I’m like that old cartoon “Pinky and the Brain“ where every time the show ended, Pinky would ask the Brain, “Brain, what do you want to do tonight?” The Brain would always smile and say “The same thing we do every night Pinky. Try to take over the world.”
I grew up in the late 80’s and early 90’s where sisterhood seemed to go together like pop rocks and soda pop. My girls were the ones that I would whisper my secrets too, share my clothes and my dreams with. Girlfriends were essential to my development. But, something changed. Girls became competitive and we stopped wanting each other to win. We became catty women and clique-ish. What happened to this sisterhood? Was it just a part of “getting older”?
Early on, I learned to realize the true meaning of a friend. It was at the precious age of 13, when I commented to my girlfriend that I was jealous of another girl in our class. She was prettier, thinner and all the boys seemed to like her. My girl replied (in her 13 year old logic), “There is never reason to be jealous of another person. No one has something you can’t get on your own.” I loved that. True, simple and to the point. That has been one of my guiding principles. Making sure to never be jealous of anyone else, much less my girlfriends who provide a circle of love around me.
That guiding principle never sheltered me from the fact that there were and will always be “mean girls”, but when did the mean girls become the norm? Has the evolution of social media allowed the “nice girls” an opportunity to come out of their shell and display their true characteristics? Over the years women have gained an independent and competitive nature when it comes to dealing with each other. That nature is seemingly disintegrating the bonds of sisterhood. We are no longer concerned about making it collectively, but rather individually. How many times have you looked in on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or read the latest social media posting about women and their catty comments? There are all kinds of memes dedicated to disrespecting women, like this one here:
Women have become back bitters and cunning in our desire to destroy each other. Oftentimes it is over a male. Think back to your high school years when girls would use passive/aggressive techniques to try to win the eye of a particular boy. What about the fights that broke out at school over boys? What about the “slut shaming” women do to each other now? How many times have women created rumors to try and demean and demoralize other women? The advancement of social technology has allowed the anonymity of girls who just want to be mean. But why the competition?
In a New York Times article, John Tierney said “intrasexual competition” is the most important factor explaining the pressures that young women feel to meet standards of sexual conduct and physical appearance.
So, women are pressured and that allows us to react as such? Isn’t pressure just a part of life? Why do we continue to drive a wedge between each other in hopes of getting noticed? I don’t buy it. Are we really that desperate that we don’t realize the fundamental truth that we are only in competition with ourselves? Why are you trying to compete with other women? Compete against yourself to be the best you that you can be. Learn like I did, “No one has something you can’t get on your own.” Hard work, dedication, determination and drive are words that should be placed in your own mental vocabulary and applied to your own quest for world domination.
Last year, my niece was a victim of the “mean girl” mentality when she was three way called and said something about another girl. My sister told her that it was her fault and that she was wrong because she shouldn’t have said anything about anyone on the telephone that you wouldn’t have said in person. My niece was hurt and my sister said, “You can’t trust females”. I was mortified. I told my sister that you can’t tell her that. You can’t tell her not to trust women. Women are the backbone of this society and your girlfriends are your biggest supporters. I simply told my niece that you have to be selective in the women that you allow in your circle, but friendships take time to develop. Observe and evaluate a person’s true motive and understand that EVERYONE has an agenda. Your charge is to find out if it is FOR YOU or AGAINST YOU.
But, I questioned whether or not I was hurting or helping her with my advice? I have been the recipient of friendship from some incredible women. We laugh, cry, drink and share. It’s a bond that has evolved over time. We are there for each other and they encourage and listen to me. There is no jealousy, envy or hate towards our success. There is no competition. Just acceptance. Whether it be “My marriage is ending, I need some advice? to “OMG, Infertility treatments worked! I’m pregnant!” They have been the rock in which I’ve leaned and relied on. Good times and bad they are the reason that I’m not in a mental institution now. Love. They love me and I love them. So, truth: We need each other. We need our girlfriends. Stop competing and start developing sound friendships.