Why are women so ungenerous to other women? Is it because we have been tokens for so long? Or is there a deeper animosity we owe it to ourselves to explore?A publisher...couldn't understand why women were so loath to help each other.... The notion flitted through my mind that somehow, by helping..., I might be hurting my own chances for something or other -- what I did not know. If there was room for only one woman poet, another space would be filled....If I still feel I am in competition with other women, how do less well-known women feel? Terrible, I have to assume.I have had to train myself to pay as much attention to women at parties as to men.... I have had to force myself not to be dismissive of other women's creativity. We have been semi-slaves for so long (as Doris Lessing says) that we must cultivate freedom within ourselves. It doesn't come naturally. Not yet.In her writing about the drama of childhood developments, Alice Miller has created, among other things, a theory of freedom. in order to embrace freedom, a child must be sufficiently nurtured, sufficiently loved. Security and abundance are the grounds for freedom. She shows how abusive child-rearing is communicated from one generation to the next and how fascism profits from generations of abused children. Women have been abused for centuries, so it should surprise no one that we are so good at abusing each other. Until we learn how to stop doing that, we cannot make our revolution stick.Many women are damaged in childhood -- unprotected, unrespected and treated with dishonesty. Is it any wonder that we build up vast defences against other women since the perpetrators of childhood abuse have so often been women? Is it any wonder that we return intimidation with intimidation, or that we reserve our greatest fury for others who remind us of our own weaknesses -- namely other women?Men, on the other hand, however intellectually condescending, clubbish, loutishly lewd, are rarely as calculatingly cruel as women. They tend, rather, to advance us when we are young and cute (and look like darling daughters) and ignore us when we are older and more sure of our opinions (and look like scary mothers), but they don't really know what they're doing. They are too busy bonding with other men and creating male pecking orders, to pay attention to us.If we were skilled at compromise and alliance-building, we could transform society. The trouble is: we are not yet good at this. We are still quarrelling among ourselves. This is the crisis feminism faces today.
Erica Jong
He smirks, shaking his head and letting his eyes wander. I watch him carefully, wondering what I can say to get him to leave. I’m not leaving until you answer some questions. Plus, I’m holding your sketchbook hostage, so you might want to cooperate. I raise an eyebrow at him. I guess there isn’t much I can say. This isn’t a hostage negotiation. He chuckles half-heartedly as his eyes take me in, almost sizing me up. I guess I should introduce myself. He holds a hand out for me to shake. I’m Nathan. I stare at his hand for a moment. Taylor, I reply, meeting his eyes again without taking his hand. He lets his hand fall back to his side. At least I got you to say something non-hostile. I haven’t been hostile, I object. His eyebrows shoot up. Oh, haven’t you? Why don’t you leave me alone? I snap. Leave and don’t come back. I move passed him, heading for my apartment. He can’t follow and annoy me if I lock the door. Where are you going? he demands. I look back over my shoulder and roll my eyes at him, indicating the answer should be obvious: anywhere he isn’t. Once inside, I slam the door behind me. That was totally not hostile! he calls after me, sarcastically. I quickly head for my bedroom door, slamming it, too.
Ashley Earley