Saturday, 23 July 2016

Lady Love

There is something so effortlessly pure about the bonds formed between females. Be it your life-long best friends, or a stranger in a public bathroom, the bond women have with each other is always a beautiful one. Every one of us can probably recall at least one time in our lives when a female stranger has helped us, or we helped them, for no reason other than the unwritten rule that all women should support each other. We will selflessly hand over a hairband, a tampon, make-up or tissues just because of this ingrained rule that all women will look after others. Seeing girls openly support each other on social media fills me with pride, we've come so far to this point where we can celebrate each others achievements and pretty selfies alike, whether we're best friends or complete strangers. However, unfortunately, in so many other ways we aren't as supportive as we should be.

We've all been guilty of shaming another woman, whether it's for the way she dresses, who she dates or what she does with her life. There's no use in denying it, for the most part it's just an inevitable part of human nature. Tell me you've never taken a screen-shot of something posted by another girl and sent it to your friends, just to moan about the part you disagree with, and I'll tell you you're lying. While I can't demand we all stop being so bitchy behind closed doors, I will fight for a change in the way we talk about other women publicly. 

You see, the issue is that if women get busy tearing down other women, it gives men a clear open door to do the same. And while it's not a woman's right to judge another woman, it is even less so a man's right. 

When a woman publicly tells another woman that she's overweight/wearing too few clothes/wearing too much make-up she is essentially justifying every comment a man has made too, because in the end, if the whole team doesn't support each other then why should the other team have to support us too? This is often the case with celebrities, people feel that as they open themselves up to the public, we are free to comment on their lifestyles. Women making a comment on a female celebrity's body or dress choice is no worse than commenting on a stranger you sort of know on Instagram. You are still displaying that as a gender we are divided, and prepared to undermine each other at the expense of the whole side. 

If you'll excuse my somewhat severe analogy and roll with me here, the endless rape cases in the media are the perfect example. When a woman is raped and the media publicises the story, it barely takes minutes before social media threads and comment sections are filled with concerns that "she was asking for it" because of the way she was dressed or the amount she drank, or whether or not she was already romantically or sexually linked to that man. You'll notice, as you make your way through the comments, that a very large number of them are posted by women. I won't try to analyse the psychology which leads these women to suggest such awful things, some say jealousy, some say fear, I like to think it's at least not a genuine belief in what they've said. Whatever their reasons, they only act as justification for the comments men choose to make. I mean really, who are we to say men are being sexist by claiming that the way a girl was dressed, meant non-consensual sex was inevitable, when women say exactly the same things. These men can hide behind their female peers like human shields, because in theory, if a woman speaks ill of another woman it isn't sexism, it's factual, because who knows more about being a female than one herself. 

You'll remember back in May, a Weather Girl on a local news station in Los Angles was handed a cardigan live on air to cover her dress which was considered "inappropriate" by the viewers. During an 8am broadcast, a media storm began over the dress she chose to wear that day, which was said to be too revealing for morning news. The woman was humiliated, though she played it off incredibly well and deserves a medal for the way she carried herself during a moment when most of us would have broken down. The worst part, is that it was eventually revealed that the vast majority of the complaints were made by women. How can we expect men to stop sexualising every slightly revealing outfit, when women are the main culprits? 

I won't be naive enough to suggest that we stop shaming each other entirely, it's just not going to happen any time soon. But maybe, soon enough we could start to see that if we aren't standing up for each other then we aren't really standing up at all. If you tear down your own team mates in front of the other team, there is no reason why the members of the other team should have to play nice too. While I have no intention to justify the horrendous sexism carried out by males, I don't think we'll ever make a difference until we make those changes closer to home. A united front is the only way to make a change. If we lived in a world where all women stood up for each other, celebrating body confidence, life choices and style come what may, there would be no excuse for men speaking of women in the ways they do now. Change comes from the inside out, and there is no chance of any change in the way women are treated by men until we start making changes internally. 

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