Something “small” prompted me to write this. At least, it started small, but it’s reminded me of something big and wonderful.
When women don’t compete with each other; when we see each other as precious and valuable and feel no need to compare, or tear down or crush, the results are absolutely beautiful.
I’m not a “feminist”, I never have been, but I despise the way women are “set up” in society to see each other as the enemy, or the competition. It’s just been engineered that way, and it’s the norm now. Not with our friends, of course. We love our friends and would do anything within (and without) reason for them.
But women we don’t know: well, they’re to be eyed with suspicion. If they’re not trying to steal our husbands/boyfriends, we’re competing for the same job. If they’re not after our job, they’re prettier than us, or have longer legs or are more successful. Whatever. They’re not our sort of person and warning bells are going off.
And the problem is, it’s contagious. People tend to treat people the way they’ve been treated. A woman is treated that way by a woman, and in turn treats another woman that way, who then treats another woman that way… on and on it goes, getting bigger and bigger, sweeping more and more people into the sinkhole. It catches on and spreads like something ugly and aggressive until it becomes unspoken and normal – something diseased that’s woven into the fundamental fabric. But it isn’t normal! And it wasn’t supposed to be that way.
As an off-shoot from our Facebook page, about a week ago we started a Facebook group. It was intended to be somewhere more intimate – a way of not losing touch with people when FB is making it so hard to be seen, and a way of connecting with people via something that is inherently remote and impersonal. At the time of writing, there are 713 members. To the best of my knowledge, 712 are women. Also to the best of my knowledge, most were strangers before joining. I’m sure some people already knew each other but, for the most part, people started as strangers.
I am astonished at what is developing.
It is a place where we celebrate joy, where we laugh and make bad jokes, and it’s a place where we support one another. If someone is having a bad day, or if they’ve lost someone, or are going through something and they mention it, I can almost guarantee that they will get a string of replies from gorgeous women encouraging them and empathising with them and offering to help. It’s the same if they want to acknowledge something wonderful, no matter how small. And this is widespread across the group without a single exception. Not one single example of anything other than kindness. It’s utterly magical. I also believe it’s also how it’s supposed to be amongst women.
A wonderful lady mentioned that she’d been lonely before joining, and that’s changed now. That matters so, so much. Facebook – maybe even the world itself – is remote; it’s hard to make actual connections with people now. But that’s precisely what’s happening. It’s hundreds of women, being generous with their time and their love, to people they didn’t even know a week ago but now think about and cheer for.
It’s reminded me of what fellowship amongst women is like if we forget what we’ve been “trained” to think, and just accept each other precisely as we are. Groups of people will bond over a common interest: hobbies, dreams, experiences… in this group, the common thread is that we want to acknowledge and seek out happy, and the loveliness of the group is, I think, borne from the wellspring of that.
I feel so blessed to be a part of it.