Today, I spotted Why It’s So Important That Women Empower Other Women, and I thought I’d address the subject, because the idea of women supporting each other has become so important to me.
It has taken a really, really long time (much of it spent on Tumblr) for me to realize that one woman’s beauty is not a lack of your own. The same goes for accomplishments.
Girls and women will succeed by lifting each other up, not cutting each other down. Life is not a competition, and you can gain so much from admiring and supporting someone else without using their best features to bring yourself or others down. I mean it.
Cynthia Kane puts this in words in her article Seeing Other Women as Allies Rather Than Enemies: a How-to better than can:
“I’ve definitely been the type to see a beautiful woman walk into a room and feel less-than, have a friend receive a better grade and feel stupid, or, honestly, see any woman doing anything spectacular at all and feel not only jealous, but also the nagging feeling that I could never accomplish the same things.
When I looked at other women’s accomplishments, I felt worse about myself.
I would first note the gaps and weaknesses in my own life, and then start picking and finding ways to break down the women who were – as far as I could tell – responsible for making me feel this way.
Criticizing was my defense mechanism.
And even though I thought it would make me feel good, all it really did was make me feel depleted and disappointed in myself.
I think that this – girl-on-girl hate – is a phenomenon that many of us can relate to. We get so many messages telling us that only some women are successful, that only certain women are beautiful, that we need to fight to get to the top where there are limited spots that we turn on one another.
Even just by looking at many television shows, movies, and magazines – especially ones aimed at women, we can see how women are pitted against one another. And we act that out in reality, too.
It’s the best joke the patriarchy ever played on us.
It’s easy to cut each other down, to make comparisons, and to criticize. It’s what we’ve been taught to do.
But think for a minute about what our lives would look and feel like if instead, we were supportive – if we celebrated instead of lamented.
Maybe we could learn to see other women’s ways of being or accomplishments as models for what we could achieve – or as examples of our glorious diversity – as opposed to reflections of what we lack.”
If we built more confidence up in girls from an early age, the “I’m only friends with guys because girls cause drama” mentality can go right into the trash can where it belongs.
Instead of competing with other women at work or in the classroom, playground, or wherever you are, collaborate with them. Compliment them. Instead of either feeling inadequate or setting someone else back, you’ll both get further (and feel better).