Why do women betray one another?
In all of my years socialising, meeting people, studying cultures and working with thousands of individuals, I’ve heard plenty of women use the word ‘whore’ or other derogatory words to describe another woman. Why is that?
The feminine has been subjugated for so long that the only historical way for most women to gain any sense of status or a place in the world was through a man. However, despite legislation, is this still the case? Are women still struggling with indoctrinated self-hatred?
Almost every week I hear from women statements like ‘I’m 35 and not married, what’s wrong with me?’, ‘I’m 38 and don’t have a child, what am I doing wrong?’ I’m yet to hear a heterosexual man say ‘I’m 38 and have yet to find the woman of my dreams, what’s wrong with me?’ I’m using the term ‘heterosexual’ to be indicative that within the gay populace, there is a mix of feminine and masculine responses to these questions – some gay men mirroring women’s sentiments, and others responding just as most heterosexual men do. Of course the issue of children is far deeper, there is a biological impulse, however, what I’m referring to here is the ‘there must be something wrong with me’ as an emotional response to what is also an image or an expectation in addition to a natural impulse to procreate.
In order to understand why women are prepared to betray one another and frequently do, it is important to understand history and the dictates of previous generations. None of us simply appear on the planet and make the world our own – we are born into a story already being told. It is an active discourse and we simply slot into our place within the living tale.
So what is the story of women? In the west we have largely been raised Christian and the church for its part has robbed many of the women mentioned in the Bible of their true status – this is especially true of Mary Magdalene. For centuries since Pope Gregory she has been presented as the ‘repentant prostitute’ or the ‘whore’ who was forgiven for her sinful ways. There is absolutely no scriptural evidence to support that story. In the eastern churches Mary Magdalene is recognised for who she was, an apostle of Jesus, present at both his crucifixion and his resurrection. Similarly, a ‘painted woman’ a woman who wears ‘make-up’ stems from the story of Jezebel, admittedly an unsavoury character, however, as she was noted for her love of make-up, the terms ‘Jezebel’ and ‘painted woman’ became synonymous with ‘bad’, ‘licentious’, ‘adulteress’. So how did this happen? How did the women of our religious history end up being portrayed as bad and so wildly inaccurately even to this day? And what impact has this had on the generations of women before us?
The power of the feminine lies in its ability to nurture, it lies in its ability to express love as flow and movement. The feminine by its very nature surrenders and it is in that surrendering that love can be realised. When it comes to any form or expression of spirituality, it is this very ability to surrender to the flow of love that leads to grace and to a more direct experience of the divine – or a more direct experience of the heart. A more masculine approach to spirituality can be seen through Buddhism, a form in which there is quiet observation of what is, whilst a more feminine approach can be experienced in surrendering and falling into devotion – as can be witnessed in aspects of both Catholicism and Hinduism.
So why am I now talking about religion? Well in order to understand what is going on in 2015, we need to understand what has been happening in the past 1500 years or more of history. What was done to your mothers and grandmothers is a living story, an energy, into which you were born. None of us enters into a total clean slate free of hindrance. However, we have the power to transform it.
For generations the birth of a girl was less celebrated than the birth of a boy. For generations education was the domain of boys and many girls were denied access to higher education and in some cases to even basic education. Girls have sadly been raised by mothers, grandmothers and aunts who have all participated in the suppression of the feminine through supporting notions and images of what is appropriate for a girl. For generations the destiny of any girl was marriage and motherhood – without those, she had no value. Living dialogues and legacies are a challenging habit to break. If it is deeply felt that you, as the feminine, have no intrinsic value without the masculine, how would you compete with other women? You may not think any of these things consciously but I invite you to examine your relationship with other women, friends and strangers alike. Our religious traditions have told women that their bodies are unholy, unclean and are to be shunned and even that it was a woman who was to blame for the downfall of humankind in the story of Adam and Eve. Given that in addition the misogyny emanating from the pulpits for around 50 generations, there was the wholesale slaughter of women in witch trials. How would you estimate the effect of trans-generational trauma and indoctrinated self-hatred has had on your perception of yourself and other women?
In generations gone by, as wars and strife came and went, the over masculinisation of men took place as vulnerability was rejected and seen to be a weakness. However, it is only through vulnerability that we are able to surrender to the direct experience of love, it is only through vulnerability that we can allow love to be an action that changes form as it flows through our lives – this is the power of the feminine – the ability to express love and surrender to direct experience instead of an ‘observation’ of what is.
This polarity between the intellect and the world of feelings has had a huge impact on all of society. The intellect has risen in status and importance, whilst the feminine qualities of intuition and direct experience have not only been demoted but have been derided and even seen as dangerous. The power of the feminine has been systematically suppressed for generations and just like any group of individuals who have been suppressed long enough – this suppression has become internalised. In other words, misogyny exists amongst women towards their own gender, and within the feminine towards itself. If you’ve been told for long enough that your opinions don’t count, that your feelings are illogical and meaningless and that there are certain things that you cannot do, then you begin to believe it and act upon it.
With the systematic suppression of the feminine most women only gained status through the men they were associated with: father’s and husbands. Therefore women have learnt to compete with one another for the attention of men (or the masculine) as many are still believing that without a man by their side they have little to no intrinsic value. Some women have also opted to emulate the masculine and live out ‘I don’t need you’ and display signs of derision towards the feminine as weak. So how does this get resolved? Is this resolved by railing against men and the masculine? Is it done through demanding rights and naming misogyny when you see it, hear it and feel it?
In order for anything to change, the victims must first cease victimising one another. Women need to swear an oath to never betray another woman or to judge another woman based on her appearance, body shape and size or how she is dressed. Women must first swear an oath to never devalue another woman for not having a partner or a child by a certain age and women must also swear to never judge another woman’s sexuality. The power of misogynistic men and structures is solidified by the unconscious ability of women to betray one another and to unwittingly collude with those who seek to suppress the feminine.
It must be realised that such trans-generational belief systems that have impacted half of the world’s population for generations is an energy – a big energy and even as the world transforms one piece at a time, we must become cognisant of the ‘enemy within’ – the part of us that is unaware of our own hatred towards our gender, sexuality or sexual orientation and how it can be projected outwards onto others of our kind, perpetuating the betrayal, the suppression and the suffering. When the feminine stands together, in support for one another, in recognition of one another, excluding no-one, then the power and strength of the feminine can be realised.
This principle is the same for all groups that have been suppressed. Gay people must show one another respect in order to gain respect, racial minorities must show one another respect in order to gain respect.
What needs to be realised is that the feminine nurtures and protects the flow of love through life. It is the feminine that nurtures the boys who grow into men. When the feminine accepts itself as it is then the masculine will be raised to honour that which is the feminine. When boys observe their sisters being treated differently or as less important, they will mimic that behaviour. When girls are treated as less important, they will treat other girls as less important, and eventually treat other women as less important when they grow up.
Often the most revealing question is not: how do I relate to the masculine? But rather ‘How do I really relate to others of my kind’ – therein lies much of the healing. Answer that question and you may gain a new understanding of why so many women betray one another.
As with any article that has some political hot potatoes in it here is my caveat: I am NOT saying that there is no inner work for the masculine to do, I am not saying do not stand up against misogyny – this is an article about why women betray one another. Just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle.