Can Women Really Be Happy For Each Other?
On Halloween last year my friends and I decided to try an Airbnb experience since we could not see each other in the flesh. We selected a tarot card reading. I have no interest in the supernatural world, have never had my fortune told or my palm read, and I don’t care for horoscopes but six months into lockdown I was willing to try anything for some light entertainment.
Our tarot card reader was a young, self-proclaimed witch from Texas. She was friendly and answered all of our questions on how one comes to describe themselves as a witch. I had no expectations for what was to come but she explained that during a tarot card reading you are shown six cards, two for your past, two for your present, and two for your future. The cards do not predict your future but instead, you use the knowledge of what they mean to better your life.
My friends went first — two were scarily accurate and the other two I could make sense of but wouldn’t call them overly precise. Then it was my turn. I was expecting to hear about the horrors of my past or the successes of the future but instead, the main focus was women. She told me that I am a great ally for women and should continue to raise them up. I was completely taken aback because although it was unexpected, it is true. I work in the film industry and have always been focused on women being given the same opportunities as men. I highlight projects with prominent female roles, female writers, directors, and crew behind the scenes. It is so important to me that women’s stories are heard.
When my friends and I spoke about the tarot readings they all agreed that I do my best to support women and would never intentionally bring anyone down. It was a wonderful feeling but it got me thinking, why aren’t all women like this? I can list off multiple occasions where women in my life have bitched about others with little reason. We already have to deal with men being considered the dominant gender, the gender pay gap, and gender discrimination being encoded into laws around the world. Why can’t we empower each other and see the difference it can make?
For the most part, I would consider myself to be a quiet feminist. I rarely post about misogyny in the world and don’t scream from the mountaintops about gender equality. However, I am improving my relationships with women on a daily basis and will continue to choose to be happy to see a woman succeed.
Here are some ways you, as a woman, can help be an ally for women:
Be Inspired By and Not Envious of Women
When I see a woman succeeding I choose to be inspired rather than envious. Envy will not get you anywhere in life, it won’t make you work harder and it won’t make you any happier. Instead, choose to be inspired by women. What have they done that you could learn from? What qualities do they hold that you could implement into your life and better yourself?
Envy appears in many forms; career envy, money envy, holiday envy, baby envy, beauty envy, the list goes on. Social media represents the best take of our lives. When you look at photos online you can’t forget that many have spent hours being photoshopped or having filters added. I try to represent my life in a realistic way online but still always colour correct my photos to make the sky look bluer and the grass greener — pun intended. I don’t do it to impress others, or it is at least not the priority, but rather I genuinely prefer more saturated images. Don’t compare your life to what you see on social media and feelings of envy will begin to dwindle.
Be Genuinely Happy for Other Women’s Successes
I’ll be the first to admit that I have been guilty of feeling intense jealousy of other women in the past. When a colleague received a promotion years ago, my first thought was to question why I was never considered. I have spent time understanding my jealous and competitive streak and have chosen to shrink it. Now, I focus on myself and feel content for others who are promoted. By feeling genuinely happy for others I believe I have increased my overall happiness by reducing my negative emotions.
Unfortunately, there are many women who don’t act this way. Perhaps after years of being oppressed by men, we have turned on each other rather than the men who oppress us. By tearing each other down we could be adding to our own oppression.
I recently asked some friends if they thought there was any woman who other women tend to be happy to see excel. We agreed on Beyoncé. Look, I love Beyoncé, but we need to lower the standard for being able to respect and be happy for a successful woman.
Speak Up For Women
If you see a friend, family member, or colleague succeed — please congratulate her. I am so thankful for the people in my life who reach out when I have accomplished something but despite my efforts to avoid doing so, I always remember those who stay silent.
It’s difficult I'm sure to always see someone succeeding but you have to remember that you don’t tend to see their struggles and their failures. Most people don’t have success handed to them on a plate; they work for it. Speak up, support and you will genuinely start feeling content when you see other women succeed.
Be Proud of Your Own Accomplishments
Success is relative. I have been given a lot of opportunities in my life; I have a loving family, I was able to go to college and I have never had to seriously worry about money. This has allowed me to take more risks and to be awarded for such. There are women who are not born into such privilege. You do not have to be a multi-millionaire with hundreds of awards and accolades to impress me. There is nothing more inspiring to me than when I read stories about women who have worked three jobs to get themselves through college or to support their families. Single mothers who have raised children with no support from the government, women who despite the odds try to better themselves every day. You are an inspiration. You show what true strength is and should be proud of everything you accomplish.
Don’t compare success. Your accomplishments are enough and we should be able to feel proud of everything we achieve regardless of how small it might seem.
I believe that every woman should feel proud to be a feminist. This does not mean you have to take radical actions but you should strive for gender equality and not feel the need to compare yourself to other women and tear them down due to jealousy.
Yes, women can be happy for each other, we just have to learn to not project our insecurities onto others. I truly believe that by simply lifting each other up and being happy for each other we can quicken the course of living in a more equal world.