Week 5, Fall 2019 Wednesday and Friday: Her Success is Not Your Failure
This week we are discussing what it means to really support one another in our female friendships, colleagues and teammates. We need to have each other's backs and realize that there is room for all of us at the table:
On the importance of girls supporting girls
Today I’d like to talk about the foundation of this platform: #Girllove or how we can overcome the feeling of toxic competitiveness and hate among women, and start investing in each other. Because girl hate is sooooo 2000.
Often comically characterized by ‘catfights’ and gossip, girl hate is the phenomenon when a woman hates, judges, tears down, ridicules … another woman with no valid or real reason. Often these feelings stem from insecurity, competitiveness and jealousy. Women are socialized to resent other women for outshining them in some area, so much so that there’s this idea that it is normal or natural for girls to hate other girls.
“She should not be wearing that crop top. Does she honestly think she can get away with that?”
“I don’t know what he sees in her, she’s a dumb blonde.”
The root of this behaviour is society bombarding us daily with implicit and explicit messages of ‘the ideal woman’, drilling ideas of perfection in our head that we can’t possibly reach. Magazines, TV, advertisement, friends and family … tell us that our worth is tied to the way we look and how talented we are. Women have to conform to ridiculous standards that provide us with narrow guidelines of how we should look, what we should do, what we should like, who we should date … This is the foundation of an internalized sense of competition between women. The result is horrible. On the one hand we try to tackle other women who (seem to) approach the unattainable norm closer than we do (but are probably just as insecure as we are). We minimize their accomplishments and pick on their flaws. On the other hand we degrade and ridicule women who differ further from the norm than we do, to empower ourselves.
Girl hate is harmful and it needs to stop. The emotions that fuel girl hate are often not explicitly recognized and stem from insecurities about not being able to live up to the patriarchal standard. The first step to stop girl hate is recognizing it for what it is: internalized misogyny. What it does, is reinforce a system that oppresses us as women through an unattainable patriarchal standard. By holding other women accountable for not achieving this standard, we are chaining ourselves to this standard.
Who knew rebellion was this easy?
Now that we have found the source of the problem, what do we do? Have you ever been stopped in the street by a fellow girl to receive a compliment? Have your friends ever actively praised you for something you accomplished? Has a girl ever looked up to you? Have you ever looked up to a woman? Amazing feeling, right? This is girl love.
Actively supporting and cheering on your fellow females is an act of rebellion in a society that teaches women to ‘girl-hate’. By consciously refusing to perpetuate girl hate, we make room to support each other. The first step in smashing the patriarchy is building our own standards and values. Kindness. Empowerment. Support. Positivity. When it comes to girl hate, people tend to get really creative with their insults. Now lets put that energy into loving, complimenting and empowering the fuck out of each other. Lets open our eyes and see the strength, intelligence, creativity and beauty in each other. When we stop being overly critical of others, we can start the process of being less overly critical of ourselves.
But there’s an even bigger picture there. If women can’t stand united as a front, we create a climate in which patriarchy can flourish. We need to come together as women and collectively refuse notions of being “lesser than” someone else. Our greatest asset as women right now is that all of us are gaining positions in the political, professional and social spheres. There is enough room in this world for all of us to be successful. We shouldn’t be holding each other back.
On why girls supporting girls is so important. It’s the first step in claiming our space in this world.