By: Emily Algar, Regular Contributor
“The golden rule, You’ll never learn in school,
Boys can be mean, But girls are downright cruel.”
Sadly, I think this verse from the Court Yard Hound’s new song resonates with women and girls of all ages, and I really wish it didn’t. Out of all my crappy experiences of school, university, and work the majority of them can be laid at the feet of girls and women.
Of course, I am not for one suggesting that boys can’t be just as cruel, or that all girls are inherently bitchy, because we all know that’s not the case. Plus, I don’t deal in generalizations.
Whether it be that “friend” who makes it her sole mission to stand in the way of you and that guy she knows you like so much, or the work colleague who undermines your every move and embarrasses you in front of your boss, that split second comment or ongoing animosity can leave you on the floor with the breath knocked out of you, making you feeling worthless and downtrodden.
I can quite clearly remember standing at work, completely stunned, watching whilst my good “friend” stood beside the guy she knew full well I had a crush on, and not only slagged me off, but repeated my inner most secrets to him, the things I had told her in confidence. I remember feeling so embarrassed, hurt, and angry all at the same time. I suddenly had a realization that in the years to come, “This is how it’s going to be then, a competition.”
I was heartbroken; one person had shattered my ideals about women protecting and looking out for one another. I haven’t seen the “friend” for over three years now, and no, I never told her how upset I was. It turned out she had an equally huge crush on the same guy but instead of telling me, she stabbed me in the back.
I’m sure we can all name hundreds of situations like this, and the only response we can conjure up to explain this bizarre and hurtful behavior is “Why?” Why would someone, who knows full well how much of a struggle it is to feel good about oneself as a woman, go to such lengths to make your life utterly horrible?
There are so many reasons why women and girls choose to behave this way, and I can’t begin to list them all here. However, I’m a great believer that past behavior and actions are not set in stone, nor are they precursor to future ones.
Whatever the reasons are, it needs to stop now because I for one am finding it too distressing and horrible. Behavior like this is not just damaging to girls and women but the whole human race in general. It’s toxic, self-defeating, and spreads like wildfire. I’m surprised the CDC hasn’t got it listed as one of it’s top ten disease contaminants!
In all seriousness WE as women need to change this and stop it spreading to our friends, mothers, sisters, and daughters. If we really want to establish a positive dialogue between girls and women then we need to start recognizing our own actions and start trying to help each other out. Instead of kicking away the ladder why don’t we try holding it up for one another?
Despite all this hurt and self – defeating behavior I’ve had some amazing positive experiences with women. My mother for one; she’s my best friend, my confidant, and I know she’d do anything to protect my sister and me. I tell her everything and she never casts judgment, and I have never seen her step over someone to get ahead in life. Another hero is my good friend Anna; we share boy problems, family issues, and anything else we can cram into our phone calls. Over our five year friendship, she has never ever used what I’ve told her for own personal gain and has been there for me even in the middle of the night; she has encouraged me to push on even when it seems pointless. When you have women like that around, the character of the good “friend” described above seems like an anomaly, a blip on your horizon.
About Emily: Emily is currently studying for an MA in International Security and is interning at a PR company that works for non-profits, as well as being a regular contributor for I AM THAT GIRL. She lives for her music and dogs and has a weird obsession with lobsters and candles.