Why Women Need to Support Each Other. I’m Dead Fucking Serious.

Why Women Need to Support Each Other. I’m Dead Fucking Serious.


I’ve claimed many times that I’m not a lady’s lady. I went to an all girls Catholic high school for six years, so I’d had oestrogen up to my eyeballs by the time I graduated. It took a long time for me to learn to trust women, because high school was horrendous. Eye rollingly ridiculous. I had rumours spread about me in year 10 because I had a ‘lesbian phone’. I’m not even kidding. I wasn’t invited to a sleepover for a year because of that rumour. The power of these young women was extraordinary and terrifying. When they combined their powers they could take down teachers, render anyone a social outcast and manipulate boys like putty.

My way of dealing with this was avoidance. Rather than separate the good girls from the bad girls, I just hung out with guys instead. Easy.

The thing I’ve learned, my friends, is that we are all good girls. We are. We’re just fed a lot of B.S early on in life, that makes us believe that we are in competition with each other. Which is utter crap. There’s no winner in life. We are not all competing for the same top spot.  We are all running our own race against ourselves, to get to our own destination. We aren’t all after the same pot of gold. There’s a pot for every one of us, but let me tell you, we have dick all chance of any of us getting to it, if we keep tripping each other up along the way or purposefully pretending that we don’t know a short cut for a fellow lady.

Have you ever not told a girlfriend about a job advertisement because you didn’t want the competition? Or not encouraged your friend to study opera because you were scared she’d be really great at it? Have you ever known that a great guy likes one of your girlfriends but not told her because you were jealous? I’ve seen women gang up and tear other women down and somehow make it look like an accident. I’ve seen women be phased out of friendship groups, be selectively not invited to social events and I’ve seen women actively point out when fellow female co-workers leave early so they in comparison would appear more dedicated. I’ve seen women flirt with other women’s men, right in front of them. I’ve seen women literally turn their backs to other women at dinner tables, trying to block them from the conversation.

We need to stop this. Now. I’m dead fucking serious.

I’ve seen it everywhere. In mothers groups, in the work place, at schools and even in social circles. It’s disgusting and unimpressive.

Do you want to know what would be impressive? Is if we used our combined powers to kick the world’s arse. We could run alongside each other in life and be each others coaches. We could continue to run our races alone, but we’d finish it faster if we had our lady friends to point out the shortcuts, to encourage us to keep running when we are exhausted and to be there to greet us with a glass of champers when we cross the finish line.

There’s not only one book deal, not only one amazing wedding dress, not only one successful actress, not only one CEO job, not only one breathtaking apartment, not only one promotion, and not only one decent man for us all to share. Just because another woman succeeds does not mean that you won’t.

How utterly foolish of any of us to think that. It seems that we may be our own collective worst enemy. How embarrassing.

The world is a giant block of rich, delicious chocolate. Wouldn’t we feel better if we shared it?

Oh and one more thing. We really are all good girls. Lets remember that.

If you have anything to add please feel free to comment here or on twitter or facebook.

Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.

45 Comments

  1. Nikki Parkinson 3 years ago

    Could not agree more. You are so, so wise. Since I left the politics of a newsroom for my own business and blogging, I’ve actually made a point of playing exactly the opposite of what I left behind. I champion others, I refer and recommend others on a daily basis and I share info I know will make a difference in other people’s lives. And you know what? That’s a much more rewarding way to do business!

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      I was actually think of you as I wrote it! I’m meeting more and more supportive bloggers recently and I’m loving it. The blogging game was very competitive to begin with but it’s women like you (and me!) helping to change that!

      x

      • Nikki Parkinson 3 years ago

        Well, THANK-YOU.  So looking forward to meeting you at ProBlogger.  And I’m so pro the supportive thing – left behind politics and toxic workplaces when decided to go it alone. Much prefer playing this way ;)

  2. Michelle 3 years ago

    HELL YEAH. That’s all I gotta say. 

  3. Michelle 3 years ago

    Can I just say I’m also really tired of women attacking women when they don’t share the same opinions as them about topics like feminism? When women attack women, everyone loses. I don’t understand the idea that some women feel that if a woman disagrees with them about feminism (even if it’s just one tenet or idea that feminism holds etc.) then that woman immediately is an “enemy” to feminism. Like, really? Can you not handle people thinking differently? Do women have to be attacked for not wanting to call themselves “feminists”? 

    ANYWAY, I totally agree with you. Women attacking women is wrong and it makes me sad. I was bullied through most of school by my fellow female classmates and it was a pretty horrific experience that left me very socially anxious and unable to relate to a lot of women. 

  4. Harlow 3 years ago

    Ohhh I too could do a whole blog post about this! One thing that annoys me is how oblivious men are to this behaviour until it gets to the point where you’d have to be an idiot not to notice. One thing I really hate is women shop assistants that work in stores like Tarocash and just most mens wears stores. For some reason they see it their mission in life to shamelessly hit on every single guy that comes into the store with their girlfriend. What is this disgusting behavior, I swear I am not the only one out there who has had to deal with this, it has happened to a few of my friends too!

