Admit it. At some point in your life you have absolutely despised another woman. Whether your reasoning was justified or not, you’ve been there and so have I. Female hate can be found almost anywhere. In the media, in our personal lives and professionally.

Whilst reading around the subject, the issue of ‘beauty’ and ‘physical appearance’ cropped up almost instantaneously.

If the women around you think you’re prettier than them, your fate is sealed. The prettier you are, the more threatened the women around you will feel. Your mere presence makes them feel like an ogre standing next to you. If they are single, they will see you as the competition. If they are married, they will see you as the seductive temptress desiring to steal their man away.

Charming, isn’t it? Rather than praise and admire beautiful women, the sight of someone remotely attractive will warrant a flood of hatred. I personally feel that I’m fortunate enough to have drop dead gorgeous friends and would never want to belittle them when it comes to their appearance. I’m all for striking a positive rapport, even with strangers.

Some women on the other hand, are much more reserved. This resentful mentality isn’t a new phenomenon though. Female hatred has been present throughout history and as we have evolved and grown, sadly, so has this mindset. Think back to the days of witch-hunting where women were burned alive and killed because of accusations made by other females.

Artist, Katarina Silva, writes: “Perhaps that fearful era in history, in which envy between women easily led to death, has yet to be fully extricated from society, as females continue to energetically deplete one another, instead of support one another as often as we could be.”

Even in popular culture, Silva points out the tale of Snow White, which centred around her jealous stepmother wishing to be “the fairest of them all.” She is so irked by Snow White’s beauty and charm that she enlists a Huntsman to carve out her heart. Pretty grim if you ask me.

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So why do women openly hate on other women so viciously? My theory? They see desirable qualities other women may have that they do not hold. As a natural reaction, they choose to attack.

Harriet Cammock, an on air personality, shares a similar view:

It took me years to understand and see that people judge you based on their own perceived deficiencies. Often there are times their reaction to you has very little to do with your interactions with them, but has everything to do with them and how they see themselves.

There were times where I would feel inadequate and somewhat resentful towards other girls who were quite the extroverts. In the end I realised that I needed to embrace my introverted side more and be comfortable in my own skin. As a result of doing that, I’ve been able to cement a friendship with those girls and there is a mutual respect between us. On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve had girls dislike me too. Whether it’s exposing and purposely chipping away at one of my weaknesses or constantly attempting to get a rise out of me online, they are the ones that need to tackle their own demons and understand that there is an underlying problem they need to address.

Cultural upbringings can also shape the way girls eventually perceive one another, depending on the relationships they are exposed to between females.

Asian mentality whereby some parents use their children as ammunition to assert a certain success and reputation over fellow family members and friends, also plants a seed that will be taken into the wider world and could grow to bear fruits of pride and envy towards others.

Comparisons especially over education and career choices should warrant praise and encouragement, given the fact that women were once confined to the walls of their homes.

Society has been moulded in such a way that competition isn’t surprising between females in both their professional and personal lives. The media also dictates that women should look and be a certain way, which has only added fuel to the fire. What about emulating the work beauty brand Dove does in promoting and building positive self-esteem amongst women?

Female envy will never go away unless women take that step to change and put down those critical defence mechanisms. The likelihood of that happening is questionable, but not impossible. There is no doubt that women are powerful creatures. We’ve seen how damaging they can be when pitted against one another. Imagine how potent they’d be standing side by side?

Illustration by: Laurine Tellier, Deviantart

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