In regard to the Op Ed piece that ran last week about the need for Fresno State women to support their fellow women, I have a bone to pick. Primarily with the quote that women “…have a special power, called intuition,” and that having intuitive (and therefore female) friends is necessary.
I dislike the notion that women have an inherent intuition that somehow separates us from men. Women are no more capable than men of having intuition. Women have been told they have intuition because it is a silent form of repression. Rather than tell women they have this secret intuition, tell them they have voices. Tell them they have power.
Women’s intuition is an archaic power structure used to keep women placated in their inferior position in the patriarchy through its association with warm and fuzzy things. It’s easy to back this old saying because it feels familiar, but be aware that it’s not as empowering as you think.
A 2011 study published in Psychology Today states that the idea of women’s intuition comes most likely from women having to adapt to subservient conditions and learn how to read nonverbal cues. This isn’t about sex. It has to do with oppression.
“Women’s intuition” is a sensitivity that women and minorities face because it is a survival technique. Reading nonverbal cues and looking for signs of danger come from years of being afraid of hegemonic forces in the world. I do not walk with my car keys in my hand like a weapon because my intuition tells me I should be afraid of the dark, I do it because I have been conditioned through fear and understanding that there is danger in being who I am.
Let’s back away from the idea that we should band together through systems and language of oppression. I do not feel like bonding over a quality I might possess through mutual suffering.
While it is great to have relationships with other women, and I am glad that the article states that having female friends is mentally healthy, I would still rather not get caught up choosing my friends or who I spend an afternoon with based on sex.
Make healthy friendships with as many people as you can. Hold the door open for everyone, not just other women.
This letter was a response to the opinion article posted on Aug. 31.