What Happens When Women Start Supporting Each Other
Growing up, I constantly watched movies and TV shows that pitted women against each other. Laguna Beach, anyone? It was just a reality of our culture. Women, and teenage to early twenties girls especially, feel the need to put each other down. We are taught by society that if one woman succeeds, it is ultimately our own failure. I'm happy to say that as I've aged into adulthood, I think this has changed. But I've noticed this change doesn't always happen for everyone. I made an effort to consciously start supporting other women, and haven't looked back. Here's what happened to me after I made this choice.
They think you're a weirdo stalker
Unfortunately, women are often not used to other women complimenting them. Many women are used to being called bitches, sluts, and whores by those who share their XX chromosomes. Sure, friendships are not based on hateful language, but honestly, for females that's how many of them start. One of my closest and oldest friendships started with hatred (she stole my boyfriend in the 6th grade), and eventually turned to love (I don't recommend this – we got lucky). So when women are nice to each other, it can turn some suspicious heads…and then they think you're a weirdo. Why is she complimenting me? What does she want? Is she obsessed with me? So here's some weird advice: don't give up. Once they get over the automatic nervous, "Thanks bye," response – it'll be smooth sailing. Okay...I just reread that sentence and even I'M creeped out by my own self. Just be nice, and don't get discouraged when other females don't reciprocate. They'll take down their walls eventually.
You make a lot of awkward eye contact
I live in Chicago, and see women who SLAY the style game every single day. They look fine as hell, super professional, or mega chic, and I think they should know it! So enter: awkward eye contact. Most people in Chicago are wearing headphones 99.9% of the time during their morning commutes (we only take them out to listen to our CTA conductor tell us the train is delayed, yet again). I know I do this purposefully so no one talks to me *cough* cat callers *cough.* But I risk the awkwardness and go for the compliment. It's worth it to support other women.
You find courage you didn't know you had
I'm bad at making friends. I close myself off until I feel comfortable around someone, and then I LET LOOSE (aka you'll know everything about me – including the things you don't want to know. Sorry.). I hate small talk with a passion, and find it difficult to fake enthusiasm for subjects I find uninteresting. I moved to this big city three years ago like a real life adult and learned hey! It's not easy to make friends as a grown up! I quickly learned the best way to connect with potential gal pals was to (you guessed it) support them. I found myself complimenting outfits, cheering on tough exams, coaching salary discussion, delivering pizza during break-ups. I thought I would feel uncomfortable. I was scared to break out of the norm. But as it turns out, females are designed to support each other. Because when one of us succeeds, we all do.
You learn something new
It's so easy to get caught up in our own heads every single day. To think that what we read about, listen to, and watch is what's most important. We are innately self absorbed beings when it comes to interests. For example, I simply cannot fathom why anyone would want to watch a single second of an American football game, but doesn't want to listen to every episode of the Limetown podcast (seriously check out that podcast, you won't regret it). But when we start supporting other women, our horizons are broadened. We're exposed to knowledge, anecdotes, and history we may have otherwise not come in contact with, had we not reached out. Our EIC, Denisse, and I became friends through Instagram. I can't remember exactly who found who, but we started commenting on each other's photos and supporting each other. It would be a, "Great shot," here or a "Cute outfit," there, and over time, we learned more about each other. Because we chose to support one another, I learned so much from her about photography and social media marketing. And she learned about Gilmore Girls from me. Obviously what I taught her was much, much more important. 😉
Your Resting Bitch Face is replaced with a smile
So I know that we all hate when men tell us to smile. It's degrading, misogynist, and straight up annoying. I'm not going to smile just to look good for you, fool. But bare with me here: we all generally want to be happy, right? Supporting each other makes that a reality. As females, it's easy to put up a shield. We have RBF because we aren't interested in your shenanigans, thank you. But when you are complimented for your kickass presentation or awesome brand marketing skills, you smile. You are proud. And guess what? The woman complimenting you smiles too. It feels good to highlight the talents of another person. Less RBF, more smiling.
I know we all want to succeed and I know the world has taught us that succeeding on our own is somehow more of an accomplishment than succeeding with the support of others, but that's just not right. Honestly, no "self-made," old, white business man did anything "on his own." Everyone was given an opportunity at one time or another. Someone at some point had to say, "Hey, I like what you're doing." Even if it starts with something as small as complimenting your fellow woman's outfit, I think it's vital for us to make an effort to support each other because one woman's success, is all of our success.
*cover image via Daisy Natives