There’s this vicious cycle for women in society and to ask where it begins is likely as impossible to answer as the whole chicken and egg debate. That cycle is how women are perceived to treat one another and how women actually treat one another. If you look back in my past, I can tell you that a vast majority of my hurts were inflicted by other women. You more than likely can say the same about your own past. However, there’s also this stereotype, which is where the cycle comes in, that women can’t interact with each other on a regular basis without their being this underlying dislike, jealousy, or just general “frenemy” behavior. How awful is that? Seriously, it’s pretty terrible. Like I said, I’ve had my fair share of problems with other women in my life, but I know without a doubt that I don’t dislike my best friends and I like to think they don’t dislike me (I’m joking, I know they don’t.)
For whatever reason, society pits us against each other. You have to strive for the best body, the best clothes, the best hair. You’re so shallow because you love to dress “cute” and wear make up every day. You’re “frumpy” for no makeup, messy hair and yoga pants. You have to be married (“to a man”*) to find happiness. But you have to a strong independent woman who doesn’t need anyone. You have to rock a career or be a mom. You don’t want kids? What does your husband think? You do want kids? How archaic? If you’re a working mom, what a pity your baby will be raised by a stranger? If you stay at home, what do you even do with your day? It’s so pitiful that you have no aspirations in life but to pop out babies and sit at home with them. But, also, while you’re staying home, you better do daily crafts, have the most angelic behaving children and a spotless house. We’re even judged in how we raise our children—something that is really just the business of the parents and children involved! You’re awful if you don’t breast feed. You’re disgusting if you do. Seriously, women just cannot catch a break with this stuff! It’s everywhere, coming at us from all directions. It’s so easy to just get swept away in it, tired of fighting against the current to prove, “No, not me.” And when we get swept away, we lose sight of why we fought to begin with, and we can turn against each other.
You know, there’s a verse in the bible that says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that is praise worthy. How amazing is that? That God can create us so perfectly, flaws and all. (And please, hear me out if you aren’t a believer, because I believe this is fitting for everyone!) You are amazing. You are beautiful, inside and out. You are perfect in every way, flaws and all, because that’s how you were created. But, you may have noticed, it doesn’t mention that the only ones who are wonderfully made are in one column and anyone not fitting those confinements aren’t. God created us all to be wonderful. He created us all exactly the way that we are on purpose. Don’t you think that’s amazing? Even if you don’t believe, think of how complex humans are. How we are all the same base, but completely original at the same time? That’s awesome! You can’t deny that, no matter your religious beliefs.
Taking that a step further, if you are fearfully and wonderfully made, so is every other woman (and all humans, but I’m specifically talking women today) you come across. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like someone’s hair, or how they do their makeup if they do any at all, or how they spend their free time. It doesn’t matter, because they are not you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means perfect in this area. There are times I see someone I don’t like, or maybe don’t even know, and think something nasty for just a moment before catching myself. “Those shoes with that outfit? That looks awful.” But no! It’s not awful! Because if that is the outfit that she felt amazing in today, then it’s a great outfit. It’s none of my business how any other woman is living her life as long as she’s not hurting me or anyone else (or herself, but that’s a topic for another day) just as it’s no one else’s business what I’m doing.
So what do we do about this? In the broad spectrum, I feel like a lot of women in society are already fighting back, but it’s not enough. We as women have to band together. Show the world that we aren’t all hormonal animals ready to fight each other for the last top in our size at the mall.
There’s a bible verse that has just really bee resonating with me and it’s the proverb “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Be that iron that sharpens the iron around you. Don’t be jealous of someone’s accomplishments, instead cheer them on! Even if you’re in the same business, it’s not a competition! Someone being successful doesn’t mean you can’t be successful yourself! We deal with so much crap in the day to day from stressful jobs, misbehaving kids, and everything in between. We don’t need that coming from the people we should be happy to be around. My best friendships are the ones where we’re constantly cheering for the other’s success, even in times where we are trying so hard to no avail yet. Be a good, supportive friend!
I feel like there’s this misconception between what a happy, supportive friend looks like, though. It’s not smiling widely and cheering on every move they make, even the bad moves (which you then judge in private). It’s being able to kindly tell them the truth of how you see things when they ask. It’s challenging them to think differently. Friendship isn’t all or nothing—no relationship is. There’s a balance. You can give your honest opinion when you’re asked, while still allowing them to know that you’ll be there for them if things go awry. You can set boundaries within the friendship and it still be a good friendship. Iron sharpening iron is to help each other grow and evolve into a better version of you than you were before.
So, in short, rise up, women, and empower each other. Embrace your differences alongside the things you have in common. Love each other. Lift your women friends up in a world that’s trying to tear us all down. Let’s shatter this cycle once and for all.
*NOTE: This is NOT my belief, not even CLOSE. I’m just showing the extreme pressures from society, and this is one of them. I am all for marriage equality and all equality.
Hello! I'm Lindsey. I'm a writer with a ton of random thoughts bouncing around in my head. So I share them here in hopes that they reach others with these thoughts.