(Photo credit: http://tcnjjournal.pages.tcnj.edu)
I am working through the Blogging 101 course that WordPress is offering this month. The other day I searched through the blogosphere (learned that new word…you like that dontcha ?), and I came across a fellow blogger, The Wanna Be Island Girl, and part of one of her post really stuck with me. The post title is The Sisterhood, and I will be making a few references to the part of her post that is leading me to what I am trying to say.
I think about it all the time. Women are nasty to other women. I see it all the time. For no reason either. I just don’t understand it.
“But, I’ve always had this deep rooted appreciation for girlfriends and women in general who lift each other up. We have enough tearing down in society and it makes me sick. ” (The Sisterhood)
This is what sparked my thought process. Women need to lift each other up, but women need to teach their daughters the same. I can tell you from experience that this behavior can sometimes be learned. It also starts young. I cannot believe that at 4 years old my little penguin has to worry about (well, she doesn’t really worry because that’s how she rolls) about cliques on the playground. Really? I see a generation of parents (women) who don’t realize what their children are absorbing and don’t realize they emulate their behavior. When these daughters see their mother isolate another woman, these daughters are being taught this is an okay behavior.
I’m not preaching. Believe me I have my side of me, especially my Penelope in my head, that can be judgy and nasty. I always catch myself and remind myself not to do that and especially not to say it or convey my feelings in any way that my daughter may pick up on. There are a group of women in my church, that I refer to as the Alpha moms, or Stepford moms depending on how snarky I am that day. Mind you I only refer to them this way in my head or to my husband, but in front of my child I am nothing but smiles. But I observe them. I know how I am treated by them, and I sit back and see how their children treat other children who aren’t “like” them.
Now, these Alpha moms have never been outwardly rude, it’s the hidden rudeness that really crawls my skin. The “I’m the perfect mom with the perfect look and the perfect kids” attitude that just make me cringe like nails on a chalkboard. We exchange pleasantries and I overhear their latest pintrest pin and that’s where our “sisterhood” ends. But, as I said I observe. The same way that their children have seen their mother treat me in a subtle way as an outcast, with my less than perfect clothes and tattoos, I’ve noticed they treat my child and other children who may not fit the “mold” the same way.
So why don’t women build each other up? Why isn’t there more of a sisterhood? Because it’s learned at an early age not too. Now I’m sure some readers may be thinking “you are just as snarky and guilty of this as they are”. Well, I am…..but only in my head. And the reason I point that out is that I make a big effort to let my little girl know that 1) it’s okay for her to be the way she is and 2) we accept everyone for who they are. She has never seen me or heard me be anything but gracious and nice to these other women nor will she. She can form her own opinions when she is old enough. But as a mother, I will not stand by and let their mini me hurt my child either. Right now at 4, her hurt feelings are easily smoothed over, but I know more difficult injuries are coming and I’m bracing myself for blighting my tongue and having to continue explaining that she is okay being the way she is. I will teach her to build up others, women especially.
But I beg, I plead of all women to just take a moment and be real. Be real with yourself, your children. Being a woman is hard! It is not butterflies and hearts. It is not perfect hair and makeup. Can’t we stop pretending, making others feel bad and just be there for each other as women? Can’t we be honest and share those honest stories with complete raw vulnerability that everyone knows but no one will talk about? To build each other up as women we need to start with being honest as women. Remove the screen, the facade, and just be real. Discuss the really hard, nasty stuff that gets swept under the rug.