Females Supporting Females
As young children it seems much easier to get along with others. You befriend new playmates on the playground in minutes. Neighbourhood kids are among our closest allies. Differences aren’t noticed as quickly. Judgements aren’t made as fast. But somewhere along the way, this changes. As you will grow, your interactions with peers will change. By the time you reach middle school or high school it may feel like you are in constant competition with each other.
Friends gossip to each other constantly; sometimes even about each other. What is she wearing? Why does she wear so much make-up? Why doesn’t she ever wear make-up? She dresses too provocatively. She flirts too much. She’s such a tom-boy. She’s too tall, or too short; too smart, too dumb; too cocky, too shy, too fat, too skinny. It’s all just too much. You may find yourself feeling as though it is impossible to live up to other girl’s standards.
As a girl growing into a woman, you need to support your peers, rather than ban against them. You need to build each other up, not tear each other down. There is a lot of pressure put on girls and women to act a certain way. They should be nice but not too nice. They should know how to take charge, but not be too bossy. Don’t be a bully, but don’t let others walk all over you. This continues from adolescence into adulthood. Lots of women feel compelled to “have it all”… careers, families, social lives etc. They feel the need to be successful at their jobs, take care of the kids, cook, clean, car pool, go out with their friends and support their life partner; to be both traditional and non-traditional at the same time. With all of the pressure that is put on females, it’s important that you have the support of your peers. This starts with how you treat each other. You need to let go of the girl versus girl mentality, not holding each other to stereotypes about what you both “should” and “shouldn’t” do, or “should” and “shouldn’t” look like.
Here are a few things you can do to be more supportive of other females:
- Make a conscious effort not to be part of the drama anymore.
- Make encouraging comments rather than discouraging ones.
- Only be competitive when it’s appropriate (competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing). As long as it’s not done out of jealousy, judgement, fear or anger.
- Be a mentor or role model for younger girls in your life.
- Don’t judge or criticize others and the choices they make.
- Inspire others to do their best.
- If someone is struggling be there to help them up. Don’t keep pushing them back down.
- Empower each other.
- Don’t use boys and relationships as a weapon against each other.
- Don’t retaliate if someone says or does something to hurt you. Instead try to understand why they said or did it.
- Stop calling each other slurs. What you say matters. Kinder words equal kinder actions.
A quote by Rosa Parks (often considered the “first lady of civil rights”) says it perfectly, “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” When you can do this, you can work together; when you empower instead of put down, everyone can benefit.