Do Women really envy each other?
“…. that the “enemy image” cannot be limited to feelings of dislike or antipathy; it must involve the threatening possibility……” – Riitta Wahlstrom
The other day while watching a Classic Bollywood movie on Television, very commonly used dialogues fell into my ear… statement by some male protagonist, “aakhir aurat hi aurat ki dushman hoti hai (A woman is the worst enemy of another woman)” The film ended with a happy note, but this dialogue kept reverberating in my mind…Is this really true…?? Why at all this notion and thought is forced, circulated and sown into our minds? And, that too in such a current social scenario where a man apparently seems to be the worst harasser….?? Why women are considered to be more covetous among themselves in comparison to their male counterparts are believed to. Let’s find out…
Most women have always been lacking financial strength since ages and, as a matter of fact, have always been dependent upon men. Man was ‘The Master’ and the ‘Bread Winner’. A woman was there to serve, take care of the household and perform the nurturing part. Far from education, women never came out of their cocoon and built a character and a personality of their own. From taking birth till her last breath, a woman attended to the requirements of others.
But, with the renaissance, gradually came the intellectual progress in terms of women’s education among so many other reforms. With education, arose the desire to learn other skills and, eventually, a yearning to implement the knowledge and the skill. Knowledge and Skills brought in women the inclination to work, earn money like her male counterpart and build her own identity. She got up to her feet to break away the chain of suppression tied around her.
But, during this evolutionary phase of her rising aspirations and the craving to show her abilities, mettle and strength to the world, sometimes inadvertently she acted indifferently even with other women. Even at the home front, there seemed to be a pattern where even a non-working woman, but closest and the most attached to the male bread winner was considered the strongest woman. She was considered as the most respected woman of the house and held all the control of other women of the household.
A psychologist puts it this way that when a woman did not have any choice but to be like a slave, she went through being suppressed and oppressed….!! Now, after getting her long desired freedom, she couldn’t share it with anyone, be it another woman…it didn’t bother her to push others out of her way as she’d acquired the honour and the respect after a long struggle…and so, unintentionally aggression came into her nature…
Ruth Moulton writes, “we feel that we will lose the approval of others if we are too obvious about our desire to win, and, even today in our “lean in” times, it seems that envy is often viewed as a signal of “over the top” competitiveness. In order not to feel it we put ourselves down; or we hide our accomplishments; or we actually set ourselves up to lose. But of course these ploys don’t work. They just make us feel worse about ourselves.”
Ruth further says that “Envy, kept deep inside, feeds on itself because it doesn’t make room for mutual admiration. Spoken about, it opens up room for acknowledgement of the fact that when we envy someone, it’s often mutual. Far more often than anyone realizes, both people have something the other wants…”
Women were largely limited to low-paid and poor status occupations for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, or earned less pay than men for doing the same work. Women are still at a disadvantage compared to men because of motherhood. Women are viewed as the primary caregiver to children to this day so their pay is lowered when they have children because businesses do not expect them to stay long after the delivery.
To create her own space in this male dominated society since ages, a woman puts her best efforts. Not only with her male counterparts, she even competes with other women who often have equal desires to prove themselves. Our society remains gender biased even today as, not all get equal opportunities. Most women still stay back at home to take care of the household. They might get the approval to work after a certain age when priorities at home are settled and fulfilled. But by that time they are left with very less choices in their career in this big competitive world, where they have to prove their mettle, create their own niche and maintain it with all their hard work. She is left with very less time to fulfil her ambitions. She faces competition from more skilled, enthusiastic, more educated, better young generation. All these factors make her envious not only from her male counterparts, but from her female counterparts as well.
As a psychologist states that, she feels ‘safe’ in competing and envying with other women as she knows that in this male dominated world, she can’t challenge men to a very high degree, but feels that she can win over those who are just like her. The same species. She starts enjoying this win-lose game and gets a ‘High’ when wins. It boosts her confidence and motivates her to challenge even the other gender….
In this age of fast globalization and changing trends, if equal opportunities are given to both the genders, there would be no enmity, and a cordial environment will be established. Both men and women can share house chores equally. Woman’s mental abilities should not be underestimated. As, kangana Ranaut, Bollywood actress and a three-time National Award winner, in an interview to NDTV’s Barkha Dutt quoted, “I am proud of my fragile body, my soft hands and my sharp mind. So I want to use what is sharp”.
Hence, I disagree with the writers who dare to alter and damage the thought process of innocent people by forcing their gender biased views….
On the contrary, in my view, if given an equal opportunity, a woman can create wonders just like her male counterpart. She is a born loving person and is not offensive by nature. She is caring and friendly. Contemporary woman is just like a man. She competes in a healthy manner, not only with other women, but with men too. She believes in healthy competitions, and certainly not in enmity. She loves challenges. She is a multitasker who can handle and manipulate the pressure of house chores as well as her career commitments equally. she is the Best of Friends to be with.
Perhaps it can be understood whether ‘who actually is envy of whom’ with what William Golding says, “I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men; they are far superior and always have been….”