The unexplainable connection between women
So I recently happened to have a conversation about women.
It started watching a film where a woman, whose husband cheated on her, was not letting him speak with their children.
At the comment “Why is she acting so bitchy?” I got offended and snapped. My immediate thought was: a woman has no right to act bitchy after her husband cheated on her? A husband has the right to offend her but she has no right to reply in a harsh way to him?
The point is: I always get defensive when it comes to women. Before judging a woman I always try to put myself in her shoes. Actually, I do this with anyone, it’s just the best way to understand other people, but with women it’s even more natural. Before blaming a woman, I try to think of the reasons behind her action, of what she had to go through before getting to that point where she is maybe acting bitchy. Is it coming out of nothing? Is there an emotion behind her action?
I’m maybe wrong to feel so protective towards all women. It’s maybe wrong to identify myself with every woman who I meet on my path. But there is an empathy I can’t avoid. I feel them. I know exactly what they’ve been through, even though I haven’t had the exact same experience. If I close my eyes and feel her with my heart, I know exactly how she feels and why she acted that way. And this happens for me with any woman.
Whenever I see women abused or humiliated a part of me feels abused and humiliated with them. Any time someone makes stupid jokes about women I feel offended as if the joke was directed towards myself. Any time someone lacks respect towards a woman, I feel he lacks respect towards me as well. Because we are a sisterhood, we are united in spirit. We, women went though so much suffering during history for the fact of being women. And this sufferance is also what connects us. We are united in souls, and offending one of us offends all of us. This is, at least, how I feel about it.
I often have to debate about the fact that now women are free and have all the possibilities. Very true. But this is very new. This started only few years ago, and my generation is still trying to understand what to do with all this freedom. While men have had hundreds of years to learn how to decide about their lives, women started 50 years ago. We are still at the beginning of our learning process. We CAN study medicine, engineering, programming, business…but many of us still don’t consider this as an option because it’s too new to us. No one gave us toys about constructions or mechanics, no one told us to play football. We didn’t consider these options available to us, and although they are now available our brain still struggle to see them.
My generation, the 30-something, still struggles with our education. The education we received came out of the post-war mentality: the woman stays at home, the man goes to work. In these picture, if the woman goes to work, she still have to take care of the family much more than the men has to, because if she puts her needs before the needs of her family she is consider selfish and arrogant, a bad mum and a bad wife. Our background is still rooted there, because this is what our mothers and grandmas showed us. No blame in here, I’m just looking at facts. So although we are now aware of having all the possibilities open in front of us, we are still scared to take them. There is a cultural heritage that holds us back. Some of us, thanks God more disrespectful of traditions, managed somehow to get rid of that chain, but many other women are still struggling.
There is a constant battle between the tradition that our grandmas taught us and our desire to get rid of it. The battle is not between us and society, because society lets us do what we want now. The real battle is in our heart, where we feel like we betray our tradition, our roots and thus our families if we do take those chances, put our needs before everything else and believe in ourselves.
I personally think that tradition is not always a good thing. Tradition means keeping the “status quo”, keeping things as they are because it’s more comfortable to deal with something we already know rather than exploring the unknown. So the tradition that comes from our families tells us to be good girls and good wives. But our heart tell us to be strong and take responsibility for our happiness, and that’s where the battle starts.
Tradition comes in unexpected forms: it’s the little voice that tells us that we’re very bad girlfriends or wives if we don’t take care of our husband, is the voice that tells us “Don’t be proud, don’t aim that high, is bad for a woman to be proud”. Is the voice that tells us we have to forgive things we shouldn’t forgive because we’re women and women have to suffer. It comes in the form of the common sayings or common jokes about women repeated over and over, with the excuse that it’s only a joke. Tradition is, ultimately, our fault when we listen to it and we let it block us. It’s true, we have been powerless for centuries, but now we have power over our lives. It’s true we were forced into one single role (the good wife) for centuries but now it’s not like this any more. So we can now really take charge of our lives and our own happiness.
I will still suffer for every act of disrespect towards women, but that same empathy will also make me feel more and more fulfilled and proud for every woman who really takes charge of her own happiness, building her life as a free, smart, and valuable human being.