Sunday, 18 September 2011

Girls on girls

Recently on TV a – rather poor to be honest – film from a couple of years back has been shown – Bride Wars. The film tells of how two former best friends fall out and become enemies when their upcoming weddings are accidentally double booked at their same dream venue on the same day. Although rather extreme for the purposes of movie entertainment, it’s not really too shocking to imagine two women doing such things to each other.

Us ladies aren’t always that nice to one another and are very quick to judge it has to be said. Recently I read an article in Stylist magazine about how women look at others around them and rather than coming together in some form of ‘sisterhood’, we go into competitive mode and to put it bluntly ‘bitch’ about one another instead.

I remember years back on one of my many journalism-related work experience placements, I ‘worked’ on a girls magazine. Well that sure set my mind straight that I probably didn’t really want to be getting a role on a female magazine anytime soon. Everyone walking into the room got the once over by their ice-cold eyes and knowing looks and supposedly discreet nudges were followed not long after.

If you think of a girl with tanned skin, a large chest and fake nails – what thoughts come into your mind? Or on the other hand someone with puffy hair, bad skin and no make up on? A confident, attractive woman in a high up role in a company with a male boss? How about that woman who has a child and soon after rushes back to work and starves herself in a bid to lose the baby weight? Any positive thoughts or terms coming to mind? Thought not.

Why is it then we treat our fellow females in this way? According to a psychologist from Queen’s University Belfast, talking to Stylist, it can be argued our behaviour is “mate competition” and we are trying to beat our way to the front of the queue for the hottest male specimens. Hm…so why do we still judge one another when we’re in happy, stable relationships then?

Judi James, author of The Body Language Bible (again courtesy of Stylist – told you I love that magazine!) seems to think we judge others on those things we’re insecure about.

I’m just as guilty as the next person in judging other women and like most of us have also been at the other end and found myself being judged throughout the years. It’s not nice.

Lately I’ve had an eye infection and for some reason it just won’t shift. This felt like the end of the world when I woke up to another day at my new job and discovered my eyes were puffed up, gooey, red, sore and itchy. There was no way makeup could get anywhere near my freak face, oh no. So I had to go to work with no makeup on, in fact for a number of days now I’ve had to go to my new job wearing no eye make up whatsoever. For a girl addicted to her kohl pencil and liquid eyeliner this is not a pleasant experience. I’ve realised too that the main reason I felt so insecure about it was in part due to judgements I myself have made on others about lack of makeup/looks in the past.

A girl has a baby before she gets married or when she’s still very young, who’s to say whether that is right or wrong if she brings up the child well and with unconditional love? Someone wears a gypsy-wedding style dress on their big day, why should they be labelled a ‘chav’ and attention seeking? A woman goes back to work after having children despite not needing the extra money, she just wants a career – why shouldn’t she? An extremely successful lady in the company who is very attractive and all your male colleagues like her – why do you then conclude she must have ‘slept her way to the top’?

On the flip side I can remember at school being very conscious of praising another female or expressing a positive opinion based on their looks. Why? Because you’d be accused of being a lesbian. How ridiculous are we??

As everybody knows a lot is judged on looks – something I plan to blog about at a later point. Really then I shouldn’t be all that surprised that when I find a female I do comment on now it tends to be on their looks? Shallow? Just a little. For example of late I’ve been saying how I’d love to look like Mila Kunis – just focussing on her big Bambi eyes and enviable figure. No, no mention of her acting abilities or anything of achievement, just that she is attractive.

We argue we don’t want men to look at us based on appearance and as sexual objects, but sometimes I wonder what do we expect if we do the same thing ourselves to each other? Someone has plastic surgery, the majority of the time you presume they are a wag wannabe, you don’t stop to think perhaps that area of their body genuinely did cause them extreme unhappiness.

In this digital age where social media seems to have taken over and we have access to images, information and opinions from anyone, anywhere and at any time it’s no wonder we all have our own opinion on everything. When Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a neuroscientist, spoke to Stylist magazine, she stated how we have no time to “fully digest and process” a whole story and the emotion behind it because before we know it we’re “bombarded by the next bit of information”. Are we just too busy then in life to be kind and caring and supportive? Is empathy and relating to your fellow females just too much to worry about nowadays?

A while back I talked about politeness and trying to treat other people how you’d like to be treated. Maybe before we judge someone we need to start thinking about how we feel, how hard it is to walk into a bar full of well-dressed attractive women and feel you don’t quite match up – your original night-out confidence gone. Or doing well at work and receiving praise only to be met with snide remarks whispered behind your back about just how you got yet another payrise. Next time, before you look at that girl on the train and her chipped nails or not quite perfect hair, or that woman feeding her child greasy chips not fresh fruit and vegetables, have a think about how you often feel around other women and just stop to think.

Sorry then to any men who clicked on this link hoping to read about or perhaps even view evidence of some girl-on-girl action. I’m afraid yes it just about us ladies and how we should come together instead of making life harder for ourselves going it alone. In fact, look there I go again – prejudging the male viewers of this blog and presuming they would read a sexual theme into this post. I’m a woman alright? I just can’t help myself!

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