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Why women need to ditch the ‘bitching‘ and start lifting each other up
I’ve often read (and written) about the fact that women can be mistreated by men in a variety of ways. From catcalling to discrimination in the workplace, women seem to get a raw deal. But one thing I’ve noticed through my time in various workplaces is the way women mistreat other women.
Having been a victim of bullying from other women in the past it’s ultimately pushed me away from the company of females in general. I tend to stray more towards a seemingly safer, male environment. My best friend growing up was a boy and even now my best friend of over ten years is male. Alex is my go-to, my emergency contact: My ride or die! He’s reliable, non-judgemental and, without being harsh, he’ll tell me what I need to hear.
That’s not to say I don’t have female friends, I do. They’re just fewer and the friendships often last shorter than that of my male friends. In fact, I’ve only managed to retain one female friendship in all my life and that would be with my university friend, C.
When women support each other, wonderful things happen.
Women can throw out ‘shade’ to one another on an almost constant basis. Our gender is notorious for forming tribes or ‘cliques‘ that often push out others who don’t meet the desired criteria. Just look to the movie Mean Girls for the perfect example. They’re all pretty, thin and white. They talk about their fellow students like it’s going out of fashion and even lay into each other at several points throughout the movie. How is this helpful or empowering? How is this supportive media for young girls to take in?
It might only be your typical ‘chick flick’, and it may sound like I’m being overly harsh about an admittedly very entertaining movie. But, do you realize just how many young women suffer the reality of bullies like that every day?
I could give you a list the length of my arm full of comments I’ve received from other women in the past about my choices…
- Why don’t you wear makeup?
- A girl like you can’t wear that!
- You need to be more ladylike.
- Sit like a girl! Cross your legs!
- Girls shouldn’t say things like that.
Even my choices in regards to my partner and family have been under the scrutiny of other women. I’m met with comments about children and marriage that men in my position wouldn’t receive, all because of the ideology that all women want babies and a husband.
Although not all subtle comments are intended to be rude, judgments or comments we make towards others stay with a person.
Hearing them on a near-constant basis can lead to a potentially lethal decline in a woman’s self-confidence and identity.
Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown, without telling the world it was crooked.
My first real female friend came about in university. To this day she is one of the most genuine and non-judgmental women I have ever met. Up until then, I hadn’t realized that not all women are programmed to be ‘bitchy‘ and that this is something we learn along the way through various sources.
I’m not just talking about the female figures in our lives. Women are fed to us as bitches in modern media. We see it in various television shows, movies, books, and within celebrity culture. With examples like that it’s no wonder girls are growing up with their fingers wrapped around each other’s throats, scared that one may be more successful than the other.
As life went on I came to meet other women who supported each other and who wanted to support me. When I first moved to the city I found myself surrounded by women both in my own job and in my partner’s job. They held each other up, empowered one another and comforted without judgment. I rarely suffered passing comments or sly remarks and instead, I found myself encouraged and built up.
There’s too much for women to be gained right now for us all to continue with the high-school, ‘Mean Girl’ attitudes.
As women, we need to lead the way for the young girls to look up to us. We need to stop judging each other and start holding each other up rather than stomping our boots on each other’s backs.
If a woman chooses to look after her children in the home then that’s her business. The same applies if she chooses to go back to work after having her children. Whatever is best for her might not be best for you, and that’s okay.
We’re all different and we’re all equally as strong, homemaker to CEO.
Women have come so far in the fight for equality that we can’t keep fighting each other. By passing judgment on one woman’s choice or ability or shape or size, you’re passing judgment on all women everywhere. You’re saying that ‘She’s not good enough‘ and that is not equality.
Simple ways we can support each other:
Compliment each other.
If you’ve something nice to say, say it. I can guarantee that it’ll be appreciated, and could even help balance out any negative energy she may have received from others. Give out what you expect to get back from the world and if you have nothing but nastiness to spread, then keep it to yourself. No one wants that.
Look out for each other.
When you’re on a night out always make sure everyone has a way home. If someone has a bit too much to drink please, please don’t leave them! Make sure no one walks home alone, no one goes to their cars alone and that no one goes home with a dodgy character giving off bad vibes.
If you see a woman (or anyone actually) being mistreated or hear a sly remark about someone in the office, stand up against it! Always make sure you are safe before getting involved in potentially violent situations but don’t ignore it! Call the police or inform someone in authority.
Celebrate each other’s successes.
Cheers to that!
Get verbal about women’s issues.
Stand up for the issues affecting women today. Shout about Smear tests from the rooftop, talk about breast cancer in the break room, discuss the fact that young girls are being forced into marriages to men twice their age. Spread the word that this shit is real and it needs to be talked about!
If you have spares, share them!
If a woman comes to you in distress and you have extra tampons/sanitary towels, share them out! There’s nothing worse than being caught short when Aunt Flo decides to visit. Better yet! Find a local drop off point for toiletries for the less fortunate or the homeless, and leave in a few packets of feminine products.
International women’s day is a focal point in women’s rights movements. It gives us the opportunity to talk more about the issues facing women today, and to openly offer support to each other. You can get involved by spreading awareness, speaking up and offering a hand to the women in your life who might be too strong or embarrassed to ask for it.
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My name is Chloe. I write about eating disorders and mental health (among other topics) over on my blog. I've suffered from anorexia for over 13 years and spent about 7 of those in quasi-recovery. It was only after a recent burnout in December of 2018 that I relapsed and decided, once and for all, to get the help I needed. I believe that each and every sufferer has it inside them to reach that point where food is no longer the enemy, and that full recovery is an obtainable goal.
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