Let’s Face it – We’re B!tches to Each Other…

 …and I’m not the first to write about this.  Yes, ladies, we’re mean.  We hate each other and we’re often WORSE to one another than men are to us.  Most of us grew up hating our mothers criticizing us for what we did, yet as adults, we do the same to one another – especially for what we CHOOSE to do.  It’s no wonder many of us don’t want to call ourselves feminists, despite believing in equality.  In theory, yes, most of us are feminists – defined as believing in equality and freedom of choice – but I’ve noticed that women who CHOOSE more traditional paths such as “sacrificing” her career for motherhood – see more criticism than those who pick something less “traditional.”  Take for example, the whole issue with Ivanka Trump.  I’m no fan of her father, but to say that she has “gone against her principles” by resigning after her husband was offered a position in DC is crazy.  She resigned because she had to, due to conflict of interest.

Then you have the whole “Princess vs. STEM” thing.  The anti-princess movement, however unintentional, implies that “being pretty” = BAD, liking science = GOOD.  Well, there’s no reason why one can’t like both.  There are women who in STEM-related careers who are also fashionistas.  Like my mom.  My mom worked in IT until the early 90s when she resigned due to my father being transferred abroad (and we moved to Bermuda for a year).  My mom also read Vogue every month and was the one who introduced me to Seventeen, clothes and make-up along with IT itself (while we never had a Commodore 64 (which my mom hated), we DID get a 640K DOS machine in the mid-80s.  We also had a modem fairly early on).  As a child, I toyed with the idea of following my mom’s footsteps but realized that I probably had zero talent in coding when none of my programs ever worked.  In other words, I understand technology IN THEORY, but execution?  🙁  I can also go on about good manners/etiquette.  Charm schools, “princess camps,”  finishing schools or whatever you want to call them are IMPORTANT, not because one wants/feels the need to be “lady-like,” but good for anyone who aspires to be an executive – male (and goodness, I think men/boys need it more than women/girls, sadly) or female.  What I’m trying to say is we shouldn’t be driving girls away from liking and wanting to be “princesses” or soft pinks and purples but AT THE SAME TIME, encourage more “non-traditional” areas.  

The “let’s do the opposite” philosophy is something I see in the body image movement as well.  Seriously folks, I’m really tired of the “well, we see lots of people your size in the media, so you don’t matter” perspective.  Am I NOT ALLOWED to have size issues because I’m thin (and under size 4 to be exact)?  So-called “thin privilege” doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to discuss my “issues,” because guess what?  WE ALL HAVE THEM.  We have our down days.  And it should be okay to talk about it, regardless of your size.  I acknowledge that larger sizes aren’t portrayed enough in the media and that there’s a need to talk about size diversity, but “diversity” means ALL CLOTHING SIZES, ALL HEIGHTS.   The body image movement also needs to stop implying that women who ARE smaller are just as unhealthy as those who are larger.  Some of us are, some of us aren’t.  This same movement often refuses to acknowledge proportions.  So often, I see images of two women who are noted to wear the same clothing size, have the same weight and consume the same number of calories each day.  Catch?  One appears to be taller and more muscular while the other one is shorter and, shall we say, “softer.”  The women’s height and what they actually eat remain a mystery.  Well, DUH, people.  DUH.  The perception to me, as someone who works out fairly regularly (though not as much as someone who is training for a marathon) is “taller, muscular girl is healthier than the other one.  The taller, muscular woman probably eats less added sugar and “bad” fats too.  And if I were to reply to said post with my theory, I will likely be criticized for believing this or completely ignored. 

