Women are women’s greatest enemy- that is one of the most common sayings in South Asia. In most movies, serials, soap operas which are the main recreations here women are projected as an enemy towards other women. A continuous projection like this now feels like propaganda to achieve some other goals.
You heard that right. The very notion that women are women’s enemies is just mere propaganda. This is purposefully getting popularized to keep the claws of patriarchy sharpest forever. No matter how many girls get raped in the public transportation, does not matter how many girls get molested every minute in the corners, does not matter how many girls are getting beaten by drunk husband and being forced to keep that relationship for society’s sake, leave the demand of equal wages in working place; some will always say women are women’s greatest enemy including women (yes self-criticism is always applicable). This is clear everyone uttering this sentence is consciously and unconsciously holding the patriarchal system in the psyche. The notion behind why guys say or preach that is clear that is “divide and rule”. But why do women say the same thing? This question invites lots of discussions.
On some occasions, guys pointed towards marriage that after marriage, a mother-in-law turns out to be the greatest enemy. So the point is proven about enmity. The first thing is the idea of marriage is patriarchal itself and the society where a couple strives to save a marriage is high, strictly, prudishly patriarchal. Living in this blindly patriarchal society it is very hard for women to recover the power, the claws, and the strength of patriarchy. In some cases that are feminists have seen to face troubles with some ideologies. According to Louis Tyson who tries to get over this system should better be known as “recovering patriarchal women”. A girl from the very childhood gets different treatment and is taught to be conformist, submissive They are that told this is the only way to get love, to be a good human being. When someone breaks the chain here in South Asia; the penalty they get is not very enjoyable. The situation has changed here over the course of time still there life is more or less confined to the four walls of a building living dominated submissive life. When they become in-law, it may happen that their repressed anger gets a way to be expressed on someone who she thinks her subordinate or vice versa. This is not a justification of the situation; this is just another view that should be taken into consideration. This means by living under patriarchy for so long they have also accepted this as the best way of life to live. Other than in-laws house men of patriarchal society take soap operas too seriously to see “Komolika” as a fictional character. Women are jealous, women are mean to other women, they are lazy, they don’t like to see other women going above them, women call women by names, they don’t stand for each other are some other allegations and proofs that they are enemy to themselves.
To answer these questions the first point is to oil your own machine. Brothers kill brothers for the property, create chaos, drag others’ ladders to promotion in office, kill friends out of envy over a girlfriend. No one says “men are men’s enemy” and all that. But women are women’s enemies because they drag each other out. Envy, wrath, jealousy all are human nature’s part, right? Men and women both have that towards each other and among each other. Then why do people project envy/rivalry as a “women’s issue”?
It is necessary to forget Begum Rokeya and Asma Jahangir. If you remember them you’ll have to acknowledge it is a woman who stands for another woman. No one denies guys stand beside them too but that is not the point of argument here. No one will recognize the moments of movements, the solidarity of sisterhood. Coming out of an oppressed system is always hard. Because it sometimes takes a lot of time to just recognize the oppression system and strategies. Fighting and standing against patriarchy living in the very system are hard. But women still do fight it. But the system only remembers and highlights the negative points because glass is always half empty for the system and it is better this way to be in power.
Sadia Rahman is pursuing a Master’s from Rajshahi University, Bangladesh. Other than writing, her passions include writing, debating, and anchoring.