Are Women Their Own Worst Enemies?

Today we will dive into a topic that may be unpleasant to many women, however, it is a topic we feel is deserving of a nationwide discussion, since we will be observing International Women’s Day sometime next week.

It is often said that girls are mean to each other, but what about women to their own kind, particularly in Saint Lucia?

Women are often told to support each other, to celebrate their sisterhood, and to empower their peers. But is this always the case in Fair Helen? Or are women sometimes their own worst enemies, sabotaging each other’s success and happiness?

To be fair, studies have not been done in Saint Lucia in recent times to give an impartial response to the above questions. However, studies done outside Saint Lucia have revealed that women face more competition, not from men, but from other women especially for scarce resources such as mates, status, or opportunities.

According to some studies, women are more prone to engage in upward social comparisons than men, meaning that they compare themselves to those who are superior to them on some dimensions, such as beauty, intelligence, or wealth and that this can lead to feelings of envy, insecurity, and resentment, which can undermine their self-esteem and well-being.

Research has also shown that women are more likely to help women of a higher status  than themselves rather than women of lower status. This suggests that women may use their social relationships to signal their own status and gain access to higher levels of personal prosperity.

Another factor that may contribute to women’s hostility towards each other is the pressure to conform to certain social norms and expectations. Women are often judged by their appearance, their behaviour, and their choices, not only by men, but also by other women.

Women who deviate from the norms, such as being too ambitious, too outspoken, or too independent, may face criticism, ridicule, or ostracism by their peers.

Of course, this does not mean that all women are enemies, or that women cannot have genuine and supportive friendships with each other. Afterall, right here in Saint Lucia, there are many examples of women who have collaborated, mentored, and inspired each other, both in the past and in the present.

We also admit that in Saint Lucia, women have benefited from each other through the sharing of their experiences, challenges, and achievements.

So, we come back to the question posed at the top of this editorial: Are women their own worst enemies?

In attempting to answer that question we must acknowledge that women are not a monolithic group, meaning that while they are large in number they are not so rigid in structure and character as some of us may want to think.

Women, a large number of them, have different interests, goals, and values and different sources of conflict and cooperation with each other, depending on the context and the situation. Therefore, in our view, it is not fair to expect women to always be allies, or to blame them for being adversaries or competitors.

Therefore, the question of whether women are their own worst enemies is not a simple one, and it does not have a definitive answer. We believe it is a complex and nuanced issue which requires more research, dialogue, and understanding, a conclusion also arrived at in some of the researches we did online. What is clear, however, is that women have the potential to be both their best friends and their worst foes, depending on how they choose to interact with each other.

What about the word ‘sisterhood.’ That word has nothing to do with biological sisters, but rather it is a bond between women who share common goals, common interest, helping each other to achieve such goals.

There are not many such bonds in Saint Lucia because too many Saint Lucian women have suffered knocks from other Saint Lucian women. Our ears are close enough to the ground to know that right here in Saint Lucia a large percentage of women have been hurt by the jealousy of a female friend.

It has been said, and we concur, that a distinct undercurrent of meanness and negativity is plaguing the female gender in Saint Lucia. This plague is spread by the same women who call for societal equality, who sing the praises of girl power and endure the friendship of other women behind frozen smiles and a façade of intimacy.

Some women can deny as much as they want to, but we do know, as a result of keeping our ears to the ground, that there are women who feel safer with men than with their fellow females.

And so as International Women’s Day approaches we call on all our Saint Lucian women to be co-architects of their happiness. Stop their savage personal attacks on each other as this is sure to wreak havoc on their health.

Happy International Women’s Day in advance.

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