“Don’t Judge Me Because…” by Kristen Rupert

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.

 

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9 Comments

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9 responses to ““Don’t Judge Me Because…” by Kristen Rupert

  1. Great post Kristen, and a good reminder to us all. I try to support, mentor and develop those around me (women and men) but know that I’m guilty of some of the things you point out here. I’ve also been on the receiving end, and it is hurtful. When we stop to remember the times it’s happened to us, it makes us stop and think if an action we’re about to take will be hurtful to someone else.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lindsey Marx

    Kristen, thanks for the opportunity to reflect on the mindset and attitude we can carry each day. This is a great reminder that we can empower other women, rather than hold back–but only if we choose to.

  3. I wonder if some of this “judging” culture dissipates with age. I definitely feel supported, challenged and empowered by women as a 30-something. 🙂 We should be building each other up–that should be the priority. Thanks for starting the conversation!

  4. All I can really say to this is – Preach. Thanks for sharing the perspective!

  5. As a 50-something I have a markedly different perspective to share. I am afraid that what is meant as feedback and challenge is often received as judgement. Without having any specific experiences cited in the blog, I am left to wonder….is this generational? Is this phenomenon more common at entry level?

    I have only been the recipient of positive respect and support from the women around me in all levels of my career path. I try my best to do the same for others but am painfully aware that my feedback is often interpreted by the receiver based on their own personal experiences…we all do that.

    I think your post provides us all with a great opportunity to reflect on our own personal responsibility in all of our relationships and interactions. You cannot control what others say and do, only your own reactions to it.

  6. I have experienced this before, but I always question what is really going on. Sometimes I believe I’m being perceived as a snarky woman, because I am in no way soft or do not share my opinion. Other women who may not approach things as me sometimes do tell me they’re intimidated by me. Now if they never would’ve talked to me or told me I intimidate them then it would’ve been very easy for me to interpret their stand offish attitude towards me as judging me. I experienced this a lot in grade school but I do see how age plays a factor. There are a plethora of older women in my life that validate me and definitely are not quick to judge other women. I would say it is one of the most harmful behaviors other women do towards each other in college. We really do need to call out this immature tendency and build each other up, it only makes us all stronger. Good thought provoking post Kristen.

  7. I also wonder how much of this is triggered by leadership and culture w/in an office or department. Sometimes the gloves come off when it may be perceived that that is what is needed to survive, given how leadership responds to its lead-ees. Regardless, the challenge still seems to fall back on the shoulders of co-workers to be supportive of one another.

  8. Kelley

    Great post Kristen. When I made the decision to attend an all woman’s college a lot of people judged me. One of the first questions many people asked me was, ” so how many girls did you hook up with?” or ” Aren’t you scared you will get hit on by all the girls?And my fav ” Why would you torture yourself? Somehow they couldn’t understand that I was going to get a wonderful education and work on myself as a woman. During my first year at Saint Joseph College I caught myself a few times judging the women in my classes. I picked out the students who were smarter than I was, who was prettier. i quickly realized that we are here for the same reason; to get an education .During my time at SJC I made a conscious effort to stop the judging. I had a wonderful experience at Saint Joes and I hope more and more young woman today would consider attending a woman’s college. it was the best decision I ever made. Keep up the wonderful work:) You inspire me everyday. Thank you.

  9. Kristen- Thank you- I agree…we need to judge less, assist more-every day. My judgments are a reflection of me… and I’ve found that criticizing other women gives me no pleasure and no reward. Intentionally helping and encouraging women, seeing them reap the rewards that they richly deserve is exciting and empowering. I get better at walking my talk when I start every day with purpose… choosing to promote, assist and lift women and acting on my values. This is a choice and I believe that those who choose this path will discover rewards beyond measure…

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