I want to talk about an article published at Gawker yesterday that is haunting me: Girls Who Steal, by Priya-Alika Elias.
Read it and come right back. We'll be here.
Just, please help me understand why on God's green earth anyone would put up with such behavior from anyone, let alone those we call friends?
Where shall we even start...the scarcity mindset that drives women to compete as if there were never enough love or success to go around? The distinctly gendered socialization against women standing up for ourselves or toward Regina George-level Queen Bee ugliness?
Is there a fear here of being alone or going our own way, against the crowd? I'm not sure I've ever really committed to trying to earn the approval of women or girls loath to give it, but I have endured many a lonely season, so maybe that's the trade-off some of us make. (Could hospitality save us from having to choose at all?).
I don't know, you guys. I love women. I'm grateful to have had good female friends since childhood, even if they are few and far between at times. The only women I tend to be suspicious of are the ones who claim not to trust or be friends with women at all. I have often found it hard in adulthood to make friends--which is another conversation worth parsing later--but never because women are capricious, dishonest, or mean.
But I cannot abide passive aggression or games. For better and worse, I am East Coast direct through and through. I mean what I say, say what I mean, and won't make you guess. I can be a bit of a honey badger, but love me and I will be loyal forever (even if I am terrible at keeping in touch).
Dylan dealt with some mean girl playground politics this year. I told her she needed to treat everyone with respect but that it was okay to put some space between herself and girls who consistently choose unkindness. Relationships are a two-way street, and none of us can want or work hard enough to compensate for the other party's sabotage or neglect. That is a losing game we don't have to play.
I'm interested, too, in the idea of whether or not people can make us feel inferior without our consent. I'm of the belief that we are all responsible both for our behavior and for handling our emotions in healthy ways. I don't think it is often constructive to attempt to hold people responsible for our feelings, but we can certainly speak up about behavior that is out of bounds and the hurt we feel--and create boundaries so that untrustworthy people don't have free reign over our emotional lives.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the article, female friendship, scarcity, Mean Girls, any of it. How can we navigate this better?