From Our Readers
November 08, 2013 6:00 am

The pub toilets have been known to host a variety of activities, from natural processes to drunken makeup applications and everything in between. During my time in these facilities last night, however, it seemed that the majority of excrement being expelled was in the form of wicked words from my loo mates’ mouths. Criticisms of hair do’s, weight gain and style choices were in full force, usually accompanied by a snicker and a satisfied smirk.

There exists a seemingly inherent competition between members of the female sex. Perhaps this extends back to the Palaeolithic era, when we had to fight one another for the hottest Neanderthal in the cave (which was usually the one with the biggest club), or for first dibs on the most stylish fur dresses and fine bone jewellery. The rivalry continues today, and it takes nothing more than a night out in the club or an episode of Made in Chelsea to witness the application of this ancient tradition.

You’d be lying if you said you hadn’t been the instigator of some form of this antagonism, whether it be through bitter thoughts, rumour spreading, delighting in gossip, criticising a “frenemy”, etc. Perhaps it was in your grade school days, when you envied the girl who developed early and therefore captivated every hormone-rampant, pubescent boy in the class, so you told your friends she was weird. Or maybe it was your insanely talented, valedictorian roommate in college, who was so perfect that you just had to lie and tell your BFFs she snored and “actually doesn’t look all that good when she wakes up.”

It would also be naive to believe that you hadn’t been a victim of this sort of carry on throughout your life, whether spoken in secret or paraded undisguised. Whether it be an insecure, drunken stranger’s insults after noticing the attention you garnered from her crush or an acquaintance’s relayed remarks about your sub-standard something-or-other. These unpleasant jabs are kindling to the vicious cycle that will most likely be fuelled by whatever words you choose for your response.

I’m growing older and thankfully also growing up (two things that don’t always happen simultaneously). Though I can’t say I’m completely above this behaviour just yet, the more life experience I have, the more I can see the big problem with what we all do or have done. One of the main reasons for this is that I have become happier with who I am, and gained more confidence in myself. Because the need to partake in this conduct, I believe, stems from our own self-doubts, feeling good about ourselves and being satisfied in our own lives is an important piece of the puzzle. And there’s no reason we all shouldn’t feel this way!

It’s hard to admit when we’re jealous, even to ourselves. It’s difficult to grasp the fact that someone has something we do not. The inability to appropriately accept it leads to an inability to transform these negative emotions into something more positive—a downward spiral that is suffocating and entirely self-destructive. Whenever I’ve berated someone else, it’s only served to make me feel worse. Worse that I’ve allowed myself to act in a way that’s essentially pathetic, and that I’ve publicly damaged someone’s character in the process.

Women, and human beings in general, need to unite. I’m unsure of the exact interpretation of today’s definition of feminism, but I’m positive that working together with and uplifting your fellow woman is essential to the foundations. Treating each other with the same respect and thoughtfulness we want from the rest of the world should be a rudimentary concept. Each time we insult someone, however insignificant it may seem, we are perpetuating the very types of problems we have been striving to combat.

Though I doubt I’ll ever be a moral enough person to entirely resist the temptation to indulge in a bit of snarling (I still eat meat for heaven’s sake!), I’m committed to trying. And hopefully you are too.

You can read more from Stephanie Fuller on her blog.

Feature image via.

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