What Katie Said

The War on Other Women

I was standing at Clapham Junction Station on Sunday waiting for my train when I felt someone’s eyes literally burning into the back of my head. I turned around to find a girl, no – a young woman about my age (twenty three) looking at me like I had murdered her mother, her father, her siblings, her grandma, her grandma’s dog, her grandma’s dog’s puppies, and her grandma’s dogs puppies’ puppies (too far?). Seriously, this girl was looking at me like DIRT. I’d never met her. I hadn’t even seen her before I had caught her looking at me. As far as I am aware, there was no reason for her to look at me like that at all. I caught her eye and as I did she gave me the dehumanising up and down look girls give you when they want you to feel self-conscious, and of course – I did. I am only human. I immediately started over-analysing what I was wearing, whether my legs looked fat, or my skirt was too floral, but then I thought – WHAT THE HELL?

The truth was that is wasn’t the first time I had been looked at like that by another woman and it definitely wouldn’t be the last because that’s apparently what women do to other women, and most of the time for no apparent reason. It sounds petty, and very high school drama, but we all know it still happens, and without a doubt we have all been given that horrid up and down look by our friends, our work colleagues, strangers, older women, young women…the list goes on.

I am simply just fed up with women waging war on other women. We all know that we are guilty of it. I am not going to deny that I haven’t caught myself looking at another girl in what may be perceived as a “bitchy look”. I didn’t intend on it being a “bitchy look” in anyway. I’ll be honest and say that if I did find myself taking notice of another girl’s appearance, it’s usually because I am feeling self-conscious. If I am accidentally giving the “stink eye” to a girl with amazingly beautiful long tanned legs it’s because I wish they were MY legs.

I know most women will not be as willing to admit this as me. Most women claim they don’t have a “bitchy” bone in their body (it’s usually these women who are the first to stab the knife in once your back is turned). BUT I know I am not alone. I have seen friends of mine who I know constantly worry about their weight, look the rest of us up and down OR stare at a part of their body and then a part of yours. COMPARING. This is normal in a way we live in a society where we are constantly reevaluating ourselves against others. That’s an issue, of course, but the issue I want to address is that these insecurities we are all harbouring are impacting our relationships and the the way we interact with other women.

There is absolutely no need to rip a girl to shreds with your eyes because you are envious or insecure. Even if you aren’t intending to look at her in that way, you need to be careful on how your actions may be interpreted. That’s the problem really – most women don’t even realise they are doing it (and if they do – then that’s a whole different issue) and definitely wouldn’t admit to doing it.

No one. No human has the right to make another human feel rubbish. AND – women? SERIOUSLY. We have bigger battles to fight than waging war on other women.

I am not saying I have the solution or I even understand the reasons why women turn against other women. I am sure that there are plenty of feminists out there who will blame men, but I don’t think there’s any solution in blaming men. I think this is a problem we need to take ownership of ourselves (even if you won’t admit to yourself that you do it). We need to be more conscious with how our actions (and looks) impact others. If you see a friend looking at another friend or even a random stranger – tell her she looks beautiful. If you catch yourself looking at another girl’s arms because they are slim and perfect and you think yours are fat – tell yourself you are beautiful (or go to the gym), and if you catch the eye of another girl giving you ‘evils’ – SMILE – and remind yourself that she’s probably fighting a battle you know nothing about.

When discussing this blog post with my male and female friends, I was told that this ‘women versus other women’ thing is an age old issue that probably will be never be resolved. I really hope that isn’t true. I really hope that one day if I have a daughter she can grow up in a world where women don’t feed off each others insecurities.

We need to stop waging war on other women.

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