I used to wonder why women sometimes sabotage one another, turn on each other and generally treat other women in ways they'd never treat men in their lives. Then years ago I read several articles and books on the topic and learned about "horizontal violence," "the female face of patriarchy," women who are "male referented" and similar topics. I learned there are many reasons for this phenomenon. It's what I often call the "vying for a prom date" syndrome in women. It's not pretty, and it definitely feels horrible to be on the receiving end of this. I know—I've been there. And it isn't helpful to us moving forward as women in this culture or globally.
So when I re-read the words of Renita J. Weems from her book Just a Sister Away as repeated in Jan Richardson's book Sacred Journeys: A Woman's Book of Daily Prayer, they really caught my attention. Again.
"As black and white women in America, as Israeli and Lebanese women, as white South African and black South African women, as Asian and European women, as the wives of terrorists and the wives of victims of terrorists, working for righteousness in splendid isolation from one another is a luxury we cannot afford. Injustice in our lands relies upon the perpetual alienation of women from one another and upon relentless hostility between women. Indeed, our estrangement from one another continues to compromise the integrity of our witness as God-fearing women."
Wow! Yes, yes, yes. May we all learn how to care for and support each other as women—for as Heather McVoy says in a litany also found in Richardson's book, "...each woman's struggle is everywoman's burden."
Let's stand together and turn this around!