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Women often think that it is men who are keeping them from accomplishing their goals or thwarting their efforts. Men are not the enemy; fear is the enemy or indifference. Hillary’s run for president has brought the man/woman controversy to the forefront again, mostly with insinuation and innuendo of course. If Hillary doesn’t win it won’t be because the men kept her down, it will be because the women did. Everyone knows that women out-number men and believe me if the women wanted a woman president there would be one.
In my 26 years as a counselor I have definitely heard my share of "bad man" stories, but the worst stories I hear is how women treat each other. Girls and women from elementary school to the senior citizen center sit in my office. They tell stories of abuse and bullying, not by boys or men but by other females.
Why is that? What makes even young girls in middle school turn on each other? What makes older women look at other older women with disrespect? I wonder if as a whole, females are lacking confidence. Or are females afraid of competition and don’t appreciate the sacrifices made for us by women who fought hard to get us the vote, as well at the right to be heard in other areas. As soon as girls discover boys, or beauty contests, many of them turn on each other. Throw in the competition to be good in sports or be the school "Cheer Leader" or "Miss Popularity" and suddenly you have girls and woman giving snide remarks, snooty looks, mean whispers and downright ugly attacks.
Isn’t there room for encouragement, blessings, and cooperation among the female gender? Could it be that women trying to keep other women down dates back to caveman days when a woman’s life literally depended on a man taking care of her? Or maybe women saw each other as a threat to their happiness because they had so few opportunities. Whatever the power struggle is it continues. It is reported that lots of women refuse to fly with a woman pilot. What??
Ninety years ago, women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote. A small core of women suffered greatly to get us this right. Granted it was men who tried to stop them, even to beating, jailing and actually torturing the women who fought so hard for this right. Men could not have gotten away with that if the other women would have stood up for the hard core few who won the right for us to vote. It was the many other women who turned on them that caused those women the most pain. Girls and women who live in a mind field of scarcity will always compete with each other and sometimes use whatever mean-spirited tactics they can dream up. For example: the woman from Missouri who drove a middle school teen to suicide because her daughter of the same age was competing with her in school. Or the mom who teaches her daughter to fear the success of other girls. Mean-spirited moms raise mean-spirited daughters and mean-spirited daughters raise mean-spirited daughters and the beat goes on. Only women can put a stop to this.
Women let us celebrate each other. Let us support each other and let us teach the younger generations that there is enough of everything to go around. Winning isn’t the measure of a woman’s worth, integrity is. A lot of men deserve credit for loving us more than we love ourselves. Most men are wonderful, delightful creatures with way more intelligence that we give them credit for, as are most women.
This article is not about sexism or politics; it is about allegiance and gratitude. Even if you do not agree with Hillary’s politics or beliefs send her a note. Tell her you appreciate her bravery in setting the pace for other women. She is giving a huge gift to the woman of America and paying a high price. You can also help other women.
Women Empowering Woman is a group of women whose mission is to listen, support and encourage each other. You can join this group by calling Valerie at 431-5164.