By Molly W
Loving women is one of the hardest things to do in a society that hates women. Between the legislators who are trying to chip away at our chance to proper healthcare, the daily sight of those disgusting “Cool story babe, now make me a sandwich” t-shirts and just the blatant lack of understanding that has left our minds numb and eyes closed in disbelief, women are under strain from every part of their life. This strain causes us to lash out, more often than not, at those who don’t deserve it: other women. In a way it makes sense; oppressed groups often times fight amongst themselves because fighting against the oppressors results in negative consequences such as violence, punishment and further oppression.
Girls expect too much from ourselves and from one another; we know the fear of leaving our homes after dark and we know the pressure of being expected to achieve the impossible. We know how cruel people can be when we don’t have makeup on, when we raise our voices and when we try to break the mold that was created for us by a system that caters to men. It’s a dog-eat-dog world for us, and hating each other won’t make it any easier. Holding ourselves to an impossible standard, created by men, won’t make it any easier. However, loving ourselves and each other and accepting our mistakes and flaws will make it easier.
Girl-love is something that needed to happen yesterday, and is exactly what it sounds like: loving ourselves and other women. We need to end cattiness, slut-shaming, judgment and stereotypes that surround being a woman. The most loving, honest and beautiful people I have ever met have all been women; this is no coincidence. We are conditioned from day one to always be considerate, smiling, giving and loving; we can either let men use this to their advantage and instead give other women the cold-shoulder, or instead we could show other women the love and care that they give away too easily and too often to those who are undeserving. We are capable of too many great things through mutual love to keep feeding into this mutual hate.
So the next time you feel compelled by some patriarch-induced urge to gossip about one of your girlfriends, judge a girl based on something silly like an outfit or who she slept with, remember: we are all facing sexism. Most women are, unfortunately, victims of rape, abuse, harassment- something. We don’t need to add anything else to that list, especially any act of violence (physical, verbal, whatever) committed by women.
Molly goes to Webster University and is studying Women and Gender Studies, Political Science and French. She is also interning at NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri this summer.