Woman V’s Woman

I am not a feminist, nor am I a traditionalist. I believe that many of our foremothers fought so hard for equality that we do them a great injustice by then fighting to be anything other than equal to men.

Recently, I have realised that actually many of our battles are not with the opposite sex, but are in fact with each other. It saddens me that sisterhood doesn’t always exist and that many of the pressures we face are placed upon us by fellow females.

For example, the other day a facebook friend of mine posted a controversial anti-abortion poster on her wall. Now usually I don’t comment on these things, people are entitled to their own opinions and I’m all for us living in a free world where we can express that. However, many people had posted emotive comments on the post and I felt compelled to respond. My response was something like this …

‘I am really uncomfortable with this. As someone who has suffered a miscarriage, firstly this picture is disturbing, secondly although I am not pro- abortion, I like to think that most people are compassionate individuals and would only go through with an abortion if they believed it was the best option for them and their unborn child. Whilst I cannot imagine ever going through with one, I can also not imagine how I would feel if I became pregnant through rape or if I were told my unborn child would not survive the birth. Yes people who use abortion almost as a form as contraception are abhorrent and show little value for life or for themselves. But I believe that most women who go through an abortion would carry the pain, grief and guilt forever so it is not for us to judge.’

My post resulted in many likes, the poster being taken down and several private messages from people thanking me.

But what did it tell me? It actually made me think that sometimes women are our own worst enemies. Most women will at least know someone who has had a terrible time conceiving, has had miscarriages, has been raped and / or has had an abortion and yet we publically judge a tiny minority which only serves to damage the majority, making them feel pressured and like failures.

How many of us having had a child have felt pressured about how the baby sleeps, feeds, is dressed etc. Think back, where did most of that pressure come from? I cannot imagine many men would have said ‘Oh he should be crawling by now’. But it is our insatiable desire to be perfect superwomen that makes us criticise and judge our fellow sisters.

The same happens within employment, when I think back to some of the most unpleasant people I have worked with, most of them are female. Either women who were so career hungry they became more dominant, aggressive and masculine than the men they wished to supersede, or women who felt so insecure that they had to undermine fellow females.

So, who put the pressure on us to have and do it all? Pressure to look good, be a certain weight, have perfect hair and nails, be a perfect cook, wife, mother, employee, boss etc.

In a day where we feel pressure to achieve, more than our mothers and grandmothers ever felt, we need to ask why we feel the need to be so perfect and are we helping our fellow females or are we the ones who are putting the pressure on? If we lose the sense of female camaraderie that we felt during the suffragette movement and we pressure each other to achieve a level of perfection that we all know is unattainable, where does that leave our daughters?

Written by Lianne Dupre

Lianne Dupre

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