The other day, I was having lunch with some of my friends when a shabbily dressed woman passed by. The woman, who appeared to have been in her twenties, had a baby on her back and a sack on her head.
One of the girls I was with made a crude joke about the woman’s dressing, and we all laughed. I didn’t think much of the incident, only to be reminded of it when I read an article of a local female politician who was hounded out of her political party by her male counterparts.
I scrolled down to the comments and most prominent were those deriding her. Instead of focusing on the issue at hand, social media commentators concentrated on body-shaming her. It got me thinking about the responsibility that we women have to support each other.
In that instance, I felt ashamed of myself and my friends for making fun of that woman. My friends and I believe we are modern enlightened women, yet we did not hesitate to make fun of a woman who was a stranger to us. We didn’t know this woman and probably never will. We don’t know her story or her circumstances, yet one of us spoke crudely of her and the rest of us laughed.
All four of us would easily and honestly – from the bottom of our hearts – declare that we are pro-women, yet we judged her. We made a mockery of her. I felt truly ashamed. In that moment, I was ashamed because instead of standing and speaking in solidarity with a sister, I hid my head in the sand, literally. Perhaps you are like me, quick to say we advocate for women empowerment yet when a real opportunity arises we hide behind political and religious differences.
I hate to think that it might be true that we are our worst enemies. We claim to seek empowerment, yet we do not support each other. The “pull her down” syndrome continue to haunt us. Rarely do you see a successful woman without her success being attributed to men. Women from all sectors are often looked down upon and ridiculed no matter how successful.
It’s easy for egoistical social media users hiding behind computer screens to ridicule women. Yet we do not challenge these trolls.
[ctt template=”5″ link=”3cDcS” via=”no” ]By remaining silent when some other woman is facing an injustice, we are all complicit in perpetuating patriarchal attitudes towards women.[/ctt]
Women are chided and made fun of on social media daily yet we do not fight for each other. When one of us is under attack the majority of us crawl into a corner, secretly grateful that it’s not us.
Maybe when we realize that we are women first before anything else it will make a difference how we approach matters. When we realize that what binds us as women is greater than ethnic, class, racial, political, religious, or any other difference.
From my own personal shame arose a desire to commit to be conscious of my actions and words. A commitment to stand with my fellow women as we claim our place under the sun.