Friday, December 19, 2014

Published 10:30 AM by with 1 comment

Woman to Woman Abuse: Why?

Women rule the world | Yes, We Rise


Over the course of several weeks, my heart has been broken. Personally, professionally, and publicly. It hurt and thwarted me into a state of anger, rage, repression, and reflection. As I reflected, I refused to watch TV. I have not watched the news- or anything- since the grand jury refused to indict the police officers who killed Eric Garner. Instead, I found my bed (for days) and watched movies. I watched movies day and night. When I was not in a self-medicated induced sleep, I sought to critically analyze the movies – as an English major, this comes naturally. But this time, because I watched with my hurt, I realized most movies had a theme. The arch, the backbone of society rests on Black women. Sadder, even in knowing that black women cradle the hopes of white women, I have found it most displeasing that black women all too often hinder the hopes of their own kind.

Watching “The Help”, I realized the maids made the writer. It was their stories, their words, their endurance and experiences which catapulted the white writer to fame. In writing, she put them in grave danger – if caught, the maids would be faced with charges based on Jim Crow law, while she would get off scott free. At the end of the movie, she does leave. After stirring up the crowd and the messiness of the day, she is off to New York to live her dreams . . . leaving the maids in a small town. While viewers do not know the outcome of the maids, one can be assured it wasn’t great. Watching another movie, I noticed the black woman, again, holding up the white woman. She, in this movie, was the backbone for the white woman to be promoted, getting herself together to become the best person she could become. At the end, the white woman goes on to live her destiny; fulfill her greatness, as the black woman stays put. Watching old sitcoms, Louise Jefferson helped the woman she worked for feel good about herself. Florida Evans also made her employer feel great – first it was Maude, then another woman. As I watched these movies, these box renditions of past sitcoms, I realized that nothing has changed.

Further, I realized that in several of the movies I watched, I saw women compete, connive and cast each other downward. There was no sisterhood. Women would collude with men to oust the current woman – and gain the position they want. Deeper, there was usually a man they fought over – they wanted and he played them both. Watching this, I was horrified. And I reflected. This was not just a made for TV movie. It was not a simple movie created in the minds of producers. It was real life.

Women, at every job, have been brutal to each other. I can recall the first job I had working at a bank, the women told my then boyfriend of my innocent lunch dates with another man. But they didn’t portray it in that light – At another job, I watched as women picked on a woman because of her dress, hair, and her odor. Little did they know, this woman was rebuilding her life – from a homeless shelter. At another job, my immediate supervisor told me, “My shape was too cute.” And “You’re too young for this position . . . when I was your age, I really didn’t know what do to at this level . . . how do you know?” I have watched the inner circle cast out certain and specific women as they ascended to the top. I have watched women destroy other’s reputations – “She is sleeping with a married man.” To the point, the woman (sleeping with a married man or not) could no longer work in that environment. I have watched as women observed the new hires, only to monitor who is weak and who is strong. If they are weak, then they spread rumors, or pretend to be her friend to garner trust – to then spread her truths – I have seen women crying in the bathroom about what is being said by her ‘so called’ friends. Worse, as a PhD student, a professor (a woman), so evil spat disparaging words about the students’ writing and concepts – the student left the class in tears. The student never returned to the class. Being interested in the writing, I picked up her paper. It wasn’t that bad. Further, she was a student – in the learning process – but when I delved deeper, I found this woman (the student) had an impressive resume and the professor was afraid that she would one day become her superior.

All of this hurt. All of this woman to woman abuse . . . for what? Power? Control? To laugh at another? When I began to share my experiences with the women in my own circle, they did not believe me. Often they thought it was me – but over time, they began to see this cycle of abuse happen to them, too. They also saw their part in it – the gossip, the pointing of fingers, and the ruining of reputations – but none sought to stop the cycle. Now, the workplace is a battle zone – woman to woman combat. We aren’t winning. When I speak to women about their experiences working with women – it is always a horror story. Once I thought it was a race issue, but now, I understand it is worse if the woman is of my hue.

As women, we affirm society. I recall being an undergraduate student at NCAT and my Humanities professor said, “Women rule the world. When women behave badly and lower their expectations, the world; society follows.” When she said that, I chuckled. But more than 15 years later, she was right.

As we have allowed the likes of the women in the Housewives conglomerate, Prison Wives, and other badly behaving women portrayed in the media to be our icons, we have slipped. I recall the days when women did not sleep with men for money, light bills, and water bills. I recall when dating was mandatory and having a respectful reputation was valued.

It no longer is.

Women have turned on each other and behaving poorly – competing like men – to win. What are we winning? What aren’t we mentoring and motivating each other?


. . . As Free As I Wanna Be . . .
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1 comment:

  1. Sad but true. I recently was in a position that was very stressful, partly because I felt bullied by the woman who was my new boss. In fact, most of women I had come in contact with in my short stent with the company (less than 2 weeks) had that bully mentality. The owner of the company even made reference to those in charge, including herself, having that sort of mentality but that she felt they had gotten better. Clearly, she was wrong.

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