The whole “do as I tell you” philosophy is also seen in motherhood.  Especially from the pro-breast feeding brigade.  I’m not a parent yet, but I know women who feel very guilty about their inability to nurse their child and/or are nervous about taking out a bottle, period, because they believe others will stare at them for doing so.  The bottle has become an evil thing – even if the milk is pumped (and for those who say this doesn’t exist, it does.  There’s a reason why Fed is Best exists).  This doesn’t bode well for those whose children are adopted or were carried by a surrogate (and goodness, they get enough criticism in THOSE areas (I’ll save THAT for another day)).  The anti-bottle (even if the milk is pumped) movement, in fact, (unintentionally??) discourages men from taking a larger role in the home as it implies that women should be the only ones doing the feeding.

Why ARE we so mean to each other?  Or rather, why are CERTAIN views shot down and seen as “bad” while others are “good?”  To the point that certain people feel uncomfortable because they do something which a more aggressive group disagrees on?  And why can’t someone whose views may be a bit more “old fashioned”/”traditional” have the same rights to voice an opinion or opinions than those who aren’t?  As long as the former’s views aren’t verging into hate territory, things should be good. 



Image credit: Syda Productions/ShutterStock


About Cynthia Cheng Mintz

Cynthia Cheng Mintz is the founder and webitor-in-chief of this site and the petite-focused site, Shorty Stories. She has also written for other publications including the Toronto Star and has blogged for The Huffington Post. Her first novel, Aspirations, was published in 2007. Outside of writing, Cynthia researches and advises philanthropic ideas for family funds and foundations and also volunteers.

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Cynthia Cheng Mintz

Cynthia Cheng Mintz is the founder and webitor-in-chief of this site and the petite-focused site, Shorty Stories. She has also written for other publications including the Toronto Star and has blogged for The Huffington Post. Her first novel, Aspirations, was published in 2007. Outside of writing, Cynthia researches and advises philanthropic ideas for family funds and foundations and also volunteers.

  • Kathleen Lepidas

    I’m sorry you experienced this, Cynthia, but most women aren’t like this. Yes, some women are mean, but so are some men. And there are some truly great ladies out there! You just need to look for them and to be VERY selective when you choose your friends. And you MUST walk away from a “friendship” with anyone–female or male–who treats you poorly. Far too many women don’t do that, so they end up in bad friendships. And they think all women are like their so-called “friends”. Not true!

    • Yes, but we are so hard on each other – and we criticize so much more. We know this, but we don’t do anything about it. It was wrong in kindergarten, it was wrong in middle school and it’s wrong now as adults.

      • Kathleen Lepidas

        But you must do something about it, and you CAN. Walk away from mean women “friends”, and be careful about choosing new female friends. Perhaps you are subconsciously choosing the wrong friends? People seem to gravitate towards the same toxic types of personalities over and over again. Stop doing it, look for red flags in their behaviour, then get away from these people. Instead, try to look for generous, down-to-earth women who aren’t critical and aren’t “hard on each other”. They might not always be easy to find, but they are out there!

      • You realize this isn’t just friends, but random women – sometimes online and sometimes not. It’s very hard to get away from them since they’re EVERYWHERE. At work, at places of worship, at the gym…and I have trouble believing that you’ve never experienced this. Not even ONCE.

      • Kathleen Lepidas

        Cynthia, please don’t tell me that there are NO nice women out there. There are! AND I AM ONE OF THEM! Of course you’d find at least some mean women in a women’s studies course; women (not men) tend to take these. You’re right when you claim that mean women are everywhere. That’s because mean people–both men and women–are everywhere! That doesn’t mean that no nice women exist. Yes, the mean ones do exist, and, yes, I have had my share of experiences with mean women, probably far more than you have, given my age. But you know what? I’ve also had experiences with NICE women! I just know how to put the mean women in their place and to limit my exposure to them. Please stop perpetuating the myth that there are no nice women out there!!! It’s not fair to the nice and decent women I know. I can’t believe that YOU’VE never had any experiences with nice ones. What about your mom, your female friends and relatives? What about YOU? Are YOU yourself a “mean woman”? I hope you see my point!

      • Kathleen Lepidas

        My nephew was bullied out of a job by a mean MALE supervisor. And who could be meaner than Donald Trump, who has made a lot of hostile and, yes, mean comments about many groups, especially women? And these mean MEN aren’t exactly rare.

