isn’t it tough enough to have to prove yourself in the male dominated corporate world, now one must establish themselves amongst the women too? The question is why?
Even though women supporting women is constantly publicized and hyped, it exists at a distance for the sheer fact that they often picture themselves in the extreme scenarios reported. Up-close it isn’t quite so inviting. Even if powerful women make the newbies jump through hoops for motivational purposes, there is a whole other phenomenon. Women who belittle and degrade their peers to the point of public defamation. It is the most common and most ridiculous impulse I have observed many times over, especially when it comes to women on the way to success or who have already somewhat achieved it. The attempt to bring down a self-made woman to her knees is explained by the basic human competitive instinct. The pattern frequently observed in men, but since women are a part of the corporate world, achieving of which presented its own challenges, they are out to conquer, and it is not limited to just the male self-esteem. The female ego is as power hungry as ever, and the fear and threat of the new generation taking over with more ease is a tough pill to swallow. I can in a way understand those ladies – perhaps if success is achieved easily, it will not be as treasured. But I believe there is more to these acute reactions, in fact they have existed long before women became equal opportunity explorers, at least in western societies.
The divide amongst the female population has always been the problem in symbiotic achievement. From the beginning when the feminist movement started, there were women who did not support it, likely because they did not understand it. Even though massive milestones were achieved, such as the 1918 Representation Of The People Act which allowed women to vote after the age of 30, and only ten years down the line they were allowed to vote at the same age as men, 21 (1928 Representation Of The People Act) until the Electoral Law Act 1968 that amended the voting age to 18 years for both sexes, (I am referencing the changes in the United Kingdom, the dates in other Countries may vary) some women remained oblivious to it and many even condemned it. Whether it was the level of brainwash they were subjected to in their homes by their well-wishing husbands and fathers or whether they believed it was simply not their place to dabble in such matters frankly makes no difference to us today, other than the fact that this type of woman remains present in modern society. In personal view, the regularly broadcasted girl power stunts we often seen on Instagram such as the ridiculous posts of a black and white photo of oneself with a hashtag #womensupportingwomen. That made no sense whatsoever to begin with but was then followed by an hour-long discussion of remarkable women out there – shredding their every move including clothes, physical shape and even state of mind – that is the problem.
We advertise and portray a belief that is never really followed through. The point that I am trying to get across is that we have so much power, and so much presence in the world today. Women need to more than ever support and uplift each other’s success rather than compete with it. It does not matter if the success is domestic or business related, if it is a woman’s appearance or in the upbringing of her children, if it is in the generosity of her soul and charities that she devotes herself to, the modern woman and the power stance is there regardless of her choice to be a stay-at-home mom, the breadwinner or other. It is enough… we must stop putting each other into boxes and judging one’s choices. If we do not, it will defeat the purpose of the freedoms our ancestors fought for. We will diminish the very core of the women’s movement – freedom of choice. Our daughters can choose to be whoever they want, and they can achieve their goals by any means they like, every single young girl out there must know that she can, and she will, and the choice is hers. Roar through it.