Friday, March 19, 2010

Crab Boils and Mean Girls

Have you every been to a crab boil?  You know that the crabs have to be fresh, as in.... Alive.  So the crabs are kept in a big basket until the water boils.

This is not a story about cooking and eating live animals.  It is about the nature of crabs.

In the basket, the crabs scramble around trying to get out.  Often, one will climb until it gets almost to the top, and then....

The other crabs pull it back in.

Many years ago, as I eavesdropped on a conversation between my mother and Senator Kay Patterson, I heard this story.  Senator Patterson said that black folk were like the crabs.  If one got too high, other black folk would pull him back.  White people could just sit and watch.

Mom suggested that might apply to women too.  Senator Patterson said he didn't know about women, but maybe.

It is sad that after over 30 years, women and black folk sometimes still act like the crabs.

You don't need white men to hold anyone back.  There are claws at your back. 

Even President Obama "wasn't black enough" and acted "white."  It's legion.  But as Senator Patterson didn't know much about women, I can't really talk about that, since I'm just looking from the outside.

I can talk about women.

I love women.  Some of my best friends are women.  I count on women.  But there are some women who act as if they have been raised to be cortesans or something.  They are nasty and competitive with other women, never supportive.  They are mean girls.

If a woman succeeds, they say, "She slept her way to the top." 

If a woman chooses to stay in a traditional role, they say she is lazy and stupid.

If a woman has a husband, bright children, a sharp mind, and a good heart, they do everything they can do to ruin her.

People (usually other women) will often say that they can't stand having a female boss because women are petty or flaky or random.  And there are women who make crappy bosses.  There are men who make crappy bosses. 

But some women don't want to have a woman for a boss because they are so insecure and jealous, they can't deal with women except in competition for men.  They have a brothel mentality.  They are stuck in middle school, where they whisper about loose girls, girls with ugly clothes, fat girls... These women are "mean girls" all grown up and still as pathetic and sad as ever.  All that's missing is that Clearisil smile.

I have a friend in a situation like that now.  (She is also black, so she has also been accused of "acting white" and "being uppity" by black women who were supposed to be her loyal employees.)  She is the director of a small charter school.  She has been recognized and honored statewide and nationally.  Most of the parents and almost all of the children love and respect her.  Largely due to her skills and energy, the school is a great success.  She empowers and encourages teachers and students.  She holds everyone accountable.  She is tough and she is fair.  She is the leader.

If she were a man, these women would be lying at her feet.  Instead, they are jealous and bitter.  Although they cloak themselves in a desire to "help the teachers" not have to work so hard, they act by trying to ruin her reputation.  Instead of saying that she is too tough (which men never are, incidently), they say she sleeps with men who aren't her husband.  Instead of saying that they disagree with her policies, they say she is a witch and should be sent to hell (I am not making that up.)

I know of another situation in which the old "mean girls" have made allegations of impropriety against a woman whom they know in a social club and have harassed her in her job, her church, and her home.  I'm sure you all know of similar cases.

What's with these sad pathetic women?  Men don't do this kind of thing.  They shoot each other, maybe, but then it's back to the bar for a beer.  Women nurse grudges like a new born baby.

When will we learn to support each other, or at least act in a civilized manner.  When will these chicks learn the difference between disagreement and disagreeable?  When will we ever learn?  When will we ever learn?


Ellen said...

Great commentary!

Lynette said...

You hit the nail on the head on this one. I do not know why it is natural for us to want to pick, pull and jab at another woman. Could it be the age ol' case of jealousy? Or that worse one....insecurity. I feel that is what hits me at the core. I find I have to fight it when I feel I have been wronged. But fight it I do. Maybe one day we women can do better.
But in the mean time have a man do the non stop all day toil we do and see if they start feeling jealous or insecure?