      • I’m not saying men are NOT mean (nor do they have any kind of excuse to BE mean), but if women and feminists in general expect more people to embrace the feminist identity, then they need to be more open to those who DO choose to be more old fashioned. They shouldn’t criticize those who do not feel they’re being listened to or tell us we are NOT being oppressed because we fit a certain demographic (e.g. being thin. Apparently I’m “not allowed” to talk about size issues. Size issues =/= 14+. Size issues are size issues. Period. And NO, women under size 4 DO NOT have an easier time shopping sales. Sales are best for sizes 6-10. Don’t get me started on shoes. Apparently my feet are “cute” and that I’m “lucky” to be able to shop youth sizes. WHAT? I’m 37, not 7. Do not use “cute” on me. Then there’s being solidly middle class or above. I been called an “over-privileged brat.” I admit privilege now, but brat? PUH-LEEASSSSSEEEEEE. And there’s a reason why some people talk about “slumming.” Because they don’t want their privilege to show). I brought up women because the issues here are more women-related than general public-related. Guys I know tend to keep their mouths shut/opinions to themselves when it comes to these topics because it isn’t really their place TO comment.

      • Kathleen Lepidas

        Hi, Cynthia. I agree, people should respect other people’s views. And yes, you’re right, some women are judgemental.However, not all of them are. I, for one, go out of my way to be open-minded and fair. I would never judge anyone on their background or social class, and I’ve never accused anyone of being an “over-privileged brat”. The person who accused you of being one sounds ignorant.

        You also mentioned size issues. Did you mean the size issues of petite women? I know from the blogs you have written that you yourself are petite and feel that petite women’s size issues aren’t taken seriously. I, too, am petite and I also feel that our size issues are ignored. Thank you so much for raising this!!! As a 5’2 1/2″, 57-year-old woman who has trouble finding good clothing that fits, I really appreciate your work on behalf of us petites. You also mentioned that your feet are “cute”? Did you mean that your feet are small and hard to fit? Well, so are my feet, so I sympathize with you! Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to respond to my posts.

      • I *KNOW* many/most of us aren’t judgemental, but many are – and women are more judgemental towards other women, especially those who they see as peers. We can be very competitive, too (perhaps due to institutionalized sexism?). As for my feet being “cute,” yes, I wear a 4 1/2 shoe (used to be a five, but they vanity size shoes now).

      • Kathleen Lepidas

        Yes, some (but not all!) women are judgemental and competitive and, yes, it’s probably caused by institutionalized sexism. The best way to handle these types of women is to try to keep some emotional distance from them, if possible. Above all, don’t make friends with them, and if you do (it sometimes happens), get rid of them. And cherish and keep the women friends who aren’t this way.

      • Yes, but sometimes, I feel like you might be downplaying the extremity. Or maybe it’s generational. Perhaps it’s just worse for those of us in the 30-something/40-something range.

      • Kathleen Lepidas

        I’m not downplaying anything. It’s not generational; people my age have more life experience. We no longer have the patience for bullshit (especially not meaningless “competition” with other women), we no longer have time for “frenemies”, we try to cultivate genuine friendships with other women. Anyhow, if you’re looking for guidance in forming real and positive relationships with other women (and with cutting out and/or minimizing the negative ones), you might find the following articles helpful (see the following links).

        Basically, it all comes down to YOU (and me). We have to take charge of our relationships and put negative women (and men) in their place. Anyhow, this is my last post. Best of luck!

        “6 Ways a Feminist Deals With Catty Women Because We’re All Stuck in the Patriarchy”: https://www.bustle.com/articles/112980-6-ways-a-feminist-deals-with-catty-women-because-were-all-stuck-in-the-patriarchy

        “10 Things Women Who Don’t Hate on Other Women Do Differently”: http://www.yourtango.com/2016285676/ten-things-women-who-support-women-do-differently