I have yet to find the origins of the quote “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” but it has been repeated by celebrities and persons of authority/influence. Do I think women should help other women? Yes. In the same way I think people should help people. Women shouldn’t only help other women and not men and vice versa.
The first time I heard the quote used, Taylor Swift used it to refer to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler after they made fun of her love life at the Golden Globes in 2013. To me, Taylor Swift was upset because she couldn’t laugh at herself. All celebrities get made fun of by comedians and most laugh it off – but she couldn’t. I personally think of Fey and Poehler as women who do bring a voice to the feminist movement and especially as women who help other women. After Swift made that statement, the quote has left a bad taste in my mouth.
Very recently, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright used the quote to describe women who are not supporting Hillary Clinton in her bid for President. Everyone is entitled to their political opinions and to vote how they want to, but it is completely off base to say that women who don’t support Hillary Clinton don’t help other women or belong in hell. It is very disappointing that an educated, respected and professional woman like Ms. Albright would make such a statement.
Maybe women who use that quote are the ones with a special place in hell? I don’t know. All I know is that it’s not very feminist to “shame” other women in to doing or not doing things you don’t agree with…