Why Can't Women Get Along?
Dear Catty Women:
As a woman the lack of sisterhood and unity among us disappoints me. Instead of banding together to rise to the top we often step on each other just to win. Our behavior serves as entertainment for men as we continue to perpetuate the stereotype that all women hate each other. And for no reason at that.
Case in point, this year alone we've seen the drama surrounding Gabrielle Douglas' "unkept" hair unfold, Lolo Jones bashed by her own teammates for being too popular, and most recently Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj cat fighting on American Idol like school girls. In each of these scenarios women were hating on other women because they were, in my eyes, jealous or insecure. As it all played out on TV I remember thinking men do not act this way.
I've experienced the foolishness firsthand. In high school I moved to a new school district my sophomore year and it took a while for me to make new friends. There were rumors started that I thought I was better than the other girls because I was from the other side of town. Puh-leese! Craziest thing I've ever heard. Catty women are great at judging a book by its cover and being threatened by the contents. Luckily, many of these girls grew out of it.
Just when I thought the pettiness died in high school here comes a twenty-something with the same mentality. As insecure women you, not the rest of us, fulfill your prophecy of not being smart enough, pretty enough, successful enough, and etc. One of my best friends after college we began to let her insecurities show. In her eyes I was smarter and prettier (her words, not mine) and everything became a competition. It got to the point where I couldn't continue being caught up in her one-sided competition. You can't blame others for your lack of self-esteem or expect us to dial back our lives for you. What you can do is learn from those who threaten you. I know several women who would love nothing more than to see another succeed.
The pettiness isn't reserved for personal lives either. The stigma that women can't work together or be effective leaders stems from you! I've seen some bizarre encounters at the office, but this one is the pettiest of all. I befriended a woman at the office. We didn't hang out outside of work but we did go to lunch often. I remember speaking to her one morning and she literally rolled her eyes at me and stormed off. We worked to on several projects and attended meetings together. She refused to make eye contact or directly communicate with me. Now that's catty. Business is business and personal is personal and as a professional be able to separate the two. You won't like everyone but show some professionalism and respect. Pettiness will kill your career. How can you manage a team if you can't manage your emotions?
These are just my examples. I could write a book with the stories I've heard. It genuinely saddens me to see women go out of their way to put other women down. How can we advance as leaders this way? How can we grow if men are too afraid to put us in a room together because they fear drama? Catty women, if nothing else I ask that you learn to coexist with the rest of us. We won't all get along but at least be able to act like a lady in our presence. On behalf of the non-catty women everywhere we thank you in advance for you acceptance and support.