Women Supporting Women

Post Disclaimer: When I say “we”, I mean myself and other women I’ve spoken to on this subject. When I refer to “men” or “society”, I don’t mean every last one. I mean the ones it applies to. This isn’t meant to offend anyone. If it applies to you, you’ll know. Also, I cuss like a sailor. Get over it.

This post is dedicated to: Alyssa, Lauren, Brittany, Nikki, Michelle, Chelsea and Torri. I love you guys. You’re amazing. 

This post may jump around a little because I’m passionate about its content and have a lot to say on the matter. You’ll have to forgive me now. I’ve written about this subject multiple times and decided to express my views here as well.

So here goes nothing

Why do women constantly pick each other apart? If you’re reading this thinking “I’ve never done this.”, let me be the first to say, I don’t fucking believe you. We all have. Myself included. We live in a world where everything from your clothing style, weight, makeup, boyfriend, car, religion (or lack thereof), parenting techniques, and very personality are under constant ridicule. We’re chastised for breast feeding in public, having sex outside of marriage, liking people of the same gender, and a number of other equally ludicrous things.

Facts are, the world can be a cruel place. There will always be someone to judge you, demean you, belittle you, or dislike you. Sadly, I’ve grown accustomed to that. What bothers me, is my group: women. We’re already raised being told to cross our legs, close our mouths, accept his drink offer, smile pretty, and say “thank you” while he leers at our thighs and makes his move. Then we make it worse by putting more expectations on our own gender.

THIS IS BULLSHIT. There, I said it.

My point is, we get hit with this societal, expectational bullshit from all angles. In school, at work, in the line at Wawa, within our own families. We’re constantly told what is and isn’t okay, what is and isn’t expected, what is and isn’t tolerated. We’re poked, prodded, nipped, tucked, chastised, and pigeonholed into cookie cutter, acceptable women. Our fires are doused with the ever present, “be acceptable” water. We’re made into dull, simple minded, “little ladies” that never say what we think, offend someone, or challenge the norm.

What’s more disturbing than this is that we, as women, do this to our own sisters. Life’s a bitch, you need a buddy. Yet, most women feel more ridiculed by people of their own gender than anybody else! It used to be that women were to be seen and not heard. Leave school to get married, raise the kids, iron his clothes, have dinner on the table by 6, and never speak out of turn. Now, most men don’t follow or look for this archaic representation of women anymore. No, it’s other women who are placing unrealistic expectations on their own gender and making them feel “less than”.

We make fun of each other. We see a Facebook post that we don’t like and instead of debating the points made, we go to the poster’s page; stalk out her entire life, and return to the post to attack her personally. Belittling her looks, her boyfriend, and her level of intelligence. We call her degrading names and we tag our friends so they can join in. We attack each other.

Maybe you’re not this bad; but some of you are. If you’re this woman, get a fucking handle on yourself. 

   Maybe it isn’t as extreme as the above scenario. Maybe it’s standing in a Starbucks line and mentally criticizing the woman in front of you for her outfit, or the fact that she’s brave enough to take 14 seconds to be money conscious and count out her change. Maybe it’s calling an ex-friend a bitch because she did something you didn’t approve of; never mind the fact there was nothing actually wrong with her choice. Maybe it’s teasing the big girl, the goth girl, the slutty girl in school. Maybe it’s sitting in a corner with your friends and making a game out of rating other women’s looks and outfits. A lot of people take part in this in some way. We should be ashamed of ourselves. 

“I hate other women. They’re catty, disloyal, and petty.” I couldn’t seriously tell you how many times I’ve heard this in my life. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve said this myself. And what’s worse, is I believed it. That is something I’m now ashamed of. I grew up a tomboy, hung out with the guys and kept maybe 1-2 women as friends. I ostracized myself from the world of amazing, supportive relationships that existed just within my reach. Why? Because I grew up believing what other people said. I grew up being told not to trust anyone. I grew up in a society that pins women against women for fucking sport. “Women are catty, disloyal, and petty.” And it took me years to realize that I had never actually personally experienced this outside of the high school ridicule that everybody got from people of all genders, backgrounds, and social class.

As far as my own female friends, they always treated me well. I have had 2 in the past decade sleep with my boyfriends, but one of them wasn’t truly a friend and both, I chose to ignore the warning signs that they weren’t good people early on. Not that they weren’t good women, they just weren’t good people. It had nothing to do with their gender.

So my message to you the reader, is this: the world is a hard place, you need a buddy. Women need to stick together. We need to say “fuck” with complete abandon, we need to eat pints of ice cream, and do what we want with our bodies, when we want to do it. We need to stand together and defend our fellow women. Large parts of this world would prefer that we stay separated, never realizing the strength that comes in numbers. The strength of women supporting other women. Women, not afraid to speak out and be themselves. Women, who refuse to tear each other down because we know we deserve better. Woman who are okay with being called bitches because we know there’s nothing “bitchy” about defending ourselves and our right to be whoever the fuck we please. 

I love women. Being someone who grew up around a lot of men, I never had the experience of having a girlfriend I could tell anything too. There’s certain things you just don’t discuss with male friends. Today, that isn’t my life. I have friends that I can talk to about anything from periods, to sex, to shaving our toes because the hair freaks us out. Imagine me telling a guy friend that! Ha! I have developed and protected lasting, intimate, real relationships with other women whom I respect and cherish. They are my “ride or die” friends and I love them. They keep my secrets, listen to me rant, and tell me when I’m being ridiculous. They’ve seen me break things, cry like a baby, and survive brutal breakups. I have never before experienced the love, support, and camaraderie these women have shown me.

So to all you out there, think about it. Maybe you’ve had a few bad experiences with women. Maybe you’ve been hurt or betrayed. We all have. Regardless, if you wouldn’t be racist because a person of another race did something wrong or become celibate because one boyfriend fucked you over than there’s no logic that validates cutting an entire gender out of your life. No matter the gender, color, religion, or social class of a person, you will always have to be careful. Watch their actions, investigate their character, examine how they treat others. See if they’re good people. If so, don’t be so close-minded that you avoid them because of something as little as what’s between their legs. Everything that matters in life comes from the heart and soul. 

We are beautiful. 

We are unbreakable. 

We are strong. 

We are women. 

And you can fucking bite me if you don’t like it because you’re approval was never asked for or needed in the first place.
Thanks for reading 🙂

by Ashley Hebner

© All Rights Reserved 2016


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