Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mean Girls

I am ridiculously and embarrassingly addicted to Bravo's Real Housewives reality shows. I watch all of them religiously: Orange County, New York, and Atlanta.

And there seems to be one constant in all of them: women fighting with each other and talking behind each other's backs.

I don't know why, but I was always under the impression that once I was done with middle school and high school, female cattiness would be a thing of the past. And apparently not only was I completely mistaken about that, it continues well into your thirties and forties.

I mean these women are vicious. They call each other names both to their faces and behind each other's backs: slut, gold-digger, bitch, fat, ugly, fake. They are so mean and competitive even though they're all mothers and wives and they have really no reason to be.

Which got me thinking - why are women so mean to each other? I found out this past year that a few friends of mine that I thought I was close to were saying disparaging things about me when I wasn't around, and I felt like I was back in middle school having cruel rumors spread about me. And it didn't hurt any less than when I was an awkward twelve year old.

So I try my best to keep my distance from that kind of behavior, and I watch myself carefully to make sure I don't say anything about anyone that would potentially hurt them if they found out.

But a few weeks ago I was out with my girlfriend R at a bar and we were flirting with the bartenders when we noticed another gang of women trying to get their attention as well. And immediately the claws came out. R and I automatically went into bitch mode and glared them down and rolled our eyes until they cowered away. That's right. We showed them who the alpha females were.

I'm not particularly proud of this behavior, but I was slightly drunk and this was second nature to me in my inebriated state. And the real question is: why?

Perhaps all of us women have at one time or another been the victim of a vicious female attack and we are automatically on the defensive with one another. And after all, the best defense is a good offense so if we attack the other girl before she attacks us, it's just self-preservation.

But that's silly, right? Why can't we just all get along and be nice to each other? And yes, I do still believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

I used to think this competitive spirit exists in New York because there's such a large pool of single women and a very limited number of datable single men, so we are desperate to take each other down any way we can.

But the fact that the married mothers of Real Housewives are just as cruel to each other, if not crueler, refutes my theory. On TV, they just come off as insecure, overly-botoxed, unclassy bitches.

So maybe this behavior is ingrained in us at a young age, and women never stop being wary of other women, and jealous of the prettier girl; thus feeling the need to say mean things until she cries to take her down a peg.

The only thing I can think of to stop this (literally) vicious cycle is to change my own behavior and try to surround myself with people who are trustworthy, compassionate, and kind, and don't engage in the petty behavior that I am trying to avoid.

Does anyone have the Tooth Fairy's number?

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