Not Your Rival

Photo by Tracy Fuentes

By Tracy Fuentes

In a world where women are constantly pitted against each other for the sake of making a profit or strengthening the patriarchy, I want other women to know that I am not your rival. I want to remind myself that other women are not my rivals either. 

Our brains have become conditioned to look at another woman and automatically see how they compare to societal expectations of beauty and female behavior, and then how we compare to that woman. We either tear down the other woman or we tear down ourselves. Either way, someone’s being judged and put down. No one wins.

Am I guilty of looking at another woman and see someone to compare myself to anymore, or completely judge her based on her outer appearance or other superficial factors.? Absolutely. Every time I go out or open a social media app. My brain automatically turns negative, even with my own friends.

I compare their long list of accomplishments to my own, their meticulously put-together outfits to my closet, their behavior to mine. She’s annoying, she looks good here, she’s a bitch. 

The constant comparisons and judgments only fuel the beauty and fashion industries as we all scramble to be trendy, the most beautiful, the best dressed. As we strive to be the cool girls, the quirky girls, the nice ones, we become less ourselves and more what society wants us to be. When we judge each other for being too opinionated, too slutty, too loud, we contribute to gender roles growing and taking root in our minds and life, even if these negative thoughts never materialize on the computer screen or into a conversation. 

This is why we must recognize that other women are not our rivals, but societal pressures, toxic industries, and the patriarchy are. The woman modeling for that makeup brand is not your rival, she’s just trying to chase the bag. The company exploiting our insecurities by choosing and promoting a certain standard for beauty is the real enemy.

Now, I’m not saying other women can’t be flawed and we must be friends with all of them (all mean people suck). Women with privilege should still recognize the privilege they possess that other women do not. But rather than jumping to judgments and comparisons, women should support other women. Compliment and celebrate rather than compare. 

It’s hard to unlearn our negative habits. But we have to try. I may think something negative about myself or another woman when I first see them, but I try to immediately follow it up with a positive thought about myself or the other woman. I think being a woman in this world is difficult enough. Women should support each other rather than contributing to the hardships we already face.

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