A thought occurred to me earlier this week. As I stood in the middle of a public place watching people walk by, I noticed a major difference in the behavior between passing women and men. When most men pass other men, they either nod at one another and say hey or don’t notice one another at all. Other women almost always notice one another. We compare ourselves to every woman that we pass by. I’ll admit, I’ve caught myself judging, even when I didn’t realize I was doing it! Women in yoga pants and t-shirts glance at the women dressed up for work, their gazes drifting from the heels all the way to the straightened hair. The look is usually followed by a scowl. Sometimes the other woman will even mutter to herself. I am not stereotyping here, this does go the other direction. I have seen women dressed up judging the women who were dressed down just as many time, looking at them like they were lazy or beneath them for not shopping at White House Black Market. I am one of those women who actually enjoys dressing up. I love heels. I like dresses, necklaces, lace, and makeup. I don’t dress for men, or other women, but for myself.
Men don’t automatically dislike someone else based upon what they are wearing. Think about how ridiculous and petty that sounds. Some females actually base an opinion on what another woman is wearing. Wow. I’ve asked multiple men this question. Men don’t compare themselves to one another. It doesn’t even enter their mind. Why would I? Was the reply I received. Why indeed. Why do we constantly compare ourselves to everyone? This really made me think about women, and about my girls. What are we teaching our girls that is reinforcing this behavior? How is this perceived as acceptable? This could have a lot to do with why bio-moms and step-moms don’t always get along. Women just automatically don’t easily like other women. Why is that?
I think that deep down most of us feel threatened. Older women feel threatened by younger women. Sick women feel threatened by healthy women. Poor women feel threatened by wealthy women. Plain women feel threatened by beautiful women. Women of average intelligence feel threatened by witty women. We don’t want to be replaced. This makes me so sad for us. We are the caregivers after all! We should be looking out for one another, and helping each other. What does tearing one another down really solve? Does it really build us up that much?
Please don’t replace me. Please don’t make me feel invisible. Please don’t make me disappear. If you are divorced, think back to that very first week when you were feeling so fragile. If the other person in your relationship was the one who decided to end the marriage, think back to how you felt. I felt like a failure, and any woman who walked into a relationship with my ex would have been a threat at that point in time. When we feel threatened we lash out. The perfect example of two women who allow a man to use them as weapons is LeeAnn Rimes, and Brandi Glanville.
I think it all goes back to self-image. The media have something to do with it, but ultimately I think we have to take responsibility for ourselves. I think we have to teach our daughters how to develop a healthy self-image. Teaching our daughters self-love is more than just telling her how to love herself. It’s also showing her by how you treat yourself. Your daughter is learning how to be treated in her friendships by watching you in your friendships. She is learning how a wife is treated by watching how her father treats her mother. She is learning how to be a mother by watching how you parent. Women learn how to be other women from their mothers. She isn’t just learning from what you’re telling her. She’s learning far more from what you’re not. Remember that. Your children will always remember your actions. They know who shows up, and they know who is standing beside them.
One thing that I recently started trying to think of all women that I don’t know as my relatives. It sounds corny, but it has made a difference in my thoughts. If the woman is older, I think of her as my aunt. If she’s my age, I think if her as my cousin. I smile and ask her how her day is as she walks by. It completely changes the interaction! Everyone should try this.
How do you feel about the way women treat other women? Do you treat strangers better or worse than women you know, and why? Do you have a good relationship with the step-mom or bio-mom in your life?
Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com, and www.bigblendedfamily.com. She is a regular writer on www.herviewfromhome.com, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.