I ran across this video today, and thought it was pretty awesome:
I’m really impressed with the honesty of this young women. We learn to hate on each other at a very young age. Especially since starting research on this topic, I am even more aware of my negative internal dialogue about other women when I feel threatened or shown up. It seems as if we never outgrow the playground cliques. But why do they develop in the first place? Is snarkiness innate for women?
My three year old daughter has a wicked strong personality. She has several adorable little girlfriends at her preschool with equally dominant traits. They do not snark. They fight, yell, cry, love, kiss–and they do it all directly. I believe that indirect aggression is a learned behavior. These little girls are aggressive, competitive, and beautifully sweet and forgiving of one another. They live with the full spectrum of their feelings. Nobody tells them that they can’t talk about their feelings, or that being angry is mean, or masculine. But somehow along the line, most of us internalized that message and stopped telling each other how we feel when we’re hurt, angry, or jealous.
What would happen if I just told my best friend I was mad at her, instead of venting to someone else? What if I told my skinny friend I feel insecure around her because I’m chunky? Would the world end? Isn’t it weird that we feel like it might?
I don’t want my daughter to disown her fiery, angry feelings, and I don’t want her friends to, either. I just want them to talk to each other directly, instead of triangulating. I want my daughter to grow up to be entirely and competently Lillian, and to not shame herself for having emotions that don’t fit the narrow definition our society tells us is feminine.