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gender, women

On Women and Other Women, or: Once Upon a Time I Couldn’t Stand Being in the Same Room as a Single Other Female.

I know an unfortunate number of women who dislike and distrust, or are disgusted by or disinterested in, other women. Women are backstabbing, they say; women are manipulative, emotional, stupid, boring, passive, weak. Women are all of the things, they say, that I am not.

I used to feel this way, too. Somewhere around my senior year in high school all my female friends had been shipped off to juvenile hall, alternative high schools, boarding schools, or simply new lives with new husbands and newborns. The only group of people who remained (and would give my punk ass the time of day) consisted exclusively of boys. Pot-smoking, shroom-popping, acid- and ecstasy-dropping boys. And that was fine. We were high all the time, on drugs that make you love other people, so we loved each other. We protected each other. In a world where boys are still better, boys that take you in and make you a sort of boy-by-proximity are a hot commodity.

But there was an unhappy side effect. The “girl” version of me became so anemic from lack of other “girl” contact that when another female-identifying member of the human race waltzed in the room, I forgot how to talk to them. As such, they didn’t particularly enjoy talking to me. And after a while, I got pissed. Fuck them, I thought. Fuck them and their backstabbing, manipulative, stupid, boring, passive, emotional, weak asses.

I carried around this feeling of “other women suck” for almost six years. In those six years, where I felt so bad-ass because all these guys wanted to be my friend, I started internalizing all the ways I should be for these boys to accept me. Boys constantly reinforced that I should be funny, emotionless, bullheaded, independent — all those socialized guy things — but never too funny, emotionless, bullheaded, independent — because it’s threatening to other guys. I couldn’t be a woman, because then I would be too inferior for the honorary boy badge, but I couldn’t be a man, because all the little “bitch” stickers would crowd out the gold stars. So I shut down all of the “girl”. And then I shut out everyone else.

When I realized how unfair and uncool this was, I realized why I hated other women. When the “girl” parts of me broke through the “boy” parts, I got really, really scared. Hell, I still get scared. I worry that everyone will say, see? See? She’s a big dumb girl after all! And they’ll strip me of all my cool points.

But whose fault is that? It’s not other women’s fault. Women don’t write these rules. When I hated women who played by the rules, I failed to realize that I was playing them, too. In fact, the women who most adamantly declare that other women are shitty people, are probably pretty shitty people themselves.

Well, no, I shouldn’t say that. I think women who think other women are shitty people are hanging around people who think women are shitty people, and are scared of seeming shitty, too. Sometimes these shitty people are family. Sometimes they’re other musicians and artists in the local music and arts scenes. Sometimes they’re teachers and professors and bosses and politicians, TV stars and magazine covers and film academies. They’re all members of these massive American institutions that honor males and masculinity, and dishonor females and femininity.

They’re not other women.

Women who hate other women are never around other women. They can’t be. If they were, they would see someone that looks like the person they want to be, that they could be, if they learned to open back up. They would see someone whole. And it hurts to see someone being the flawed, fearful, fully fucking fabulous HUMAN BEING that we could all be if we learned to stop hating other women.

Women, stop hating each other. Beside the fact it’s mathematically impossible for you to be the magically exceptional female, different from alllll the rest, it would suck to be the magically exceptional female, different from alllll the rest. It would mean you’re only half a person. It would mean you’re lonely. To be alone with only half of your self is pretty shitty, indeed.

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