Friday, December 18, 2015

Woman-on-Woman Crime

One thing that drives me crazier than all the other things (and lots of things drive me crazy) is when women subtly tear down other women. I go upon the assumption that if you are one of these women who does this to other women, your own self esteem must be suffering and this is how you feel better about yourself - by putting other women down so you will feel better about yourself.

I mean listen, we have enough to fight about. I'd like to make an equal amount to the men doing the same job I do. I'd like it to not be a big deal for a woman to be running a company or a country. I'd like people to stop chipping away at my right to my own body.

But then we have this subtle misogyny that gets us in our own way. I hear all these comments about how women who look a certain way shouldn't do certain things. We are judging ourselves and other women based on our looks, just as we hate when men do. She's too skinny to wear jeans like that; she looks like a string bean. She's too fat to wear those shorts; no one wants to see that. She's too busty for that shirt; she looks like a slut. She's too flat to wear that top; she looks like she's a teenage boy. She's too *insert your judgey-ness here* to exist, basically.

Let's talk about some examples of this. You have a woman like Pamela Anderson. You know the type - she looks like what we think men want. Big implants, blonde hair, full lips, overly-done makeup. So what do we say about her? She's fake. Plastic. Wears too much makeup. Would be prettier if she would tone it all down. So basically, she isn't good enough for us despite how hard she's trying to be. She is beautiful but we have to tear her down.

Then you have a woman, I have to be honest. I can't think of a single public woman who doesn't care about her image. So let's use another example: you are an overweight woman, and it's July. It's approaching 100 degrees. So you put on some shorts and go out of your house. You have now committed the cardinal sin: being fat in public. You have done something that offends everyone so deeply that they have to take pictures of you and post them online to shame you. You aren't good enough to show your skin in public, fatty. Just being outside and showing us your skin is offensive to our eyes.

Or you have a super thin woman. You are skinny as a rail, and despite trying to put on some weight, your body just won't allow it. But you have plans tonight and you dress up, do your hair, spend a little extra time on your makeup so you feel pretty. You look in the mirror and feel good about yourself, so you take a selfie and post it on Instagram. The comments start to roll in, and while you thought you looked your best, it wasn't good enough. Eat a burger, lady! And stop making us look at your skinny ass! You're hurting our eyes with your lack of curves! (But don't get too many curves - then you'll be the woman above who we don't want to see either. And really, don't get just the right amount of curves because we will hate on you then, too, just like Pamela Anderson).

And then there's the woman who loves to work out. She has the flattest stomach, those sinewy muscular arms, strong and taut legs from running marathons, and strength to spare. She loves what she sees in the mirror; it's the personification of all she works for. She sees strength and muscle and ability. When she shows the world a picture of herself, maybe she gets accolades from the other women (and men) like her, the ones who work hard on their bodies and see the results. From others, though, she gets a lot of "ewwww" and "manly" and "unfeminine." She isn't good enough for our eyes, either. Soften up, honey, you are too hard around the edges for us. 

The thing that runs through all of this is that every one of these women is a person. A real person with feelings. And hey, men judge us by how we look and we know that and we hate it but we know it so we deal with it. But when it comes from another woman - when that woman, too, is too short or too tall or too thick or too think or too dark or too pale or too whatever - it stings even more. Because as women, we know what it feels like to be judged and yet we do it to women just like us.

We have all been judged by our appearances. I know I have. I know what it's like to feel good about myself and then have another woman stare in judgement, looking me up and down like "who does she think she is to wear that?" which to me always translates to "who does she think she is to be so confident?" And I think that's what it comes down to, right? 

How dare those women be who they are and feel comfortable in their skin, when I don't? I'm not that fat and I don't feel comfortable in a skirt that short, so how dare she? I'm not that skinny and look at her, wearing that dress, acting like she looks good when I'd never be confident enough to wear it?

I guess I just don't understand why we can't support other women instead of tearing each other down. there is no "perfect" - even when you are the "perfect woman" you still get shit for your appearance one way or another.  

I am fairly confident in myself, and I still find myself saying these kinds of things sometimes about other women. Nowadays, they don't make it past my lips; I never say them out loud but they are still in my head. I know that it's more about me than it is about them. I know that to change anything, I have to get those thoughts out of my head and call people on it when they speak like that about another woman. I wish we all, as women, could make that our goal. It would make us all so much stronger.

No comments: