As a woman and a mom of an impressionable tween-aged girl, I’m still sometimes at disbelief in what I hear and see in the world. How can I change this world for the better? Make it a better place for my little girl? How can I help my little girl realise that every negative thing she might hear about herself isn’t necessarily true? How can I make my little girl see that being negative about others is also hurting herself?
Growing up I’ve always had a close girlfriend or two, I would spend hours with them – shopping at the mall, hanging out and listening to music, gossiping, studying – it’s what girls do. However, I always felt more comfortable around men – or at the time, boys, if you will. Hanging out with guys was natural, it never felt judgmental or mean or hypercritical.
It never felt like I had to watch what I was saying around them, I never wondered what a guy friend was thinking about what I was saying. Maybe I’m naive in thinking that men are “nicer” than women, because I do know some guys who can gossip like a mutha, but in general, I just felt more easygoing around guys.
I could goof off and be funny, or act dumb, or I could be smart, or I could get dressed up, or even show up in sweat pants – a guy would just be generally accepting of my behaviour and appearance (at least externally), and I never felt like he had some hidden agenda to memorize everything I said and did to tell another guy about it.
We all knew mean girls growing up. Sometimes we were the mean girl. I know I was mean sometimes. Sometimes because I was jealous. Sometimes for no real reason. I was immature. I wasn’t always nice. In general I was a good person, but there were times I behaved badly, I’ll admit it, there’s no reason to pretend I was a saint.
I think a lot of this mean behaviour has to do with our own self-esteem, our own fears and peer pressures – however as we grow up and become adults, shouldn’t we learn from these past experiences? Why do we feed our self-worth on other women’s failures?
I am almost 30 years old. In the last ten years I have grown as a person, as a woman, immensely. I have learned so much about myself, about the world and my place in it. I hold my family dearly, all that matters is what they think of me as a person – they know me best, my good and my bad – and I try to be the best person possible for them.
As for the rest of the world? I approach everyone with the mantra – treat others as you wish to be treated. I don’t care what others think of me, I sometimes suffer from ‘foot-in-mouth’ syndrome, but I would never spread hate-fueled messages about anybody, no matter how much someone has wronged me.
Sometimes I have to remind myself. Remind myself not to be judgmental. Sometimes I don’t even realise I’m being mean – I’m just making a joke! But is it really funny? Would the person be hurt if they heard it?
I think twice before I say anything about other women – I don’t have the right. So where do all these other women with their Mommy Wars and Women Hate and gossip and Mean Girl behaviour get off? Why are they so competitive and jealous and filled with hate towards other women?
Why aren’t we coming together in solidarity?? Why don’t we HELP each other? If we don’t understand something – we can still LISTEN to each other.
There are so many women out there, so many mothers who do amazing and extraordinary things, single women, married women, women who work at home, women with day jobs and weekly pay cheques and women who are entrepreneurs and crafters and Pinterest-fanatics and decorators – we all come from different places and backgrounds and social upbringings and traditions – So Why So Much Hate?
I know this upcoming holiday season, and for the future as well, I will think twice before making a joke at someone’s expense. I will approach women, and all people, with a little extra compassion. Let’s love more and judge less.
Will you join me?