We are ALL guilty of judging other women whether we want to admit that or not. We oftentimes make judgements about other woman based on surface level assumptions such as their appearance or demeanor. Perhaps this woman was prettier than you, or heavier than you, was wearing something revealing, or her children were behaving like animals- we make judgements about people every single day. We may even make a snide comment to our friend about the judgement we just made about that other woman. Have you ever felt judged? It doesn’t feel very good does it? I have felt judged in a million different ways and in a million different situations. Whether it was my kid acting a fool, my frequent use of the F word, my political affiliations, or my love of beauty products and makeup- I have felt judged so many damn times. I don’t think anybody out there has gone without feeling judged at some point or another in their lives. We all know the pain that comes with being judged- so why do so many of us do this to other people? There is difference between making a judgement and making an observation I might point out. An observation is a mental note while a judgement is something that makes you feel superior or validates yourself in some way.
It was only on my path of bettering myself did I realize that I was the judgement queen. Examples of some of my most notorious judgements, I harshly judged women who I deemed lazy and I also judged women who used their sexuality to get attention. These judgements made me feel superior and validated– like I was better than them because I am so goal-oriented and love to accomplish what I set out to do. I also have never had to tap into my sexuality to get attention or anything for that matter because my personality was enough. I used to always say about women who do that, that ‘their personality HAS to be so boring and they have to flirt, wear revealing clothing, or sleep with someone to get what they wanted; that they couldn’t get what they wanted on their own’. I’ve always lived my life with the mentality that nobody is going to give anything to you- you’ve got to earn it for yourself through hard work and determination rather than seducing men or by giving up when the going got tough. This mindset made me a harsh judger on anybody that I perceived as lazy or ‘slutty’ and this was literally my face when I would see/meet these types of women.
I recently began reading a book called Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein and it really brought to light the relationship between my own insecurities and the judgements I made about other women. This book has you do an independent exercise in which you list out 10-15 of your most frequently used judgements and in the columns next to it, you explain why you feel validated in those judgements and you also explain what exact event happened in your life to conceive those judgements. I’ll give you an example- when it comes to women wearing revealing clothing or using their sexuality to gain a man’s attention, I was simply projecting my own insecurities on to them. Growing up, especially in middle school, I was the definition of awkward and no guy on earth wanted anything to do with me. I remember I had a close friend who was gorgeous for our age group and her boobs came in long before mine did. I would watch her flaunt her boobs to every single guy that passed. She would dress as revealing as the school dress code would allow and she literally threw herself onto every single guy that would pass her by. The long of the short- she got all the male attention while I stood awkwardly in the background wearing way too much face glitter and rocking my high-water pants. From that point on, I had a bias in my mindset that made me hyper aware of women who use their sexuality to flirt with men: I assumed that their personality must be so boring, that they can’t grab a man’s attention in any other fashion besides using their sex appeal. Over the years, my awkwardness subsided, my boobs came in, I learned how to do makeup, and was very confident in my looks. However, having confidence did not eradicate my childish judgements that I was still carrying from middle school. I was only able to eradicate those judgements by becoming aware of their roots in the first place. You see, when you dissect the origin of your judgements, you can really get to the bottom of the issue and then you can truly let it go and begin the healing process.
I remember seeing a meme that said ‘Don’t try to understand women, women understand women and they hate each other’. This gave me a quick little chuckle followed immediately by an immense sadness. I thought about my tribe of amazing girl friends that I loved with all of my heart, but then I thought about all the other women that I have judged or have judged me. The women that have looked me up an down with a shitty look on their face for no reason other than they were judging me on my looks or presence. I also remember hearing on a television show that women don’t dress to impress men, they dress to impress other women and I found that to be true in my own life unfortunately. Over the last decade or so, we have made huge strides in the body-positivity movement in American society. Pop culture has reiterated to us the importance of embracing your curves and the importance of loving your body regardless of what it looks like. I think the emphasis on these types of acceptance movements stemmed from the last few decades of seeing super-model type women displayed on every single advertisement. Mainstream pop culture placed unrealistic expectations as to what beauty in America is: it was all about being sexy and living up to the expectation of what men find sexually attractive. I am thankful that our society has moved to a more collective beauty-comes-in-all-shapes-and-sizes type of mentality because it is true. Beauty truly does come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Whether you are a mom covered in tattoos or a mom who doesn’t wear a stitch of makeup- it is fairly safe to say that we as a society, accept and respect everyone’s right to feel good about themselves in whatever manner it looks like to them. With acceptance and female empowerment being the forefront of most female agendas, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that there is a huge amount of women out there who claim to be feminists, yet they tear down women who look different than them; especially the ones who look better than them. I witness this first hand all of the time. I have seen grown women give a more attractive woman a nasty look, I have seen women exclude the prettier woman for no reason other than they feel insecure or threatened by them. This is extremely hypocritical and I thought to myself, what gives? If you are 100% for empowering women, then what about the woman who is in better shape than you or is taller, prettier, or is higher on the economic status? I couldn’t help but conclude that the women who do this are projecting their own insecurities out on another person. Externalizing their own issues and taking on a Regina George approach that makes them feel superior. Think about it- have you ever felt threatened by a woman who looked better than you? If so- let’s rationalize that. Were you afraid that she was going to try to steal your man? Are you afraid that her presence will take attention off of you? Are you worried that people may look at her body and look at yours and begin comparing? Basic psychology reminds us that the things we are most critical of in others, is usually a reflection of something we dislike within ourselves. Most women think that if they exclude or belittle another woman first, that they have won. It is the same mentality that if they throw the first punch, they establish their dominance. This type of behavior can be dumbed down to the pecking-order in a hen house. No thanks!
