This Women’s Day can we judge a little less and accept a little more?
After spending close to a decade in corporate HR, and being forced to organize employee engagement activities, most festivals and “days” have become another tick mark on the to-do list for me. I still have very fresh memories of my last organization where Women’s Day would mean we would plan elaborate surprises for all our women team members and even get each one a gift. Exhausting really, but satisfying and fun.
Over the years and bring on one year of mommyhood, I have come to realize that women are indeed such complex creatures. And truly it is the women who can make or mar another woman. I really did not want to make a post on Women’s day with a negative sense to it, but I have just come off a Facebook support group for mothers, where a poor new mommy has poured out her soul about how everyone right from her best friend, to her MIL (sigh), to her maid question and ridicule her choices. No it doesn’t end there, I even saw some respondents on the group tell her to ‘man up’ and ‘bear it.’
This got me thinking as to why is it that women are their own worst enemies? Why do women constantly pull each other down? Why do women fall into the trap of transferring their own life’s miseries onto the younger lot? Why don’t women just accept and not judge size/ shape/ colour/ length/ breadth/ personalities/ upbringing? I have NEVER seen a man do all this to other men. Some men do make women’s lives miserable, but no, they will never do that to their own tribe folk – other men. Nope. Then why do women?
I have been guilty of it too.. Oh no, I have not come here at 100 am to say I am perfect. Far from it. I enjoy a good gossip session with my girlies as much as that couch on Koffee with Karan. I have vivid memories of college life, where my gang of girls and I would judge almost every girl for what she wore and how she behaved. I am appalled now, really head in hands kind of appalled.
So why do women do it? Is it pure biology – you know the mating game and survival of the fittest, evolution and all that? Possibly. Somethings are genetically hardwired and there’s little you can do to change that. Heck, research shows that women become fiercely competitive and vengeful when they are ovulating. (It is always the periods fault isn’t it?) But ideally, evolved brains, the power of knowledge and social maturity should weigh over whatever pull comes from the genes, no?
A large part is also to do with centuries of living under patriarchal terms… if a woman’s worth comes from her man be it father/ husband or son (picturing a MIL making sure her new DIL is serving her husband well) then for sure women will see each other as competition and try their best to bring that threat down. Women are forever trying to fit into norms about looks and conduct, which have been culturally and socially ingrained in us. We don’t really stop to think and ask why should I be that way? But we just continue to blindly follow some invisible code and when we do that it stresses us, puts pressure on us. And when that happens we look for the nearest weakling to transfer our stressors on to. Read: The MIL who was tortured by her own MIL, now makes sure the newly wed daughter in law is having a hard time too. It is so easy to rip apart another woman’s soul than to look within and see her for what she is or hell, just let her be and do her own thing.
And then there is the woman who is smarter, brighter, more beautiful and more everything nice. Yes more than you. And what do you do? Judge her. Judge her looks – “oh layers and layers of makeup. Or hey even a nose job maybe?”, Judge her brains – “She is just a pretty face”, judge her success – “Oh we all know how she got there.” Yes, we especially love to pull such women down. What ensues is a full on catfight or a totally destroyed woman on the other end? I personally have been at the receiving end of that. Its horrible ladies, its black and its scary what this judgement does to the judged. Just stop.
This is why I am in awe of those women who facilitated and did wonderful things for other women – Women centric organizations, online support groups, non-profit networks, coaches, teachers, family and friends. If you have been at the receiving end of a happy, generous and encouraging woman (don’t count your mom. She’ll do it selflessly. 🙂 ) count your blessings. Firstly, it is rare and secondly, maybe it bodes well for a brighter future.
So this Women’s Day, this exHR specialist isn’t giving you some ol’ fun and games, but wishing ardently that we love more, accept more, understand more and give a better experience to fellow women than we ourselves may have encountered. Because great things happen when we women stand up for each other. And the world better watch out!