Posted by: brittanybishop11 | March 28, 2013

Why do we keep doing it?

It seems to me that one topic of frequent discussion in class has been the tendency of women to harshly judge and cut down other women. So if we are all aware that this is a reoccurring issue and that it doesn’t help women as a whole (psychologically, economically, or socially) then why do we keep doing it? Is it because society perpetuates women attacking other women as a form of entertainment (yes, i’m talking about movies such as mean girls)? Is it because women see it as a quick way to gain power they might otherwise be limited from? Or is it just what girls do? Personally, I believe the problem stems from insecurities women have which are flaunted by media and society and from limited options for women which results in competition. Women are constantly being told what they should look like and how they should act if they are going to get any recognition in this society. But the recognition gained from following these norms is superficial at best and turns women into destructive forces rather than productive and original thinkers. When you are judged by your face and clothes rather than your mind and contributions, you tend to judge others by the same measure and your position at the top of social hierarchy remains dependent on the ability to assert yourself as better than other women. Women who are empowered more through their actions and ideas are likely to be a lot more useful to a group and can depend on their cognitive abilities consistently. They are likely to be in a much more stable position of power if their mind is seen as their greatest attribute and they won’t have to cut other women down. 

Competition is another factor which can lead to women judging each other harshly. When only one female voice can be heard in a room full of men, women have to fight to be that one voice. Men may have limited opportunity in one arena but they are likely to go be able to be heard elsewhere and if their voice isn’t heard because someone else beat them out they don’t take it as personally. Women have much fewer chances to be heard and when they have to be n competition for a resource it’s hard to not take it personally. Men can move on to something else, women often struggle to find something else to move onto and competition therefore becomes a lot more important between women than men.


  1. I do believe in the fact that women do harshly criticize other women. I feel like this has to do with individuals own insecurities and the fact that women feel the need to point out others flaws so that theirs don’t seem as bad. The only way to minimize this though is to start with the younger generations and build up their self-esteem from an early age. Confidence is the key when it comes to being a good leader and if women lack it then they will want to bring others around them down so they can go up. A woman with confidence will be building herself up while keeping those around her up as well. This is easier said then done though. By leading with example, and promoting healthy self-esteem and self image, I believe that the rate in which women tear others down will dramatically decrease.

  2. When I first read the article about women cutting down others it really convicted me to question why I do it myself. I know that I should want to support women in their ability to succeed. But I wonder if one reason women do it is because we often know that there are not many positions at the top for women so sometimes it’s easy to have the mentality that it’s either me or her who’s going to get that top ranking job.

  3. I agree that women have a tendency to knock down other women before they would a man. I think this is due to our socially supported competitive nature. We are taught from a young age that this is a man’s world and we have to do twice as much three times as fast to get any recognition, because of this all other females are potential competition for the 30 seconds of fame we get for overachieving. If we can find a way to overcome these barriers we can potentially turn our competitive nature into something useful rather than just using it to bring each other down which may be a contributing factor to why no woman ever reaches high levels of leadership. As we’ve talked about in class before men have a “old boys network” to climb ladders and succeed but if females are constantly shutting each other out there is no way we could build this sort of networking device.

  4. It seems like it should be a real easy fix right? I probably feel the same as you; we know the answer, treat people equally, yet there are forces (that vary considerably), which force us not too. Hell, I mean we’re still fighting the racism battle which is centuries upon centuries in the making. In our lifetime we won’t stop doing it, maybe not even in my kids lifetime. The problem is too ingrained with too many factors to be defined acceptably and definitively. The easy answer is not easy, and I can’t think of the difficult answer. This will solved by endless stumbling, endless changes, and endless improvements, which, ironically, means it will never be solved at all. Sorry if that’s too cheeky, It’s late and I’m tired.

  5. Although it does seem like an easy fix, I do not believe it actually is such an easy fix. It seems that women seem to judge each other harshly from an early age. There are so many stories in the news, movies, or even people whom we have heard personal experiences from that talk about how challenging it was to be judged by girls there age in middle school, high school, etc. So it makes sense as to why it carries on into adulthood and women feel they are often harshly judged by one another. Jealousy is a natural human instinct, though not pleasant one. Nevertheless women need to understand that if we are passionate about change and changing the limiting mindset men have of women in todays age, then we need to change how we treat one another. That would start with changing how we personally think and act. Although I am not proud to admit it I do catch myself from time to time judging someone I have never met, maybe thinking of she shouldn’t have worn that out, or something silly. This is cultured thinking due to having dealt with the same judging in my adolescents. I am sure I am not the only female college student to do this. We need to understand that we are the next generation to shape societal norms and beliefs, and as woman if we want to gain more respect we need to start by changing our thought processes first.

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