Why Women Hate Each Other

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why women hate each other

Yes, that title was meant to grab your attention. This piece is controversial. It will make you feel things and it may make you uncomfortable, but it’s time to start looking at things that we don’t want to see.

I was inspired to write this piece after a certain political event that took place recently. I won’t share my opinions on the matter, but I will talk about some interesting trends.  

What I witnessed was an expansive division amongst women. And I’m not talking about political parties I’m talking about women cutting other women down in regards to intelligence, appearance, socioeconomic plight etc. 

Why you might ask? Well, as a recent episode of Blackish so succinctly pointed out, “women hate each other”.

Now, before you pull out rebuttals to this argument, think back. Was there ever a time when you were angry, jealous, spiteful, or even mean to another woman for no real reason? 

Were you ever catty towards a fellow woman? Did you ever judge her harshly? My guess is that all of us with two X chromosomes have a history of negative actions and feelings towards our fellow sisters. 

I mean, the most popular movie of the early 2000s was Mean Girls, so clearly this is a thing. 

And it seems to be getting worse. 

Thanks to the relatively anonymous and emotionally distant realm of social media, cyber attacks against our fellow ladies have become commonplace. 

And as mothers, we are likely knee-deep in the trenches of the “mommy warfare” that we are directing at each other. What should unite us—the shared journey of being female in a male-dominated society—is exactly what is causing our own demise. And it’s coming from the inside.

So, what has caused this parasite of hate to inflict us? Well, there’s the bio/psycho/social theory of competition. A recent New York Times article stated that evolution might be to blame.

“Women by and large express indirect aggression toward other women, and that aggression is a combination of ‘self-promotion,’ making themselves look more attractive, and ‘derogation of rivals,’ being catty about other women.”

So, the theory here is that women seek to protect themselves and their prospects for an acceptable mate by lowering the stock of other women. 

Because we want the best mate for ourselves, we want to discredit and undercut other women so that we look better in comparison. This is twisted logic, but there’s truth there. Many times, I have participated in and witnessed women undercutting another’s looks or value. It’s ugly, but it happens ALL THE TIME. We may feel better about ourselves in comparison, but of course, this isn’t a substantial foundation for our self-identity, so the cycle continues on and on and on.

Another theory postulates that this hatred comes from a deep-seeded inferiority complex. The idea is that when a woman hates herself, she is more likely to hate other women too. It’s a kind of negative projection but on a large scale. 

This is created in large part by a society that teaches us that we aren’t whole people. We are objectified and valued for our parts and not the parts that we have much control over. Therefore, we have a disadvantage when we are trying to build our self-worth, and often there are holes and cracks in our identity foundations. As such, we may project our angst and negativity that we feel about ourselves onto all other women. 

It’s sad, but it may be the truth.

And perhaps the ultimate travesty is that there are many instances when women can come together and bond…but it’s at the service of putting down other women. This “us vs. them” phenomenon essentially means that we will unite over a common enemy. 

So, how do we fix it? 

For starters, we have to learn to love who we are as individuals, and from there, we can love other women for who they uniquely are. 

We have to stop seeing the world as a competitive arena and find security in our own path and choices. 

And we have to take judgment language out of our vocabulary. 

Instead of seeing someone else and picking apart what they are doing with their life, try instead to understand WHO they are and WHY they make the choices they do. Put yourself in another person’s shoes. Walk a few miles in them. And try to understand that everyone is trying to do the same thing—survive.

Once we can normalize this basic human experience, maybe we can find unity instead of hatred.

 

 

 

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/01/opinion/sunday/why-women-compete-with-each-other.html

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Megan Phillips is a licensed clinical psychologist who owns a private practice that specializes in helping women and moms in Orange County (www.cottonwoodpsychologycenter.com). She is from the Pacific Northwest, but she and her husband decided to escape the rain and move to warm, sunny Southern California in 2012. Since then, she became a mom to a smart and funny little boy and an adorable baby girl. Megan enjoys cooking and taking in the local sights, and she is always up for a fun mommy’s night out.

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