In a world where women are starting to feel more vocal about their desire for inequality, one of the biggest problems that we still face is each other. Girls, we can fight the patriarchy until we are blue in the face, but until we can start getting along we aren’t going very far. A lot of it isn’t intentional, but women are still just flat out mean to other women. But why? We all know how we do it, but why are we doing it? Here’s three main causes (lame excuses) that I’ve seen at the root of girl vs. girl bullying.
- Blending In
From day one, women are ingrained with this ideology that to succeed, you have to be one of the boys. What do the boys do? They put girls down. This starts on the playground and continues to the board room. You see it in girls who are “tomboys”. In order to gain acceptance for the things that they do like, they continuously have to go out of their way to shun and put down things that they don’t like, and the girls who do like these things. These women grow up to continue to criticize and critique the actions of other women. Look, if you don’t like something, that’s cool. But it’s hard enough being a woman in this world without you going out of your way to convince men that they’re right about all of the ridiculous ideas that they have about women. And it’s only hurting you. Because no matter how much you try to say how bad women are, you’re still a woman. And everyone knows it. You’re putting other people down so that you climb your way up. That’s just poor manners.
In the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “We raise girls to see each other as competitors. Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men.” It’s true. It’s sad and it’s sorry and worst of all, it is true. Even as toddlers, little girls hear messages of “well a boy is never going to like you if ____.” Instead of teaching girls not to be loud so that boys will like them, we need to be emphasizing the fact that studying and doing well in school will prepare them to get into good colleges or otherwise prepare them for success in the world. I’m not going to say that I have never been guilty of this. It took a lot of conscious decision to stop falling into this ugly cycle. Because sometimes it is just a subconscious thing. But we have to stop. Pointing out that a girl could stand to lose a few pounds doesn’t make you look slimmer. Telling a naturally thin girl to go eat a hamburger doesn’t suddenly make your curves more tantalizing. Pointing out how many people someone has slept with doesn’t make you any more chaste than you are. Ladies, say it with me, “making her look worse doesn’t make me look better, it just makes me mean.” I know that there’s only a few seats at the table, and I know that sucks. But the answer isn’t to keep other women from getting that seat that you have your eyes on. Team up and bring your ladies with you. Bring more chairs to the table if there aren’t enough.
3. The “V” Word
We indoctrinate our girls with this obscure idea that their virginity is the most valuable thing they have. It’s not. Stop. A person is more than their worst mistake, nobody is going to remember what you did your book report on in third grade, and you, young woman, you are so much more than the first person that you have sex with. Or how many people you choose to have sex with. Stop buying into this insane notion and stop feeding it to others. Nobody glorifies this purity in men, in fact, it is mocked and ridiculed. So the message that we send to young people is that sex is for males and not for females. Yet another way men get autonomy and women are supposed to be ashamed of their bodies. And guess what? Instead of rebelling against this notion, women just use it as another way to put one another down. You are more than your sex life, and so is every other person that you know.