    And then of course there is the women who gang up on others and shamelessly make it their mission to harrass another woman because she just so happens to have a great boyfriend/clothes/sense of confidence, ect. I’m just getting so sick of the bitchy behavior that there are moments I find it hard not to bitch slap someone. I mean, why do women have to constantly be at war with each other???

  5. Cilla 3 years ago

    Damn right, Smaggle.
    Though I have also seen women flying to another woman’s aid, to nurture her and protect her, to make her a cup of tea and support her as only another woman can.
    This is why I think women are awesome.

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      I’ve certainly also seen that. Because when women are awesome, it’s magical.

  6. MsCritique.com 3 years ago

    Great minds. I was just having a girly chit-chat on the weekend about this. I love what you’ve written. Love. And I wholeheartedly agree. I try and make a conscious decision everyday to be positive and celebrate the achievements of others, particularly my girlfriends. 

    There’s always enough success to go around and I truly believe that like really does attract like. And the same can be said for the opposite. If we were all just a little more generous with our time and our spirit, imagine how much richer our friendships/work relationships would be.
    Smaggle, I can NOT wait for our dinner. XX

    @StylingYou:disqus  Nikki  That’s what I’ve always loved your blog Nikki. I like how you’re not drawn into the politics of blogging! You really do champion other bloggers and I love that. I really do. XX

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      Me too! When are you down here finally?

  7. M J 3 years ago

    I take ages to feel comfortable with groups of women even now, many years after being pushed about by the girls at my highschool.  Mentally pushed about.  Allowed ‘in’ to the cool group, getting kicked out for some unfathomable reason, being allowed in again, teased a bit for big lips (ha ha suckers you are the ones getting collagen now!) In the end I just hung out in the library with the kids (boys and girls) who were way more interesting and interested in things. 
    I like to think we are all good girls.  I find it hard sometimes. 

  8. Carla 3 years ago

    I’ve never really known how to make friends with girls – never was really into make-up or clothes or girltalk in the same way my female friends were. My biggest problem though was that I never really found female friends who weren’t afraid to talk about the serious things in life. The scary stuff, like dying and spirituality and politics and our places in the world. Not to mention that they seemed intent on infighting and backstabbing – this all just really confused me. A lot of them were incredibly intelligent, but they seemed to lack basic human morality at times.

    I still really struggle with women. So much so that I only really like or will be open with a select few. Probably doesn’t help that only a little over two years ago my best female friends turned against me in a pretty vicious way, over my boyfriend whom one of them didn’t like (I should point out he was my best friend before we got together, and we are still going strong three years on).

    I agree with what you’re saying however, and I think it’s important that girls recognise they don’t need to compete with each other. 

    Tavi wrote a pretty cool article recently on  getting over girl hate, which whilst aimed at a younger audience really resonated with me as it highlighted a lot of reasons girls ‘hate’ – http://rookiemag.com/2011/09/getting-over-girl-hate/

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      I’m really lucky in that my male friends started dating amazing women who are now my friends. It’s all about finding the right gals.

      • Jo 3 years ago

        But didn’t you say all girls are good..?

  9. Lucinda 3 years ago

    I totally agree. I’m also ashamed to say, I’ve been guilty of some of those behaviours, and there was no need to act the way I did.  At least I can identify it though, and be a good role model for myself and others, and put a positive vibe out there.

  10. Lucinda 3 years ago

    I totally agree. I’m also ashamed to say, I’ve been guilty of some of those behaviours, and there was no need to act the way I did.  At least I can identify it though, and be a good role model for myself and others, and put a positive vibe out there.

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      We’ve all been guilty of it. Even it we were five.

  11. Sarah Rooftops 3 years ago

    Here here! I love this!

  12. Elisabeth Neuhaus 3 years ago

    Thank you. That is all. 

  13. Susan Tiner 3 years ago

    Well said.

    “The world is a giant block of rich, delicious chocolate. Wouldn’t we feel better if we shared it?” I love this.

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      I think we’ve all overdosed on the good stuff, am I right? :-)

  14. Elaine 3 years ago

    Sadly – I’d rather stick with men friends because they don’t give birth. Perhaps there’s something in the water over here but I’m a bit fed up of the giant sense of privilege/pity for those who don’t have ‘a little one of their own’ that descends once a child is born. I can only imagine the hell of it if you’re desperately trying to have children but can’t. Newsflash – I’m amazed and happy that you’ve got your baby – but really, there’s nothing wrong with me or the fact that I don’t want one too.

    Having said that – gender is no barrier to feckwittage. But it does make me sad (and almost bite my tongue off) when I see women passing down the ‘competitive feminine’ bullcr@p down to their children. Perhaps we need to nurture each other, not by being more ‘nice’ – but by championing assertiveness and self-esteem for everyone – whether it be on issues of gender, sexuality, age, physicality – whatever.

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      Too true. That’s why I call myself a humanist, not a feminist.

  15. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. I don’t experience this much because I’m pretty careful of my friendship group but it could be happening behind my back. 

    I know it’s not very charitable, but I sometimes do get a kick out of seeing my school’s Queen Bees all fat and with dull husbands. Being ultra popular and bitchy at school doesn’t make you a particularly interesting adult it seems. (MEOW!)

