The much-needed conversations about bullying are finally happening. Parents are fed up. Teachers won’t accept it in the classroom. Principals are doing their best to deal with it. And, school boards are committed to educating students about the damage it does.
No longer are we telling our own children, “Sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you.” (My mother’s favorite quote whenever my brother would bully me . . . which was daily.)
We know names hurt. And yet, we women haven’t yet faced our own bullying and name-calling.
Ya. I know you know what I’m talking about; where women discuss the “inappropriate” outfit of their sexy co-worker; where PTA moms snub the pretty, young mother who has just enrolled her child into kindergarten; or where we spew our jealousy all over someone’s fabulous picture on Facebook, hidden behind our computers. False courage to write anything we feel like.
Self-righteous, “unhappy-in-their-own skin” women.
And we wonder where our kids learn it.
I know this blog may seem out of character for me – especially as a women’s advocate. But it’s time to blow the lid off of “Women Bullying”.
It is not just kids in school who are being emotionally beaten down by “mean girls”; it’s full-grown 30+ year-old women, too.
In fact, a 65-year-old woman recently wrote to me upset, telling me that she was judged and criticized at a wedding she went to by some of the other female guests — her friends and family — for looking too good, too thin, too sexy.
“I was with my husband of 40 years, for God’s sake,” she wrote. “I’m 65 years old. You’d think at a certain age women would grow up.”
Ladies, as we descend upon another yearly International Women’s Day on March 8th, it’s time for women to tell the truth: Perhaps for thousands of years men oppressed us, but in 2014, it appears women are doing it to each other. And, it is time to stop. We are literally operating on the fears and patterns of the past.
How Did It All Begin?
Sure, we were always the smaller (thus considered the “weaker”) sex but when religion came along 5,000 years ago, it stripped us of our basic human rights. Shunned for our prowess and intuition, mostly likely because men realized the power we had over them (a.k.a. our sexuality), all of society was taught that a good woman takes care of her family, her man, her children, her in-laws, and community, while negating her own needs. (Oh, and please cover your shoulders!)
How dare you have a dream of your own!
At the turn of the century, women were not yet considered a person by law. We couldn’t vote, own property, run for office, nor did we have rights over our own bodies. We were possessions—owned by either our father or husband.
Whether it was the witch-burning trials between the 15th and 18th centuries that killed close to 100,000 women, or the modern day trials of many cultures that still forbid women to express themselves, show any skin, or speak their truth, we women have learned mostly that our sexuality is unacceptable and forbidden (except in the bedroom with our own husband.)
Just dare be the woman who owns her power—
mentally, emotionally, and sexually—
and suffer the consequences!
Truth be told, we are in a new epidemic. No longer do we need to compete with each other to get the best man to give us the best life and yet, here we are still shaming, judging, snubbing, and undermining each other. We haven’t yet learned how to truly collaborate and celebrate each other. We are still secretly competing, whether we want to admit it or not.
If we are going to step into our power individually and collectively we have to learn how to embrace, celebrate, and encourage each other. We have to stop ripping each other down.
Last week, both Colette Baron-Reid and I wrote blogs about this very topic. I was shamed by a woman for showing my shoulders in a Facebook profile picture that my daughter took of me. (To read that blog in a new window, click here: http://www.crystalandrus.com/why-did-i-let-you-dull-my-shine/)
Colette, who has been on tour promoting her latest book “Weight Loss For People Who Feel Too Much”, confided the hurt she was feeling after being criticized by fellow women who had seen her on TV.
She told me, “You know, Crystal, it was only ‘women’ who took time out of their busy lives to write me mean, cruel comments. Not one disparaging remark from a man.
“We live in a bully culture – and it’s not just kids. Women bully themselves for fear of not being thin enough or pretty enough, and then we inevitably shame those who have achieved it. It’s so unhealthy and dysfunctional.”
I want to be fabulous but I’m afraid to be fabulous,
so don’t you dare be fabulous.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I am not endorsing exploitative, manipulative, or overly-sexually behavior, clothes, photos, or movies. I believe we all know when something feels like it’s “crossing the line” and has nothing to do with joy, freedom, love and self-acceptance.
What I am encouraging is that 2014 be the year that the women’s movement rises! Women must empower each other . . . And I have an exciting event to tell you about!
If you are ready to step fully into the greatest expression of you, while celebrating the magnificence of other women, join Colette, me, and some of our other amazing friends on March 8th in Toronto.
“The Enchanted Evening” is an event exclusively in celebration of women, designated by the United Nations.
Tickets are being gifted to deserving women in the community who may not otherwise be able to afford this magical evening.
Details at www.theenchantedevening.com.
Please come join us in celebrating women around our community! I’d also love to hear your thoughts on this blog! Please leave a comment and I’ll respond.