Wednesday, September 17, 2003


The old “sisterhood” gospel of the feminists claiming that women are kind and caring and supportive towards one-another -- unlike those horrible competitive men -- was always a joke to anyone who has ever seen feminine bitchiness in action but, increasingly now, more realistic femninist writers are beginning to blow the whistle on that politically correct myth. They show that female competition is in fact ferocious but is just more subtly and nastily expressed. I reproduce below a short extract to that effect from Anything she can do I can do better by Rachael Oakes-Ash, published by Random House.

“Second-wave feminists would have us believe that all women were created equal. Little room was available for difference of opinion in their day and women spoke in one voice only. Competition between women was swept under the carpet and not discussed, like the previously forbidden topics of menstruation or masturbation.

Women are reticent to talk of their competitive feelings for fear of appearing aggressive, ambitious or self-centred, as if the three were mutually exclusive. It's the way in which competition manifests between women that can cause the destruction of female relationships. Women have yet to realise that they can have conflict with each other without losing their friendship and they have yet to discover how to do that successfully without guilt, without silence and without gossiping behind each other's backs. Women who swear this competition does not exist because it is unladylike or unsisterly or too confronting are giving women, as a whole, the silent treatment. Without discussion young girls will continue to compare and despair, hating their bodies, starving themselves, cutting themselves, earning less, hating more.

The code of silence around female competition needs to be lifted and to do so women need to explore what it is we are competing for. Envy needs to be transformed into empathy ... competition needs to be seen as a human quality, not just a masculine one of which to be proud only if you are born with testosterone flowing through your veins.”

No comments: