First things first, I’m so sorry for being distant from this blog. It was my birthday last month, plus a had a photo shoot and it was my mum’s birthday too.. it was hectic to say the least. I will be gradually getting back in to blogging more regularly from now on, so hi again!
Since Gillette tackled Toxic Masculinity in their advert back in January, there has been huge debate over what toxic masculinity is and how men can stop it in it’s tracks. Gillette urges men to make a point of calling out the detrimental behaviour of other men, to stop the phrase “Man up” in it’s tracks and to just be a better human being to everyone around them. The advert saw an influx of support, with men all around the world announcing that they are going to be better than the men before them, Obviously there was some negativity, including Piers Morgan being the attention nut that he is, but all around good comments from most of the nation.
So let me ask you this, where is our PSA for toxic femininity? Where is our call to arms, as half the population, to treat each other with more respect? We may call out some men for what they do to us, but we never call out the horrendous actions of our fellow females when they treat us badly and how they can treat men too.. and quite frankly, that’s bullshit.
Men may be normally physically stronger, but us females have minds of steel.. and we know how to use them to tear each other down. From the catty girls at school who berate anyone who is different than them, to the women who climb the career ladder to the top to not only stop their fellow female employees from climbing it with them.. but will push them so far down the metaphorical ladder that there is no chance of them climbing back up. Men will come to physical blows after falling out, but their problems will be sorted out after a drink at the pub. However falling out with a woman could ignite months/years of psychological warfare to destroy their target.
So how did women (and girls) become what we are today? One word.. Society.
It has been thought since the age of the cavemen, that females would compete with each other to win the attention of the leading male who would go on to produce the strongest offspring. This competition didn’t stop in the millennia after the cavemen. Women are forced to complete with other women to be the prettiest/sexiest/most desirable to everyone else around them, to be the Alpha.
A group of girls whisper to each other then suddenly stop when you walk into the room, when you ask what the secret is, they say “nothing”. Being purposely excluded from a friendship group and not being told what you did ‘wrong’. Blaming ‘women problems’ to get out of doing things, like assignments or getting a day off work. A female co-worker stealing your project ideas and using them as her own. Back handed ‘compliments’ from female friends/body shaming. Not helping another women being bullied or harassed – These are all examples of toxic femininity. Only 2 months ago 15 year old Molly Spencer from Co Durham was brutally attacked by a gang of 15, their female ringleader had been bullying and harassing her for months prior to this event. Women can be just as capable as men for being brutal and violent.
In school I was constantly berated by my female friends for ‘flirting’ with our male friends, they were jealous when they picked me for certain activities like the game Bull Dog (I was very petite and small, so I could easily get passed people to the goal, it wasn’t about the flirting), they had days where they decided to leave campus all together and not tell me and they chose days to ignore me completely. In those moments where they decided to dislike me, I was ostracised and had body shaming terms thrown my way, made even worse by the fact they knew I was self conscious about certain parts of my body. I started to grow apart from some of my male friends because of this, which in hindsight was bloody stupid as those guys were the best friends I had through school. Same thing happened in College, one girl decided to be toxic and I was her easy target, it’s almost hard to think that one girl can turn a whole group on another member. Even in my adulthood I feel constantly compared to the women around me, it feels as if there is a secret code to always have to compete with others of the same sex – whether that be competing to be the best at a sport, to be earning the most money, have the most expensive materialistic goods, or even having the best partner and life.
70% of women reported feeling bullied by their female colleagues too, with women having other women as targets rather than having male targets (68% to 32%). Women use malicious gossip, rumour campaigns, the threat of social exclusion and disapproval to bully and keep their targets ‘in line’. My manager in a receptionist job I had a few years back was a prime example of toxic femininity who had a serious case of Queen Bee syndrome. She asserted her dominance by making us colleagues perform low grade tasks that weren’t part of our job, like photocopying pages out of a home-ware catalogue for her, as a ‘look what I can afford and you can’t’ performance, or making us do the work of the cleaners even though we weren’t trained for such a task. She would degrade us with backhanded compliments and flaunt her lavish lifestyle to belittle us – I only lasted 5 months in that job, I had enough.
Women may be terrible to other women, but we can be just as bad or even worse to men. There is countless examples of woman using their ‘weak and innocent’ stereotypes against men, whether that is from feigning helplessness in order to get what they want, accusing men (or other women) of being physically/mentally abusive to get the upper hand in divorce or child custody agreements, To throwing the ‘women card’ out there to avoid getting in trouble or getting hit back. There is many examples of women using sex to control men too, often making them feel that they are lucky to be getting any sex in the first place or withholding intimacy to get what they want. Don’t even get me started on the false rape claims too that make a complete mockery of the #MeToo movement and brand every man with the guts to stand up to injustice as a liar. There’s a reason the terms ‘siren’ and ‘femme fatale’ are usually given to women, we are manipulative weapons of mass destruction to not be reckoned with.
1/3 of domestic violence cases are woman against man, it is just vastly under reported. Police in England and Wales recorded almost 150,000 incidents of domestic abuse against men in 2017 – more than double the number reported in 2012. 1 in 6 men will experience domestic violence at the hands of a women, but only one in 20 will seek help. Only last month, BBC Three interviewed 22 year old Alex Skeel, who was physically and mentally abused by his then girlfriend and mother of his two children. His girlfriend Jordan Worth, was the first women to be sent to prison for coercive and controlling behaviour in the UK.
Many women seem illogically invested in the idea that women operate under a different set of standards and practices than men, that we can somehow get away with the disturbing behaviour above just because we have been belittled and put down by men for centuries – but that’s not how it works.
This isn’t a post on how shit women are, or how we are worse than men. It’s just a call to arms of how us women need to do better, just as all men need to do too, no-one is a saint. With good mental health being at an all time low, some are even calling it an epidemic, we need to stop putting all the blame on men and start realising that our behaviour is doing a grave injustice to each other too.