I am a reaonably competent woman, despite being afraid of chainsaws and unable to wield an axe as efficiently as my partner. I would be more competent if people were more willing to show me how to do things, and less critical of my impaired spatial skills while doing so, but I really do have two left hands. This is not because I am a woman. It’s just a genetic quirk, like the fact that one of my eyes is a little higher than the other, and the sad flaw that makes me tone-deaf.
I am out-numbered by men in the industry in which I work, and for a long time I thought that it was men who were struggling to keep skills and knowledge, and thus power, to themselves. And then one day in the psychotic loony-bin that was my former place of employment, I noticed something for the first time. Of course the men were trying to prove their superiority by never sharing knowledge, but the women were doing it too. I was disappointed, disillusioned and annoyed. Women are supposed to be above these power games.
Everyone claims that feminism is set back by women bitching about each other, but what really sets us all back is fear. Fear that if we share knowledge, we are no longer special because we have given someone else the ability to do what we could previously feel uniquely competent about doing. Fear that knowledge is diminished by sharing it, whereas surely the more paths knowledge follows, the more interesting routes are available for everyone to take in learning and developing. Fear that we won’t be indispensible any more if we give away our spells and our potions so that just anyone can work a magic we thought was ours alone.
Go out of your way this week. Show another woman how to do something that you are universally admired for doing well. And be patient when she appears to have more thumbs than the usual human.