“The emerging theme of my research suggested women were the biggest hinderance to the growth of women within this particular field..”
I was talking to a fellow doctoral student. Explaining her study caused a deep discussion. I do not know why I was so surprised. The high school mentality is everywhere–and that is just the way it is. But why do I, why should I accept this especially from other women who share the same experiences of life, love, and the lack of laughter? More importantly what am I attributing to the separation of thighs, the gap between women, and glass ceilings hovering over my sisters heads?
On what level have my words and works fed a system which supports the ‘thigh gap’ or the separation of women? As I am walking around in my memories; examining every level of living I am noticing this is everywhere. From the PTA to the parking lots of churches, women are aggressively and passive aggressively clawing at one another. I would like to believe for the most part this is an inadvertent sin of omission but as I examine myself, my hands,I can only wonder as I wander more deeply into surveying this terrifying scene of living in the spaces between thighs of women I could learn from, women I could mentor, women whose life stories could alter my life story. Herein my opinion of the disaster of living in this separateness of similarity and living the similarity of separateness all in the same space.
Separateness of Society
The common thread binding a society together would be the presence of women. Within a single society there are many tribes. The ‘tribe of thighs’ is a universal tribe of wisdom and tribe of womanhood. The experiences of expectation are present–the experience of fitting in just enough to stand out. The experiences of birthing and raising human beings with the expectation of never complaining or becoming burned out. The similarities are quite astounding while there yet exists miles between the bonding moments of women.
While we are gaining momentum, setting records, and blazing trails we are also perpetuating cycles of uncelebrated differences to everyone in our sphere who are influenced by what we do. Our greatest moments of instruction are in the habits and modalities by which we perform everyday life. The silent gaps between women hurts the human race–destroys the potential of sustained progress of forward thinking and ‘forward being’–anything divided will never reach full potential.
Separateness of Sisterhood
There is nothing like being in the company of like minded people. Nothing beats the empathetic moments of being understood at the level beyond articulation. The compassionate commonalities shared through looks exchanged by two women who have never spoken a word to one another–yet they understand the moment.
The sisterhood is what sustains and protects womanhood; however defined. No matter how strong, simple, or complex our state becomes– behind closed doors we all have to wipe off the makeup at the end of the day. The gap perpetuates moments of alienation, loneliness, and silent suffering–even more for the successful. We are the culmination of the tribe. We are pieces of a complicated heritage. Stories written in bursts–scripted scrolls for seemingly unscripted moments.
Separateness of Self
“Long before morality came into play, the original definition of integrity had to do with wholeness and completeness. To be in integrity meant you were whole and complete. To be out of integrity meant a breach in your wholeness had occurred; there was a gap in your completeness.” Gay Hendricks
Every time we allow the thigh gap to widen through acts of insufficiency of character we create a gap in our own completeness. Insufficiency of character include; judgement, gossip, sabotage, comparison, and all other acts of nonsupport. These breaches of conduct show our struggles birthed from alienation from a source of support. When we refuse to show gratitude for gifts, callings, and talents of another woman, we cause a breach in our completeness. These moments of admiration are growth spurts. When denied we shrink in our own selves, we become more blemished because we acted insincere because we were insecure.
Can I become more beautiful because I beheld yours? Can I become more wise because I acknowledged your genius? Can I be your cheerleader while competing for my own spot on the team? Can I humble myself to exalt your honor? Sure, I can. Sure, you can. Sure, we can. Perhaps the question is not can we, but will we.
Hendricks,Gay. (2009). Taking the Big Leap. New York, New York: Harper Collins.