If I got a dollar for every time I’ve heard that line women are their own worst enemies, I’d probably have a house in Banana Island now. (Okay, okay maybe not Banana Island but you get my drift, no?)
I always used to dismiss it as silly because I’ve always believed, still believe, that bad people are bad people, and gender has absolutely nothing to do with it. ‘Mean’ isn’t an ingredient exclusive to the XX chromosome.
But there’s been a few incidents that have made me wonder if perhaps there’s any truth in the saying; the latest being Toke Makinwa’s experience at popular Lagos restaurant, Crossovers.
A brief recount in case you missed it: Toke had gone to the restaurant with her friend for a few drinks. On getting there, they were met by a waiter who proceeded to take them to a table. Now, the table in question had apparently been reserved for guests of a woman (for the purpose of this story, we’ll call her Woman X) who was seated at a nearby table. Woman X made an attempt to stop the waiter from putting them on the supposedly reserved table but he wasn’t having any of it and he had good reasons not to. The table had been on hold for hours and Woman X’s guests didn’t look like they were showing up.
The right thing to do would be to perhaps take up your grouse with the restaurant’s management but no, madam had other plans. Woman X was so intent on embarrassing Toke and her friend that she went over and literally ordered them to get up. She proceeded to call a “super man” on them who then took up the embarrassment from where she stopped.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I dare say that I’m very sure Woman X would have been more willing to give up the table – which she, by the way, had no real claims to – if Toke and her friend were men.
It’s easier (and even right) to cry fire and brimstone on the establishment and the disgustingly stupid man who made it his duty to ensure that Toke and his friend do not get attended to for over 2 hours, but women like Woman X – and there are plenty of them – who enable the disgustingly stupid man are the reason the line “women are their own worst enemies” exists. The reason it might seem like there is any truth to it.
At work, in our families and our social lives, the first reaction most women have when another woman is introduced into the equation is to see her as competition. It’s almost like there’s an inherent need to prove that we’re better than the next woman.
And competition is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as it’s inspiring you to do better for you and you’re not hurting yourself or anyone in the process, competition is healthy. I’ve seen women improve on their general well being and aim for a better lifestyle because they do not want to be “left behind” by their women peers. So competition, when kept under control, is healthy.
But control, this particular one seems to elude most women. I’d like to think that they do not know how to go about exercising it but the sad truth is they simply do not care to. They perceive every woman as a threat and go the extra mile to put her down, even if it means enabling men like the disgustingly stupid man in Toke’s story, and inadvertently perpetuating sexism which will somehow at some point, also affect them.
So yeah, maybe women are truly their own worst enemies.