“Be the woman that fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.”
A while ago, we used this quote on one of our Instagram posts, and it got me thinking. When you first see a statement like this, it seems so obvious. What is the point in reiterating something we all feel is the courteous thing to do in the first place? Why would we feel the need to point out other women’s flaws? Why do we feel the need to take ownership for fixing them?
To me, this is a commentary on how women interact with each other.
Women have been socialized to be in constant competition with each other - for looking the best, for being the most successful, even for being the most happy.
At their worst, women are considered catty, petty, and insecure-
But when did we start feeling the need to bully each other?
The other night, as I was browsing on Netflix, I noticed that they had recently added The Bachelor to their long list of titles. I never sat down and watched it before, but I have known people who watch it religiously and I was slightly intrigued to see what the fuss was about (spoiler alert: I’m not a fan).
As I was watching, what I couldn't help but notice was the fact that producers encourage these women, who are already in competition with each other, to be even nastier than they might normally be.
Yes, I know, welcome to reality television. However, this just seemed to take everything a step further than I am used to. If you have 25 women all competing for one guy, that is plenty of drama right there. It already creates tension. Plus, you are forcing all of these women to live together. You are going to get fights and drama, promise.
Unfortunately, The Bachelor is just scratching the surface of how women are told/forced to act towards each other. Reality TV obviously overdramatizes how we treat each other.
I think the author Tara Moher sums it up really well when she says,
“To the extent that women are each not fully empowered ourselves-that we are still denying our own dreams or treating ourselves harshly- we will criticize, attack, and try to sabotage other women, because it rattle us to see in them what we have not permitted in ourselves.”
Don’t get me wrong, women have come a long way in terms of autonomy and there are certainly groups of people who are more marginalized than women are; however, we still have a long way to go.
Our underlying need to criticize each other results from our own insecurity.
We live in a world where it is much easier to have a negative label attached to us rather than a positive one, and if knocking someone else down allows us to avoid being labeled poorly or at least makes someone else look worse than us- we take advantage of that.
In order to dismantle the toxic culture among women, we have to change the way we see each other.
We cannot look at women who are pushing the boat out, who are doing things we never would have dared, who are living their lives to the fullest- and tell ourselves that we are in competition with them.
We cannot measure our own success against the successes of others. We don’t get to put the restraints on others that we put on ourselves.
So the next time you see your Facebook friend get married (and you still aren’t), get a way better paying job than yours, get pregnant before you- whatever it might be; do not let yourself hate them (even a little). Not only does it continue to permit our toxic culture to exist, it makes it way harder to be a kind and supportive friend.
Choose better! Go support all your swole sisters!