How We as Women Sometimes Stand in the Way of Our Own Emancipation


The Achilles Heel

I experience it myself quite often in different situations. In cafés, at the office, on the street and at bars: women drag each other down – they view each other with suspicion, pit themselves against one another and treat each other unfairly. The reasons are certainly diverse, they can include bad experiences and jealousy. However, it becomes clear quickly that these reasons are superficial and petty. There is no real acceptable reason to treat each other this badly, Even just “dissing” each other can set the emancipation movement back.

The Movement’s Own Roots Are At Risk

One particularly concerning pattern is so-called “slut-shaming.” The act of devaluing other women purely on the basis of their clothing choices or sexual behavior is quite often done by other women themselves. Earlier generations of feminists fought for the right to dress as freely as they wanted to. Aren’t we negating the work of the ‘68 feminists with these hateful words?

Emancipation: Together We Are Stronger

By letting ourselves be guided by superficial prejudices, we support opponents of emancipation with this destructive behavior. How are we supposed to be taken seriously? Unfortunately, we are reaffirming the cliche that the outside is more important than what is within. Those who label us as “bitches” for this are not completely wrong, as we are trampling on the efforts of the earlier feminists. Only cohesion and solidarity can stand against this.

Throwing Stones at Glass Houses

As I write these words, I turn red and feel a particular discomfort spread throughout my stomach. It is the feeling of shame and hypocrisy, because the last time I betrayed my feminist ideals was only days ago. I was at a club and a scantily-clad girl was dancing in front of me, swinging her hips and showing off her chest. At the sight of this dancing, I immediately had some very critical and derogatory thoughts – all of which I won’t repeat as they were unfair and showed anything but solidarity. I should have thought, “Go girl, you do you!” or “It’s nice to see someone celebrating themselves so happily.” Instead I just let envy and prejudice shape my thoughts.

Complimenting Instead of Condescending

Now I see my mistakes and I am doing my best to avoid these reactions in the future. It is incredibly important that we show solidarity, defend our rights and strengthen each other as a team. For my own part, I have decided to find the positives in my surroundings rather than have superficial or critical thoughts.

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Fitness trainer, blogger for Louise et Hélène, photographer and turtle-mum: Konstanze took many roles over the past years. Her believe: Life is a playground, where everyone can discover new things every day. Curiosity and drive compelled her to start writing. Through her work, she seeks to explore the role of women in society: does it mean to be woman? What are the specific challenges? How can I enjoy my femininity in an honest way? And how do we keep the balance between body culture and body positivity? Konstanze is looking for the answers every day.