Woman vs Woman

Mother vs Child-free.

Working mother vs stay at home mother.

Breastfeed or bottle feed.

Woman vs Woman.

I feel like everytime I go online I discover something new that women are doing wrong. Last week I read about pregnant women being shamed for not having big enough bumps, or bumps that are too big. This week people seem to be scandalised that Victoria Beckham kisses her small daughter on the lips. People are perpetually horrified that Jennifer Aniston might not want children. Andrea Leadsom bizarrely seemed to think that having children made her more invested in the future of the world than her party colleague Theresa May. (If your world view is that narrow, you are lacking some serious compassion.)

The message seems clear: Women, whatever you are doing, you are doing it WRONG.  DON’T DO IT LIKE THAT.

Yes, have kids, but don’t have them like that. Don’t drink a drop during pregnancy, don’t put on too much weight, but don’t carry on exercising for too long. Have a natural birth with no drugs, under no circumstances have an elective caesarian. Now that your baby is here, breastfeed them, but not for too long, and not in public.  You should return to work, but only part time in a professional field, when the children have reached school age.

Actually, no. No, don’t have kids. Children are a drain on society and the world is overpopulated anyway. You don’t want to be a mother, mothers are trivial creatures and you are better than that. Be a  career woman, but it has to be a career, not a job, you must be a high flier, and you must be immaculately groomed at all times. And don’t be too happy (and don’t ever wear a loose fitting top after a big lunch), you must always portray a slight sense of regret and melancholy at all times.

DON’T, DON’T, DON’T

Often, but not always, it is other women making the judgements, egged on by the patriarchal structure of the tabloid press. Why must we always compare ourselves to others? Why aren’t we confident enough in our own situation to adopt a live and let live approach? Why don’t men do this to each other?

I cannot fathom that there are mothers who look at women without children with anything other than sheer envy to be honest. I jest, of course, but I genuinely find it quite distressing that some kind of mother vs non-mother narrative has been whipped up in the light of the Leadsom comments. Woman does not equal mother, nor mother equal woman. Likewise, you are no better a mother than I if you stay at home, whilst I go out to work. I am no better a mother than you if I breastfeed my children and you bottle feed yours.

Being a woman is not one size fits all. There are as many different ways to be a woman as there are women on this earth.

women2

 

Let women support women and recognise that choice and circumstance leads us all to different places. I understand that my choice may not be your choice. I recognise that other women might not have the luxury of choice. I recently read an article about women putting family first by giving up work to stay at home with the kids. Many women do not have the luxury of choosing to stay at home, for many it is financial necessity to go out to work, this does not mean they are not ‘putting family first’, it just means for them, that looks different. There’s also a big difference between the woman who goes out to work to make ends meet, and the woman who does so because she wants to , she has a successful career and can afford to pay for excellent childcare. Neither of these women are doing it wrong – but they are doing it differently, through choice or circumstance, and we need to acknowledge that. This is not a competition.

image women

Consider for a second any of this discussion being made around men. Consider whether we care if male politicians are fathers. Imagine if George Clooney was harassed by the tabloids about his child-free status to the extent of having to write an open letter to the world as Jennifer Aniston did this week.  Is there any level of debate around how men father their children? Absolutely none, other than just basically existing in the same space as their children, nothing more is expected of them by society. Is there any serious level of debate around the choices men make about their own bodies? What they wear? No, there is not.

Let’s call bullshit on this. Let’s stop pitting woman vs woman. We are all doing this right, being a woman, because we are doing it our way, and that’s the only right way to be a woman.

 

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43 comments

  1. alisonlonghurst · · Reply

    Excellent post. I couldn’t agree more. I shared Jennifer Aniston’s letter on my FB page. I am constantly amazed at how women turn on other women. Our local FB page for mums is the worst – unbelievable the judgemental comments people make. So much so that women are scared to post an opinion – WTF! What has the world come to? Well said. Alison x #StayClassyMama

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It seriously bothers me that there are no equivalents for men at all. Will there ever be, have there ever been? I am racking my brains but can’t come up with any. Would a male candidate have said what Leadsom said, and would men have felt as pitied as I did when they heard it – I don’t know, maybe. But it does seem that women do each other disservices all the time, whilst most men just can’t be bothered, they seem to be wired differently and it doesn’t occur to them. How did it get this way with women? It’s bloody fascinating.

