There are two phrases that we commonly hear in our day to day life: (i) “Behind a successful man, there is a woman,” and (ii) “Women are enemies of women themselves. In the first one, the role of a woman is glorified in relation to a man. She is appreciated for being supportive and caring towards a man’s needs and ambitions.
Whereas, in the second, it is held that women do not support another woman; they are themselves the obstacles in each other growth. This kind of phrase shows misogyny and patriarchal mindsets of our society and they often remain unanalyzed.
Let us think whether women are the enemy of other women. I do not intend to take any particular. Rather, I would see the role of a woman in another woman’s life in general.
Who supports a woman in her studies? Male members of the family do support them financially but do they share household work during her exams. Similarly, when the woman starts her career who do most of the works like cooking and cleaning etc.? Most of the time, the works are shared by mothers or sisters or any other woman.
If a married middle-class or lower-middle-class woman gets a job, her mother in laws takes care of the home and children. And last but not the least, we should not forget the support of our domestic helpers.
In many nuclear families, a woman could not continue with her career without the support of the domestic helpers. Because, the male members still do not accept that it is also their job to do works like cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children.
By the portrayal of women as enemies of women, the patriarchal society saves men from being responsible for women’s miseries. This kind of phrase must be questioned and discarded.