This may sound conceited but screw it, I am going to just come out and say it–I am a decently good looking woman who dresses nicely, does great makeup, is educated, and has a great personality to boot. If I had a nickel for every time another woman turned their nose up at me or the vibe shifted in the room when I walked in, I would be really rich! This has happened in almost every setting you can think of– the gym, my kid’s school, work, the park, gymnastics, an event such as a wedding or a work event– even a direct-sales party! I am an extremely friendly person so I would take (and still take) a lot of offense when I notice other women look me up and down and give me dirty looks followed by equally dirty vibes. I found myself having to make a real effort to befriend them, only to receive a cold shoulder and the feeling of my presence being extremely un-welcomed. Did I stink? Was there something stuck in my teeth? Did I do something wrong to them? No, no, and nope. I remember having a conversation with my therapist about this and she broke it down in a way that made their behavior a little more understandable for me. It didn’t sting any less, but at least I could rationalize their behavior because I finally knew it wasn’t about me, but it had everything to do with them! What was the root cause of their exclusion and dirty looks? Plain old fashioned jealousy, insecurity, and projection. There, I said it. Seeing me triggered some form of insecurity or brought something they disliked about themselves to the surface.
I remember a particular event that really summarized what my therapist was talking about–I went to a new gym and the coach was a very beautiful woman- she was in shape, beautiful, and was obviously the ring-leader of all the other women there. You would think– coming from a business perspective–that a coach would make attempts to make the new person feel welcome or at the very least, apart of the workout group that they are paying to be in. As soon as I walked in, I got nothing but bad vibes, dirty looks, and an overall feeling of I was in the wrong place. I remember going to the bathroom and feeling like I was going to cry because I was don’t think I had ever been that uncomfortable in my entire life. These people had never met me and had no clue what battles I was facing in my personal life–which were plentiful to say the least. While I was in that bathroom, I remember what my therapist had told me, that these people did not know me and were making assumptions about me based on my looks and presence, period. The chances of them feeling insecure in their own body, marriage, or social status were extremely high and they were taking that insecurity out on me by excluding me and making it apparent that I was not a member of the cool girls club. The only thing they had to judge me on was looks and presence and no- I wasn’t in there with my booty shorts, sports bra, and full hair & makeup stretching in front of their men. The problem was, I was another attractive female that was new to the gym, which in their mind was a perceived ‘threat’. Threat how? Who the hell knows! My point in bringing this up is that I am really sick and tired of all the tearing down that I witness women do to each other all the time. Were these women ‘tearing me down’? Well no- not exactly, but they made me feel like shit for literally no reason other than looks alone and because I was a perceived ‘threat’, they put their mean-girl walls up and ousted me. Talk about female empowerment!
When these situations would happen, I used to think that maybe I should bow down and accept the pecking order and try to ‘befriend’ the insecure girls who would shun me over intimidation or feeling threatened. After all, it would make my life easier, right? Nope. I am who I am and I look the way I do. I have a strong personality am educated, opinionated, and most of all– I am happy and I love myself! If that threatens you- so be it. I remember meeting a woman who was probably around 20 years older than me. We had friends in the same group, she was gorgeous for her age, and I made every effort to be nice to her. I got absolutely nothing but dirty looks, cold shoulders, and the overall feeling that this person hated me for no reason at all. I then had the realization that if she knows nothing about me and is going on first impressions, its highly possible that she was insecure and projecting her insecurities onto me because I was the youngest woman there. Perhaps it made her feel insecure about her age, who knows- but the way she treated me every time I saw her made me truly sad for her how miserable she must be inside to treat a stranger that way. Once I was able to dissect the motivation behind the exclusion that being an attractive and intelligent woman brings, I found a new approach to handling these women and situations. I compliment them and I point out my flaws to show them that I, too have insecurities. Even when I want to call these women out sometimes, I remember that they are coming from a place of insecurity at the end of the day and I need to be gentle with these women as they need it the most. You can lead a horse to water- but you can’t make them drink. So ladies- if you or someone you know does this to other women, please have this conversation with them! Encourage your friends to love themselves and their lives so much that they don’t even have the time to judge other women. My favorite quote is ‘Empowered women, empower women.’ Be that woman ladies!