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  3. Well said – it’s not a competition and we need to feel confident in our own judgment as to what’s best for us and our families. The media have a lot to answer for…if you scan the non-news headlines it’s 90% about women. Titles range from xxx “looked worryingly thin” to xxx “flaunts her slender pins” (same celebrity, different journalist’s opinion)…We feel so much pressure to get it right but there’s no consensus what IS right! #StayClassyMama

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  4. This is brilliant – my other half often says this to me as I moan about feeling judged by members of my NCT class. He wonders why he doesn’t remotely have this relationship with any male friend. He also says to me that if someone didn’t agree with any aspect of his life – he really wouldn’t give a damn. You’re right, we need to call bullshit on this and stop judging each other. And as you quite rightly say, it starts from just accepting that we’re all women even if some are doing it differently to how you are. xx #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  5. thefrenchiemummy · · Reply

    Such a great post. You summarised all these issues so well. I love the oppositions all the way through. It is sad to think that we can’t always help each other and judge decision that people make. Let’s stop all this and just concentrate a bit more on ourselves. #stayclassymama

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    1. thefrenchiemummy · · Reply

      and #KCACOLS lol

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      1. Thanks Frenchie !

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes!! Women need to support each other and stand together. No more shaming each other. No more judging each other. It needs to stop. #fortheloveofBLOG

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  7. Fantastic post! Life is difficult enough and there are enough problems in our world. We really should join together and support each other rather than fight, criticize or ostracize each other. People should just be able to be who they are without fear that someone is judging them. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There is a very popular site here (and I think you have the same one there) that pretends to be feminist but basically just puts up clickbait to start women turning on each other. I loathe it. Why can’t we all just say, to borrow from Amy Polher, ‘Good for her, not for me’? #KCAKOLS

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    1. I love Amy Poehler – and that quote is my motto for life ( I wrote another post on it called on confidence and women I wish I was if you feel like a read !) thanks for stopping by !

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  9. Yes!I totally agree. Women need to stick together and support each other, not constantly judge and tty and bring each other down. You are right that we are all different and how one person chooses to live their life may differ to what you do but that doesn’t mean they are doing something wrong.xx #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fantastic post! It is so sad that it’s woman putting the pressure on other women and criticising. As women we know how hard it is, we should be sticking together! #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The thing that disturbs me most about this is that I always thought Jennifer Aniston had kids so obviously this has passed me by entirely. Not that I care either way. My child free friends get much nicer holidays…

    I don’t think it’s human nature, I think the media pits us against each other. Well screw them, I love you all.

    #KCACOLS

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  12. 2travellingtots · · Reply

    This is amazing! It’s so true and it’s sad that it’s so true! I love that Katha Pollitt quote it’s crazy that past generations of women fought tooth and nail against inequality between men and women (which lets face it hasn’t been completely eradicated) for us now to discriminate between ourselves x

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  13. Great post! Why do some people feel the need to tell other people they don’t do things properly or slag them off. The media are very guilty of fuelling this. Why can’t we just be just be nice and kind to each other?? #KCACOLS

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  14. Bravo! Excellent post that all of us women needed to hear! Thank you for saying so clearly! #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  15. aliduke79hotmailcom · · Reply

    Agree completely. There are enough people trying to put us down without us doing it to each other x
    #KCACOLS

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  16. Well said! I felt so much of this throughout my first year as a mom. I felt like nothing I was doing was right. I finally got past all that and learned to not care so much and just do the best I can and ENJOY motherhood, period. We have to support each other as woman. Great post 🙂 #KCACOLS

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  17. Wow. I can’t believe Jennifer Aniston had to write a letter to the public, that’s actually ridiculous. I remember Marissa Meyer, CEO for Yahoo, was basically forced to address the fact that she was only taking two weeks maternity leave. No man has ever had to make a statement about their paternity leave. I think this pressure for women who are public figures makes is less equal for woman and men. Th

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  18. …posted before I finished haha! Anyway, I love this post. The only thing I should mention is that apparently Andrea Leadsom was misquoted, she actually said something like I am invested in our future because I have children … Not sure what is true and what is not, can never really trust the media.

    I wish Jennifer Aniston hadn’t made a statement, I think that may have made more of a statement about the whole situation. Thanks for this thought-provoking post and sharing with #StayClassyMama!

