Why women feel the need to compete with each other, always, I do not know. I guess that it has evolutionary causes. Back when we had to fight for the best man, when being with the right partner was about our survival and the safety of our children, when our life was actually in danger if we were alone, it made sense that we would belittle other women, be jealous of them, blame them for the inadequacy of men – but today?
Feminism is still a very important topic and I am the first to advocate for a broader understanding of the term and that man should be feminists too – however, it is often not them who pose the harshest judgements on us, but it comes from ourselves. In this particular case I don’t mean the person in the mirror tough, but other women.
We women fight against each other, while in reality we should be our greatest allies.
Think about the following situations.
- Your man has a) slept with another woman. b) isn’t really your man, but played around a bit and chose another woman. c) is your ex-man in reality and has a new girlfriend
Who are you angry at? Most likely not him! How often is it that we blame the other woman for seducing, for “stealing” him, while in reality it’s only he who is guilty of not seeing your worth, of wronging you.
- You’re out with your girlfriends, you’re a big group, and a woman passes who a) wears a lot of make – up, lipstick, eyeshadow mascara. b) wears a super-short skirt und has a cleavage that basically jumps into your face. c) has muffintops or thick thighs or a double chin
Especially in big groups we feel safe and it’s probable that we will pass judgment on her style and appearance. It doesn’t really matter if she notices our glances or not – the point is, we shouldn’t do it.
And thats just the peak of the iceberg. I don’t know why we let these things slip with men, but we do. Somehow he manages to be only the victim who fell to her advances and never has to take up responsibility, his outfits are hardly ever questioned, a bit too much weight is actually a sign of being well-off.
I’m not saying that I’m not guilty of these thoughts, behaviors and statements. I like gossiping as much as many other women, and yeah, I was angry at women who approached my man (whoever that was at that moment), but luckily we all grow and I am now much more aware of the damage that does, to others as well as to myself, as before.
Yes, I hurt myself too when I am too judgmental with other women, because I expect the same in return, which influences me and my approach to myself.
We can be so much for each.
Women can inspire other women. That book she read, that lipstick she wears, that shoe-bag combination that you have never seen before – don’t be jealous of what she did and has, learn from it, take advantage from it, be inspired by it and by doing so inspire others to. Especially younger women, girls in their teens, need someone to look up to. Not another flawless photoshopped woman, but a real person, who is happy in her life.
Women can support other women. Whenever you see a fellow woman struggle, be it with decision or with some other mental baggage she has to carry, why not help her instead of belittling her. If you are stronger, mentally or physically, use your strength to back other women.
Women can love other women. While this is true in the most literal sense of the word “love” you can also love women in a non-sexual way. Appreciate her character, her intelligence, her beauty, her special traits. Encourage her to be herself and love her – not because she is like everyone else, but because she is courageous and unique.
– Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that you have to like everyone, never gossip again, and be a super-good-super-moral-super-innocent human being. And I’m also not that kind of feminist who hates all men and really is into man bashing. But finding equality between the genders actually starts with us and not “the others”.
So help, encourage, support, embrace, love, understand other women – and by setting a good example you will not only give but also gain a new ally who has your back.
(For another very inspiring talk on Feminsim, watch Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talk about it.