Over the years I have learned that my personality and presence may not be for everybody. I have been shunned by many groups of women who felt threatened or intimidated by me and although it has really hurt me over the years, I have learned that those types of people are not my types of people and they are struggling with their own insecurities and projecting that onto me! I can’t think of a time in my life where I felt threatened or intimidated by a woman who was prettier, had a better body, had a stronger personality, or had more money. It is silly, stupid, and extremely childish; I give everyone a chance. Yes I have been guilty of judging other women in my past, but I can say with an honest heart that I had never been shitty to another woman based on my judgements; except if you’re trying to flirt or hit on my husband! Just today I saw an extremely gorgeous woman with arguably the world’s greatest body and hair and her husband was super handsome, too! I saw many other women look her up and down with bitchy looks on their faces and I felt sad for them and for the woman being judged. She came over next to me to get a closer look at what I was watching and I said to her, ‘I freaking LOVE your hair, it’s gorgeous’. She was grateful for the compliment and we had small talk for a little while after that. The truth is- her hair did look awesome and I am the type of person who ALWAYS compliments other people. I remember back in high school I would call it ‘spirit rising’ and I did this because the thought of brightening someones day with a simple little compliment made me feel good too. Any person I have a conversation with receives a compliment and it certainly isn’t all about looks–I give compliments on personality, character, integrity, brains– you name it (you should try it sometime)!
I remember one time making a funny joke about my boob job and one of the women heard it and gasped- ‘I could NEVER do that to my body, I wouldn’t put something fake in my body and I love my body just the way it is’.Well that is great for you Susan, but don’t turn your nose up at me because I did something that you wouldn’t do. I personally wouldn’t leave the house in that outfit but hey- Im not going to make you feel like I’m better than you for it. If you don’t like it, don’t do it simple as that!
Just because you wouldn’t dress like that, act like that, worship that, or do that to your hair- doesn’t mean it is wrong.
We all come from different backgrounds which leads us to develop our own unique worldview so how dare us think that everyone must act in accordance to what we think is right! I remember feeling this way about the last election- I would witness people on the right and left absolutely tear each other to pieces on a personal level because they were voting for the candidate that they didn’t like. Guess what? We all have our reasons for arriving at the conclusions we have made, so RESPECT that about other people. I don’t like mustard but you won’t find me judging someone who puts mustard on their food- except it you put it on chicken fried steak because that is just wrong (looking at you Danielle haha KIDDING).
I want you to think about the judgements that you have about other women- do you judge moms who are overweight because you are in shape? Do you judge moms who are not involved in their child’s school because they work? Do you look down up moms with tattoos or piercings? Do you look down upon moms who were full glam hair and makeup daily? I am dead serious about this– make a list of the ways that you are guilty of judging other women. Make the list, and think about each judgement and where it came from. What event happened in your life to arrive at that judgement. Dig deep with this one because once you can dissect the origins of your judgement, you can let that shit go and really start to heal from it. I am not perfect, nobody is, but I find myself observing women rather than judging them and this helps break that cycle of negativity and the need to feel validated. Stop comparing your life, your body, your looks, your marriage, your financial status, or whatever else- to anybody else! Your journey is unique to you so just do the best that you can and work on being the best you! If you feel like you are the victim of another woman’s judgement, try to let it go. Assume that they are coming from a place of insecurity or projection and leave it at that. Don’t wish ill will on these women, just pray that one day they come to a place where they are confident and happy with themselves that they don’t have time to judge anymore. Also, there is a degree of taking things personally at play here- most of what people do is not about you or I at all, it’s about them. Once you become aware of this, perhaps it may make you feel a little better about the times you have felt judged or excluded.
I acknowledge that every single woman has an entirely different set of life circumstances than I do- that they all have their own judgements, beliefs, moral codes, and standards of conduct that they act in accordance with. My advice to you is to become aware of your judgements and try each day to to break them. Search for the link of love instead. If you are too busy judging others- you have no time to love them. Oh your a super-Christian who is totally against tattoos and piercings? Instead of judging that mom covered in tattoos and piercings, find something you can connect with instead. Maybe you both are passionate about horseback riding or love to bake, but you would never know that if you gave her the axe because you judged her looks and presences rather than content of character. Judgements prevent potential life-changing friendships from happening–so remind yourself that behind first impressions and assumptions, you may have a new best friend!If you label yourself as competitive and validate your judgements on this notion- go join a competitive sport. You should immediately stop competing with other women- unless you are going head to head in soccer. You never know what someone is going through it their personal life so please just BE KIND- my favorite saying is ‘kindness is free, sprinkle that shit everywhere’! We are all in this together!