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Old 10-25-2010, 04:41 PM   #1
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Why Are Women So Mean To Each Other?

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Kelly Valen, author of "The Twisted Sisterhood" has a bone to pick with women, particularly with the mob mentality that can evolve when a group of girls gets together.

She, like so many females, had a Bad Sorority Experience back in the day. A really bad one, in fact: After she lost her virginity to a fraternity pledge in what was then known as a "ledge party" -- i.e., an unbeknownst-to-her public deflowering with all of his frat brothers looking on -- her sisters turned against her, eventually blackballing her from the sorority house.

Decades later she ran into one of those same "sisters" at a Pet Smart one day, and was surprised to find her former sorority nemesis chasing her through the cat food aisle -- "Kelly! Kelly! Is that you!?" -- acting as if none of it had ever happened.

Valen, though, still bore deep scars from that particular college experience. She went on to write about it in a New York Times essay, confessing:
"My life's greatest sorrow stems from my inability to feel close to other women. At 41, I've cautiously cultivated a few cherished female friendships. But generally I feel a kind of skittish distrust and discomfort when dealing with most women, particularly women in packs."
What happened next? Well, after she published the piece, half of the blogosphere eviscerated her as being woman-hating. The other half rushed to her defense, writing epically-long comments telling her what a nerve she'd hit with them. Turns out, they, too, had suffered at the hands of fellow females. And so many women came forward to talk about the dark undercurrents at work in the office, in mommyhood, and even within their close friendships, that Kelly soon had a book on her hands.

In "Twisted Sisterhood," she surveys 3,000 women across the country, as the book's tagline explains, to unravel the dark legacy of female friendships. Whether you agree or disagree with her thesis, if you've ever felt a pinprick of unease in the company of a woman, Lemondrop's interview with Valen should be pretty much required reading. And we mean that in the most sisterly sense.
'The Twisted Sisterhood' -- The Dark Side of Female Friendship Explored - Lemondrop.com

I have difficulty trusting women, too. I just feel sooner or later one of my girlfriends is going to back stab me, blab to everyone what I've told her, or do whatever women usually do to each other.

I think the reason women can be so mean to each other is because they feel the need to compete with them to get men's attention or make it in a man's world. I am not saying this is all the fault of patriarchy, but I do feel there is a connection.

It is so contradictory that so many women call themselves feminists and such, but if another woman besides them gets the promotion or the hot guy, it would be hell for her.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-25-2010, 04:56 PM   #2
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Not that I know much about this sort of thing but I had the impression there is less of this sort of behaviour among more mature women and it is more of a phenomenon for women in their 20s?

I am well aware this sort of thing goes on in the workplace. I have heard plenty of anecdotes about female bosses being a lot more demanding/bitchy vis-a-vis female subordinates whereas male subordinates get away with murder by comparison. Maybe this is ultimately due to patriarchy, I'm not sure.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:02 PM   #3
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Not that I know much about this sort of thing but I had the impression there is less of this sort of behaviour among more mature women and it is more of a phenomenon for women in their 20s?
I totally agree.

When Pearl says that she has trouble trusting women and expects them to cross her somehow, I have to say that I probably felt similarly 10 years ago but at 31, I definitely do not. My close female friends are wonderful people and that doesn't mean that we always see eye to eye or hold hands and sing kumbaya, but if I look back at the last 3-4 years, there isn't a single woman whose friendship I have lost because of some kind of female meanness or jealousy.

I work in an entirely male dominated field so I'm not sure that my experiences at work are necessarily a good gauge of anything. For us it's still a struggle to be equals with men, and that probably accounts for far more frustrations than jealousy among fellow women.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:10 PM   #4
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I agree, it's a function of maturity. I think women in their 20s maybe feel that they have more to compete for, hence the backstabbing behaviour, whereas maturity brings more self-confidence and less need for competition. And by then, you've pretty much weeded out those who are backstabby from your pool of close friends.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:13 PM   #5
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Shouldn't the title be changed to "Why Are Women So Mean"?

Just kidding

I agree age has a lot to do with it...

I'm sure there are plenty of underlining reasons.

But if I had to guess I would say that both men and women are competitive, but since generally speaking men and women are different emotionally, we are competitive in different ways. Guys are probably less likely to share feelings or secrets at work or in most circles, so it's not going to be the way men compete...

Now here's a big generalization but I think since most women natually feel the need to share more, they are generally more drawn to gossip.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:25 PM   #6
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Obviously, I'd love to be competed over by a bunch of women, preferably leggy blondes in their twenties. Hasn't happened unfortunately.

