As more and more women start to identify themselves as feminists, there is still one problem we have to talk about. For whatever reason, we women find the need to compete with one another. This may not be true for everyone but it’s an issue that exists.
Maybe it started with society’s unrealistic standards of women. We feel we needed to look a certain way so we start comparing ourselves to photoshopped models in magazines. We started telling ourselves, “I want to look like her” and started to question why we didn’t. Perhaps this kind of thinking began at school when your teachers put a student up on a pedestal and asked everyone to follow in her footsteps. I’m sure you’ve heard your parents say, “Why can’t you be like your sister?” Because she got honors and had extra curricular activities. There is nothing wrong for praising someone who has achieved greatness but these little comments have turned into toxic motivators. Some of us have grown up with goals that aren’t personal but rather ones that are comparable to your colleagues. We downplay our achievements because it’s not better than someone else’s.
Another factor that could have made this worse is social media. Instead of being a platform for communication, connection, and creativity, it has become a breeding ground for negativity. FOMO has become people’s reality and we’re posting photos for likes and comments. Personally, I’ve gone through many social media breaks because of the pressure I felt from seeing other people’s success on Instagram. I would make nasty comments about a girl’s appearance or feel bad for myself when I saw my peers reach new milestones. It almost felt like a reflex. Like I had to say something to make myself seem better.
I do believe that cleansing yourself from social media once in a while is essential but what’s more important is to be able to brush off these emotions. We have to be able to be happy for other women when they’ve done something great. We shouldn’t be tearing each other down but rather build one another up.
Don’t be ashamed to share your accomplishments. It might have a positive impact on other girls too. And, instead of seeing fellow women as competition, we should look at each other as allies. We should help and inspire one another. If you start reacting positively to other women, you’ll start to see a change in how you feel and how it affects her. If we can keep this upward cycle going, maybe this women vs women mindset could turn into a lifestyle of women for women instead.
Art by Marian Hukom
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