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  19. women are completely hard on each other and ourselves and it is crazy. it always seems that we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. so much scrutiny. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This post has to go viral!! Yes yes yes spot on. Stop the woman vs woman – we are all different. Do things in our own way. Who has the right to say we are wrong or right. We fit our lives around the circumstances that make our family work and exist. Are we happy? Are we managing everything ok? Are our children well fed, clothed, educated and happy? Don’t answer these questions for us based on what you see us doing. Don’t be the woman who judges because you think your way is the only way. I had a c section, I bottle fed, I didn’t puree and I work full time. Am I doing wrong by my daughter? I don’t think so but I also don’t think the flip side of the coin is wrong. We all gave our own way (and yes these questions are never asked of my husband) #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah thanks Geraldine , I really appreciate that. Glad you liked the post . Basically you never really know what someone else is experiencing so mind your beeswax is the best approach !

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  21. I bloody love this post, so many of mine are encouraging kindness and acceptance amongst mums, we can hold each other up or we can rip each other down. I wonder if we are so hard on each other as we are so hard on ourselves…both of those need to change//#KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Fantastic post so well written, hear hear – we are our own worse critics and sadly it has been acceptable to criticise others- this has to stop! #stayclassymama

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    1. Thanks so much Lou, appreciate that

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  23. “You must always portray a slight sense of regret and melancholy at all times.” But you have to do it with a smile at all times otherwise strangers will tell you ‘it might never happen’. *fume*.

    A few years ago a made a decision to stop criticising women and seeing their successes as my failures. It took some mental retraining but I’m so much happier now and hopefully a nicer person. I hope this rubs off on my daughter too.

    Have to disagree slightly on the George Clooney front though, he doesn’t get nearly as much scrutiny as famous women, but periodically journalists hash a story about his sexuality because obviously the only reason a man wouldn’t be married with kids is he’s gay. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He does get a bit of stick but it was more about being married than having kids I think which is similar enough I suppose. Of course now he is married all the attention will be on his lovely young wife and why isn’t she pregnant yet! Thanks for reading .

      Liked by 1 person

  24. This is such a great post. I did wonder what it would be like when I entered the world of blogging. Would it be like some other female-dominate industries? Would it be about cliques and competitiveness? (I used to work in fashion where it was really competitive). I’ve had a lovely experience so far, with lots of new blogger pals/acquaintances/followers being so supportive. Lots of cool encouragement if anything. Agree we just need to be more positive towards eachother. Let’s not promote any more DON’Ts! #brillblogposts

    Liked by 1 person

  25. […] She writes with an integrity that can’t be broken. The post I’m linking to is Woman Vs Woman. When you read it you’ll understand why Beth speaks to me so much. So often in life, we […]

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  26. Yes, yes, yes all day! I hate how women are supposed to knock each other down instead of celebrating each other. It’s ridiculous and just breeds contempt and bitterness! #brillblogposts

    Like

  27. There are so many people in the world who could do with reading this blog post! I totally agree with you; I hate it when women turn on each other and become competitive. We should build each other up, not tear each other down! #KCACOLS

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  28. just returning from #brillblogposts- this one is such a good read X

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  29. memyselfandmommy · · Reply

    What a great post. I did find you from #stayclassymama Link Party, but truly enjoyed your post. As women we need to stand together and quit trying to be better than the next. We all have our own battles. We need support! I started following you and share your page on my FB page!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much – appreciate that !

      Like

  30. Totally agree that women should be each others biggest supporters. Unfortunately I don’t think this is often the case. For some reason if you put a group of women together they often start up with jealous or bitchy behaviour behind each others backs instead of being pleased for one anothers success etc. All we can do is not get involved I guess. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  31. This is one of the best post I have read tonight!! We all need each other and need to be there to pick other women up when they are felling low!
    We have all been there at some point in our life!!

    Great Post!!

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  32. Back from #StayClassyMama, still think this is a GEM of a post, thank you so much for sharing!! : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks ! I really appreciate it

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Here here and thanks for raising the flag for women everywhere. But you’re right of course. Just as men don’t enter into these conversations, they equally are less likely to be the ones that judge and we need to support each other rather than judge each other. Everyone has their version of right. Just like we all wonder if we’re doing anything right. Whatever path we choose, or are forced to follow, we do the best we can. Here’s to other women, everywhere. #stayclassymama

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Loved this!! #ablogginggoodtime

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  35. Another brilliant post Hun. Intelligent, well written, well informed and just spot on. We need to bring up our children without these bloody gender biases. It made me so sad that a good friend of mine felt guilt at having to work full time when her husband lost his job. She felt she was failing by not being there for her girls. My response was how is providing for your family failing you are showing your girls what a strong capable woman you are! We should not feel this guilt or pressure! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

    Liked by 1 person

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