Blog disclaimer: The following post is not representative of all women and their relationships. Few pieces of writing can ever do that- be realistic. This also doesn't reflect women in all parts of the world. That's impossible too. This is an overarching theme observed in my own life and the media.
February 13 has come and gone and many Parks and Recreation lovers took the opportunity to celebrate Galentine's Day across the land. Women gathered their close girl friends, brunched, went to movies and drank some wine to celebrate their female friendships- minus all the dudes in their lives. As like many holidays, even the ones created by sitcoms, one day out of the year hype just isn't enough to really observe the reasons for the seasons (President's Day/Columbus Day being the exceptions).
So the point of this blog is that women should to get together and celebrate their friends more?
Ah, nope, not exactly. To overgeneralize, I would say that most women are pretty darn good at making time to grab coffee or lunch just to catch up, recharge or just make sense of their lives with other lady friends. We are super good at hashing out relationships, talking about others, making our friends feel better and, a lot of times, rationalizing missteps. While a lot (or kind of most) women would do pretty much everything for their close friends, what about all the other women that we don't brunch or life coach with?
So yeah, what about those not-so-brunch-worthy women in our lives?
Ask any middle school student or watch any episode of The Bachelor, some women can be all out tribal (Mean Girls reference) in how they form friendships and treat others. While competition among peers should make us want to better ourselves and rise to the occasion, sometimes women are better at bringing each other down. Could we be part of the cause of the inequalities that still exist between the sexes? Are we part of the reason that women aren't always reaching our full potential?
I recently read an article about Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, who spoke in regards to why women are smarter but they're not running Bolivia's government.
"I don't want to annoy men, but I'm seeing that women are more intelligent. It hurts me as a man, but it's true," the president said after after noticing a consistent trend in the country's women attaining better grades.
In a previous speech, Morales also mentioned that he thought women would be running the country because they're more hardworking and honest, but aren't because they continue to fight against each other and are "capricious little creatures."
While Morales may be a bit condescending and reductionist in not addressing the "Old Boy's Clubs" and systemic issues that keep women out of decision making positions, to fully dismiss what he is saying would be naive.
We cannot entirely put full blame on the systems. We first need to make the changes within ourselves before we can expect the system to change. When this happens, we will be on the right track toward men and women having access to the same opportunities.
It isn't about hating men. It's about just liking other women.
...And believing in other women. OR even just giving them a chance.
So what can we do?
Treat every woman like a potential Galentine's Day brunch partner.
I know not every woman will be your super friend. However, first impressions can be pretty rough. Keep in mind that even though some things about others may annoy the crap out of us, but if we give each other chances, we can see that everyone can offer us something. You never know what you can learn from someone other people have written off.
Chill out on the judgments.
Clothes, hair, makeup, romantic relationships and social status are things to talk about-sometimes, I guess. Finally in 2015, we are demanding that women on the red carpets of Hollywood be asked questions beyond "who they're wearing" and "what it was like kissing that male."
This is so much more important for women nowhere near red carpets or flashing lights to evaluate each other beyond what they eat, how much time they spend looking in the mirror in the morning, and how many times they wore the same outfit within one month.
More importantly, why are we always evaluating women on the basis of their romantic experiences? Why does that make her less or more of a valid person? Get it together. Unless it's absolutely affecting her physical or mental health, leave it alone.
Judge other women on things that will actually get them somewhere. Ask them intelligent questions. Expect the most of others. Push the women and young girls in your life to be their best selves.
Consider the language you use when describing other women.
I'm officially over hearing women write others off because they're a "bitch," "whore" and/or "slut."
I'm making a very honest attempt to use better descriptions and evaluating why I may reduce another woman to one word. Use more words, or better yet, check your gender stereotypes first.