Tuesday, 20 August 2013

On Raising A Daughter Part III: Don't Be One Of Those Girls

Don't adjust your screens! You haven't entered some alternate universe! What you are seeing is true: I am blogging two days in a row!

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We've all met her, probably a few times at different points in our lives. She's the girl that can't play nicely with other girls.

My first encounter with a girl like this (an exchange where I was actually able to pause and think, "Ah-ha! You're the problem not me!") was when I started working at glamorous Wendy's. I am a very hard worker and I buckled down to do the job; the owner of the business pulled me and the other new guy aside one day to tell us he was impressed with how great we were doing, and he'd like for us to train to be team-leaders even though we hadn't been there that long.

I was beaming with happiness, the other guy was pretty happy, and our co-worker Amy (who I barely knew, but she had worked there longer) heard the conversation. When the boss left for the day she walked up to me (only me!)  and said, "What's your deal? Are you quiet or just a total fucking bitch?!"

Then she sort of sneered in my face and walked away.

Holy shit, I don't think it takes a psychologist to figure out I was stunned and really hurt. I even shed a few tears in my car on the way home. But later that night I realised, "Hey! Fuck you, Amy! It's not my problem I'm a good worker and got asked to be a team-leader and you didn't!"

We were never friends, Amy and I, and that was her loss.

I'm a good friend.

My point in relaying this scenario is to highlight that I don't understand why some girls feel an immediate antagonistic friction with other girls, by default of them being a girl. Why wasn't Amy confronting the guy who was also asked to be a team leader? Who knows, but she didn't. She picked me, and this problem of girls hating on girls is a very real issue and I don't want LB to fall down this wormhole. Also, I want to clarify that I'm not stating that all girls have to like each other just because they're the same gender; that is categorically impossible: some people are mega douche bags and it's not possible to like them.

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My sister told me about a time that she was invited to a party by a guy she knows; there were only a handful of other girls there, and apart from the person who invited her she didn't know anyone. My sister (both of them, actually) is really funny and she was cracking jokes and the dudes were laughing, but she noticed that the other girls in the room were turning their backs on her. They were whispering together, looking her way, and she was feeling as though they were circling the wagons and she was being left alone on the bald prairie. To clarify, she wasn't encroaching on boyfriend territory, she was just sitting on a couch in a room full of people she didn't know, participating in conversations and trying to fit in. She was pretty hurt that they were obviously excluding her, and she didn't really know why but I'm going to define it: they were threatened.

Did they think she was too funny? That she was better at sitting on a couch and drinking beer? Or that she was going to steal all the boys? That she was some travelling mystic who entered rooms, charmed all the men, then left with them trailing behind her? Why were they wary of her? But come on, you've seen it before. Right? When one girl is new to the party, doesn't know anyone, and a group of other girls decide to shun her. Make her feel that she shouldn't be there. For me, this unwelcoming behaviour is absolutely the lowest of the low.

It is completely unacceptable.

I also want to clarify that this feeling of women being threatened by other women isn't behaviour that is just about a possessiveness for male attention (Fun fact ladies: unless a huge van approaches you helmed by burly brutes who can lift people, it's impossible for someone to 'steal' your boyfriend if that boyfriend isn't willing to be 'stolen'. Don't forget that!). I've seen it everywhere: in sports, in work environments, in circles of friends, at volunteer events, in the bathroom at restaurants. It happens everywhere, and I don't really know why. Other than to make a vague point about lack of self-confidence, I truly don't understand why some women clench up when new women are introduced to the fold, but it happens and I really don't want this for LB.

Of course I want her to feel healthy competition, but depending on the issue: she's in competition with everyone, not just women. Does she want to get the highest score on the math test? She has to beat all the kids in her class. Does she want to land that dream job? She needs to have the best interview out of everyone. Does she want to be the fastest swimmer in her heat? Then yes, she needs to beat all the other girls. The other competitors.

However, I don't want her growing up to feel wary, suspicious, and threatened by other girls just because they're girls. I hope to impart some sort of inherent knowledge on LB that you aren't allowed to be wary of someone based on gender alone because it's a sign of an utterly weak and poorly developed character, and it's disgraceful.
 

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