Hello everyone! A few weeks I posted about an experience I had with workplace bullying and it has had me thinking ever since about female friendships, women bashing on other women, and what I want my daughter to learn about her self-esteem and the friends she is blessed with.
I grew up with a very nomadic childhood and that has had a huge affect with how I have learned to make friends. The fact is, I have never been great at making friends and there is something a very painful about that. Because I haven’t always had the easiest time making friends I have spent a lot of time observing other’s relationships and I have have become very sensitive to this topic in particular. Women love bashing other women. I have been guilty of it, we all have…. but why?? Why do associate a woman who is wearing a mini shirt and high heels as being a “slut” or a women who is really thin as looking “sick” and “in need of a meal” or a woman who is above a certain size as “needing to go on a diet?” Why do we, as normal everyday women, point out the imperfections of other women? We do it to those we know, most of the time behind their back… and we always insert our opinions about those we don’t know as if they are just faceless people with no meaning.
It seems so ingrained in the female culture that it is widely accepted as everyday banter. This really got me thinking about the message that this sends to my 4 year old daughter. My little, innocent, 4 year old daughter has already made comments about not looking pretty enough, needing to wear “lipstick” which is actually chapstick and I have seen so many signs of insecurity in her that breaks my heart. I don’t feel like I have said anything in front of her that would prompt her to think these things about herself but I know that in the culture we live in she has been exposed to this level of self-hate and female-on-female hate from those we come into contact with. The women in the fitting rooms make comments about looking “fat” in the items they are trying on, the women in line at the coffee shops rejects the pastry because she “needs to watch her weight” and Ariel (the Little Mermaid, a movie she recently watched and will never watch again…) is told by the mean Sea Witch that she must rely only on her looks to seduce the man of her dreams because “she” is not enough. It was like a semi-truck hit me, this is what my daughter is exposed to on a daily basis.
So, this is the battle: Trying to figure out how to teach my daughter to love herself and at the same time surround herself with other girls who also love themselves. I want to teach my daughter about building an identity that isn’t rooted in gossip, judgement, and hate while also learning how to have strong female relationships that are rooted in building other women up on the foundation of respect and love.
In the handful of friends that I have made I have learned a lot about what strong female friendships look like and even more about what investing in another person and their life looks like. I haven’t always been the best at it but I have come a long way.
In a few short months I will be moving away from the ladies who have been my rocks over the last 7-26 years. Who have supported me, loved me, held me, and prayed for me. My daughter will also be losing her handful of friends that she has grown up with and had many of her early experiences with. This is going to be a learning experience about moving to a completely foreign city and making friends from scratch and I am blessed that I have been given amazing examples of what a successful female friendship looks like. To my lovely friends, thank you for not gossiping about me, thank you for pulling me out of my bouts of self-hate and doubt, thank you for standing up for me, thank you for your honesty and understanding, thank you for late night cocktails/wine while I cried like a baby, and lastly thank you for being my friend and allowing me to do the same for you!
Heather, Sarah, and Amber. I love you ladies.
Annabella, Evelyn, and Lexi- Adyison loves you.