Women on Women

Something I still run into, which takes me by surprise every time, is the “women hate each other” myth. The “you get women talking about other women and they’re vicious” cliche. This sage observation can come from a man or a woman, usually in a moment of insecurity that causes them to wall up with platitudes. It’s a bizarre thing to say.

Men are not routinely accused of being man-hating and in-fighting, even during exclusively masculine wars, political debates, and hostile takeovers. We have large and well-televised sporting contests in which men seek to dominate other men, through which other men live vicariously (sometimes wagering money, sometimes rioting), and this is seen as a celebration of men and possibly male fraternity. In contrast, a woman says she doesn’t like another woman’s makeup, bitches must hate each other.

It goes back to what your defaults are. Is somebody a person, or a woman? There’s no such thing as men. (This is presumably what makes trans and genderqueer identities threatening. Here is somebody who might be part woman and part default person, which is impossible.)

Since I fall into the woman camp, I am more likely to be asked what I think of other women (en masse, globally, all billions of them) than “what do you think of humanity,” even though the latter is one of the basic philosophical inquiries. And although I could say something like “I love people” or “I hate people,” and have it interpreted as a shallow description of my own optimism or pessimism, “I love women” or “I hate women” would be freighted by the listener with much greater seriousness.

These are not, however, things I say, because I’m savvy, and also longwinded.