There’s nothing I love more than a little bit of friendly competition. I love psyching myself up to beat someone and then beating them fair and square. Let’s be honest, we’re all like that. It’s biology. We are genetically programmed to want to beat out the ‘weaker’ of the species so that we can better ensure the success of our own. Charles Darwin proposed this theory in relation to animals he observed in the wild and called it Natural Selection.
Men fight and squabble over who has slept with more women, what soccer/footy team is better, who can drink the most beer and barbecue flavoured chips before they throw up… who’s girlfriend has bigger boobs. Then they laugh about it and clap each other on the back, call each other ‘mate’ (read: lovingly enunciated expletives) and then they go and play FIFA and the cycle continues. Their sense of bromanship and camaraderie is not affected by their exchanges and all is well in the man cave.
Women don’t quite have the same thing. While we’re the same and love a whiplash session of who has the hotter boyfriend, the best nail lady, the cheapest shoes… or the biggest boobs, I often find that we aren’t as capable as bouncing back from the playful bullshit as the boys. We also seem to secretly find ourselves envying those who seem to be happier than we are. I’m guilty of it too.
Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been on the receiving end of some of this behaviour. I’ve always tried to not let my negative feelings get in the way of someone else’s happiness. I am a firm believer in being genuinely happy for the people I care about and always assumed that those around me would extend me the same courtesy. Honestly – If what I am doing is not life threatening or ridiculously stupid, there is really no need for anyone to comment or dictate to me their thoughts and feelings on my current life events. I appreciate your worries, but I can tell when your intentions are insincere.
I understand a woman’s need to compete with other women, but lines start to blur when other people get involved.
I don’t mean girls bitching in unison, I mean the boys in our life unknowingly fighting our battles for us. Something petty becomes a high school style, soap opera stare off that lasts until one person blinks. This isn’t okay. Raising those innocent FIFA battles aren’t so innocent, because it’s not bro against bro, it’s bro fighting for his hoe in the best way Sony knows how. And more then that, it’s the strain that it puts on female relationships in general.
We don’t like to fight. Sometimes it’s unavoidable because our cycles sync and we just argue like psychos over whether or not 50 Shades of Grey is porn and we go home and feel awful. The next day we’re civilly sipping hot chocolates at Max Brenner and discussing what shoes to wear with that dress. These fights aren’t the ones that cause strain because we’re both aware that we’re Regina George for that week of the month and we need a release.
The fights that kill us aren’t the fights that are yelled and screamed. They’re the ones that are quiet and sneaky. We don’t even realise that they’re happening until it’s too late and by that time the damage is usually done. Suddenly they become… mean. Surely they don’t intend to be so mean. Then the snide comments start to flow. Calls don’t get returned and texts get ignored even though you know they’ve been read. Suddenly we start thinking back to all the times that you’ve noticed things changing and you’ve shrugged it off. Sure, people grow apart and start getting into different things, but usually that’s just a calm and natural thing. Nothing feels malicious about it, but this time it does and it really hurts (not that we’d ever admit it). You find yourself telling your boyfriend all about it and he’s like “I… I do not understand… She’s just jealous, baby, don’t worry.”
But we do worry.
We worry because suddenly it’s not just you and your life anymore. Because battles are being fought for you by someone else, you know that your friend has been saying the same thing. The feeling is mutual. Other people being involved make it messy, and ultimately you realise that the behaviour is really immature. Which makes you think your opposition is immature. That you’re better than them, emotionally superior and far more mature. Which makes you just as bitchy. But worst of all… You’re potentially losing someone you care very much about.
When push comes to shove, girls need other girls. The men in our lives aren’t equipped to handle certain situations and won’t have a tampon when you desperately need one at the club. But your girlfriends will. There are things that we can’t tell our mothers about and advice that only another girl can give, but who do you call when you feel you can trust no-one?
Women who seem to be doing better than another get shot down: “Oh, Shannen’s boyfriend Alex is so amazing, she’s so lucky. They look so solid and happy, why the hell can’t my relationship be like that?” Cue fight with her clueless boyfriend, I can see his face now, the poor lad. There are many times when I see a girlfriend who is getting everything that I ever wanted and I’ve thought to myself “I’m really happy for her, but damn that stupid bitch and her 6 month trip to Europe, meeting that gorgeous guy, and her career is shooting into the Stratosphere… Seriously, God, why does she have to be so pretty while I look like a potato”, but I have never once allowed myself to treat them like crap because I’m envious.
I think that in our twenties when we’re still coming into ourselves and sorting ourselves out, we’re more insecure about things then we were as teenagers. That does not give us an excuse to be bitches and bullies.
It’s simply biology, doing what it was made to do. The amazing thing about biology is that it also gave us the ability to gauge a situation and determine what the appropriate reaction should be given our age and life experience. Just because our reactions are a natural human response, does not give anyone the right to shoot anyone down or make them feel bad about their achievements, whether they be professional or personal. We read all this female empowerment bullshit about having equal rights with men, but women don’t seem to be equal among women.
Not all of the above has happened to me and not all women are like this. I’ve compiled stories of personal experience with observations of others, but you all know what I’m talking about. We’ve literally all been there and done that.
So I’m appealing to all the ladies out there who know what’s up: We all want to be envied and to show everyone what we’ve got and I’m not saying we should take this awful girl-world lying down. We are so much better than bitchiness and drama reminiscent of high school. There’s something to be admired about a woman who has dignity and grace and we should strive to be THAT girl.
Because THAT girl? That girl is going to rule the world.
And what a world it will be.