“95% of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
When we’re children, we are fed a number of fallacies. As we grow, we discover (through a combination of education, life experience and conversations with different people) that what we have been taught is not necessarily the truth. We then have to grapple with redefining our realities.
One such fallacy is the idea that women hate each other and that they do so for no apparent reason. Well, it is not a complete fallacy. It is a statement that is partially true and utter bullshit at the same time. It is an idea that I was introduced to at a young age and I grew up believing it was true. For many years, it affected how I interacted with and related to other girls.
At age 12, I was such a tomboy. I loved wearing t-shirts, jeans, skater shoes, sneakers and hoodies. I was into anything with wheels – a BMX bike, a skateboard, roller blades, a scooter… You name it, I had it. All that didn’t win me any favour from the girls who behaved how girls were expected to behave. They ridiculed my best friend and I, shut us out and over time, made us believe that they truly hated us.
Getting treated like that got old after a while and in retaliation, I became an even bigger bully than they were. (Hey, I was 13 at the time, I didn’t know any better than “if you cannot beat them, join them.”) Most of the interactions I had with girls in my teenage years were aggressive and they alternated between verbal and physical altercations.
All of this was based on the fact that the idea that “women hate each other” was an idea that I had internalized.
“If she doesn’t like me then I don’t like her!” I never took the time out to think about why that might be nor did I ever think about amicably resolving the issue. I didn’t even need a reason to internalize it at that age – it was an experience that I was living through and that was reason enough for me.
As I grew older, the aggression became less physical and we girls began to engage in intellectual and psychological warfare. It was at that same time that the movie Mean Girls blew up, social media was booming and hormones were raging (making us even more emotional than usual).
We fell into the pattern of calling each other names, taking shots at other girl’s sexual liberation and doing everything we could to tear each other down. The meaner my friends were, the more I loved them, until I didn’t anymore. Behaving like Regina George and Blair Waldorf was fun but that fun was fleeting. That life not only became exhausting, after a while, it started to drain the life out of me.
I didn’t want to hate other girls, nor did I want to fight with them, so I convinced my clique to cool it.
I began to socialize with people in a different way and I really enjoyed it, until my very own mean girls felt it necessary to bully, ridicule, demean and dismiss every new friend I made. No one “new” was allowed into the clique. Yes, a clique that even had its own name.
In addition to all that, I was torn between academia and my social life (and how that affected the spot I maintained in the hierarchy). My intellect was a badge I was proud to wear and it was something that I was not going to give up for anyone or anything but the trappings of the life of a popular kid were nice too. Long story short, I was the only one in the clique who passed matric well enough to study towards a Bachelors degree (and as things stand, I am probably the only one that has made it through college). One degree and 2 jobs later, I am no longer friends with those girls and I highly doubt that they are even still friends with each other.
My realization that women do not arbitrarily hate each other actually came when I chose to cut those girls off and make my first non-dramatic friend (Nicole Timmerman).
The first girl I spoke to on the first day of journalism class and we’ve been talking each other’s ear off ever since. It is there that I also met Lethabo Bogatsu, another friend that helped me realize the utter bullshit behind the idea that women just hate each other for no reason.
I also recently discovered just how much I really enjoy seeing another woman flourish. Whether she came to the mall dressed to kill or she’s holding it down at work or at home, my heart smiles every time I see a woman being great at being a woman. This appreciation has even extended to social media.
Woman Crush Wednesday (aka #WCW) is a worldwide social media phenomenon in which you post a photo (usually on Instagram) of a woman that you have a crush on. For me however, Woman Crush Wednesday has become a platform to show love to the women that I have come to appreciate over the past few years.
Some have great style, while others are great listeners. Most are hilariously funny and others just brighten up your day with their bubbly presence and inexplicable pineapple obsession. A lot of them have fuelled my desire to be great while all of them remind me why (despite all the shit we have to put up with), being a woman is awesome.
With all that said, women do not just hate each other for the sake of it. We dislike other women (and men) for the terrible things they do and the terrible people that they are. There is absolutely nothing petty, bitchy, envious or mean about that. So the next time you hear an “ugh, I can’t stand her,” do not fall back on the asinine reasoning that women just hate each other and that’s that.
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