I would like to begin this piece by letting everyone know that as I am writing this, I am watching the Women's World Cup and soaking in all of the amazing lady power that these athletic goddesses posses. This event is so important because the more attention and coverage that these games get,the more opportunities will become available for girls all around the world who want to become professional athletes. The Women's World Cup is a perfect example of ladies who support other ladies and how that benefits women everywhere.
Since I was little I was told by my mother that "just because another girl is smart does not mean that I am not smart." She always encouraged me to compliment other girls when they looked pretty, did well on a test, or won an award. My wonderful mother taught me from a very young age to support other women. Unfortunately, middle school and high school worked tirelessly to teach me that every other female is my competition in a zero sum game. But I thank my mother, Smith College, and more recently the lady bosses of the podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, for reinforcing the importance of women supporting women.
The first time I heard a name given to the act of women supporting women was Ann Friedman's article about Shine Theory, and befriending powerful females instead of hating them because they are amazing. The Shine Theory basically states that you shine when the ladies who surround you shine. It finds its foundation in mutual female support and promotes women lifting other women up, instead of tearing them down.
It took me going to an incredible and wonderful women's college to experience the benefits of surrounding yourself with powerful, confident, and passionate ladies who support other powerful ladies. This is not to say that I never get the slight tingle of jealousy when I see an accomplished woman, but it means that I understand that her success does not diminish my achievements, past and future. I spent a lot of my time in middle school learning to compete with other girls in extremely toxic ways--thanks to the Clique series and watching way too much television. High school was full of harmful friendships filled with jealousy and continuous comparison on both sides, which worked to tear down everyone involved.In hindsight, this mindset meant that I never got to befriend a lot of great people since I was stuck on the idea that surrounding myself with impressive women meant that I was going to somehow seem inferior.
Enter the transformative environment of an all women's college, which showed me that there is nothing more freeing and inspiring that being surrounded by goddesses 24/7. When you are constantly with ladies who are passionate, driven, and killing it in general, it allows you to step up your game. Instead of worrying about other's successes and making comparisons, I was working on myself and using the women who surround me as inspiration. I realized how much time and energy I wasted on obsessing over being negative about other women's successes. There is also so much to learn from other women. Whether it's an alum giving sage career advice, a friend giving you her chocolate chip cookie recipe, or your mother teaching you how to deal with taxes, women everywhere are boundless wells of knowledge and wisdom.
The world is a hard place for ladies and we all need a little support. No one will know your patriarchy-induced struggles better than a fellow goddess, and that support network is invaluable. So, gather your girl gang a la Taylor Swift's Bad Blood music video and commence taking over the world.You can start by sharing your hair ties, sending your notes to a sick classmate, and congratulating your girlfriends on their successes.
I end this article by reminding all powerful goddesses out there to remember to support your ladies, because in the words of the queen, Beyonce, "Who run the world? Girls!"