Why do women tear other women down?
This is a question that’s been on my mind lately. More so, after recently seeing a clip from a recent Loose Women show.
When I was in an all girls secondary school, I could not wait for the day when the petty bickering, one upping and ganging up on each other would stop. I always expected women would grow up and out of this ritual. Apparently not. It drove me crazy then and it drives me crazy now. Unfortunately no matter what age you are, there are still mean girls.
Women have long fought for equality which has forced us to turn on each other to feel like we are getting a step ahead of the next person. But how far ahead are we really getting in life by ditching friends, putting each other down and making ourselves look like horrible people in front of others?
Undoubtedly women are under extreme pressure to prove themselves. Prove their worth in the workplace; that they are deserving of equal salary or promotion, showing that they are just as good, if not better, than their male counterparts, be the perfect mothers and wives all while maintaining their health, fitness and good looks.
That is a lot of pressure.
This is in no way a feminist call to action, but simply to highlight where I think meanness stems from. If we understand where it comes from, then maybe we can understand how to stop it.
How do women prove themselves? By tearing other women down? If you make someone else feel bad, then you will feel better, right? The problem with that is it spawns an unhealthy behavior cycle. It’s like a heroin addiction. You have to do it more and more to get the same “high” otherwise you will never feel “good enough.” You become stressed chasing the need over and over again and later depressed from the hurt you cause. Nothing about this behavior is positive or good for the mind, body or soul.
Many women are insecure and lack confidence. Whether it is their mind, body, job, family, money or just where they are in life; every women feels insecure in one way or another. Those insecurities lead to the comparison trap which all of us are guilty of. We are constantly comparing ourselves to other women. “Why can’t I have her legs?” “She’s skinnier than me.” “I want her fashion sense.” “I wish I was as fit as her.” “If only I was as successful as she was.” “She has the perfect life. She has it all” The insecurities others have tend to directly translate into you being a target for bullying because you are seen as a threat. Nothing you do or say can change the insecurities of another woman.
The oxymoron in this is that women would be much stronger bonding together and building each other up, unifying like men do. When was the last time you saw men getting snippy at each other? Men aren’t mean to each other in the way that we, they don’t pick on one another (except a bit of banter), but they don’t usually create drama. Unlike women, men support one another. They have each other’s back.
Us women need to break the cycle. We must stop seeing each other as rivals. The world is big enough for us to be our individual selves and live in it peacefully. We need to bond in sisterhood circles not cliques, but safe places where women are free to be real.
Most importantly we must make conscious choices to replace mean words with nice, kind, compassionate, and empathetic ones. Too often this is viewed as being weak. It is not. It shows we are strong and confident. To do these things means in our choices and practices we need to stop tearing each other down and start building each other up.
Why not come back next time when I share my top tips to breaking the “Mean Girl Cycle”?