I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “The only thing holding women back is other women”. It is absolutely ridiculous the way women feel they have to compete with each other by tearing each other down. Snarky comments, unwarranted insults, callous judgment; we’re terrible to each other. What we don’t see is that it’s not only hurtful toward the person you aim it at, it’s self-detrimental as well.
I get that we’re conditioned from birth to be the prettiest, to compete for the attention and affection of other, to be jealous of any girl/woman who has something we covet. But at some point in time, we all grow up. One would think that in growing up we’d be able to teach our daughters, nieces, siblings, etc… to be better women.
The other day I saw a heavier woman jogging on the side of the road. A few years ago I would have thought to myself – “Keep going girl, lord knows you need it.” Now I think “Good for you, keep it up!”
It took years of mental conditioning to go from criticizer to cheerleader. We pick on each other on the basis of looks, weight, personality, intelligence, fitness, clothing, boyfriends/girlfriends, occupation, gpa, parents, siblings, children, child rearing practices… the list can literally go on and on. Every single nuance of your life is open for criticism so that another woman can benchmark and unconsciously rank herself against you.
She’s prettier than I am: -1pt
Her house is larger -5 pts:
She drives a nicer car: -3pts
She’s got much larger boobs: – 1pt
Her husband is fatter than mine: +3 pts
Her son got a D in English, mine got an A: +6 pts
Her nose is crooked: +4 pts
Her lawn looks like crap: +3 pts
Her ass is sagging: +6pts
If we could count cards in Vegas the way we tally our social ranking as women, we truly would rule the world.
The problem is, we don’t keep it completely internalized either. The above tallying would converse something like this:
“You look great today, Sally , are you trying new makeup? I don’t know how you keep up with your mortgage payment, don’t you every worry that John will lose his job and you’ll get foreclosed on? The leather seating in your car is so extravagant, it’s too bad it’s not available on my car, but you know my car is eco-friendly, so no animals were hurt in the process of building it. Do you think that much cleavage is appropriate for our outing today? I mean, we’re heading over to a “play-date” so my son can help Johnny Jr. with his English homework. Speaking of Johnny Jr., it looks like all this studying has him behind on his chores, I couldn’t help but notice your lawn is overgrown…. Oh, Johnny Jr. doesn’t handle that? Please tell me John won’t be out there mowing shirtless again. Maybe all of us could hit the Gym together later, I mean, I go every day so my ass doesn’t start sagging.”
And this would be the conversation between “friends”. Can you imagine the out-and-out hostility between people who don’t know each other?
Even with as enlightened as I try to be, I rank myself without thought sometimes. It’s hard work to deprogram a habit you’ve had ever since your school friends pointed out that you were still carrying a Teddy Ruxpin lunchbox when they had already moved on to Barbie or Rainbow Brite. These habits start in grade school. Even my optimistic self can’t conquer them overnight.
When I catch myself rating what I have, how I look, or anything else about me, I have to pull myself back. I have a great family and supportive friends, I’m active and fit and healthy and I’m providing my son with the best foundation I possibly can. I have to work harder at not judging myself than I do at not judging others.
How much do you judge others? How much do you judge yourself? Is there a male perspective out there you can share with me?
Women, answer me this, why can’t we be one large sisterhood? Our mothers and grandmothers fought for equality with men in the workplace, in the political world. They fought for the freedom of choice. We can choose to work. We can choose to vote. We can choose to raise our children as we see fit.
Why, when they struggled for this equality, do we now see fit to terrorize other women based on their choices or even worse, on their looks?
The next time you feel you have the right to judge another woman, think about whether or not you’re doing it just to make yourself feel better. Seek out your own insecurities and attack them with the same vigor you attack other women and maybe, just maybe, we can finally take a step towards building a web of support and cheering on other women that changes the future of womanhood for the following generations.
Smile sympathetically at the woman whose child is having a meltdown in a public place instead of shaking your head in disdain.
Cheer on the woman who has the confidence to jog in public for working to better her health.
Be supportive of a woman’s choice to breastfeed, or bottle feed, or co sleep or detachment parent.
Spread laughter and acceptance so that you can reap laughter and acceptance in return.
To any woman who reads this who has ever been judged by herself or others, let me say “I accept you, I support you, and I will cheer you on as you struggle to make your path in this world. Be happy with who you are and I will be happy for you as well!”
Just my thought of the day.