Mean Girls: Are women harder on each other?
Last week our relationship columnist, Lauren Schaefer, apparently struck a nerve or two in her post The Drink War. You should check it out. As the Community Manager for the site, I must say I was a little surprised at some of the reactions. Lauren is one of my favorite writers (of any blog) because she knows how to get important conversations going about things that many of us are 1. ) too embarrassed to admit we think about, 2.) things we talk about only with a group of close friends or 3.) she makes us think seriously about issues that are often portrayed only in a humorous or passive way.
I have been getting to know Lauren over the last few months through her posts and our communications, and have observed as she’s started some amazing conversations on the site. She’s funny, she’s witty, and she writes “on the edge” every now and then. Not all of our readers agree with Lauren and I certainly do not. In fact, many times, I have disagreed with her viewpoint as have many others. Last week, however, was the first time I noticed some “mean girl” attitudes and so I’ve used her last post to inspire my column this week. (Thanks Lauren!)
The best part about being a blogger is when people disagree with you and have something constructive to add to your viewpoint. Isn’t that the best part of conversation in general? Imagine a world where we all agreed? BORING!
But what I saw last week was something I’ve seen online and in real life. Lauren easily became an easy target for what I call “women-hating.” In fact, she herself was accused of using “women-hating language” by one reader. But, let’s look at the facts:
FACT 1: Lauren’s column is dedicated to writing about relationships and dating from her perspective. Just like my column is about the post-grad life from my perspective. Her perspective is there for you to disagree with as are any of the writers on this site (and most sites.) What I find dumbfounding is people telling her that she doesn’t have a right to that perspective. She does.
FACT 2: Okay, so this next one isn’t exactly fact. But I have hardly met a woman who hasn’t used the term “slut,” “whore” “bitch,” to refer to another woman. I’m not proud of it but I’ve used it and unless you can honestly say you haven’t, getting all self-righteous about it isn’t really fair. I’m not saying that it’s okay or that it’s not okay, I’m saying, pots shouldn’t call kettles black.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how girls interact with each other these days, and I am starting to think that many of us are really hard on each other, including me. Sure, in this scenario, I am defending Lauren because I like her and her writing style, but that hasn’t always been the case. I grew up with boys and childhood memories of being made fun of by girls has often made me suspicious of many females in the first place.
But that’s just not a good enough excuse.
I started to think about some of the things that I’ve said/say about womankind in general that I’m not proud of:
- Girls are bitches. That’s why I just find it easier to get along with guys.
- Guys make better friends than girls. Girls just seem to be catty…
- Girls seem to judge me/dislike me when they first meet me.
Can you relate?
A lot of my girlfriends say the same thing too! (Oh, the irony.) Among my closest group of girlfriends, we pride ourselves on “being one of the guys.” We love the fact that all of us can “hang with the boys.” This is a trend that I’ve noticed with a lot of girls in my generation. I’ve never thought of myself as a mean girl. In fact, I’ve spent much of my life aiming to be the anti-mean girl by being one of the boys. But, inadvertently, I think this has made me harder on girls. Bringing it full circle, what I saw from last week, was a lot of girls being hard on Lauren and well, I didn’t like it. Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf already…
Think about the relationships you have with other women (that are not your girlfriends). What do you think: Are women harder on each other?