In case it hasn’t been said enough times, 2018 is the year of the woman. There are countless ways in which women continue to propel themselves to (according to Beyoncé) run the world. Writing a column about this topic seemed a bit cliché in my opinion. Alternatively, highlighting ways in which we women take the movement backward is apparently a more thought-provoking concept for today. It is hoped that if we see elements of our flaws on screen, we may eventually change. Here’s to hoping.
Below are the eight types of women who contribute to the regression of the women’s movement; eight types of women we should not become.
Women who gossip about other women
It is easy to think that “everybody gossips” when we surround ourselves with women who do. Might I opine that having an opinion on a situation and gossiping are two different things. There is a certain level of idle behaviour and untruth with gossip. Believe it or not, not every woman engages in gossip. There are actually some positive, kind-hearted, loyal women who support each other in all ways in their friendships. There are also some groups of women who spend their days discussing ideas, politics, trends, spirituality and business ventures, as opposed to other people.
When we seek comfort in stating some of the nastiest things about other women, the movement is taken five steps back. Placing heart-eyed emojis under someone’s Instagram posts only to then say the worst things about them and their offspring is mean, cruel and deceitful. Anyone who gets a level of satisfaction roasting another person has deep, personal issues.
Women who actively refuse to mentor other women
Mentoring is hard. This is especially true for persons with busy schedules. However, a simple form of mentoring could be giving advice via the telephone or social media. Two minutes out of our busy schedules to help a sister figure out an issue or to advise on a business strategy can never be disadvantageous. There are countless women who are responsible for the woman I am today. When we actively ignore requests for simple advice from other women, we are no better than those who thwart the efforts and opportunities of our sisters.
Women who are satisfied being the token female at the table
When we are comfortable being the only woman at the table that too is a problem. It cannot be enough for us to be the first and only woman to sit in a CEO position if we do not throw the rope down for other women to sit at the table.
Women who compete with each other
When we throw each other under the bus in the most callous of ways, we take the movement backward. When we allow envy and resentment for other women’s blessings to negatively affect us, the baton is not passed.
Enough evidence exists to prove that when we celebrate another woman’s success, it does not affect us negatively. Why must an engagement or pregnancy announcement of another woman trigger feelings of envy or inadequacy in some of us? Why must snide remarks accompany compliments in a backhanded fashion? I remember a colleague saying to me that she doesn’t have friends in her business sector because she believed it opened the door for unnecessary competition and strife in her friendships! “Nonsense!” I thought. If someone is competitive, they will compete with you in the most silly ways, regardless.
Women who allow men (but really, insecurities) to get between them
Ladies, let’s stop allowing our insecurities to block our blessings. Too often I see women who have dated the same man stop speaking to each other. This is for no other reason than they have similar tastes in men. Men don’t stop speaking to each other when they have dated the same woman. It is one thing if one party is “horning” another but that is not the issue of which we speak. If a woman has dated a former partner, this does not automatically make her an enemy. This is petty and unnecessary. We don’t have to wear our insecurities on our sleeves like badges.
Women who don’t live by example for little girls
The “do as I say and not as I do” philosophy cannot work with the raising of our little girls. We can no longer declare that we never asked to be role models. A few years ago, my grandmother scolded me about something I had done. Her concern was that I had a relatively moderate public profile and perhaps, by a long stretch, there were a few young women who looked up to me. I vehemently disagreed. This was irresponsible on my part and I know better now. It takes a certain level of maturity to understand that there are young women who admire or even look up to us who do not have family members or close friends they can emulate. It is therefore an added responsibility and even a privilege to have the opportunity to live by example. Nobody suffers when we do things this way.
Women who are fake activists
Many post on social media about the importance of women’s empowerment and tout themselves as “feminists for life”. I commend, agree with and respect you. However, some of us who do such things operate to contradict these public claims behind closed doors. These hypocritical actions also regress the movement. Life is not social media.
Women who don’t forgive other women
I used to be one of these women and am actively working on my forgiveness. I harboured feelings of anger and resentment towards other women who had done me wrong. With time, I have learned that these experiences were gifts. As a result of these “gifts”, I am a more evolved and emotionally intelligent person. What I have also learned is that everyone is human. There are many sides to a story and I cannot expect forgiveness for the wrongs I have done without first forgiving those who have also wronged me. When we hold dear to our hearts the bad things done to us, we actively block the new positives from entering our lives. In essence, we “play ourselves”. Our hurt and resentment stop us from forming meaningful friendships, relationships, and business ventures all because we are either afraid of being hurt or over time develop a Stockholm Syndrome relationship with our pain. This is all very toxic. When we engage in such activity, we not only take five steps backward in the women’s movement but we take five steps backward for ourselves.
Ladies, we can do better!
Toni Thorne is a founder and entrepreneur who enjoys a great debate, family time, island life and minding her mouth! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org