2015: The Year of Sis­ter­hood!

Cosmopolitan (India) - - CONTENTS -

Happy New Year, Cosmo girls!

Al­ready made your res­o­lu­tions? Okay, I re­ally, re­ally want you to con­sider another one: this year, let’s prom­ise to be nicer to each other.

We’ve all been there: gos­sipped about a common bestie, hated an ac­tress be­cause she seemed ‘too per­fect’, or not told a girl­friend about an op­por­tu­nity be­cause it might make her more suc­cess­ful than us. We’ve gig­gled about a com­plete stranger wear­ing ‘too much make-up’, called that girl from school a ‘gold dig­ger’, or up­loaded not-so-nice pic­tures of a friend.

Ac­cord­ing to one survey, 90 per­cent of all fe­male par­tic­i­pants fre­quently felt “un­der­cur­rents of mean­ness and neg­a­tiv­ity from other women”. In another study, when a sex­ily dressed stu­dent walked into the room, most other fe­male stu­dents’ re­ac­tions were snarky, as they made derog­a­tive com­ments about her clothes or ‘big boobs’. And a third study found that fe­male of­fice lead­ers were less likely to help out women new­com­ers in the in­dus­try. It’s as if we’re all star­ring in Mean Girls. Sci­ence sug­gests that women may be hard wired to com­pete with each other for male at­ten­tion, to en­sure we can make ba­bies with the strong­est male in the com­mu­nity. But I sus­pect a lot of our at­ti­tudes to­wards other women have to do with so­cial con­di­tion­ing and what we learned from our moms or other girls...which is some­thing we can change.

You see, when we crit­i­cise, turn against, or hold another woman back, we are ba­si­cally do­ing the same hor­ri­ble things to our­selves. We make each other vul­ner­a­ble to vi­cious­ness, and we un­con­sciously en­cour­age a cul­ture of in­se­cu­rity and hos­til­ity.

If we truly want equal­ity, we have to help and en­cour­age ev­ery woman we know. If we want more fe­male lead­ers in pol­i­tics or at the work­place, we must men­tor women and help them suc­ceed. And if we are sick of be­ing judged by our looks or body size or how many men we’ve dated, it might be wise to avoid that snarky gossip ses­sion with friends.

You of­ten hear the com­ment that ‘a woman is a woman’s worst en­emy’. Let’s change that.

Let’s all be cheer­lead­ers,

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