Catty Women Are the Worst Women

The first thing I noticed at the New Year's Eve dinner party I went to was just how beautifully adorned all the women were with their perfect make up and stunning dresses. They weren't part of my social circle but I genuinely admired them from a distance; their graceful movements as they made their way through the crowds and kissed and hugged almost everyone in the room. Beautiful, popular AND lovable, I thought.
A few sodas later and with a full bladder, I made my way to the Ladies Room - the most dreaded room in the entire restaurant. As I pushed my way inside I found women occupying the entire space by the sink and even more of them fighting for a glimpse of their reflections in the mirror. Another half dozen were sitting on the chairs and chatting away - a sight that debunked the mystery of why restaurants and malls place big sofas in women's bathrooms.
To my surprise, non of the chatter sounded friendly or happy. As I stood there awkwardly waiting for the next stall to open up, I became more and more aware of what these 'pretty' women were talking about. Did you look at her dress? Who wears fur anymore? I can't believe she is here! Ugh her sister is so disgusting. How is she running a business?
Upon hearing this, I suddenly felt extremely conscious of my very-plain-Jane dress and lack of make up, and I prayed for a door to open up. Luckily one did and I half ran inside and let out a long sigh of relief. What felt like a lifetime of waiting was realistically only about a minute long, and although it was probably one of the most appalling sixty seconds of my life, it was also one of the most eye opening ones.
These women who were so beautiful and perfect on the outside were rotten on the inside, and I mean rotten to the very core. I'm talking about full on catty and snarky behavior. I'm talking about down right horrible.
I pitied them for the fact they had to resort to hatred, but I was mostly shocked; why would these women feel the need to talk so harshly about other women behind their backs? Why were they being so much nicer outside these four walls? How can a person be this fake?
As a mid twenties woman myself who tries to stay optimistic about the development of our sex across the nations, I was very confused by this behavior. In this day and age, I had higher expectations where I had envisioned women standing with one another and supporting each other so that they can achieve total equality of the sexes. I was under the impression that we were all running the same race and reaching for the same prize, but I was very wrong.
Feelings of jealousy and insecurity triggered by others is a common reality amongst females, but this was a whole other level of bitterness and hostility that I was never exposed to. The scientific world, on the other hand, has been very well aware of this phenomenon for decades.
A study conducted by researcher Christopher Ferguson of Stetson University in Florida asked two sets of female participants to watch different TV shows (one with a lean female star and another with a chubbier one) and to interact with different women afterwards (in casual or attractive clothes). They concluded that the participants were not affected by the characters on TV but by the live encounters instead; those who interacted with the lean women in attractive clothes felt generally more distressed and negative about their own body image.
Another survey conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that female bullies target other women in their workplace 68% of the time.
More research has been done over the last five years and they all have big numbers that point to the same conclusion: the number of female vs. female hostility and competition is high. But why is this continuing to snowball? Different theories associate this with two root causes; genetic hardware and biological imperatives or the way women are socialized and stigmatized from a very young age. Either way, science suggests that these are more or less innate behaviors.
But is this true? And even if it is, do we, as women, not have the capacity or ability to become more aware of our harmful behavior and change it? Do we want to raise a generation of girls who manipulate and shame each other to reach their goals, whether it is to win the heart of the perfect man or to place a CEO placard on their doors? Or do we want to set an example of what it's like to admire other strong women and to support one another?

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