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I agree, it's a function of maturity. I think women in their 20s maybe feel that they have more to compete for, hence the backstabbing behaviour, whereas maturity brings more self-confidence and less need for competition. And by then, you've pretty much weeded out those who are backstabby from your pool of close friends.
People talk about alpha males but I guess there's also the phenomenon of the alpha female. But I have the impression the alpha female types tend to be not well liked by their peers and end up losing a lot of friends and even ending up embittered. The alpha male is a different kettle of fish entirely, it's more of a slagging/piss-take thing. The alpha male is the guy that has the best jokes and is allowed to take the piss out of everyone. But, males are more likely to stab each other in the front rather than backstabbing and there's less bitchiness in general. If someone, even the alpha male, goes too far with their slaggings or pisstakes, it's like, f*** you, say that again and I will actually hit you. Society doesn't allow females to go for that very direct and confrontational approach.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:51 PM   #7
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Obviously, I'd love to be competed over by a bunch of women, preferably leggy blondes in their twenties. Hasn't happened unfortunately.



there are places you can go to for this to happen

just be sure to bring some folding money to hold up
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:05 PM   #8
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I agree, it's a function of maturity. I think women in their 20s maybe feel that they have more to compete for, hence the backstabbing behaviour, whereas maturity brings more self-confidence and less need for competition. And by then, you've pretty much weeded out those who are backstabby from your pool of close friends.
I'd say so, absolutely. Mind you, I know a few bitches in their 40's and have a few solid friends in their 20's. I also think with your own maturity and experience comes the ability to cut off or recognize back-stabbers in the first place. At least that's been my experience. No desire or patience for that nonsense. I really don't get it either. I've never had the desire to use or be cruel to anyone(undeserving), let alone another woman. I value female comradery.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:05 PM   #9
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there are places you can go to for this to happen

just be sure to bring some folding money to hold up
True but also vaguely sad.

In a hypercapitalist system everyone's for sale.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:28 PM   #10
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where in lies the problem?
all the demand for long-legged blondes in their 20s?


if the dancers looked like their patrons
these clubs would be called: Frumpy Dumpies Exoctic Dancers
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:36 PM   #11
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where in lies the problem?
all the demand for long-legged blondes in their 20s?


if the dancers looked like their patrons
these clubs would be called: Frumpy Dumpies Exoctic Dancers
The problem is that hypercapitalism inevitably trends towards treating people as commodities.

Just as Debord predicted.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:10 PM   #12
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Maturity is definitely the issue here. I have seen women ages 25, 30, 40 or older behave like they are 10 - no joke! They continue that "mean girls" behavior at their age, unaware of how ridiculous they look.

Insecurity plays a role, too. I think the more likely a woman feels comfortable in her skin, the less likely she'll be a backstabbing type.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:16 PM   #13
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Either I've not cultivated enough female friendships in my life or I'm just an abnormal woman, but this has never been a problem for me. Then again, maybe it's because I'm the mean one.

Honestly, I suspect it's because until recent years, I had more male friends than female ones. I was always the tomboy, more interested in hanging out with the guys than shopping with the ladies. As I said before, I have more female friends now than ever before, but we're all at least 30 or older. Maturity is definitely a big factor, but as Pearl pointed out, so is self-confidence. I'm comfortable in my skin & don't feel the need to belittle or try to bring down anyone. My only female friend that has issues with other women is the one that has the biggest identity issues, i.e. not really knowing who she is or what she wants from others. Frankly, we are friends because I limit my interaction with her, lest I get accused of mistreating her.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:31 PM   #14
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whereas maturity brings more self-confidence and less need for competition. And by then, you've pretty much weeded out those who are backstabby from your pool of close friends.
Yes, I've done a lot of weeding over the years. Even recent years. From very early on, I've been very confident and not very competitive and get along great with those who are similar although haven't met very many of them.

My jaw dropped when I read the bit below. I could have written it. And like the writer, thought I was mostly alone in feeling that way.

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"My life's greatest sorrow stems from my inability to feel close to other women. At 41, I've cautiously cultivated a few cherished female friendships. But generally I feel a kind of skittish distrust and discomfort when dealing with most women, particularly women in packs."
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:49 PM   #15
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Not that I know much about this sort of thing but I had the impression there is less of this sort of behaviour among more mature women and it is more of a phenomenon for women in their 20s?

I am well aware this sort of thing goes on in the workplace. I have heard plenty of anecdotes about female bosses being a lot more demanding/bitchy vis-a-vis female subordinates whereas male subordinates get away with murder by comparison. Maybe this is ultimately due to patriarchy, I'm not sure.
I agree. As a mature woman. I have no problem trusting other women. I never did. Different values i guess and better social skills. I didn't live on campus. When, I attended a community college/university. Worked full time and went to school, in the evenings.

Later on at age fifty. I took additional college certificate programs Through the adult education with Johns Hopkins university and College of Notre Dame. I didn't want to be in class with eighteen year old kids. I was able to study what I was interested in learning and was within my peer group. The Humanities/human resources managment and Liberal Arts courses were for those who already had a college degree. It was a wonderful experience for me.

When my husband retires from his job. Hopefully within the next few years. I want to get a second degree in Engish Literature/Creative Writing at the University of Baltimore.

That is my goal.
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