A growing problem exists among many women today; they’re not connecting well with one another anymore. This disconnect has created a rift which is affecting how they relate, interact, and learn from one another.
As we begin this blog, I would like to start by asking a few questions. Do you feel women are competitive? What do you think of women’s interaction with one another these days? Do you see more interactions that are positive or negative? Can this rift be simply based upon whether another woman wants what you have? Is it a man, wanting more money or a better career?
Let's figure this out!
Is the basis of competition really, looks, sex, and social status? Do you feel that this sort of behavior is more prevalent today than perhaps in any other generation?
Unfortunately, these types of questions need to be seriously considered and then brought into proper perspective. Unlike in previous conversations, I want you to start by personally considering what other women had to say concerning the matter at hand before I attempt to offer any perspective on the issue.
What Other Women Are Saying?
Tracy Says: “I am a petite, intelligent redhead. At school, I dressed like a hobo and pretty much ignored men just so I was not considered a threat to my female friends. As a result, I had some good female friends. These days, I refuse to sell myself short anymore and it has cost me most of my old friendships, as well as potential new friends. I have an awful time with other women – even my oldest female friends hide their husbands and boyfriends away from me. I have never stolen or even flirted with anyone’s boyfriend/husband, but men do give me too much attention for most women’s comfort.
It doesn’t matter how I react to the attention or even if I make a point of rebuffing it – the women will whip their men away and if I am not cut off completely, we will forever continue to meet up as just “the girls.” It makes no difference whether I have a boyfriend or not. It has come to the point where I am ready to give up trying to have proper friendships with women – they are just too irrational in their competitiveness and insecurities. For me, in most cases, it is nearly impossible to pacify those feelings enough to have a friendship.”
Linda Says: “My boyfriend’s boss who used him as a sounding board for all of her woes has been very cruel, not only to me but to him as well. This is an older, married woman who resents me because she feels I have taken her “friend” away. She is married, but her husband has tuned her out. I am also younger and take care of myself. Another negative view I have is this, I would hope to inspire other women, but it seems it is easier to simply be mean. Bottom line is that I have had to smile and take it, from her and from the other women she keeps in her office.
At times, I feel attacked. I never told my boyfriend to discontinue his friendship with her. I understood it. He is a friend with her husband, who also works there. Unfortunately, she has destroyed their friendship. There are times when I am upset over it all and it does affect my relationship since it is the only issue we argue about. Of course, this woman would be happy to see us break up. I have no one to talk to, so I’m sure it’s annoying for him to hear. Grrrrrrrrr! Unnecessary behavior on her part, and it is only getting worse.”
Cassandra George Sturges, Psy.D Says: “From the time that little girls are born, society expects them to fit into a certain mold, a particular role and possess certain characteristics. The characteristics that are expected of them are assumed to be natural and inflexible. Little girls are always instructed on how they should look, how they should behave and how they should feel. Little girls should be beautiful, dainty, neat, polite, nurturing and well behaved. When she deviates from the identity given to her by society she becomes disillusioned about her self-worth and role in society. This is the root of self-hatred and low self-esteem for many women.
Women compete with each other at a societal level. The criteria for winning is usually set by others and the results are subjective and intangible. Women are usually judged by characteristics they have little control over; something that they did not create, and which exists outside of themselves, such as their physical appearance. Her success is based on subjective, biased, external validation by others. She can’t see how to beat her rival because her rival is in no more control over the outcome than she is. How can you really be more beautiful than another woman when the decision is nothing more than someone else’s opinion of beauty?
How can you change someone’s personal preference for a certain body size and shape, a particular eye color or a fondness for blondes? How many people are needed to think that you are beautiful before it is a valid or meaningful judgment? Who do you need to tell you that you are beautiful before you can believe it to be true...construction workers, truck drivers, the man walking down the street, your pastor, the Pope, your boss? Women compete with each other for male attention and compliments as if it feeds their self-worth and self-esteem.
Women try to dress sexier and have shapelier bodies than other women. Women are so busy competing with each other for male attention that they do not have the psychological, intellectual, or emotional insight to change the social climate that is causing them to suffer from low self-esteem.”
A Casualty of War
Apparently, many women don’t get along and that’s no secret, but the fact remains that they need each other. This ongoing rift is one of the main causes of a widening gap between women along relational, social, and generational lines, which are all vital to them. How so? Well, practically this type of dysfunctional behavior greatly undermines the dynamic societal elements of support, teaching, and mentorship that have traditionally served as major sources of empowerment to women for generations. The careful transfer of wisdom and guidance had always taken shape within the tender confines of relationships. For women, in theory, wisdom and guidance was generally conveyed to one another across social or generational lines.
