Women support women…don’t they?
November 2, 2017
I heard a woman say on a recent radio debate that she couldn’t see how pregnancy / maternity discrimination happened in the workplace because most women choose to have babies so companies would therefore be full of women who know what each other is going through, so was pretty dismissive that discrimination for this particular reason was happening. Wow. It’s quite the extreme opinion and one that I just can’t get my head around so it got me thinking about that phrase ‘women support women’. When I say thinking, what I really mean is questioning. I can’t say I’ve ever bought into that particular philosophy for a variety of reasons anyway, but her extreme view has stuck in my throat somewhat.
Don’t get me wrong, I think there are PLENTY of women who will support other women – in the workplace, in the (social) media, at home and all that’s in between but I see them get held up so rarely in comparison to those that pull each other down…I suppose warm and fuzzy doesn’t sell papers or get your Google hits up.
I’m a self confessed Insta-fan of a lot of bloggers who happen to be parents, and whilst I do follow some Dads it’s predominantly the Mums that you’ll find on my feed. I don’t want to sound dramatic or borderline stalker but I can honestly say those that I follow genuinely make me feel like I’m my own kind of normal in my motherhood journey, like they’re friends and make me laugh at least three times a day. It’s not in a sad way – I have real life friends around me too!! Over the recent months the rise of the troll seems to have been rife particularly on Instagram, and the examples most of them share are almost always fellow ladies. The cruel comments range from telling Anna Whitehouse (Mother Pukka) to put her boobs away, criticising Susie Verill for how she dresses her kids and Joanne Cara (thehomethatjomade) to stop complaining about the state of the house she’s renovating. I know we have the gift of free speech but these are really horrendous comments that people are going well out the way to make – in Jo’s case the same troll set up about three new accounts every time she got identified.
Taking this away from social media and back to the comment that sparked my thoughts….ok rage, I’m not sure anybody could say with a straight face that all women in the work place support each other because they’ve been through the exact same things and therefore will have some sympathy. For starters, what a generalisation to say that most women choose to have a baby! The current stats from the NHS show that 1 in 7 couples are faced with infertility issues, and they’re just the known ones so I’m pretty sure that ‘most’ don’t get to choose – I can only hope the commentator isn’t ever faced with that as a particular challenge herself. For those that have had kids, just because they have off spring doesn’t make them all the same, or have had the same journey, same experiences and all that jazz – we’re actually all different people leading different lives, bringing up the littles in our own unique way – not some group of lemmings that aren’t able to string our own opinions together.
I do get that it might be easier to understand where someone is coming from if you’re also a parent but it’s really nowhere near a given and I have plenty of friends without kids who will take the time to sit and talk to me about what’s going and still be supportive. Amazing.
I’m getting into a rant now so I’ll stop there and leave it with this – women do support women, but not all. It’s not a given that just because you’ve got the XX chromosome the rest of the gals are on your side, and actually they don’t have to be. There are always going to be other women I don’t like, can’t get on with or agree with their views but there’s no need to vitriolic in the way I speak to them or indeed expect them to like me just because we’re women. If we go around thinking that you’re going to be supported by any female you cross paths with you’re going to be bitterly disappointed!
One of the principles instilled in me from my parents has been ‘think before you speak’ (we can insert type/blog/tweet/post nowadays). Maybe a few more of us should give that a go, yeah?