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 to believe that her value has decreased. Click To Tweet

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

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