Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why Can't We Be Friends?

I've never fully understood or appreciated the relationships between women. There is so much jealousy, rivalry, and absolute hatred lurking in these relationships.

I've never been a girly girl, and I've always had more male friends than female friends. I don't purposely seek out male friends, but I tend to make them more easily than same sex friendships. I often feel like I'm on a different wave length than women.

I have noticed both in my personal experience and in studies on female relationships, that women tend to choose friends that are of similar attractiveness or friends that they perceive as less attractive than themselves.

I've even had friends tell me that they don't mind if their boyfriend/husband has a "fat" female friend. Obviously they perceive a "fat" woman as less attractive and therefore not a threat.

In college, I was in a class of only about five women, counting myself. By popular consensus, we seemed to fall into the following categories: two "attractive" women, a fat woman, and two "butterfaces". That's cruel and snarky, I know, but since I was friends with guys I heard these things. But more than that I sensed them among the females. I was very shy and suffering from postpartum depression, so I didn't really try to make friends. Neither did my female classmates reach out to me. But they were all friends with one another: the "attractive" one, the "fat" one, and the two "butterfaces" (I feel horrible even writing these terms, but it is not my opinion; it is germane to my story as I use the phrases to illustrate the point). Notice that the attractive female didn't want to befriend me, but she did go out of her way to befriend the other females.

The only time she talked to me really was to offer me a backhanded compliment: "Did you get a job?" "Yeah," I responded. "I noticed you were dressing nicer." Ouch. What a bitch thing to say.

Why do we, as women, do this shit to one another? Like we don't have enough neuroses of our own to contend with, we pile more shit on one another by being catty bitches. I'll admit I'm guilty of this crap. Mainly when I was a teenager. As I entered adulthood and realized what I was doing I began to reign it in. I'll admit I still have snarky thoughts, but I think about them and realize how stupid they are. I no longer act on them.

Here are some interesting studies about women and how they interact with other women:

Attractiveness and Friendship Rivalries

Women more critical of other women at different times during the ovulation cycle

Appearance anxiety and female subordination

This one isn't a study, but rather a book looking at women's rivalry: Tripping the Prom Queen

I've heard and seen so many women get catty and snarky with one another for no good reason. And I've experienced women flirting with and/or trying to make a move on my significant other right in front of me just to be bitches. What is most frustrating about this is that guys seem oblivious to it and will say that I'm just "jealous" or "being a bitch" when I mention it. Women know that guys love having their egos (as well as other things) stroked and know that most guys eat it up whether or not they are committed.

To me, this is one of the most blatantly bitchy things to do. It pisses me off at the woman for both myself and for her. Why does she feel the need to use her sexuality to feel better about herself? Why does she feel the need to upset other women or put other women down to feed her self esteem?

Another huge issue is body image. I've had women tell me they "hate" me because "I'm skinny". First of all, I'm not skinny. I exercise to feel good, be healthy, and to get muscular. To me, "skinny" is an insult. I bust my ass to gain muscle, not get thin. Second of all, why say you hate me? Do you know how rude and insensitive I'd have to be to walk up to someone I've just met and say, "I hate you." And when they ask why I respond, "Because you're fat." How hurtful, disrespectful, and cruel is that? Well, it's the same when you do it to me and say it's because I'm skinny.

I've suffered from body image issues since the age of 11, and I've gone through phases of binging and purging, starving myself, and over exercising. I'm fragile, I'll admit it. So if you call me fat OR skinny I'm going to be upset and it may trigger issues later on for me.

Anyway, the point of all this rambling is that women need to stop this stupid shit. We should be there for one another. Or, if that's too much, just leave one another the hell alone if all we are going to do is tear one another down.

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