“Oh my god. What is she wearing?”
“I would never throw myself at him like she is.”
“Why is he talking to her? I’m way prettier than she is.”
Ladies, if one of these thoughts has not tiptoed through your brain at least once in your young adult life, I know you’re lying. By the time our moms buy us our first push-up bra, we females are primed and ready for a seemingly cut-throat dating world in which men are the prize and we must be the best in show.
We primp, we powder and we flat-iron out all of the imperfections in hopes that he will notice us amongst the sea of other primped and powdered beauties and (if) he doesn’t–, of course it’s not him, it’s that one girl who sits next to him in Biology. That slut.
Here is the problem: and give me a moment while I channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw – in a world where men perpetually come out on top, why are we so content with shoving other women to the bottom?
I have been conditioned to, when I see other women in public, immediately pinpoint the baby hairs that make her look younger than me or to notice the lopsided eyeliner wings that turn her eyeballs into oblong black smudges. Because picking out her flaws is going to make me feel better about myself, right? Sure, maybe for a split second. But by the time the next second rolls around I feel like a jerk who just mentally bullied a beautiful girl because I’ve grown up thinking that is the only way to rise above “the competition.”
Well ladies, get this: our other ladies are not the competition. There is no competition.
There is a biology major who is graduating summa cum laude this spring and has gorgeous freckles that frame her emerald irises.
There is a political science student who’s interning at the governor’s office this summer and who has the chicest fashion sense.
And there is you: a courageous, resilient, effervescent woman who happens to be rooming with the political science student next year because you approached her in Starbucks one day and told her you really liked her Steve Madden boots, instead of secretly wishing she would fall over in them.
Women already face enough criticism, judgment and scrutiny in this world.
Every turn is riddled with doubt and fear that we won’t be enough; that we won’t be accepted.
So why add flame to the fire?
We can blame “the patriarchy” for constructing a misogynistic hierarchy that places beauty queens above professionals and taunts us with a glass ceiling so high even Snoop Dogg can’t reach it.
Or, we can acknowledge that “the patriarchy” is bullsh*t and glass is designed to shatter.
Take a pledge today to build up the women you see around you, don’t tear them down. Men are not the prize, we are not competitors. We are scholars, singers, athletes, peace leaders and politicians.
And hey–if one of us may happen to be a little better at makeup than another…help a sister out?
Shayne Jones is a junior studying journalism.