Image Credits: Being Bailey Ann

I have noticed that one of the current trends in society is for women to mock, shame, and flat out bully other women over a variety of things.  Women are constantly heading to social media to attack each other over almost everything: academic and occupational success, relationship choices, clothing, political views, and even just minor differences in opinion.  There’s the debate over whether women should stay at home or enter the workforce.  If you want to work, you’re selfish; if you want to stay at home and raise children, you’re too traditional.  If you wear designer clothing, you’re a snob; if you wear clothing from thrift stores, you’re poor and trashy.  If you have sex before you’re married, you’re easy; if you decide to wait, you’re a prude.  If you’re a Democrat, it’s only because you’re a woman; if you’re a Republican, you’re a traitor to your own gender.  In today’s world, women are flat out bullying each other over everything from clothing to political views, and it needs to stop.

The problem with women attacking each other over these issues is that they are fighting over differences in opinion.  Neither side is right or wrong.  The choice of what clothing to wear, what kind of lifestyle to pursue, and what political party to identify with are all personal choices that women make based on what they believe is right for them.  Just because someone makes a choice that you personally would not make yourself does not mean that it is wrong, and it certainly does not give you the right to attack her (or him).  All women should feel free to make their own choices without constant bullying from other women.

Women, especially from the beginning of puberty through the end of college, have a tough enough time in the world without other women dragging them down.  We are criticized for everything from our appearance, to our weight, to our relationships, and to our successes.  Much of it probably stems from jealously or bitterness, but it is there, it is real, and it can be very hurtful.  The teenage and young adult years are when girls and women are especially vulnerable to peer pressure, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety, and even self-harm.  Girls and young women are insecure enough without having to go to school or work and be called ugly, fat, slutty, or stupid.  Furthermore, attacks from other women make women less likely to speak out about their views and opinions in the future.  We need more women out in the world who are willing to voice their thoughts, and no woman should be silenced – and certainly not by other women.  So next time you see or hear someone voice an opinion you disagree with, have a healthy debate without name-calling.  Encourage her not to lose her voice because we need more women who are willing to stand up for what they believe in.

All of us should make more of an effort to lift each other up instead of drag each other down. Yes, we all judge, and it can be difficult to keep your thoughts to yourself when you see someone that you find unattractive or that is making choices that you disagree with.  However, instead of simply thinking in your mind “oh, she’s so ugly/fat/slutty” – or worse, voicing your opinion out loud – try to see her good qualities.  See her as a human being instead of labeling her and shoving her into a category.  Women could do so much more good in the world if we could just stop judging each other and see the good instead of the bad.  And remember, if you have nothing nice to say, there is always the option of not saying anything at all.