Ever notice how many bitches you have to deal with on a day to day basis? Or how about on TV, how many shows there are about cat fights and trash talking. Examples, you ask?
That’s just a few. I didn’t even mention all the heinous programming that pit women against one another in a contest to win a man. Gross. (This post isn’t about competing for guys, but a quick digression: If a boy is playing you against another girl, he sucks. And it’s not a competition based on personal merit. If you have your eye on a boy and he goes home with another girl, it’s not a personal reflection on you or on her. That’s just how the night goes. When the right person shows up, you won’t have to compete. This should probably be a whole separate post…)
With all of these examples, is it any wonder how much girl on girl crime there is? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I find myself judging other women just as harshly as our culture does, all the time. Like, ‘Wow that it a really unflattering outfit’ or ‘Boy, you really need to learn to walk in those heels’ or ‘Gross, what a Jersey skank’ ect. And, to be fair, usually these judgments are pretty on point. But why do I feel it necessary to be mean, even in my head, to complete strangers? Who the fuck am I to judge someone, to make a statement about their body? It’s just mean spirited, and cunty, and totally anti-feminist.
Story time!: Today, whilst I was serving coffee on Orchard Street, I found myself eavesdropping on a conversation two women were having. One was pregnant (decaf latte) and one was just obnoxious (large coffee with soy milk). They were talking about how many of their friends were single, and how sad and pathetic they were. As I listened further, they talked more specifically about a certain group of unmarried women over 40, and they suggested that maybe they were all lesbians. They were being nasty, in their expensive boots and boring sweaters and bling. I thought to myself “Wow, I guess everyone who is single is automatically unhappy. And I guess if you are still not married by 40 you must be a dyke. And these are these women’s friends, supposedly. Damn.” I listened as they fixed up their drinks with hazelnut agave, dropped their smart water into oversized purses and left, shaking my head quietly. It was some serious behind the back trash talking, especially for 11am.
The thing is, obviously, you don’t have to like or get along with everyone. There are going to be individuals that you don’t vibe with. But honestly, don’t we all have it hard enough?! We are all trying to survive in a culture that contains us, dictates our appearance and our goals, marginalizes us and limits the scope of our personal and political power. Why oh why would we add to those difficulties by tearing each other down? These women especially were berating their friends for some seriously gendered life choices. As if it were completely self evident that all women want to be wifed-up, and with child (did I mention how they criticized their friends who didn’t want children as lazy and cynical?) Can’t we celebrate one another, and in fact if we are concerned express that with genuine kindness and not stone cold judgement? I can only say that after witnessing that, I am going to try extra hard to refrain from mean snap judgements, even in my own head. And certainly, where my friends are concerned, I will focus on all the amazing things they have to offer rather than belittling their choices. When we tear each other down, fight over men, all of that shit, it only makes it harder for all of us to break free. The idea of a sisterhood may sound cliche, but it’s better than a bunch of competitive bitches, scratching and biting while the men watch in amusement and continue to run the world (into the ground.) The word bitch is overwhelmingly pervasive in our culture, allowed more than words like asshole or goddamn. Now, why would that be? Could it be because a word that degrades women is more acceptable than other ‘bad’ words? And is it possible that the kind of behavior I’ve described supports/excuses that very idea? “You have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores, it just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores“~ Tina Fey, Mean Girls (if you didn’t know that already, we’re probably not friends.) I’m begging you, think twice before engaging in girl on girl crime. It just distracts us all from the important stuff, like our own lives/autonomy/happiness.