There's a lot in the media at the moment about the way men treat women, and rightly so but I feel a growing sense of unease in me regarding the way women are using shame to police each other. Sash wrote a very important piece on this behaviour towards The other woman .
In the swirl of coverage about Nigella last Monday I chose to write not about the horrible way men in our society are treating women, not because it's not important but because with all the speak of feminism there seems to be growing condemnation of women by women and in the case of Nigella it was glaring and distressing.
Before I wrote that piece I had been reflecting on the treatment of Kate Winslet by Julie Woods, and in fact the treatment of women who have children by multiple fathers in general. Because apparently how many babies and who Kate Winslet has them with is the business of Judith Woods at the Telegraph.
By Woods' own admission Kate has had a fantastic career with "with barely a clanger to speak of" yet because she dared not make a marriage, sorry two marriages last forever regardless of how unhappy that may have made her or her children she's titled as Calamity Kate.
Kate has navigated two divorces, a distressing and stressful time, with grace. Her divorces have been a blip in the celebrity media circus, unlike some who have publicly bickered or laid bare deeply personal issues in order to lash out at exes. Instead of giving Kate credit for protecting her children from the stress of acrimonious splits, or raising them in a damaging unhappy household she's being publicly shamed for not living up to archaic societal practices.
Saying that her children are suffering because they don't have the same father is outdated and sexist, I don't see the Judith Woods of this world writing articles about the many celebrity fathers where the situation is reversed. I don't see them shaming Clint Eastwood with his seven children to five different women and nor should they because this stuff is none of their business. As Zoe Margolis discussed if anything in this situation is going to be damaging to Kate's children it will be seeing their mother thrown under the bus by women like Woods.
Sadly women are still deemed to be property, not in the old school property of their husband (although sadly they still are in some countries) but most certainly public property in a way that men are not. I don't offer up the fact that like Kate I am a 3 x 3, each of my children has a different father simply because the raised eyebrows are tiresome. To suggest that they are damaged because of my supposed "quest for one true love" as Judith Woods would have you believe is in short ridiculous and truly deeply offensive. Which of my childrens' fathers would Woods prefer I made it work with? The one who abandoned a pregnant 16 year old me or the one who beat me. Which of Kate's failed marriages should Kate have been tethered to in order to earn the approval of Woods?
I'm not sure why some women think it is their cross to bear to police other women but it happens every day. Tearing others down so that they can bask in the light of societies approval, a look over there tactic to draw attention away from the flaws they perceive in themselves. But until this kind of behaviour stops feminism / equalism has no chance of making a real impact.