Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Ladies - let's just be nice to each other!

I was gobsmacked to read recently that Gwyneth Paltrow was voted the most hated celebrity of 2013.  Gwyneth? What on earth has she done to be on the receiving end of such vitriol?  The woman beating Chris Brown only crept in at number 20 whilst murderers like Robert Mugabe didn't even make the list. When I thought about it however, a few things started to fall into place.  I'm taking a punt here but I'm guessing it was mainly women voting.

Before you jump down my neck, let me present my case. First there is this post by the lovely Samantha Hadadi about how she's receiving a lot of judgmental comments from women for deciding not to return to work after having her first  child. Then of course was the infamous Samantha Brick article where she stated that 'other women hate me for no other reason than my lovely looks' and received a barrage of comments ridiculing her appearance - again, mainly from women.  Lastly is this fantastically empowering response by the actress, Ashley Judd to media criticism - largely from women - of her appearance. 

All very different but the common theme was how judgmental and critical women are of each other.  Many of the responses to Samantha Brick said that women don't hate beautiful women, they just don't like arrogant women. Mmm...  I used to know a stunningly beautiful girl called Jody who was also one of the sweetest, kindest people I've known.  She never ever used her looks to get anywhere.  It was depressingly common for us to be in a pub or something and groups of women who she'd never met would stand in front of her & talk loudly to each other about her calling her a 'slag' or say that she was 'just an stuck-up ugly cow who needed to be taught a lesson'.  In one notable incident she was attacked by a group of girls in the toilet of an upmarket bar 'for thinking she was better than them'.  

In my younger days when I was... er, in the bloom of youth, I'd know when I was looking good by the filthy looks I'd get from other women.  On more than one occasion, when I was on a crowded tube I had women murmur in my ear, 'You really think you're something special, don't you?  Well, you're not.'  Just for the record, when I was young, I didn't need anyone to tell me how I wasn't special - no one knew that more than me.

Now there's no way I could be considered beautiful when I'm at work.  Unless motor oil on the face, birds nest hair and a spanner hanging out of the back pocket is now considered attractive, in which case I'm well in there. 

Anyway, I digress...  

What saddens me is how so many women regard each other as the enemy.  It strikes me quite strongly that we hate in each other is a projection of what we feel bad about in ourselves.  Hating Gwyneth for saying things like "Sometimes Harvey Weinstein will let me use the Miramax jet if I'm opening a supermarket for him"?  All that says to me is that you wish you had a big shot film producer lending you a jet.  The girls who pillory the beautiful girl?  Actually they're just pissed off because they don't think they're that attractive themselves.

Now I'm certainly no saint.  I'll admit that there have definitely been times when I've looked at the so-called perfect woman with her great wardrobe, immaculate hair, handsome husband & all round enviable life and thought 'Bitch!' but I've learnt not to vocalise it.  It's doesn't make my life any better by trashing hers.  It's just going to make me look jealous and unconfident which are highly unpleasant traits.

I'm going to put something out there.  Let's just be nice to each other.  Really. The odds are stacked against us as women so let's not add to the burden by trashing each other.  Just because someone is beautiful and successful doesn't mean that you're not.  I'm not advocating schmaltzy gushing, just common courtesy and respect.  It'll make all of our lives better in the long run.


Coulda shoulda woulda said...

It's funny because I was going to do a post about this subject soon ( I still am I think!) But very well said. The only problem I have is that actually while this is a problem I actually don't want to smear all women with the same brush. Yes there are women who get jealous but they are the types who get jealous over anything. I think it is more of a vibe. Also women are very subjective and they tend to project things on to other people so there is a whole dynamic that differs from men.

But I agree, I always try and support women. But having said that, women don't trust easily so even when I do try, they tend to be wary so actually being nice is not that straight forward either!!

Chinwags and Tittle-Tattles said...

Hate's such a strong word. I'm not a big fan of Gwyneth's but neither do I hate her, so I think I'm pretty objective about my view on this.
I think there are women who hate her because to them, Gwyneth makes domestic life so easy that regular women aren't able to identify with her. Her life doesn't resonate with theirs, and because she's a celebrity whose media presence is always presented to us, she's a constant reminder of what most women are lacking. There's a case on envy, of course, but at the same time, there's also a case of you-don't-have-to-rub-it-in-but-you-do-anyway. I can imagine that Ms Paltrow's not doing it deliberately, but she seems oblivious to that effect.
Samatha Brick, on the other hand, is against the good manners we were taught growing up, that you musn't blow your own trumpet. We generally just prefer people who are humble and do not flaunt their advantages over others. She did have a point about other women being bitchy to women who have more outstanding physical attributes than them, but I guess it's the manner on how she put her point across that irked lots of women--including me.
In an ideal world, I'd love for every woman to be nice to each other. If we can't, I say don't bother saying anything if it's not constructive.
Thought-provoking post :)

Beautiful Things said...

Thanks for dropping by and contributing to the debate.

Coulda shoulda woulda - I'd love to read your take on this. I think jealousy and competitiveness can be a problem with some women and it's important we discuss it. You are absolutely right though when you say that you don't want to tar all women with the same brush.

Ms Madge - You are very right when you say don't say anything if it's not constructive.


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