Why women fight other women

Everywhere we turn, women are knifing each other with their eyes, constantly judging and ridiculing each other.

Saba Khalid April 06, 2012
The old adage, “Men can hurt my body, but women can scar my soul,” is one of those undeniable truths all women experience but most easily deny. Because isn’t it easier to blame men for all the injustice, inequality and viciousness we experience rather than assigning blame to our own kind, our own gender, our own sisters?

But everywhere we turn, at home, in high schools and definitely at the workplace, women are knifing each other with their eyes, talking behind their backs, constantly judging and ridiculing each other, and metaphorically pushing each other around.

Whether it’s the mother and daughter-in-law relationship, female friendships in school, or female co-workers, it seems we are constantly pitted against one another. One has to fail, for the other to succeed.

It’s easy to understand this mindset, since there are very few positions of power for women; so of course, women have to fight tooth and nail to get them. And when they do, why would they want to help another to take their throne. No woman helped them get on it, so why should they? And in effect, this vicious circle continues unabatedly and unashamedly, until more and more women fall victim to it.

The common perception seems to be that female bosses are ‘backstabbing’, ‘easily threatened’, ‘emotionally unpredictable’ or ‘irritable’. In fact, according to a survey carried out by the American Management Association, “95 per cent of women felt undermined at some point in their career by other women”.

A study by a PhD student at the University of Texas-Austin claimed that women primarily dress up and own “nice things” in order to impress other women.

All this brings me back to the same question. When men cause women damage in their own ways, then why does the wound caused by a woman hurt more? Is it because we trust each other? Or is it because we are close to them?

I think it’s because we expect better from them. It’s because we expect them to understand our pain and struggle. It’s because we expect more empathy from them.

It’s because they’re us and we’re them.

Read more by Saba here.
Saba Khalid A blogger for Rolling Stone magazine, a contributor to Kulturaustauch and Musikexpres, Saba is an Institute for Foreign Affairs (IFA) Cross Culture scholar for the year 2012 who also teaches creative writing to young aspiring writers. She blogs at www.thecityalive.com and can be found on instagram as @thecityalive
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Vikram | 10 years ago | Reply People fight because of their distorted way of thinking. Two women (or men) may be ready to kill each other for something. If the same thing happens between 2 other women (or men) they even may not notice it. Physiologically speaking I wonder if higher levels of testasterone makes women more aggressive with other women or draws them away from women and make them more interested in men.
Nayla | 10 years ago | Reply And, although not related to the original article, I would also like to mention another unfortunate symptom caused by patriarchal societies where women are not on 50/50 equal footing with men. The mentality of being a "GOLD-DIGGER". I don't know if this issue is complained of as much by men in the East, but here in the West, men complain of this all the time. They put women down, saying we are all gold-diggers. I do agree that it is a problem with a lot of women, but the men fail to understand that the male gender is somewhat responsible for this "female trait". Since the beginning of time, in almost all societies, women have suffered under patriarchal norms that had womens' lives and status at the mercy of men. Women were not allowed to earn a living for themselves. Their best hope in order to live a comfortable life, or just survive, was to find a husband who could support her financially, since she had no means of her own. This issue has been ingrained into the female psyche for so long, and even though women are gaining strides in being able to work for a living and able to support themselves instead of needing to find a husband do support them, I think it will take many decades, in the least, to work itself out of our psyches. Of course, there will always be "gold-diggers", but I think that as a society progresses and allows women more autonomy and opportunities to support themselves, it will become less and less of a problem.
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