Do Women Really Hate Each Other?
On the 7th of August 2021, several news outlets reported, that the Women Lawyers Association in Malawi which had pledged to represent the Msundwe rape victims case on pro bono had in fact pocketed K255 million from the case. Social media was flooded with comments from several users expressing their outrage that a woman led association which, was supposed to serve the interests of fellow women did the opposite. The most popular comments were about how “Women hate each other”, or how “a woman’s worst enemy is a fellow woman”. It made think, do women really hate each other ?
For centuries women have always been told that they hate each other and that their friendships are mostly fake, short-lived, centered on jealousy and bitterness. Over the years, such beliefs and statements have resulted in a confirmation bias which has manifested itself in different areas. So looking at the comments did not really surprise me since this isn’t the first time I have heard about the “alleged women on women hate”. There have been several studies that have been published to support the claim. Pop entertainment also feeds us the same narrative. There are several movies and series whose whole storyline is centered on woman on woman hate. Cases where a sister, sister-in-law, or mother are villains and plot evil towards another woman. We have also seen how women’s feud are exaggerated in media.
It’s sad that some women support this narrative, I have heard several girls who have sworn on never having female friends because, according to them female friends are bitter, unlike male friends. I could list cases where women have failed to join each other towards a common goal because of the same belief. Cases where associations have been disbanded because women did not trust each other. Where it is more common for fellow women to say male organizations are more organized than female-only organizations. Unfortunately, women fail to see that perpetuating such beliefs has done more harm than good. It promotes more mistrust among fellow women, women have failed to move forward, failed to mend broken relationships with fellow women because “that’s how female friendships are.
Women have fallen victim to this narrative that they play along with it. There have been cases where women have sidelined fellow women when it comes to different opportunities. Female bosses being mean and tougher on women employees. All this just because they are living up to the myth that women are awful and don’t mean well.
Of course, there is proof that woman mistreat each other, but the very same can be said about men. Human beings will not always treat each other right. Women against women crimes get looked at from a gender or sex perspective. For instance, when a woman stabs another woman, the world doesn’t look at it as just human being on human being crime. There is plenty of evidence that men hate each other, but no one wants to talk about it. Just look at the number of violent crimes committed by men against fellow men, for instance, Murders, robberies, theft, rape, and more. People have just been conditioned to identify and look for evidence that supports the narrative that women hate each other.
Most people don’t understand that this woman-on-woman hate narrative hurts women as it pities women against each other. Instead of seeing each other as allies, they see each other as enemies or competitors. Instead of building each other up, women are so focused on tearing each other down because they have been told that is what women do. This distracts women from more important problems and issues that women face, especially acts of violence committed against them by men. The tactic that women hate each other only gives men permission to hate us .
I am not saying that you should be friends with every woman you meet even when they(the women) are toxic. Not every woman will be nice to you just because you are a woman, accept that and not turn it into a narrative. Be a better friend to a fellow woman.