Women need to stop hurting each other

I had a very negative experience recently with a supposed “friend.” Something happened that brought up her issues, which I never could have predicted,  and she chose to lash out at me. I’m so tired of seeing women who have been hurt in the past hurt others.

This woman’s betrayal of our friendship hurt at first, but I have been able to move on from that. What I haven’t been able to let go of, however, is the feeling that we do not support each other enough as women. When we are together and something happens which makes us feel vulnerable or hurt, why can’t we talk to each other about it instead or running away or lashing out? I don’t want to feel that I can’t trust my “sisters”.

It seems that the very idea of “sisterhood” is one that needs to be spread more, in the way that anti-racism is or pro-gay has been. I truly feel that if you are not a part of the solution (a feminist) that you are a part of the problem. What do others on here think of this?

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  1. Posted December 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    It’s a little hard to say with the information given here. Women are people, and sometimes between people interpersonal conflicts arise. I do think there should be more solidarity between women, but I also don’t think that if another woman is behaving hurtfully that they shouldn’t be confronted with it.

    I guess some things to consider might in this general question (not your specific conflict with your friend, but I’d say anytime conflicts arise like that.) – how related is the conflict to gender? Women are conditioned to view one another as adversaries and be competitors over certain things, such as men, looks, attire, etc. On the other hand, competitiveness such as one might find in sports, or in a compulsion to excel in a given field, is discouraged as “unladylike” (which is not to say it doesn’t happen). Are any of these a factor? If another woman’s words or actions are hurtful, would you address it in the same way you would a man who said the same sort of hurtful thing? Are there any other factors involved in conflict, such as insensitivities to issues of class, race, or sexuality? Does it seem to be a misunderstanding that can be talked through, or has the person done something truly malicious or even criminal?

  2. Posted December 18, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The incident involved a guy and it was really stupid. I would never be in competition with another woman over a guy. I never got a chance to “confront” her about it because she just withdrew. I’m sure she didn’t want to talk about her issues that were stirred up, because confronting those is scary. Instead we are no longer friends. What a waste.

  3. Posted December 18, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    This sounds vaguely like something that happened to me. There was a man that my best friend, and then roommate, was interested in. He was interested in me. I hated his guts. He was a pig. He had a girlfriend, but whenever she wasn’t around (even if she was just In the next room!) he would hit on me. After a few weeks of this garbage, I invited a bunch of friends out for the birthday of one of my best male buds. My best friend came along … and invited that D-bag I so despised (who had, at that point, apparently broken up with his girlfriend). My best friend kept leaning toward this guy, trying to get his attention, and he kept trying to touch me. At one point I threatened to break a glass on his face if he didn’t keep his hands to himself (he was rubbing my back and saying things like, “Oooh, you’re not wearing a bra … are you not wearing panties?” None of is effing business!)

    Fast forward two months: I was raped by a complete stranger while on my way to work. Not two weeks after that, my best friend started dating the d-bag who had attempted to assault me during my friend’s b-day party. Then she started bringing him to our house … to spend the weekends! There was no lock on my bedroom door, and here I was a recent rape victim with a guy I absolutely could not trust in the room right across the hall from mine!

    I approached my best friend about this, and her response to me was, “I’m allowed to have a boyfriend, and this is my house too! I’ll bring him here to sleep with me if I want to!” Needless to say, I was pissed. However, I know what my temper is like and refrained from saying anything in retaliation immediately. So I walked away from her hoping that she would calm down and see some reason.

    When I came back home and went into my room there was a very cheap sliding lock laying on my bed. Her apparent response to my concerns about this man being in the house. This didn’t go over well. We do not speak. And to this day she tells no-one about what caused our falling out.

    And while I honestly consider this an unfortunate experience for her, others who have heard my story consider it rather a fitting punishment: the man in question had told her repeatedly that he didn’t want a serious relationship. After only a month of dating she gave him her virginity (yeah, there’s that word we all hate!) expecting that she could lock him down that way. Less than a week later (the entirety of which he was too busy to see her) he ended the relationship. I feel truly sorry for her, because despite the actions against me, I would never have wished an experience like that on her, or anyone else. However, her pain could never make amends between us, even had she tried (which she didn’t).

    It was a sad loss as we had been best friends for 25 years. I don’t consider it a waste, though, because perhaps our time together was simply at an end. It’s possible we were holding each other back from life by maintaining our friendship. But I do wish things had ended on a happier and more mutual note.

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