A little while ago there I was listening to a comedian about how a group of women at a party turned on another woman, who was “so well put together and stunning”, and starting beating her down behind her back. The punchline ended with some quip about if they wore stocking and heels and did themselves up they wouldn’t be so catty. I remember being so uncomfortable with the joke, not because of the punchline but because of the social interaction he noted to which the women partook.
It was a reflection of what I had done in my past and it made me feel dirty. Although I cannot recall being a part of the nastiness, I definitely had stood in a circle and allowed other women to do so without stoping it. Many times I had felt uncomfortable with the interaction but did not have the gumption to speak up and say stop. It has always bothered me that a group of women can stand united together for a greater cause and fight for equal rights, the environment, poverty, etc. but when one woman stands out, that same group tries to tear her down.
Knowing how I felt as a bystander in a chatty catty group, I can tell you that the reason this happens is insecurity. We see a successful or beautiful woman and we start comparing ourselves to her. This comparison-itis stirs our own insecurities and we lash out in malice. Really, it is a reflection of how we are feeling and why confident women pay no attention to the creatures gossiping in the corner. They have over come their own shit and making their way in the world. They have no time to make friends with women who are not supporting them.
A few years ago I decided I would no longer be a bystander in women-bashing, that instead I would uplift and support women. I would walk away from conversations that were negative or say something to stop the behaviour. Most importantly, I would speak up and let awesome women that cross my path know that I see their awesome and celebrate it!
I have to admit, this has lead to some funny interactions. I once complemented a server at a restaurant on how built she was and how all her hard work on her fitness was notable and that she looked great. The man who had accompanied me to dinner informed me that she thought I was hitting on her, which I guffawed at, informing him he was silly. A few minutes later we had a new server and there was definitely no shift change as they had just started the dinner service. We laughed so hard but it goes to show that you can compliment someone but you cannot control how they take your compliment!
Recently, I went to a party, just for the ladies! It was really fun as we all dressed up like celebrities from the 80s. For my costume, I chose Jem, she’s truly outrageous! It was a challenge running around the house looking for items to wear and thank goodness I have little girls who helped me put the whole outfit together! I chose to wear the only pink dress I had that fit me and that felt comfortable to wear. It is a wrap dress and chose the easiest way to put it on, which shows some breast. I stood in front of the mirror and thought to myself “should I put a bandeau under to cover my breasts?” I knew that I was concerned about what the other women would say about me but I knew that if I wore the bandeau I would be pulling at it all night and uncomfortable. I decided being comfortable in my own body, in what I wear and who I am as a person is more important than covering myself to avoid criticism. I decided that if I am proponent of SelfLove and loving yourself in body, mind and spirit that I would show up as I wish, plus, it was all girls, it wouldn’t matter.
I had a blast, we laughed and danced the night away and I love the women that danced with me. We were so in sync we started choreographing 80s songs on the spot! It was a sight to see, my friends.
It wasn’t until I looked up that I saw a group of women staring at me. At first I thought I was being paranoid, I mean, I had a conversation about this with myself in front of the mirror so maybe I was being oversensitive. Then I saw their lips move, “Oh my God, do you see her?” and the wide-eyed eye rolls. Suddenly, I was the women in the room other women were talking about! At first, I wanted to pawn off what had happened to paranoia but my intuition was telling me what was really happening so I listened to my gut. I stood up straight, laughed, continued dancing and when we made eye contact, I blew them a kiss!
For the first time in my life, I stood up to chatty catty and it felt liberating. I stood in my own power and showed that I was aware of they were negatively speaking of me and that I loved them anyway. I knew that how they were feeling in their own bodies was the reflection of their actions and in no way reflected on me. My comfort in showing some cleavage sparked discomfort in them. My blowing of a kiss was playful as well as defiant and the reaction was fantastic. They stated “she just blew me a kiss” and they sat down at a table and pouted for the rest of the night. They were uncomfortable with being caught because deep down they knew what they did was wrong.
I am not going to lie, another group of women did the same thing and their outward action of trying to dance with me did make my uncomfortable. There was a more physical bullying going on there so I closed them off, physically surrounding myself with my beautiful dance partners and continued to have fun.
However, the question remains, why do we have to act this way? When we see a confident or beautiful or successful or dominant or whatever other adjective you wish to insert here woman, why do we attack her? Even if we feel insecure, why would we not celebrate her? Or better yet, get to know her and learn from her so we can strive to whatever goals we desire?
It takes a conscious effort to get out of our own head and negative self-talk and when we do this we can learn to be kinder to our own sex. Like I stated before, when women get together for a cause, we are a force to to be reckoned with.
When we see a woman standing in her power, whatever that is, instead of bonding together and speaking ill of her, we shall bond together and support the heck out of her. Give her a thumbs up or a statement of support. Better yet, walk over and get to know her! Start with a compliment, and learn from each other. Let’s become #aforcetobereckonedwith and share our experience of support our fellow woman!
Give a compliment to a stranger, invite a woman standing alone at an event to chat, support a local business owned by a woman, send love notes on social media, whatever you can think of to support your fellow woman. Let’s toss out this archaic model of tearing each other down and create a new model of support and love.