(photo via Mean Girls, an absolutely classic film)
Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by girl-on-girl hate. Now keep your hands up if you’ve ever been the source of girl-on-girl hate. I can’t speak for you, but I’m willing to bet that most of us had our hands in the air for both questions… I know that I sure did.
It’s all too easy to fall into the never ending cycle of judgement, raised brows, gossip, angry Facebook stalking, and repeat. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why this seems to be such a problem for women. My conclusion? I don’t know.
Of course, we could accept what we’ve always been told; we’re simply hardwired to be catty. A kind of “girls will be girls” dismissal of the situation. But I’m done accepting that answer, and here’s why: It’s an excuse. I very strongly believe that we can each choose to behave better. And that’s not just something I preach, it’s something that I’ve consciously, wholly embraced.
Last summer, I made the decision to leave a job that I was dedicated to, a small business that I believed in, entirely because of the culture of female angst and aggression. Negativity was the norm and the environment became so toxic that it was difficult to concentrate on the tasks at hand. This affected every employee and caused a needless, exhausting amount of drama. The most frustrating part of the experience: Once the spiral of girl hate began, it was impossible to stop.
But why do we let it get so far? Why do juvenile, girlish struggles follow us into our adulthood? Maybe the better question is why we’ve allowed the concept of female competition to become so prevalent in the first place. I propose that we end that notion now. Let’s teach our daughters, sisters, nieces, neighbors, etc. that we should anticipate friendships, not feuds between ourselves and the women around us. Even if those women are different, or *gasp* similar to us! There are enough glasses of wine, cute pairs of shoes, entrepreneurial ventures, and genuine opportunities to go around.
And let’s just take a moment to consider the amount of energy that we waste on spreading hostility. Think of all the things you could do instead! Learn French, take up karate, practice meditation! Actually read the “Terms and Conditions” on anything at all. The world is your oyster and your positivity is the pearl.
It’s time to start Step One of the Ms. Millennial project ™ journey: Eliminate girl hate! Let’s dedicate this week to keeping our hearts open to those around us, to giving and receiving support, and let’s see how much simpler life gets.