I’m pretty sure there is a saying out there that goes along the lines of “Guys fight rough, but girls fight dirty”. Or I could’ve just made that up, but I hope you get my gist. Women are known to be cattier, bigger gossips and a whole lot more dramatic. Take the movie “Mean Girls”, for example. It’s a jungle out there for us, and the pressure to be the best, look good and be liked by everyone is VERY difficult. I’m not sure if it was the media, society or ourselves that put this pressure on us, but I’m sure y’all have felt it since you were little.
We’re the Queens of the side-eye, the jealousy, the judgement and the plain drama. When did it become a competition between all of us to be the better or more liked one? We’ve been conditioned to think that if one woman is doing well, then we aren’t doing enough. So here is where the backstabbing, the gossip and the cattiness starts. We’ve pitted ourselves against each other because we’ve been taught that there can only be “one” queen bee.
Which, by the way, we all know is Beyoncé.
In school, I’ve always looked at other girls in my grade and envied them. I looked at the popular girls and thought that if I had the cool clothes, wore makeup or flirted with the cute boys, I could be like that. I was always interested in their lives and their gossip, hoping to be closer to the “in” crowd. To tell y’all what happened from elementary to high school, I was never popular. I got caught up in other people’s business because I wanted to be part of it! It finally ended in college when I realized that the whole “popular” thing was a waste of time and energy! I don’t think anyone actually cares if you were popular in elementary, middle or high school.
At James Madison University, I started investing in myself and my interests. I took a sociology course about gender equality that completely turned everything around. I learned about patriarchy, white privilege and privilege itself in any instance. I read more about feminist topics and changed my thinking habits and actions. I learned that women are pitted against each other constantly, to fight for the number one spot of being the best at whatever. I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve torn down other girls because I was filled with jealousy and self doubt. I’ve gossiped about other girls and belittled their achievements because I didn’t feel good about my own. This made me weak.
We need strong women. “Strong women” are the ones who work their butts off to achieve their goals. They are the ones that use their voice to make a difference. The women who juggle four or five things at once and still make it work. There are the “strong women” who stand united, and THAT is what is the most important. Instead of competing with each other, we need to stand together to achieve a greater goal for the women now and the women in the future. I know, it sounds like I’m ranting, but this is such a heartfelt topic for me!
The “Strong” Woman:
Embrace your unique voice!
You are a diva, you know, the female version of a hustler. Well, that’s what Beyonce said. We all have unique voices, experiences and stories. Every one of us comes from a specific background that shapes us into the type of woman we are. Relish in your unique voice and use it to lift up other women and other girls. I believe that by sharing our experiences and stories, we are making a difference to one person who could be struggling with what we did in some way.
WE ARE CONFIDENT, INDEPENDENT AND HELLA FIERCE
Y’all, I want you to read that again. That little phrase has been my mantra for almost three years! I’ve been telling myself since junior year of college that I am a fierce lady. When I was 20 (I’m talking about this like I’m super old, I’m not that old), I was dumped and told that I was too dependent on another person. When I heard that, that lit a fire in me to prove that they were wrong. I wanted to prove I had my own voice. I’m sharing my mantra in case you need to hear it, too! We are confident, independent and hella fierce! And even if you don’t feel like it right now, I want to tell you that you are. If you’re fighting through the hard times and pushing through, then you ARE confident and fierce. Also, faking it until you make it actually works.
Build each other up
This part can be a bit tough. It’s easy to think that other women are your competition; especially because we’ve been taught that ever since we were little. I’ve secretly competed with other girls to be “better” than them, because I actually envied them. Ladies, we are so much stronger together than we are apart. A strong woman is the encourager who shares and inspires others.
This is probably the toughest one for me, too. When I see other bloggers who have more followers or are doing “cooler” things than I am, I instantly feel like I suck. I get jealous and begin comparing myself or try to copy what they’re doing. When I see other women start blogging or doing things that I have been telling myself to do, I start considering them my competition. My first thought is usually that they could take away my followers and create better content than I can. This leads to lots of panic and anxiety about being the “better” blogger. My second thought is to erase what I’ve just panicked about, and instead encourage them to explore their new interest. My ultimate goal is to inspire and help others. So, I swallow my pride and my jealousy, and offer suggestions or encouragement. That’s something I would have wanted someone to do for me! This is tough to do, but I’ve actually felt more inspired by helping other people.
Ladies, if there is one woman that you have been secretly competing with, I want you to let it go. Instead, I challenge you to reach out to her and share how their work actually inspires you. I mean, if you’re trying to compete against them in a “fake competition”, chances are their work inspires you in some way. Or, if you see someone who is starting a hobby or business like your own, offer them support. For me, this means blogging, traveling or vlogging. We’re stronger together than we are apart. We can do SO much more when we’re encouraging one another instead of tearing each other down! What do you think makes up a strong woman? Share in the comments below!