As much as I’m all for women empowerment, I can’t help but feel that often times we are our own biggest enemy. Although I may be biased, I strongly believe that it’s a prevailing issue.
A very good friend of mine worded it perfectly when I asked for her opinion on the topic:
“I feel like a lot of ladies feel like they are competing against each other. It’s the same for every disenfranchised group. You think there isn’t enough (love, money, power) to go around so we claw and fight each other for it”.
Yes, this doesn’t apply for every woman, but it is important to just focus on the word ‘compete’.
From personal experience I have witnessed that amongst most friendship groups, there is usually that one person that has to pit herself against everyone else. Essentially, a recent experience is what has sparked this blog post.
My instinct is to support other women, I love seeing fellow ladies succeeding and doing well; it inspires me. And so, I am frustrated in understanding this aspect of femininity. Why are we so hard on each other?
In an ideal world, the idea should be that seeing as women experience sexism, we should have an awareness which should inherently lead us to actively support one another.
“Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now, marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competition not for jobs or accomplishment, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. “
In the past decade, sociological findings have sought to demonstrate that bullying among girls takes the form of relational aggression – verbal and emotional abuse; as opposed to the physical aggression found among boys.
Why do we take this form of aggression?
It is thus important to deconstruct whether or not the dislike we may have towards another woman is driven by misogyny or other forms of oppression.
The resting bitch face: How does this phenomenon affect women’s first impressions of each other and maybe as a result impact their relationship with each other?
There is a concept amongst women which has in the millennial era been classed as ‘The Resting Bitch Face’ (RBF).
The Urban Dictionary amusingly describes this as being a phenomenon in which the resting face lacks animation and appears to look bitchy at all times, thus leading people to believe a person must be upset, a snob or a bitch.
I’ve myself fallen victim of being classed as unfriendly based on a first impression glance. Although, I feel it is imperative to make it clear that being constantly expected to smile, be pleasant, and be approachable is a struggle that I believe a lot of us face and are expected to deal with.
If a woman portrays any of the latter, she may be seen as a ‘bitch’. Interestingly enough, this face when acknowledged by other women as being a RBF is automatically viewed as being a form of competition.
Presuming a woman is being unfriendly due to a sexist preconception of other women, is in itself, a judgement one shouldn’t be making.
Perhaps she’s guarded, or certain places make her anxious.. or even better it’s none of your business.
But you must admit that a part of yourself still says “but still…”. Why do we feel this way? Our society perhaps…
Point being, it may seem easy to apply a label to certain situations, but they may require more thought than that.
Indeed men also exhibit competitive tendencies towards one another, but not in the same way we do. Although that isn’t the focus of this blog post.
The aim of this blog post is to inspire us women to try and do better. Myself included. Let’s support one another, let’s lift each other up and celebrate one another’s success. Confident women don’t hate for no reason.
Ignore what everyone else is doing and don’t let the achievement of others dampen your goals. Your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live the best life. You are not in competition with anyone else
Similarly, your friends should motivate and inspire you. Your circle should be well rounded and supportive. Keep it tight – quality over quantity, always.
With that said,
“If we are to be truly empowered as a gender, then surely we need to support one another, rather than judge, or criticise, or project our way of doing things on to others.
In today’s social media world, where snap judgements seem common, that hope may seem unrealistic, but the more we imagine walking in the shoes of others, the kinder I think we can become” – Jo Malone
** Coedited by Jelilat Adesiyan
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