If you’ve not watched the American Teen Movie ‘Mean Girls’ starring Lindsay Lohan, then you’ll probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but there is a scene in the movie where a group of girls descend on another girl like a pack of savage hyenas. That scene came to mind when I visited a Nigerian blog the other day. Some pictures from a recent event had been published, and I was quite surprised by the level of personal attacks on some of the personalities featured. The regular ‘ooh what’s up with her weave?’ or ‘those shoes so don’t match that outfit’ didn’t make me bat an eyelid. However it was the ‘personal attack’ on one of the celebrities that made my jaw almost hit the floor. The person in question was a radio/TV presenter, but is now better known for her work as a music video director. The event in question was a small intimate concert (i.e. no ball-gown necessary). The celebrity had dressed in what I saw as appropriate attire- jeans and a funky top. Naturally, as individual tastes vary widely, not everyone agreed with my view, however, it was the way-below-the-belt comments and the character assassination that really raised some concerns for me. One commenter went as far as saying,
“It’s not in the best interest for XX to look ‘unattractive’ in public, as from her tweets it’s clear she’s over 30, seems desperate and in dire need of a man”.
I thought the comment was incredibly mean and totally uncalled for. Others that read this particular comment thought it was funny, but it got me asking that $64million question: ‘Why are women mean so each other?’ I know this has been a topic that has been discussed on Bellanaija.com a few times but I think it needs to be revisited, given this new form of cyber/social networking female on female bashing! Really why do we have to go from the odd comment about the hair not looking right to comments (purely speculative I might add) about the person’s personal life?
Over the last few days, I browsed through different ‘Nigerian blogs’ and it was pretty much the same thing – the male celebrities/features are usually left unscathed, in comparison to the female celebrities/features who are literally torn to shreds, mostly by other females. I’ve always lived by the motto ‘Live and Let Live’ and as my friend Adenike says ‘What’s the point in stressing over something that won’t change my bank balance?’ So when it comes to things like blogs etc, I can look at the pictures and think ‘I would never be caught dead in that outfit’ and then move on to the next picture without leaving an awful comment about the person and how they are ‘useless and untalented’ for example.
In my quest to find the answer to this woman on woman cyber bashing, I gathered a few girlfriends together to get their opinions. One of my friends – I’ll call her Sarah, for the longest time had been complaining about another female colleague – I heard all sorts of things from Sarah about her colleague from accusations that she’s probably sleeping with MD to her Prada bag is most definitely fake. The weird thing was they hadn’t had any run-ins or arguments; Sarah just didn’t like this other lady and would jump at any opportunity to bad-mouth her. I eventually asked her to be truthful about why she didn’t like this colleague, after some silence, Sarah admitted that the dislike was rooted in the fact that this colleague was prettier than she was, and got a lot more male attention in the office. I really didn’t understand this reason, because regardless of Sarah’s wishes, there will ALWAYS be someone better looking than her – 100% guaranteed.
I read a few reports from different psychologists online on this issue and most of them seem to suggest that this ‘meanness’ stems from our own insecurities. To be honest, I’m not sure I agree with that entirely. I thought about the things I’m insecure about and wondered if those self-doubting feelings were strong enough for me to want to destroy the self-esteem of someone else, especially over the internet, the answer was and still is a big NO! Me bad-mouthing or being mean to someone because she is prettier, slimmer, curvier, has more shoes/bags, better hair, than me does absolutely nothing for me. At the very least, you may have inflicted some emotional pain, but honestly it changes none of the things you were and probably still are insecure about.
So I guess this brings me back to square-one – Why are women so mean to each other? Especially in a country likeNigeriathat is so male-dominated? Is it the anonymity of the internet that allows us free reign into people’s personal life that makes us so comfortable to insult, deride and even ridicule our fellow women? Why do women (not all, but quite a lot) find it much easier to rip pieces from another woman’s self-esteem rather than compliment her?
Feel free to answer below!