Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Women Who Hate Women

Some women are so attached to traditional gender roles that any deviation by other women threatens their identity.

There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.
– Madeleine K. Albright, Former Secretary of State and Ambassador to the UN.

This is one of my favourite quotes. You see, too often the greatest enemy women are up against, is one of us. Not a man trying to bring us down – but a woman.

We have worked with these women, we have these women in our families, in our mother’s groups, they write heartless public commentary in our media, on our social media pages. These are the women who don’t just betray us, they betray themselves.

There are women who don’t like other women. In fact they hate other women. These women, like their male women-hating counterparts tend to live in denial, with no insight into their deep fear and mistrust of their own gender. They don’t know they are women who hate women. They see themselves as separate and somehow in battle with us on behalf of ‘the men’. In this long-fought gender war, where equity and justice is at stake, these women are traitors.

We all know them. Some of them will be reading this, getting annoyed at me. She’ll write a comment about me being fat and ugly and a boring feminist that no man wants to have sex with. She’ll say I’m jealous, or I have terrible tits. She’ll say I’m a bad mother. She’ll say I’m crazy. This is what she always writes. It’s what abusive men say to women. And women who want to silence the brave voices of other women. It’s the same bloodied club used by patriarchy, but it hits all the harder when it’s held by the soft hands of a sister.

These women usually identify strongly as ‘women’ with a hyper-feminine approach. Yet they think like men. Let me clarify – they think like toxic men. It’s the stain of their own toxic femininity. They use the same language, the same hate speech and judge their fellow women with the same harsh criteria as the most fervent patriarch.

These are the women who will quickly defend men in the discussion around domestic violence with a comment about men being victims too. I often read that and think – why did you need to say that? Surely you have a first hand experience of rape, violence or abuse in your immediate circle? There is no woman on this planet who doesn’t. Why don’t these women care? Why are they so angry at us?

They see us as the perpetrators of our own misfortune, and ultimately, of their own deep unhappiness. These women clearly hate themselves so deeply, they can only fear other women as competitors to be annihilated instead of as collaborators to be celebrated.

It seems to me that these are the women are so desperate for the attention and the allegiance of men that they are prepared to throw their bleeding sisters under the bus. It used to make me angry, but now it just makes me sad.

As a woman, and as a feminist, I want to know why? Why do some women refuse to support other women? Why do some women refuse to acknowledge the existence of a patriarchal system that limits women’s progress in the workforce; a world that sets rigid standards to define ‘feminine’ beauty, and makes our homes the most likely place we will be murdered. You see, this stuff will have happened to them too, but they have internalised their trauma and chosen to love their captor, rather than create community with the fellow afflicted.

In all my years of writing and receiving negative flack, it is always these women that hurt me the most. Not with what they’ve said, but that my ‘sister’ would seek to kick me with such gusto. That her sense of her own feminine power is defined by how swiftly she can lift her boot. As a feminist and lover of women, understanding and having compassion for female misogynists is one of my greatest struggles.

I want to understand them. Some women are so attached to traditional gender roles that any deviation by other women threatens their identity. It makes them hate women who are different. Women who don’t know their place. Women who speak up. It scares them. There are also women, I think, who are so full of self-loathing that they unknowingly hold themselves in contempt, but that contempt spills out in a loathing of other women. There are some women who are in fierce competition with other women, who believe they are superior to other women. And then, of course, there is the misogynistic puritan who still believes being a submissive housewife is our biological and spiritual destiny.

So call me fat. Call me ugly. Call me whatever you like if that’s what you need to do to make yourself feel better about who you are. But we are here; this enormous community of incredible women pushing for change – we understand that perhaps you have faced the fiercest indoctrination of all. So we have kept your seats at our table. We forgive you.

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20 responses to “Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Women Who Hate Women”

  1. “There is a special place in hell [after-life?] for women who
    don’t help other women.” Albright. Very true, Mandy. Aged
    & dumb as a dead-parrot that I guess I am… I suppose
    I can forgive the non-forgivers too.

  2. Melissa MacCourt says:

    Thanks for bringing this up Mandy, it’s centuries of fear, indoctrination, and probably genetics in my view – I heard small birds have similar patterns.
    I hope u get continuous positive reinforcement to balance up the non constructive criticism… and keep going strong!

  3. Judy Quinn says:

    Oh Mandy, so well written and so true. I have few women friends that I trust, as so many of them backstab and gossip amongst themselves. I tend to think they must be insecure in themselves – a sad indictment of how women don’t feel secure enough to support their fellow sisters. Funnily enough I find my truest friends and supporters are the gay men who seem never judgemental!

