We hold one of the most powerful weapons with us at all times. We seldom realize the destruction we cause, carelessly and without thought.
All of these remarks. In one conversation. Made by one woman about another.
Over and over some variation on the situation can be picked out:
A woman in a group of men, disparaging another particular woman. Putting distance between her and the ‘enemy’,the ‘threat’. Cutting remarks on her intelligence, weight and everything in between. She decimates the other to woman, ruthlessly, in under 3 minutes.
I felt these words hover over me, aggressively, like a dark cloud on an otherwise sunny day at the beach. I felt the weight of the feeling of imperfection that the other woman must feel perch on my shoulders, and settle in.
This feeling of inadequacy, of hurt, and immense, weighty pain. The pressure to seek validation about our existence from men, All swiriling in a tumultuous ocean of self-doubt and angst. I make a mental tally of how many times I’ve felt the same way.
It’s 2016, and we still have to overhear the vicious, serating words of one woman about another. It made me feel uncomfortable and took focusing all my energy to not furl up into a ball, make myself small and hide away from the belittling comments, hurled thoughtlessly from her ‘superior’ position on the beach, surrounded by adoring male gazes.
The conversation set off a spark, a passion. It was a hot match dropped into a puddle of kerosine. In that moment I became a fire. I felt the immense need to push society out of this sex-depricating rut pitting women against women like a lion and a prisoner in a colosseum.
Creating a world where a woman can feel safe from the pressure to destroy another in search of validation. That is the dream. A woman can compliment another on her style and her kind ways. We can spend more time talking about our passions and the things that drive us through the perpetual mundane-ness of the rest of our lives. We can get to know each other on a level other than the physical. When we free up our conversations from the snare of discussing appearances we can focus our words on creation, love, and expression.
I’m trying an experiment. I’m making it a goal for me to try and go one day without commenting on another person’s physical being. Each day I do find myself thinking a mean thought, I’ll extend the experiment another day. If I’m successful, I’ll try to continue the streak the next day.
I would love to know that maybe one day, a 20-year-old, body-concious beach goer can feel safe from prying eyes. I would love to know that one day we wouldn’t, as women, feel the need to label others as ‘competition’. We would have broken the cycle of viewing life as a long string of races, competitions and feats, and we could stop the endless clawing towards ‘success’ at the expense of others.
It’s an idealistic world, I suppose. But I’m hoping that the power of self-fulfilling destinies will manifest into a world without this unnecessary competitive environment.