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      Just quietly, me too! But I’ve found that the women that behave the worst need the most support. Not surprisingly.

  16. Kimberley 3 years ago

    “Just because another woman succeeds does not mean that you won’t.” Love this. Sabotaging others doesn’t help us in any way.
    Let’s spread the hippy dippy positivity and rid the world of this destructive bitching and hair pulling! Wise words Carly. :) xx

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      Thanks love! That’s why I swore in the post. Didn’t want to come across too touchy feely.

  17. Jennifer Jordan 3 years ago

    Amen.  All about the girl power, when we choose to collaborate over compete…the world is a much better place. 

    • Author
      Smaggle 3 years ago

      Agree. We can do extraordinary things if we work as a team.

  18. WendyBrandes 3 years ago

    What the hell is a lesbian phone?

    And I’ve always loved working with women. Men can be such hormonal assholes :-D

  19. red 3 years ago

    This is one read that made me think deeply how I treat my girlfriends. Thank you, Lady Smaggle. This is an eye-opener.

  20. Oh man, back working on a college campus (co-ed but still), I see SO MUCH OF THIS. And it gives me vivid flashbacks to my own horror years in high school—years I’d rather not relive.

  21. UN-stitched 3 years ago

    I shivered  when I read bits of this post, particularly the exclusion behavior.  I was afraid of most girls I grew up with for that very reason.  It’s true – they held a certain power and that was very strange and very real.  I’m happy to say I haven’t run into that much as an adult.  But at the same time, I’m very selective who I talk and associate myself with.  Really, blogging is the only community where I have been so readily accepted by other women. 

  22. Kato 3 years ago

    Just wanted you to know, this post encouraged me to share a job opening with a more qualified colleague, instead of selfishly keeping it to myself. I feel better already :)

  23. Erin F. R. 3 years ago

    YES, YES, AND MORE YES.  I attribute this problem of the “mean girl” phenomenon to society’s bullshit principle that there is only so much room for the ladies.  I think girls and young women are led to competition because we’re told that we have to be impossibly perfect, and even if we do somehow meet that standard there are only so many spots for the Best Women; everyone else is just not worthy of love/attention/friendship/etc. So of COURSE we get mean and nasty! Time to band together, ladies. Rock on, sister girl!  

  24. Omega 3 years ago

    YES!! THIS!!!!

    Imagine how much further the feminism movement may have gotten if the cat-fighting ended once and for all. It astounds me how cruel women can be to other women. 

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  26. Guest 3 years ago

    Totally agree!!! I am dealing with this bullshit right now and I am 40 years old!!! Didn’t like it in highschool and have better things to worry about now. It’s so sad how so many women do not use their “powers” for good… to bring themselves and each other up, but rather to tear down those around them.

  27. yTravelBlog 3 years ago

    I’m late to the party which is not like me in reality! Just stumbled upon this and could not agree more. I get pissed all the time at the cattish way women behave. I feel such shame because I think we are so much better than this and I hate the name we give ourselves.

    I’ve not been good at women’s groups etc and was always a blokey chick growing up and still kinda am. I just loved feeling accepted no matter what. You could just be yourself  and didn’t have to worry about the backstabbing and bitching. I just wanted to have fun.

    I have some wonderful girl friends though and I just kind of stick to them as I trust them and we have so much fun together- we’ve never participated in that kind of nasty behaviour. I recently went out to dinner with another group of friends who constantly gossip and bitch, which is why I don’t go out with them much. It was horrible My only way to suffer the dinner experience was to drown out the noise with wine, bottles of it. I ended up so drunk I went home to the wrong house!

  28. Ashleah Davis 2 years ago

    Love this article, I feel as though I am a pretty positive person, and I’ve just come to realise that some people are just never going to play nice. There’s only so many times you can be the better person, shine a positive light on a situation before some ‘friends’ start to bring you down to their level. Cut loose from them and soar into the clouds!

  29. Guest 1 year ago

    Please update this blog!! It is wonderful, oustanding!! I love it and so so do all my friends. 7-4-13

  30. Enlightened Realist 1 year ago

    I really think you’re whistling in the wind here. If a girl is no longer in highschool then she doesn’t need to read this. Adult women are either collaborative or competitive. You just have to choose who to associate with, and who to avoid. I appreciate your sentiment and I agree with the base concept except for one thing – not all girls are nice. No way. That’s a pure fantasy. Some women are evil. Some women are evolved. Most women are somewhere between the two extremes. The only thing to do it give freely of yourself and eventually you will attract the right women, and encourage more out of them. Don’t waste time with competitive bitches. That behaviour is immoral and they know what they’re doing is wrong.

    Like you, I like being friends with men. They’re simpler, more reliable, less competitive, and more genuinely helpful (i.e. not just trying to get into your pants). Sure you have to deal with the sex issue (nip it in the bud early on and if they can still be friends with you it’s awesome forever) but you never have to put up with the bullshit (unless they’ve got Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and seriously, everybody should look that up coz it’s RIFE these days and you need to be prepared – they are a step down from a sociopath and WAY worse than a bitch)!

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