Are we our worst?

Stay with me. I ki-ki a lot, and lean toward fluffier subjects matter. But I’m in thinking mode, and I’d like you to consider something that’s been on my mind.

Yesterday was D-Day. Yes, I’m referring to the divorce filing heart ’round the Internet, that of reality TV husband Kordell Stewart against his wife Porsha. I joked on Twitter that I wondered what creative excuse would be concocted to blame Porsha for her husband’s abrupt departure because despite the viewing audience of Real Housewives of Atlanta largely agreeing that Kordell was overbearing, he was the one who filed for divorce. And though the couple haven’t said much– yet– about what went  left in the marriage, some people, including women, always blame the woman when there’s a break up, but really, when anything goes down between a man and a woman, women get blamed.

I sent a shout out to all the misogynist bloggers who would have to get creative with their excuses since Porsha came across as all the things that women are “supposed” to be in order to maintain a relationship— totally devoted, loyal, easygoing, in-shape, cute, married before 30 and with no “outside” kids, a wife who was proud to submit to her husband and put his wants/needs/happiness before her own.  And I noted that by misogynists, I didn’t mean all men, and I did mean some women.

You see, sometimes, we women can be our own worst enemies. (Note the “we.” I include myself.) Whether it’s wondering what a female celeb did to deserve her boyfriend beating her like that, or how a 16 year old girl should take responsibility for her rape because she was drunk or what a woman could have done for a man to allegedly kick her— and her son– out of his house. We don’t always flat out accuse, but sometimes in our musings as we dissect the news, we tend to give men the benefit of the doubt, a privilege that is not typically extend to women. In that, we reveal that we either enjoy our high horses or we just don’t think so highly of womankind, and in turn, ourselves.

I would never suggest that women are supposed to monolithic, you know, like how Black people are (joke). But we spend a lot of time fighting unnecessary battles amongst ourselves, whether it’s singles versus marrieds, working moms versus stay-at-home mothers, single moms versus everyone else, light versus dark, natural versus straight, young versus “old”, hood versus “bourgie”, degree versus diploma, corporate versus creative and so on. Even the so-called enlightened among us might be too good these days to hurl the B-word, but we’re not all so above creative replacements to denigrate — “basic”, “regular”– and so many of us don’t think twice about labeling a woman a “whore” or some derivative of it. Every time we do that to each other, we implicitly give our male counterparts license to do the same. How do we logically tell men, “you can’t call me that!” when we do it to each other effortlessly?

I’m not necessarily calling for a state of unity that will never come, but I am suggesting that maybe it’s time to ease up on each other. We can discuss and dissect without attacking. The above mentioned battles have been fought for years and like the war on drugs, there’s no end in sight. It’s time to let it go. You don’t gain anything except maybe a quick feeling of superiority by verbal assaulting women who aren’t like you. It’s not changing anything, and surely, there are other, and more productive ways to stroke your own ego than making another woman feel like sh-t.

During all our in-fighting, we seem not to realize there’s a bigger fight that’s worth more of our attention. Not against men, per se, but against a system that thinks we’re supposed to be in second place. After a few waves of feminism, glass-ceilings still exist and so do men getting paid more for the exact same work. We don’t run or start or build enough companies, or have enough female faces in high places to rest on cushy laurels.  Lawmakers– mostly male— feel entirely comfortable legislating our bodies, and way too many people– not just men— don’t grasp simple concepts about what is and isn’t rape. Frankly, we don’t have time to spend or effort to waste fighting against other  women. It’s just another distraction from what really matters.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life”, in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk.

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