By Imogen Killner
The definition of ‘Feminism’ is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. It is not, and has never been, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of sexes except for girls you are jealous of or dislike”. As women, we can all agree on one single holy place of femininity, a place that exudes empowerment and admiration. The girls’ bathroom on a night out is sacred. The world would benefit hugely if it was one huge girls’ bathroom.
Need a pad? Gotcha. Crying over a silly boy? Free hugs given here. Insecure about your booze belly? You are beautiful, girl.
So why do we constantly feel the need to gossip about and bring other women down? What could you possibly gain from dissing somebody’s dress? Or dating life? Or life choices? The satisfaction of causing petty drama is unnecessary, immature, and completely defies the truth of feminism. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness and this can never be achieved by tearing each other down.
There is a clear line between healthy competition and being a borderline Regina George. Hostile behaviour is all rooted in insecurities and jealousy, and it results in sabotage, envy and resentment. You can’t call yourself a feminist if you tear other females down through petty comments. Period. Instead of being jealous of competition, recognise that female competition is a patriarchal and invisible concept used to create an unnecessary hierarchical status fight between women. If your female friend wants to try something new, or has been awarded something, only respond with words of encouragement and motivation. Allow yourself to be inspired by your female friends and build each other up to succeed. Competition doesn’t have to be destructive, instead it can be supportive and empowering.
I feel it is necessary to note that this is not exclusive to just white straight women. Women of colour, trans women, women of the LGBTQ+ community, disabled women and other minority groups are all equally deserving of the beauty of the feminist movement. There is something so wonderfully empowering about the connection between women, and this is only accomplished through being an ally to every person who identifies as a woman. (This is also not to exclude men, either, but for the sake of pettiness in female relationships this is for the ladies in particular).
In short, empower one another. Inspire and allow yourself to be inspired. Motivate and encourage. Love and respect unconditionally. It’s time we destroy the “catty” female reputation.