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Erika L. Sánchez Headshot

When Women Hate Women

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Ladies, have you ever walked into a room full of people and noticed that many of the women were giving you dirty looks for no reason at all? I call it being objectified -- by women. I have been objectified by women many, many times. But it's a different kind of objectification because instead of driven by power and sexual desire, it's driven by insecurity and disdain. I often feel myself being picked apart by other women. Both types of gazes are dehumanizing, and sometimes I'm not sure which is worse.

Some women are rude to me for no reason at all. I used to tell my boyfriend this and I don't think he quite believed me until he finally saw it for himself. It was as if I were telling him that the chupacabra was living in our pantry or that a gnome was the one responsible for the mess in the living room. This unpleasant interaction with other women has now happened several times when we have been together. Many times, my boyfriend gets a big smile and polite banters whilst I get the facial equivalent of an "eff you." I have been introduced to many women who immediately made great efforts to ignore me. It was as if my face were oozing mucus, as if my existence offended their sensibilities.

But why? I'm friendly! I'm funny! I'm a nice person! Why are you being such a jerk?

Our culture pits women against each other. I can go on and on about how awful reality TV shows are for us. So many of these programs perpetuate terrible stereotypes, i.e., angry black women tearing out each others' weaves, desperate women with obvious daddy issues competing for the affection of some washed up D-bag, women stabbing each other in the back for extreme plastic surgery. It never ends. This is why I don't watch much TV. I've also heard a few women say they hate feminists, which is always upsetting to me because if it weren't for feminists, women would have the same rights as cattle.

It's obvious to me that women-hating-women only hate themselves. I see right through it, of course. From an early age we are taught to compete against each other. We are told that we should all be vying for male attention throughout our lives. We're taught to break each other down, and talk about each other's' FUPAS and booty-dos. I can't help but take it personally, though. When we hate each other, we're participating in all the garbage we see on TV. We are being divided so we won't progress as a group of people.

"I'm not trying to compete with you," I want to say to these women-hating-women. "I don't want to steal your beaver-looking boyfriend. I'm just here existing. You know, being a person. Maybe I want to be your friend."

After so many years of being a feminist, I'm still not sure how to respond to this behavior. I am flustered no matter how many times this happens. It often makes it so hard to become close to other women and I resent that. I want to be surrounded by women. I want to have moments reminiscent of the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Vaginas!" Ladies, why do you make it so hard?

Don't get me wrong, though -- I have female friends and they are wonderful -- but they are rare. So many women are already poised to hate other women when they meet. In some ways, I feel sorry for them because I know that it's not me they actually despise.