I have zero tolerance for Mean Girls — and mean guys, for that matter. They’re cunning and ruthless and spineless cowards, and honestly, who really has the time for that? Maybe I’m just getting old and my patience is wearing thin, but I’m just over all that dramarama — and yes, I did just use that word.
Queen bees exist, but they’re far less common than we think. Women aren’t any meaner to women than men are to one another. Women are just expected to be nicer. We stereotype men as aggressive and women as kind. When women violate those stereotypes, we judge them harshly. “A man has to be Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless,” Marlo Thomas once lamented. “All a woman has to do is put you on hold.”
So if women are expected to be nicer, just think what this teaches young girls. It teaches them to sharpen their claws and always be wary of other women. It teaches them to be unhelpful and not trusting others. At the most basic level, it teaches them that they’re really just fooling themselves if they think they’ll ever get ahead.
How sad of a legacy is that? Is this the last message we want to leave for the next generation? A legacy of hating each other? A legacy of fear?
I don’t think so.
Sandberg also gave an on-point call to action, which I found incredibly inspiring…
It’s time to stop punishing women and minorities for promoting diversity. In the meantime, there are many ways that women can help one another without hurting themselves. There’s no penalty for women mentoring women — and when they do, they’re more likely to be seen by their protégés as role models. They share advice about how to break glass ceilings and escape sticky floors, which helps the group and costs them nothing but time. When a woman’s accomplishments are overlooked, other women can celebrate them, showing that they care and giving public credit where it’s due.
And it’s time for all of us to stop judging the same behavior more harshly when it comes from a woman rather than a man. Women can disagree — even compete — and still have one another’s backs.
With everything going on in the world right now, these words ring especially true, don’t you think? It’s time to let people be who they are without judgment or shame or criticism.
Don’t be part of the problem. The world has enough of those already! Let’s redefine Girl Power, shall we?? xoxo