About the Premise of Women Supporting Other Women

1:51 AM

I've seen the premise 'women support other women' everywhere, mainly in pages or forums about women empowerment. The sentence is being thrown around so often by some that it's bound to be used and recycled by many more. But the real question is, where should we draw the line?

This thought is something that I've been having for a long time; because I've seen some women hiding behind the shield of that very premise to get away with them being not-so-decent human beings — and it wasn't little in number.

So I just feel the need to write something about this, just to stop irresponsible parties from abusing the premise and throwing it around like some overused marketing jargon.

In a patriarchal-driven world, women around the world empirically still receive a constant form of discrimination and subordination in many aspects. I, for an instance, unfortunately still do.

The notion first coined by Simone de Beauvoir (2010: 33) in which women are the second sex and, "women in general are today inferior to men," makes the premise 'women support other women' a lot of sense, especially when it comes to promoting gender equality and looking after fellow women.

For us women to have some of the rights we currently  have (and probably take for granted), in fact took many efforts from fellow women alike who fought for our rights way back then. Many even went through controversial, revolutionary movements before actually winning the women's rights we now enjoy — a luxury lots of women decades before us couldn't have.

In Indonesia, Kartini being a key role model who voiced the right to education for women is a great example of the actualization of the premise 'women support other women'.

Through her work titled In the Way of Women, Cynthia Cockburn stated that men's resistance to sex-equality is systemic. She described that the resistance is, "not casual but structured, not local but extensive, not transitory but stable, with a tendency to self-reproduction" (Cockburn, 1991: 6).

To flock together and to unite is to survive — the term 'women' in this context is women as a part of a community which has mutual goals to be achieved, that is to fight systemic oppression against women.

It's basically the same thing as workers communities or LGBTQIA+ communities fighting for their rights, they unite together in doing so. Fighting a systemic oppression is a no joke, and it takes a lot of efforts and a lot of people and struggles to make it succeed. So unity in that aspect is a must.

Now let me ask you, where do we draw the line?

What context in which the premise 'women support other women' could be expressed — and not abused to the point that it's reduced merely as an excuse to do whatever we want and still garner support from it due to the sole fact that we're women?

My answer is simple:

We should only relentlessly support fellow women to tackle patriarchy and gender inequality. Because, as I stated above, the context is that us fellow women  are partaking the same fight and struggle within the same community to achieve something beneficial for us as a community.

Other than that it doesn't and should never apply. Because gender nor sex should never apply as a sole reasoning for us to take side with someone. Because in any circumstances, we must never base our support nor opposition for someone else solely off their gender or sex alone.

To blindly support someone solely because of one thing is to be foolish and naive — not to mention biased too.

The same analogy would apply if we were to support someone from the same religion as us no matter what, regardless their actions. It's just like saying, "I don't care if they're good or bad. We must always support people from our religion!" It would be a valid example seeing that religion is also an attribution, just like gender or sex.

For any human beings, no matter their gender or sex (or any other attributions really), it's not wrong to support them if we perceive them and what they do as something inherently good. And vice versa, it's also not wrong to oppose them if we perceive them and what they do as something not-so-good.

Hell, I don't even care if they're men or women or transsexuals — if they act like an asshole around me or do something I perceive as inherently wrong then I'd very much refuse to support them. None of their attributions would get in the way of my judgement towards them.

Because let's face it, bad people will always be and should be seen as inherently and objectively bad, regardless of their gender or sex. Don't let their gender or sex influence your judgement into a biased one.

If we follow that kind of 'women support other women' abuser's logic, then I could just tell every woman on earth that we should all support Ivanka Trump because women must always support other women, right?


Well then, I rest my case.



  • Cockburn, Cynthia. 1991. In the Way of Women: Men's Resistance to Sex Equality in Organizations. Vol. 18. New York: Cornell University Press.
  • De Beauvoir, Simone. 2012. The Second Sex. New York: Vintage.

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