By Sophie Winik, IATG ContributorJune 22, 2016
Girls, you can have such meaningful conversations together. You laugh. You always have someone to support you with the much-needed chocolate after a bad breakup, someone to tell you with honesty whether the jeans you try on make your butt look good or whether that top you wear is really doing you any favors.
Females are strong. We are powerful. We are nurturing and brave.
But sometimes, beneath all the makeup, lies a beast. We are catty towards other females. We can be nasty with our words and feisty to the point where you don’t want to cross us. We can be mean to the point where we hurt others for just being themselves. Above all, girls are in competition with each other. And more specifically, in competition of who has the “perfect” body. Why?
Why can’t females respect others females, beauty and flaws together, and conquer the world? Why can’t we learn to love our own body and not compare it to the unrealistic image society has created of the woman’s body? Imagine if every woman learned to respect their own body, love themselves for who they are, and then united with other females instead of competing against them.
I remember my first semester of college. It was a sunny day and skinny girls with short cutout shorts, crop-tops, and attitude surrounded me. I was walking across campus when I noticed two young girls coming towards me, pointing at me, and laughing. They were petite, tan, wearing what pretty much looked like a swimsuit bikini top with cropped shorts, and beachy blonde hair. As they came closer to me one girl whispered to her friend, while pointing and looking directly at me, “Boy, she could really use some liposuction!” As the girls continued passing me, they giggled like schoolgirls. I turned around, watching their backs exit the area, and thought, “What?!” I definitely wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
When I got home that evening I thought about what that girl said. The words chosen to speak aloud, knowing that I heard what was being said. “Liposuction,” I said to myself and giggled. I never thought of myself as having the perfect body, but I was comfortable with having some curves. The thought of liposuction made me laugh. I’ve learned to be confident and to love myself. However, many girls are still learning how to be accept themselves. Telling another girl they need liposuction, even if not said to her face, could be damaging to many girls. Were these girls simply trying to hide their own vulnerability, their own self-doubt, their own feelings about their own bodies?
The more I thought about this incident the more I began thinking about how many girls are competing with one another in order to cover up their own feelings. These girls seemed like they had been competing with one another about who could look more like a beach blonde Barbie and who could share the better insult. Deep down what are their insecurities? What are they afraid of? And why did they choose to target me? For days I thought about what could be the reason for acting like these two girls.
I began to realize that 'mean girls' choose to act in these ways, because it helps them feel better about themselves. Every girl has something they feel insecure about, but some choose to hide it by treating others poorly. These girls displayed the look of confidence, zero insecurities, perfection. But underneath their smiles, they could be lonely, not so secure with their bodies, or going through something I will never know. I cannot ever justify meanness. I will never say “You are allowed to treat me badly.” But what I will say is, “It’s ok. You are allowed to show your insecurities. None of us are perfect. You don’t have to treat others this way.” I will hold your hand along the way. I will tell you that your insecurities, your doubts, are ok to be shown. Why? Because that is true beauty. Showing all you’ve got, flaws and all. The real you!
Let’s get vulnerable! What are your insecurities? Your flaws? Let’s start appreciatin and flaunting them! They’re what make you, YOU!
Sophie is a preschool teacher in Southern California. When she is not teaching the little ones she is writing stories about her experiences with bullying, with the hope that her words will help others stand up against bullying and be another voice to end the hate. Check out her anti-bullying stories at kindrevolutioncampaign.wordpress.com.