Lifestyle

The One Thing Every Woman Must Do

I’m usually against the idea of speaking to women as an entire group. There are so many different groups of women – and very few only belong to one group – and the only issues that apply to all are very broad ones. For example, I am a white, heterosexual, physically disabled, millennial woman from the Northeast United States, educated at a top-20 university, currently studying for an advanced degree, and raised in an upper-middle class family. It’s so hard to speak about women in a general sense. But regardless, that’s what I’m going to do today.

Feminism is ...

Let me tell you a story. Over the weekend, I had the lovely experience of attending the Her Campus College Fashion Week show in Boston. It was a great show with incredible performances and outfits I loved. The models were all real college girls and not professional models. So there I am, enjoying the show over all having a great time, and then these girls behind me start making negative comments about some of the models.

They made comments about how they thought a model walked weird, or that another’s facial expression wasn’t how it should be to be a model. This continued for the majority of the show, and most of the comments were said with disgusted or laughing tones. They made fun of them for their own amusement. And I can’t stand that.

Feminism is ...

The one thing every woman must do is build each other up. This means not putting others down, not judging them, and overall not speaking poorly about them just for the sake of it. There was no reason for those girls to say those things – they weren’t giving constructive criticism to the models face to face about how to be better models. Whatever their reasons, it seemed like they were just speaking negatively about them for the sake of being negative. Their entertainment was finding something negative to say for as many models as possible, and although they did make some positive comments, that doesn’t outweigh the negative ones.

The one thing every woman must do is build each other up, not down. Click To Tweet

It isn’t always easy to shift your mindset to this, especially because society as a whole likes to pit women against each other. And besides, we’re all human, so plenty of us will make mistakes while trying, and no one is perfect. That goes for us as well as the women we talk about. For example – I don’t think anyone can deny that Kim Davis is homophobic. But we can say that she is doing something that isn’t right without discussing anything else about her. I can say that she is hurting people by refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. I can say that I disagree with her actions, and stop at that.

At the end of the day, there was absolutely zero reason for those girls to make those comments. They could think them, then think, “Oh, that’s kind of mean,” and not say anything. They could say, “Good for them for modeling for the first time.” Or they could not say anything at all. Just because you have a thought about someone does not mean that you have to say it, especially if it isn’t going to do anything.

Feminism is ...

There are so many people already against women, and there are so many who try (and succeed) to pit us against each other. What does it matter if another woman does something that you disagree with? If she’s doing it because she wants to and it won’t hurt anyone, what’s the point in saying anything? What’s the point in calling another woman a slut, or judging someone because her skirt is shorter than you would wear it, or judging someone because they are or aren’t a virgin? What’s the point in judging someone else who values expensive shoes over owning property, or reading indoors over hiking outdoors?

And again, it’s one thing if you think these things – as we can’t really help our thoughts – but it is something entirely different if you say them. It takes a while to adjust your thinking to stop the judging thoughts. In the meantime, before you say something, ask yourself, “Is this really necessary? Who benefits from this? Who could this hurt? Is that worth making a comment?”

Of course this applies to people as a whole, but I specifically want to address women who tear down other women. Life is not a competition; your value does not increase by saying not-nice things to someone else, therefore causing her to believe that her value has decreased. So spend some time asking yourself why you feel the need to make negative comments about someone else, whether or not she hears it.

Your value does not increase by saying not-nice things to someone else, therefore causing her… Click To Tweet

There are enough people out to get us without making it easier for them.

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  • claudiawood26

    So true. I hear so many people saying nasty things about others. The age old, ‘If you’re not going to say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,’ should really be used more.

    • Exactly! I think that it’s so easy when we’re with our friends to just say lots of horrid things about other women without really thinking about what we’re saying. But just because you think, “Oh, her bag is so ugly,” doesn’t mean you need to say it. There’s no point! No one wins!

  • It makes me so mad when people are so judgmental and negative towards others. So frustrating, because you KNOW everyone is fighting their own battles. We should be, like you said, building each other up and not tearing each other down. How sad.

    • Yes! We are all fighting our own battles, and there is no reason to add to that with negativity from each other.

  • Sarah

    Old habits die hard, I think. This is a great discussion to be having. Kudos for putting it out there!!

    • You’re exactly right about old habits. Thank you for the support!

  • I love this post, Kate! There is nothing worse than women putting other women down. You hit the nail on the head with this entire post– let’s hope other women start to realize this too!

    Emily

  • YES. YES. YES. If I could just shove this entire post into every woman’s brain, that would be fantastic. “Just because you have a thought doesn’t mean you have to say it” really needs to be a t-shirt.

    • Ha yes it should! Right after “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This goes with it!

  • YES. Our society ingrains the notion in women that we must tear each other down, that it’s a constant competition, etc. We are all guilty of it. But just like you said, it’s learning not to say it just because you had the thought. We’d all get so much farther ahead if we could just support and lift one another up.

    • Exactly! I’m glad you agree. We just don’t need to vocalize the negative thoughts!

  • A THOUSAND TIMES YES. It’s true that we can’t help what we think, but it is just SO important that thoughts don’t need to be vocalized. EVERYONE should ask themselves if what they’re going to say is necessary/will hurt someone…and I agree with you, there are so many issues and people that make life harder for women so it’s essential that we learn to stick together and help each other rise, NOT pointlessly bash one another. THANK YOU for this post.

    • I’m so glad you agree, and as passionately as I do! My hope is that this helps some people reconsider what they say.