(I am no writer but this is a topic I feel very passionate about and was chatting to a friend about this weekend)
Women are the first to criticize and sabotage other women. We are tougher on women than men are and are more likely to treat powerful/ pretty women with less respect and support.
Why, when we see a beautiful woman, do we search her body and personality for flaws? I have read such nasty comments on celebs like Beyonce and Halle being ugly. ‘Ugly’? Are you kidding me? These ladies are the epitome of beauty. Why do we have to put these ladies down? To feel better about our insecurities? Funny, but I personally feel a lot better if I can acknowledge another woman’s beauty and compliment her. I believe giving out good energy, creates more around you.
To understand why we act like this, I guess we have to look at how we were raised. Girls are raised to look pretty, behave in a certain way, aspire to be in a relationship, which then leads to marriage, have kids, be a good wife and mother. Aspiring to get a good job and being independent is not something frequently preached to little girls.
I find Chimamanda Adichie’s words very powerful:
‘As a female, we are expected to aspire to marriage’
‘We raise girls to be competitors for the attention of men’
‘We teach girls not to be sexual beings’
Maybe, if we were taught to pay less attention to our looks, we would feel less competitive with other women and not have the need to put prettier women down to boost our own self esteem. I remember being in Ghana recently and hanging out with a good friend of mine who is a Harvard qualified lawyer, when we bumped into an uncle who commented on how she’d be a good lawyer in Ghana because she is pretty. We just looked at each other in disbelief. But imagine a situation at work where a female is promoted over another because of her looks. You can see why women could turn bitchy.
We women need to come together, and stop teaching girls to aspire to being in competition with each other. The only person we women need to be in competition with is ourselves.