Last week I wrote about the pick-me culture. This week, we can sommer call it an extension of the pick-meism village. For aeons on end, women have been dubbed and labelled “difficult to get along with each other”. Sometimes, more often, I am sure that every other woman has had an encounter where another woman has been mean towards you for no reason.
Pat Heim calls it the power dead-even rule. She goes on to argue that, this rule governs relationships, power and self-esteem. For a healthy relationship to be possible between women, the self-esteem and power of one must be, in the eyes of each woman, similar in weight to the self-esteem and power of the other. In other words, these key elements must be kept dead even. What this means is that, for women, when the power balance gets disrupted (such as a woman rising in status above other women), women may talk behind her back, ostracise her from the group or belittle her. These behaviours are to preserve the dead-even power relationship that women have grown up with their entire lives. Of course, this is a subconscious process. Most women are not aware of this invisible rule and what drives their behaviour, but it is a big reason why women sometimes do not support other women. It is also closely linked to emotional intelligence. For example, if a woman works in an environment where she is ranked higher than other women, she might choose to not mingle with junior women. This is also called the Queen Bee Syndrome, where women behave in ways more typical of men to display toughness and fit in. For women at the very top, part of their success is convincing men that they aren’t like other women. Which shouldn’t be the case because, now more than ever, with how fast the world is revolving, supporting and fixing another woman’s crown is the best option there is. Society has made women believe that we are each other’s enemies and that it is better to have a best friend that is a guy because women are dramatic. If anything, we should be each other’s support systems.
As a woman who plans on supporting another woman, you need to realise that you are in no competition with anyone but yourself. If you are constantly comparing yourself to other women and perceive other women as a threat to your reign, you will lose out on the opportunity to be a part of another woman’s success. The fact that there are accounts of women being bitter towards other women is heartbreaking enough. As a result, over the years, there’s a reason why women have been constantly pitted against each other and encouraged to compete with one another. When women support each other, incredible things happen and we become a force to be reckoned with. Women have always been a threat to society and what many must realise, is that there is a higher power at play; internalised misogyny. The problem isn’t other women, the problem is a patriarchal society and the belief that women are lesser than men. When we are rejecting to support other women, we are actively taking the side of a patriarchal society where females should not be succeeding unless it’s in the kitchen.
A real queen understands this issue and works towards a brighter future by becoming an example of a truly supportive woman. Nothing better than fixing another woman’s crown.
• Frieda Mukufa’s lifestyle section concentrates on women-related issues and parenting every Friday in the New Era newspaper. She also specialises in editing research proposals, proofreading as well as content creation.