When Oklahoma City Thunder cheerleader Kelsey Williams made headlines because a female reporter suggested that she was "too chunky" at a size 4, women went up in arms. Having a daughter of my own, I fumed too, but not for the same reason that most women did. The underlying problem here has nothing to do with Miss Williams or her waist size.
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Women are Cannibals
The most disturbing part of the story, to me, is that a woman wrote the story. If a man had said this, we'd call him a sexist pig and roll our eyes, but for a woman to write this about a woman is a separate problem. Women have simply become cannibalistic toward other women. If a woman leaves her house without makeup other women will pass judgment. But don't leave with too much makeup either... then you're a slut.
If the skirt is too short, she's asking for trouble. If the skirt is too long, she's an out-of-fashion goody-good. Shorts more your style? Watch the length and the legs! You don't want the shorts too short or cellulite showing or you will the topic of discuss over cocktails tonight.
Women scrap over everything. Stay-at-home moms judge working moms for not spending enough time with their kids, working moms judge stay-at-home moms for not living to their full potential, and work-at-home moms beat themselves up for not being able to give 100% in either area. The truth is that no matter where you spend your days, every mom is a little jealous of the other options. There is no right or wrong choice, so why not be happy and supportive of what other moms have chosen? Married or single, at-home or at the office, short or tall... why do we have to be so judgmental?
The Battle of the Sexes
Women could learn something from their male counterparts in the arena of professionalism. Perhaps the reason so many men still climb the corporate ladder faster despite the stronger levels of equality in the workplace is because they are much more apt to support each other. If two women are vying for the same job, the claws come out. If two men are seeking the same spot, the term is usually, "may the better man win." Women need to stop focusing so much concern on tearing down their female counterparts and instead strengthen their skill set so they are the better candidate.
Perhaps part of it is the differences in the way we handle disputes. Men can talk it out and occasionally even punch it out, but when it's over, it's over. Women, on the other hand, spend their time gossiping, scowling and demeaning each other. Whether in the workplace, at home, at PTA meeting, at church, or just in your neighborhood, women are never safe from a cannibalistic attack and the trigger isn't always obvious or intentional.
I can count on one hand the number of women in my life that I am confident will not stab me in the back. Think you are better off? Consider the last time you had a gossip session with other women. You all dished the dirt and you learned a lot. Now, consider if you weren't in that group at that moment. Any woman who is gossiping to you about someone else cannot be trusted to not gossip about you when you aren't there.
Men are different. I distinctly remember my husband spending several hours with some of his male friends and me asking how one of the pregnant wives was doing. He told me it never came up. They spent hours talking about sports, computer, the weather, and work... not other people. Most women would be talking about their spouse, their boss, their hairdresser, their kids and their neighbors in that amount of time.
I am just naive enough to believe that we could change this female mindset if we wanted to. It's simple really: refuse to gossip about negative things. When your friend passes judgment on a woman's latest hair color, throw in something positive. Be the person known as an uplifter rather than the person known to have the latest scoop.
Positivity shouldn't have to be an afterthought like it was in Kelsey Williams' case, where the story was edited to make it less aggressive. The point of that story shouldn't have been a cheerleader's waist or cup size; it should have been her talent. The quicker women begin to see the importance of uplifting each other rather than knocking each other down, the better off we'll be.