Don’t judge me because you think you’re prettier than I am (or vice versa). Don’t judge me because you think I am smarter than you or you are smarter than me. Don’t judge me because you think my job is inferior. Don’t judge me because I am a blonde. Don’t judge me because I am too young . Don’t judge me because I have a different style of doing something than you. Just don’t judge me.
It amazes me sometimes how much time women spend judging other women. We find excuses not to like someone for the pettiest of reasons. We tend to tear each other down instead of to build each other up. The simple truth is, that although it is perceived that women are supportive of each other, it’s not always true. I’ve found that some of my biggest supporters and mentors are men, not because they are necessarily better than any women I know, but because they are the people who took interest in supporting and mentoring me, and helping me to grow as a person and a professional. I think women are afraid of helping other women because it seems threatening to them. They silently ask themselves “What if she is smarter than me?” “What if she gets promoted before me?” “What if people like her better than me?” These inner questions and insecurities lead us in the wrong direction. Instead of taking time to learn from other strong women or to teach other women, we avoid them, judge them, and in some situations we pass them up for deserved opportunities because of our own insecurities.
There’s a book called “Tripping the Prom Queen” by Susan Shapiro Barash. The book looks at intense competitive relationships between women, and why sometimes we really do want to “trip the prom queen”, that girl who seems to have it all. It’s the same theory behind why we don’t want the seemingly perfect character to win or get the guy in romantic comedies, or why we root against the smart, qualified, beautiful candidate in a job interview, because well she may be competition for us. The worst part about all of this, is though we may recognize it, we rarely talk about, because simply put, female rivalry is ugly. In the book Barash makes a comment that really resonates with me about this, she says:
Despite all the efforts of the women’s movement to change this troubling pattern, we’re still willing to cut each other’s throats over what we value most — jobs, men, and social approval. Although we’ve moved into the workplace and the public arena as never before, we tend to ignore men when it comes to competing, focusing our rivalry almost entirely upon each other.
Moral of the story is this, as women we really need to spend more time supporting and developing each other, and less time buying into the intense rivalry that we create with other women. Healthy competition isn’t a bad thing, but they key word is healthy. It’s okay to have a little competition, but not to the point where it is hurtful and ruthless. We need to be mentors to younger women, we need to respect our peers, and we need to help each other grow. If we remember this, than we will remain strong and unstoppable and able to transform this world.