Women of my generation were raised to be at odds with other women, to see other women as frivolous & shallow, as competitors for men. The highest compliment was to be told ‘you think like a man’. The women’s movement of the 1960s & 70s, now so ignorantly maligned, organized consciousness raising groups similar to group therapy where we each described our personal experiences growing up, the conflicts around sexuality, our relationships within our families, at school, & with men, employment discrimination. The narratives were very personal, even confessional, & very disturbing because of the violence all of the women sustained in daily life, even as young girls.
The primary thing we got out of these weekly gatherings was the complete breakdown of our estrangement from other women, a realization that all our lives were affected negatively by the same discriminations & violence, a sense of unity with other women. Distinctions of class & racist oppression were also made more than evident through these personal narratives about growing up female. Where do young women learn this today? Where do they learn to respect other women, to not be competitive with other women?