There is so much truth in this quote by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (which I’m sure you’ve probably heard in Beyonce’s song Flawless)…
‘We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men.’
If you get a chance go read her book. I’m not saying I agree with everything within it, however it certainly made me think and question my views. But on this point I completely agree, society has pitted us females against each other, especially when it comes to men.
So what sparked this post? A few months ago I walked into the female toilets and heard some teenagers talking. There conversation went somewhere along the lines of…
Girl 1: ‘Do you think she’s pretty.’ Girl 2: ‘Hmmm.’ The three girls proceed to laugh aloud. Girl 3: ‘Well she’s not a pretty as you’ (observation directed at girl 1). Girl 2: ‘Just look at these pictures on her Instagram.’ Girl 1: ‘You’re right she’s ugly.’ The three girls laugh aloud again. (Olivia thinking what have I walked into, shakes her head, thinking how sad this situation actually is).
So let’s dissect this situation. Girl 1 probably has low self-esteem. Girl 3 is probably sucking up to girl 1 (probably the Queen B of the gang). And girl 2 makes girl 1 feel better at the demise of the girl in topic. Girl 1 affirms herself at the downfall of another female. So you may say girls will be girls, and criticism makes the world go around. However this isn’t just saying ‘That dress doesn’t suit her’ or ‘I think she contoured to hard today’. This isn’t simply commenting on one’s appearance (and if we don’t have anything nice to say in these circumstances, we should probably keep it to ourselves, myself included); this is 100% comparison and ’empowering’ oneself by pushing another female down. From this conversation girl 1 has probably developed a false sense of self-esteem.
Sometimes I have to laugh when females try to compete with me! Why? Not because I think I’m better than anyone else, but because I’ve decided that I’m in my own league. A league where I focus on constantly trying to be better than myself, instead of others. And that’s not to say I don’t ever compare myself to another female, but it is to say that when I do I quickly try to put myself on track (because this negative thinking gets me nowhere and probably prevents me from moving forward).
A few months ago I was on the cross trainer in the gym (Olivia does not like cardio anymore lol), and a female started working out on the cross trainer next to me. Every time I moved faster, she would move faster to compete with me. What she did not know, was that every few minutes I increased the level and slow down due to the increased effort needed to match this higher level. This female was trying to compete with me but we were in two completely different lanes!
Ladies this is life, we are all completely different. You’re unique and I am unique. You’re good at A and B and I’m good at C and D. Competing with each other is a frivolous exercise!
When females empower females it’s a beautiful thing! That’s when you get serious magic, that’s when things start to change. One person completely alone can achieve so much, but a group of people encouraging that one person can cause them to reach excellence.
Over the past months, I’ve just been thanking God for the amazing female friendships he’s placed in my life. I have amazing family and friends who love to build me up as a person, which is why I may appear so strong (it’s not me, it’s the people behind me). It’s a beautiful thing to speak to a female who is facing similar challenges to you, discussing them, encouraging one another and praying for one another (in each other’s hearing).
Females let’s do ourselves a favour. Let’s stop the hating and the jealousy and pushing one other down to make ourselves feel better about our insecurities (lets radically think and maybe sort out our stuff maybe, seek a counsellor if need be). And by empowering one another I promise that real, deep friendships will start to be formed, which will benefit both you and your friends.
‘Strong women stand together when things are rough, hold each other up when they need support, and laugh together when there’s no reason to.’ – Anon