  4. Ken says:

    Mandy, settle petal !
    I have no idea if you’re ” being fat and ugly and a boring ” and your sex-life is your problem, but you make it blindingly obvious that you, and Madeleine, are suffering from extreme sexism. In case you have never allowed yourself to see, there are some truely evil women wandering the Earth and quite a few masquerading as “feminists”, which gives them special access to hate-speech and a self serving band of ‘sisters’ to hide behind.
    Just because some women have a mind capable of recognizing the evil perpetrated by woman in society doesn’t make them enemies, unless your dogma will allow no deviation from the’ Party’ line.
    Abuse is NOT confined to women as the victims, and in my experience they are just as readily twisted and toxic. Your vehement rhetoric seems to be bordering on hysteria, so just remember women have the majority in numbers and so are at least as responsible, for the society we have.
    Cheers, G”)

  5. Craig Potter says:

    Thanks Mandy. Pretty sure that’s the second week in a row that you haven’t blamed men and boys for everything that’s ever been wrong. Spreading the love eh? Keep it up. we Dr

  6. Craig Potter says:

    Thanks Mandy. Pretty sure that’s the second week in a row that you haven’t blamed us men and boys for everything that’s ever been wrong. Spreading the love eh? Keep it up.

  7. Thanks Ken for mansplaining women’s relationships. In future when we talk about the intricasies of female friendships we’ll ask a bloke. Women so love to be patronised.

  8. Margarete Anna Ogonowski says:

    well said as you so often do Mandy. I wonder what the Northern Rivers would be like without you…

  9. Ken says:

    No worries Mandy !
    Like most other blokes, I’m always happy to help out with a little unbiased, rational advise when things become a little overwhelming. So glad to hear you are open to a broader perspective and,of course, “female friendships” seem always to be a bit of a minefield. While I’m unsure of male abilities when dealing with such fraught and unstable dilemmas, it is heartening to know you’re prepared to ask.
    Cheers, G”)

  10. Anne F says:

    Thanks Mandy. Brilliantly written

  11. Daniel Flesch says:

    Ken , old son , your last line “women have the majority in numbers and so are at least as responsible, for the society we have.” must be one of the most illogical things i’ve ever read , and that includes Trump’s garbage .
    If you don’t know that despite females being 51% of the population , they have much less than half the power, the influence and the money. Historically they had much less than they have now , so things have improved but there’s a long way to go for genuine gender equality. All this is stating the obvious and it’s remarkable it so emphatically eludes you.

  12. Susie Dove says:

    Thanks Mandy for bravely speaking up on an insidious and disheartening issue.

    Thanks Daniel for a sane, logical and reasonable male perspective/reaction to a misogynist patronising comment. Let’s keep growing and becoming more compassionate, generous, aware individuals.

    I salute your bravery and intelligence Mandy, in all your articles, not just this one 🙂

  13. billzee says:

    The caption below the image is from upside down world. The truth is women who love their traditional gender role are seen as a threat to the feminist sisterhood.

  14. danny says:

    Wonderful projection, deflection and obfuscation Mandy.
    The word (let’s call it that for now) “mansplaining” does of course stem from an old despotic trick to shut up people with whom you don’t agree. Pol Pot was also good at silencing his objectors. And all Cambodians since then have worn the pain of his stupidity.

    You don’t represent other women any more than I do. You certainly don’t represent my daughter, wife, mother, sister – or female colleagues either for that matter – I am far better positioned than that than you if they require representation because I know them personally. And being a man doesn’t stop me being an advocate for them.

    So if your platform is just to inflame the arguments between the sexes, you are a sad person. If however you genuinely think you are doing the right thing, then you I’m really sorry.

  15. Tess says:

    Dear Mandy
    Hate begets hate.

    Women like myself don’t hate all other women just because I hate the constant putting down of men ,from new age femists, that toxifys the attitude of young women towards men.
    If you truly want to understand women like myself.. its simple darling.
    I turn to Dolly Parton who famously replied when asked if she was a feminist ” no …I love Men’.
    Look what you have done to feminism.
    I hope you evolve Mandy.
    Tess Thomas

  16. Tess says:

    Dear Mandy
    Dolly Parton sums it up
    ” no Im not a feminist…I love Men”
    Look what you have done to feminism darling.
    Hate begets hate Mandy

  17. Frankie says:

    Great article.

    Yes, sometimes women can become a channel for toxic masculinity without even realizing they are. It can be hard to extricate yourself from hundreds of years of mind – control within the family, society and false religious doctrines. A lot of the time they, the women, are unconscious of what they are actually doing and blind to the manipulation of toxic masculinity. Realise I said ‘toxic mascullinity’, not all masculinity.

    I think the only remedy for this is education and resistance and time. Also women in leadrership roles within the aforementioned sectors would help.

  18. Catherine Lewis says:

    Thank you, I copied some of what you have written her for a FB post to address the dreadful way women are treating Senator Kamala Harris. I doubt it will do any good, but I sure understand it better, thank you again.

  19. rachel says:

    This is absolutely my mother in law and her friend and brought my ex gf to defend my violent husband at the court. They’re ugly souls and insecure of my beauty in and out.

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