There was once an acceptance, an open understanding to the extreme significance given to such relationships. Whether it was to be a mother, daughter, granny, auntie, cousin or friend women needed to have healthy social interaction with one another. These relational bonds are still what should be rendering the love, guidance, and a wealth of life experiences that women need. Why? Because they help to carve out a path of development and substance for generations of women to follow. Undoubtedly, the significance of this element is still necessary, irreplaceable and undeniable.
Do Women Really Grasp Their Impact?
The problem nowadays is that many of the interpersonal bonds women need are strained. They aren’t really relating or communicating well with each other. What a sad commentary because the fact is that women are too valuable to be entangled by such dysfunction. Personally, I think there is a certain sway that women hold over the moral conscience in our society. I firmly believe that when the qualities of women’s lives are hindered socially, relationally, and economically, society as a whole is greatly affected. Generally, I feel that some women today don’t see themselves as being that significant. Here’s my point, if one were to completely remove the contributions of women from society, humanity would be lost. Sure, maybe that sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true. The same can be said for men, although there never seems to be a shortage of people or ideology that often touts a man’s impact.
The point I’m stressing here is the extreme value of women. Frankly, men can no longer refute that, but rather the question remains, how many women themselves still fail to grasp it? I am certain that if more women truly understood the full gravity of their impact, then conceivably the quality of their overall decisions would be much different. Plainly speaking, there are those who wouldn’t just let men have their way with them. They wouldn’t just give their heart, mind, and body away so easily. If this value was understood, I believe many women would be much more selective and less superficial about the men they choose to date, marry, or build a life with.
This Is Not a Competition, But a Catastrophe!
Furthermore, it appears that somehow in the rat race we find in today’s society, many women have become totally consumed by the “competition” of attaining stuff and acquiring social status. In fact, some are absorbed with such a spirit of “conquest” that they are even willing to cast their moral values aside, in the name of competition. But the real question is this: if they are always in competition, whom do they feel they’re in competition with? For the most part, in society, men have always been considered the “heavy weight champions.” In the meantime, while many women are now entering the workplace, striving to become “number one contenders,” whom are they actually fighting? Each other!
When taken from this viewpoint, one can clearly see why sisterhood or sharing knowledge and life-experiences are no longer the standard operating procedures. After all, why would they feel comfortable sharing anything with any other competitor? Right? Wrong! Where this misguided sense of competition exists, women must begin snuffing it out!
Consequently today, that is one of the main roots of dysfunction, which is hindering the quality of relationships and productivity many women are lacking in their lives, especially amongst themselves. Certainly, this is a real problem that can only be addressed by mutual trust, careful dialogue, and a deliberate, determined re-engagement amongst women.
She Is Not an Opponent, But A Sister!
You know, there is a common saying: “Behind every great man there is a strong woman!” Well, I believe it is only fitting that you begin to ask yourself, then who’s behind you? Generally, as a woman, you will always find someone or something to nurture, but the real question is who’s supporting, nurturing, encouraging, challenging and preparing you?
A man can offer those things as well, but at the same time, no woman is an island unto herself. Aside from men, you need the healthy, social, and relational interactions with other women. In life, you will be faced with many situations and circumstances. There will be decisions, concerns and questions you won’t have all the answers to. There will be many moments where your prospective alone won’t be enough. That is when you will need to look to your left and to your right to find the relationship, support and encouragement from another sister! Certainly, I can understand some of the cynicism that exists today, but I also insist that not every woman is your competition.
Some of the women you know, and will meet, may possess a tremendous wealth of knowledge or life experience you could stand to learn from. These are your sisters, and they need you just as much as you will need them. Surely, life is tough enough without you endeavoring to travel its winding roads alone.
It is time to Live, Love and Learn
I hope we can agree that it’s time for the warring, betrayal, and back biting to cease. Each of you is uniquely beautiful, talented, and different, so put away all of the petty and immature grievances. Are there any female relationships in your life, which needs some fixing? Don’t be afraid or unwilling to mend those relationships. I urge you to remain open to the notion of making new female acquaintances. Why? Because beyond all of the warring, it’s time for many women to start living, loving and even learning from one another again.
Blog Post by: Derrick J. Little