Intolerants Rant: Stronger Together Than Alone

The weekend is here and I’m a bit lazy today. I have around 1,000 photos to sift through and edit, yoga classes to structure, a report to start working on and a book to read for the book club that I’m part of (note: book clubs are not only for so-called “desperate housewives.” I’m reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac if it’s of any interest and loving it).

Along with the many things to do, I still check in with the headlines around the world from time to time. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the cases of Malala Yousafzai and Jyoti Singh Pandey and the shocking violence that befalls women everywhere, especially in countries where women are institutionally marginalized and oppressed thanks to archaic social reasoning, religious doctrine or a mix of both. I’ve been thinking about the countries where women are spoils of ongoing conflict and war, places like DRC and Syria where the brutality is on such a gruesome and unimaginable scale that it can turn the stomach of the most composed person. I’ve been wondering why more isn’t being done (at administrative, justice and community levels) to bring a stop to the perpetuation of misogynistic and discriminatory views of women that lead to such heinous violence.

I’ve also been thinking about other – perhaps lesser – kinds of infractions against women: the emotional and more subtle ones. The mental offenses that men commit against women in order to assert their position, and particularly those that women commit against one another in an effort to…what…I don’t know really. Maybe it’s to feel better about oneself? Or perhaps it’s to try and get one step ahead of the game? Or maybe it’s all about being crowned as the “It Girl” or alpha female? I haven’t been able to pinpoint the reasoning, but it’s the kind of slick transgression that leaves one feeling perplexed, wronged and a little bit undone regardless of whether the faux pas took place in the boardroom, on the yoga mat, over a cup of coffee or in cyberspace with someone you barely know.

How fitting. Even the "Om cards" are in favour...

How fitting. Even the “Om cards” agree.

I wonder why we – as women – still play petty games, the ones where we pit ourselves against each other instead of coming together and uniting on common themes and issues that secure our rights and result in collective advancement. Looking for ways to not only empower ourselves, but also those around us: picking others up when  they need to be carried, and letting ourselves be lifted.

Because we all have moments when we need air under our wings.

Oh hell yes.

Oh hell yes.

*Image from thatonerule.com. Awesome.

Of course it’s ridiculous to pretend to like everyone we come across. Given the gamut of personalities on this earth that idea will never fly. I’m talking about moving past our personality clashes to being more open to the point of view of others (even if we don’t agree with them), exercising compassion for those who are running a different race and not resorting to Art of War tactics when we feel threatened and/or things go in an unplanned direction with a coworker, acquaintance, friend or someone in our internal/external circles.

It’s about solidarity and unity; being intimidating when we need to be and exerting our authority with awareness. It’s also about using our cumulative kindness/knowledge/rapture and rage to improve our lives and give others a leg-up, thereby improving the lives of those in our households and communities. Knowing full well that once the stone is dropped, the ripple that results will travel far and wide.

Leaving the devil to hold his head in his hands and despair.

For a few moments at least.

4 comments

  1. I tweeted this post out last night but didn’t have time to properly respond – beautifully articulated and thoughtful, this post really describes how I feel about humanity in general. For the life of me, I cannot understand why so much of our energy is directed towards negativity?

    “It’s about solidarity and unity; being intimidating when we need to be and exerting our authority with awareness. It’s also about using our cumulative kindness/knowledge/rapture and rage to improve our lives and give others a leg-up, thereby improving the lives of those in our households and communities. Knowing full well that once the stone is dropped, the ripple that results will travel far and wide.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment Jay. I’m totally with you on the whole negativity bit and find it a challenge to not slip into a state of despair because of it. It seems so obvious that working together will take us all further, but it seems that people don’t feel the same way or choose to ignore the message. A shame.

  2. Thought provoking commentary – I need to reflect on this as my first reaction was bafflement – not at the article, but at the way things appear to be. I’ll reflect and come back. Maybe people may not seem to be working together – but paradoxically, by setting themselves up at a distance, different and apart – they offer a starting point to work together. My experience is that the harder the challenge the richer and more real the result, so for example, when I was a younger man, I loathed a man who I worked with. I tried to befriend him but he appeared to be aloof and arrogant, and was belittling and selfish whenever we tried to work together. There were many times when I felt humiliated or disconnected no matter how hard I tried to befriend him. One day we ended up in a group snow ball fight. It was fun but the constant throwing of snowballs some how broke down a barrier and we shared hot chocolate afterwards in a cafe and we found that we had many similar interests and shared views. In reality we were similar and over time became strong friends….So sometimes we think that others dont wish to work together or connect; but those are often the ones where having worked it through – the bond is all the more stronger and the working together ultimately more real. Namaste
    http://www.averyenglishyogi.com

    1. Your response is thoughtful and insightful. Something I’ll certainly have to mull on for a few days and come back to. My first thought though is that you’re completely right about: “[…] people may not seem to be working together – but paradoxically, by setting themselves up at a distance, different and apart – they offer a starting point to work together.”

      The starting point IS there and perhaps it’s just a matter of working past our preconceptions, judgements and our own demons (things like self-worth, self-compassion, self-understanding) to try and find some common ground. I have to wonder though if the experience is different for men due to social norms that don’t normally “play men off each other” in the way that women are sometimes groomed. The manner in which we automatically see one another as the enemy, someone who is encroaching on our space, life, character, etc.

      Something I’ll certainly be giving more thought to over the next few weeks. Thanks again for your comment!

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