I try to possess thoughts in my head that align with the necessary and (sadly) increasingly rare notions of self-acceptance and respect, for myself and other people. But when insecurity attempts to erode the surface of my sedimentary facade, instead of seeking to prop myself up with self-affirming scaffolding; I seem to repeatedly fall into the same trap of trawling through comparisons.
And as to be expected, this only exacerbates these less-than-nice feelings. Minutes later as I’m 23 profile pictures deep into the Facebook of the coolest girl at Wonthaggi Secondary College in 2009, I’m wondering that if I had her easy grace in front of a camera at age 14 and abdominal muscles that appear to be sculptured from some smooth, golden medium, that maybe I’d be a better version of myself. This is a conscious act of self-sabotage that cements an intensely contrived and culturally enforced inadequacy. And I think a lot of other women might have fallen into this habit too. Why do I let successful, powerhouse girls make me feel like a failure? Why do I let intelligent, eloquently articulated girls make me feel clumsy? It’s ridiculous and unfair for everyone involved! We are all fucking fantastic and worthy of all acclaim that is recognized, and then some!
BASICALLY: THIS IS FOSTERED BY A PATRIARCHAL CONVENTION THAT PITS WOMEN AGAINST EACH OTHER IN A THREATENING, COMPETITIVE WAY!
Enforced by the male gaze, media and marketing platforms that generate clientele from targeting the deep seeded insecurities that breed within the collective psyche of Western women, the notion of us comparing each other and subsequently feeling like absolute tra$h isn’t new, puzzling, or remotely clever. But it works. And it lingers, clogging up our neural pathways and forming obstacles that stand in the way of good things like connecting with cool girls doing cool stuff. Being competitive and threatened prevents us from feeling autonomously contentment and genuine pride for the achievements of other women.
News bearing the success of another lady achieving something in a similar realm that we too have been chasing, can sometimes feel like the deflating of a hopeful balloon in our chests. Hearing that a girl our age is killing it in her chosen field has the shameful potential to cast draught over our carefully tended garden bed of malnourished self-confidence. And then, partnering this inadequacy is guilt for not being more supportive, which stifles any remaining glimmer of sunshine in our hearts. But it doesn’t have to.
Someone else’s success does NOT diminish our sparkle, and if we can be happy for them, that only adds more stars to a sky who’s entire gender’s gleam has been famously and historically hidden. These victories of other women’s are so worth celebrating, and its darn upsetting that competition amongst ourselves can prevent jubilant, bunting laden felicitations! Think about all the happy dances to we could be executing if this predisposition for sulkiness in the face of another gal’s win could be undone!
The toxic leak of misogyny upon our society does quite enough damage without women, its favourite victims, unknowingly perpetuating its oppressive propaganda amongst ourselves, too. How nice would it be if we could consciously flick a switch in our culturally informed brains, so that the success of one woman meant a triumph for her entire gender? I don’t think what I’m saying is idealistic or unrealistically Utopian in any way. I think this re-wiring is totally achievable if only for of its dire necessity. We can choose if we are defeated or inspired by this. The latter is also a pretty sure fire way to gain an elevated perspective and love of our own magnificence, too. Being proud of each other and celebrating our gains together is so much more fun than sitting in bed flicking through 3 years of Dyl from Philosophy’s ex girlfriends’ photos of her development work with children in Varanasi and graduating from her Political Science degree (Honours).
The other night, I was treated to seeing ‘COOL GIRLS SUPPORT OTHER GIRLS’ scrawled in gold marker on a tiled cubicle of the Cherry Bar toilets. And I thought to myself Bloody. Oath. Cool girls support other girls. It really is as simple as that.
Even just now in an act of procrastination, I’m watching a video of an incredible 8 year old girl in a puffy pink dress belting out Sia’s Chandelier with a level of finesse that I in my third year as a vocalist at a select entry tertiary music institution envied greatly. For a moment it made me feel like a helpless cause, and I instantly looked at her boss talent through the lens of my own insecurity. But, I put on my Cool Girl Being Supportive™ cap and was able to enjoy her talent without letting my ego pop her head round the door.
So let us create and discuss and do great things to our unanimously beating hearts’ content, and lift each other up far above our heads in the process. Our trajectories are all our own, which kinda deems comparison moot, anyway. We are all important, fiercely unique and incomprehensibly capable, so let’s just bloody remind each other of this as we go onward, being as powerful as we all know ourselves and our sisters to be.