2 women with their backs to each otherI admit that despite vowing never to watch the damn thing again, for three months each year, I find myself compelled to tune into Big Brother (the UK version). It doesn’t matter that I pathologically dislike the bulk of them; there is just something so interesting about watching people who really only desire their one minute of fame, make complete and utter tits out of themselves on TV. This year however, it has been far more interesting, solely for the fact that at the outset, they placed eleven women initially in the house and a few days later added one man. What followed was a very damning enlightenment on female behaviour that proves beyond all doubt that put more than one woman in a room and it won’t be long till someone starts bitching and the jealousy/backbiting/one upmanship, and general lack of sisterhood commences.

Even though this behaviour started before the guy entered the house, when he did arrive, it was interesting how any pretence about them not being competitive came to an end. Suddenly everyone judged and perceived others behaviour on the basis of how they interacted with the guy, how he interacted with them, and what they believed about having a man in the house would impact on the female behaviour. The biggest target of the bitching? The woman who got together with the guy.

What is it about us as women that just can’t resist the gossiping, bitching, sniping, and pulling apart of our counterparts? What is it that makes us regress to playground inmates as we decide one week that we’re best friends with Jessica and hate Sarah, but the following week, you love Sarah and you both hate Jessica? Whilst I don’t believe that men are devoid of a bitching tendency, they do seem to be brotherly with far more ease than women do with sisterhood. Many of their conversations revolve around their interests and whilst they do discuss their feelings (sometimes) and can even wax lyrical about emotional aspects of their lives, you’d be hard pushed to find a group of men bitching about another man on a regular basis.

It’s the general lack of sisterhood that often contributes to our own undoing. Many women think nothing of ‘stealing’ other women’s men and see it as survival of the fittest. ‘I can love you better than she can’ is a lyric that pops up regularly in songs and it reminds us that we often perceive each other as a threat to what we need and desire. Lots of women think nothing of sitting with a group of women having a good time, only for one of them to get up and leave the room and for them to take chunks out of her character. We often look down on some of our female counterparts for the choices that they make rather than respecting the differences and living and let live. You get women who hate women because they’re trying to compete in a man’s world and you get women who if you closed your eyes and listened to them, you could be mistaken for thinking that you’re in the latest version of Mean Girls.

Often at the centre of a lot of our lack of sisterly behaviour is men. We want someone else’s man; you think that she thinks that she’s the cat that got the cream because she has a boyfriend; she got married before you; you’re competing in the same patch for men; you feel inferior around her because she’s slimmer/prettier/bigger breasts/nicer/ smaller breasts/blonder/darker/lighter/a different race/more exotic/more successful; you think you’re superior to her because you’re slimmer/prettier/bigger breasts/nicer/ smaller breasts/blonder/darker/lighter/a different race/more exotic/more successful/you think she’s a slut; you don’t understand how she always has boyfriends whilst you keep having one night stands; or you just think that she’s smug for something that you can’t quite put your finger on.

We don’t realise that our lack of sisterly behaviour lets the wrong type of man know in no uncertain terms that we will do anything in the name of having a penis that you can stamp your name on and call it your own, and this leaves us wide open. It means that a guy who is isn’t looking to treat you that well knows being with him means more to you than any sisterly connections that you may have and that you’d even isolate yourself for him. He also knows that even if he has a wife and a shedload of kids, if he speaks to the right woman and says all of the right things, not only will she sleep with him, but she’ll consider herself to be #1 even if he never leaves his wife. It means that our actions will often be misconstrued or just assumed because we’ve given ourselves such a bad reputation for how we speak about and interact with each other. And much of this is fuelled by the belief that we are incomplete if we don’t have a man, which puts us on uneven ground and gives the guy an inflated opinion of himself because he thinks that women are desperate to have a man, any man.

Is this ever going to change? Maybe, because the more women that recognise this weakness and treat as they want to be treated, the harder it will be for men to take advantage of it. Remember that what goes around really does come around to bite you very firmly in the arse. But in the meantime, until the winds of change blow, it may be an idea to file down your claws a little and think before you bitch.

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3 Responses to Is it so hard to join the sisterhood?

  1. nysharon says:

    I would like to see this “experiment” turned the other way around. Men behave badly when they are competing for a woman also but their tachtics are just different. They are less fun to watch too, that is why these reality shows always put it with women competing. What does that say? (plus they are probably produced by men). When we watch them, we are allowing this type of TV to florish. It should be illegal, just like dog fights and cock fights, no pun intended.

  2. audrey says:

    you get women who if you closed your eyes and listened to them, you could be mistaken for thinking that you’re in the latest version of Mean Girls.

    i sit next to a woman/girl at work who fits the bill. she is vietnamese. she is criticial and cruel. she chats about everyone, male female. mostly female. i am her fave person to pick on. others tell me i have heard it. it is so ridiculous as i am 39 years old. she is 31 and has no idea my age. i try to one who finds good in other women but this one seems to have come of age in the paris hilton era. I think the media, glossy saucy tabloids mocking everyone, beautiful and not so, and these realit shows are treacheroud to our culutre. it gives women with low self esteem to begin with the chutzpah to rank on others. yes it is about men. she is a one night stand kind of woman, i am not. it is brutal and ridiculous to have to be seated next to this. and while one can say oh yes rise above, please come sit in my cubicle 6 inches away from this woman. she is enough to make one want to quit one’s job :) but still women against women is not how it should be. why can’t we recognize what we have, what we don’t what we can achieve and what we can never and go from there. if it is any help as well, several of the men i work with find the woman i sit by to be attractive yet ugly in that they know of the way she puts others down. so the whole bitchy thing proves to repel rather than attract. ciao.

  3. Brad K. says:

    I imagine women have always gone from ‘daddy’s girl’ to wanting another man to care for and care about. There is probably very little difference in the fear and confusion between women over men, and common sibling rivalry. Both are looking for the security of position in an environment scare in respected authority figures.

    I also imagine you are correct, that if we all could find joy in each other’s success, without fear for ourselves, those that are attracted to us as friends and intimates would also focus on each other’s joys, rather than manipulating jealousies and fears.

    The problem is that when a guy or girl shows good character, they tend to find a partner quickly and quietly go off to celebrate life, while those that are left are jealous of the luck that the recent couple enjoyed. This is a vicious cycle, eternally fueled by the maturing young of yesteryear, each celebrating and repeating all the same old fears, misunderstandings, and values.

    The best we can do is probably act with character, and expect that we are being examples for friends and for those children now growing into adults.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!