CULTURE, GENDER POLITICS

When our woman energy is not good energy

By Tammy Sutherns

Women can be really, really lovely. We’re warm and reassuring and can spot a sad look a mile away. Women can also be really, really awful.

There always seems to be an unsaid code the exists below the surface with female friendships and relationships. If two women are not happy with each other, words often don’t need to be said, it’s just known. If you’re like my friends, you’ll eventually broach the subject and try to grapple it out for the sake of the relationship. If you’re like my family, you’ll sweep it under the carpet and hope it disappears all on it’s own. For men, many of whom only need a beer and a slap on the back to feel close and cared for, this is quite a mystifying underworld of funny looks and loaded comments.

I’m from the non-jealous pool of women. I admire beautiful females, talented females, females who can do things better than I can. I’m simply in awe most of the time of what lovely creatures our sex really are. And if a woman acts inappropriately towards to my boyfriend or behaves like a down right cow, I’m normally pretty shocked but I try not to take it too personally. But we’re all guilty of betraying our female-hood at some point. Does it stem from insecurities? Are we driven sometimes purely by ego? Or do we sometimes just lose the plot?

Take a classic case: flirting with someone who you know has a girlfriend back at home, you perhaps even know or are friends with the girlfriend. I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count and perhaps it is innocent, but what exactly is the woman thinking here? She could rather spend her time catching up with her friends or contributing to some valuable conversations. What is the point of flirting with an unavailable man? What a way to respect your sisterhood.

Another case: Gossiping about someone who isn’t there to defend herself. I’ll admit that I have ranted and raved about a friend or family member, usually to my poor boyfriend, when I’m angry or upset. But I was simply blown away while I was sitting in a large group of female friends and they all began picking a part another one of our friend’s who wasn’t there. They complained about everything from the way she walks to her hair. Every time we speak about one of our friends or think something negative, we’re forming an act of violence against them and the fabric that holds us women together.

Jealousy often manifests itself in very close friendships as well. One of the friends may consider herself less pretty than the other or the other one may have a better track record when it comes to dating. As much as the one loves her friend very dearly, she can’t help feeling angry and bitter that her best mate get’s all the luck. Holding on to those types of feelings builds up anger and resentment and can ruin these female relationships.

I’m no psychologist, I can’t tell you why we do this to one another. But I do know that friendship and female relationships come with a lot more than just listening, being there for them and caring for them. I think we have to respect these bonds a hell of a lot more than we are at the moment. I think we have to foster positivity and love for our friends, even when we aren’t with them. I’m not saying that we all do it in the most extreme senses, but I do think that we could all work a little harder at dealing with our female friends a bit more gently and with more respect. With murderers out there attacking lesbians, the women abuse statistics and violence manifesting itself across society, women surely could do with having a more solid base to stand on. Let’s keep those blocks firmly cemented together with all of the good that we are capable of.

It’s an old lesson, but a good one: If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

 

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4 thoughts on “When our woman energy is not good energy”

  1. Summary: “women are bitchy backbiters”. This article feels like something out of Cosmo, not something I’d expect or hope to find on a feminist site.

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    1. Another way of looking at it is that a society which pits women competitively against each other results in women holding one another back rather than standing in solidarity. Exploring the relationships that women hold with one another (the good, the bad and the ugly) is an important part of feminism. Self-examination is both necessary and very difficult.

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  2. I agree completely about the need for self-examination, but this article fails to do that. Women’s friendships, even the closest ones, are usually depicted in the media as involving lots of jealousy and spite, and I’m sad that this post continues to reinforce that; we’re *expected* to behave spitefully and jealously because that’s the way our friendships are always portrayed.

    Another of my problems with the post is that it treats women as a monolithic group (of cattiness). Look at the opening paragraph:

    “Women can be really, really lovely. We’re warm and reassuring and can spot a sad look a mile away. Women can also be really, really awful.”

    Really? We’re all “warm and reassuring”? This is just more of the “all women are nurturing” nonsense that we just can’t seem to get rid of. We can be both really lovely and really awful? Uh, that’s because we’re human beings and individuals.

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    1. I think you make really valid points about the limited portrayals of women, particularly in the media. We are often made to choose between warm/virginal/pure and bitch/slutty/jealous. I think we need to recognise women’s nuances much more. Thanks for the great feedback. I’m sure Tam will agree

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