Fresh off of playing another series of live shows in several different
states, I tend to contemplate things. How to make shows better, look for
new songs, etc. Sometimes I revisit the actions of people I observed in
my travels. Currently I am wondering: Why are women mean to each other? I
don't mean that ALL women are mean to each other, but quite a few are. I
see it a lot. Mainly I see it at night while I am on stage in bars/clubs
or on a break, but I have seen it in stores, walking through the mall, on
TV, or in movies as well. (Yes, I realize TV and movies are scripted that
way, but the idea comes from SOMEwhere.) So, why? Being a man it made me
curious enough to actually Google the question .(Oh no! I Googled! Now
the government knows what I'm up to!) and a poll popped up as a result.
Here it is: "Why are women mean to each other?" 1. Because of low self
esteem and feeling threatened? 2. Because they like to outshine the
others. 3. Because they are shy and wounded 4. Because they just don't
give a f*ck I am not sure what the answer is, if there even IS one. The
thing I DO know is that I have SEEN women be mean to each other. There is
a photo from 1957 and it seems to sum up what happens when one women
thinks another woman is "more attractive". Take a look for yourself:
Sophia Loren looking with... contempt? disdain perhaps?... at Jayne
Mansfield's....ya know. You tell me what's on Sophia's mind. I found
an article about the topic too. "Are girls each others’ worst enemies? Is
the "mean girls" phenomenon a media smokescreen?" by Melissa Beattie-Moss
(Full article: http://www.rps.psu.edu/bullies/girls.html ) She
interviewed Marnina Gonick PhD. and Carol Gilligan, who wrote a book in
1982, "In Another Voice", about girls being misunderstood and oppressed
by society in America. (I sadly think that might be true world wide.)
Gilligan's book changed things for girls and they eventually were doing
better than boys in many school subjects. Basically Gilligan feared a
backlash against girls and Gonick cited reasons that "girls being mean"
was just a media smokescreen and that men should be the focus of mean
behavior towards women.
I can't personally say that either woman is cut and dry right or wrong.
Too many variables all over the place really. But look at the photo
above. Do you think Sophia wanted to throw a sweater on Jane? Or just
"rip her **** off"? Is something like that women competing for the
attention of men? The limelight? Gonick thought it a "media smokescreen"
so I looked further. Ever read one of these books?: "White Oleander" by
Janet Fitch, "The Group" by Mary McCarthy, "Best friends" by Martha
Moody, "The Robber Bride" and/or "Cat's Eye" by Margaret Atwood? Or have
you seen either of these movies: "All About Eve" or "Dogville"? These are
some of the titles most often tagged as "women being mean to each other".
Books and movies are still considered "media", right? (TMZ didn't
COMPLETELY take over yet, did it?) And how about that Margaret Atwood?
She has a few of those "women being mean to each other" titles if you
look. (Think there may be a therapy bill there somewhere that could rival
the income of some small nations?) ;-)
When I Googled I also found the blog of a woman who works as an RN. She
Asked, "Are we more mean to each other?" She then stated that she worked
with a lot of women and, to her, "it seems as if we can't just leave each
other alone and do our damn jobs and there are those who look to make
other co-workers miserable. They usually won't let up until the victim
quits, is fired, or breaks down emotionally." She also stated that "the
men, nurses, security guards, etc. generally never bother with this
crap". She continued by quoting a post by Helen Kay who works at a
literary agency: "We don't see the male literary fiction writers
demonizing their lad lit cohorts with shrill condemnations, much less
books titled, This is not one of Dan Brown's books."
I still wondered why, and in search of answers, I returned to the source
of ultimate modern "wisdom", Google. I found this question: "Why are
girls mean to each other?" A lady named Iris answered: "I really wish I
knew the answer as to why girls can be so difficult to one another. It
really shows their own insecurity about the many changes going on in
their own lives if they cannot be good to others. No one feels very
confident enough about themselves during their teen years and some
people think that making others feel bad is a way to make themselves
feel better. Of course, this never works. Fortunately, most girls do
learn how important friendship is and adult women are usually very good
to each other. You will have that good experience as you become an
I gave Yahoo a shot: "Why are women so mean to each other?" Answer:
"That's a good question. Women are very competitive creatures. If a woman
is insecure and perceives another woman to have an advantage over her -
whether it be looks, intelligence, personality, likeableness, education -
she may feel threatened by that if she is insecure within herself."
Another answer was "She will try to find some way to undermine her or
knock her down a peg or two, in order to buoy her own self-esteem. Hence
the meanness factor."
Maybe men let some stuff go because the stakes are potentially more
physical? Women and men are biologically different obviously. Men go to
war over things. They get physical and duel to the death. Women seem to
basically just try to turn their peer networks against each other? Being
outcast from the group appears to be the worst female-style punishment.
Instead the females band together to ostracize the women they feel
threatened by, instead of physically going to war. I have no answer to
WHY. Maybe I am wrong about all of this and am basing this question on
the incidents I have seen? Maybe you know someone like this? I would
really like to know, because it baffles me to no end. I now return you to