Us girls are a sensitive lot. We waste no time saying “You were looking at that girl’s arse, weren’t you?” or “Why do you keep looking at my neck – have I got a spot or something?” and are able to turn any reply to questions of that ilk into personal insults against us. I, for example, am the girl who said “By saying that girl has skinny legs when her legs are clearly normal size, you’re saying you think fatter is normal and that means if you think I’m normal then I’m fat” and began crying. All because I said I thought the girl walking past had nice legs and the guy I was with disagreed.
I guess that’s a perfect example of how critical we can be towards ourselves but we can be just as bad with each other. My office hires university students every year and so often the answer to the question “What’s the new student like?” gets answered (and not just by me) with “Oh, I haven’t given her much work but have you seen what she’s been wearing?”. It’s sad that we can be that judgment straight off the bat. It has a lot to do with how competitive our society makes girls, I think. My working environment, with its own special breed of intense competition only makes things worse.
We need to stop laying in to each other. That’s a given. As long as that new student isn’t breaking the office dress code, what’s the big deal? After the first few weeks, she’ll be judged on the quality of her work and that’s what she’s there to do. Those short skirts won’t land her a job at the end of her stay, you can rely on that. So quit the bitching and get back to work.
In day to day life though, this criticism thing is two-fold. Firstly, we all need to stop finding fault with each other. Feel like hating on that girl walking past for being skinny? How about saying “well done you for going to spinning classes regularly or living off celery or having good genes or whatever the hell you do to look like that.”. She might do nothing at all to look the way she does and that’s a bitter pill to swallow when you feel like a fat goose in comparison but it’s no reason to instantly dislike her, is it? (As an aside, I saw some dude on twitter the other day say “Crying gets you sympathy. Sweat gets your results.”. I thought that was pretty clever and vaguely relevant here although I’d precede that with “Bitching gets you nothing”.)
What about people who just wear hideous stuff that offends your eyesight? Meh, it’s a sticky subject. On the one hand, yes it is annoying and sometimes it’s enjoyable to give them makeovers in your head but on the other, you’re not actually going to go up to them and tell them why what they’re wearing is so hideous, are you? Let’s just keep it helpful, in good humour and not rag on people too much, eh?
The main point about this innate ability to find fault in other girls that we must bear in mind is that we’re not in competition with them. There will always be someone smarter or prettier or richer or funnier than you and that’s fine. Just learn to accept it. Life’s purpose isn’t to be the queen of friggin’ everything. They don’t exist just to annoy you and they’ve probably worked hard to do what they’re doing. They’re people too, y’know! We’re all just trying to get on with life.
Once you accept the fact that you don’t need to be the best at everything, the second part of this criticism thing gets easier: stop ragging on yourself. You feel the need to compete, you find yourself bitching about other girls and then you look in the mirror and apply that shit to yourself. It’s a vicious circle and we all need to get out of it. Just be yourself! You like make up. You like putting make up on. That’s fine, that’s cool, wear as much goddamn slap as you like. If you don’t like make up though, don’t feel like you have to plaster yourself in it every day just to complete with the likes of Amy Childs or Snooki. Guess what? You don’t. Give snaps to others for their efforts and don’t hate yourself.
It’s about sixteen billion times harder to put this in to practice than it is to sit here like a smart-arse and type it out. I accept that. Seriously though, you’re the only person who sees the bazillion things you think you have wrong with your appearance.
Yes, your fellow women, who like you inherently compete, may come up with “she has awful cuticles” or “her belt ruins her silhouette”. They might pick holes. That’s fine and haters gonna hate. Suck it up and carry on. It’s no worse than you could do to yourself. Where do men stand though? These creatures that are so often the source of our anxieties and inhibitions? Well, where women could knock out twenty flaws at the drop of a hat, I’ve so often heard a man’s view as something like “her dress looked like a giant carrot” or “she had a forehead like an alien”. Their comments are normally one or two sentences at most, there’s usually an analogy and normally it refers to inanimate objects or wizards. Basically, they don’t give a shit. Don’t let it bother you and certainly don’t get worked up over it. If you want to know how a man views you, I’d recommend borrowing glasses from a friend who’s short sighted and standing about ten foot away from a mirror. Now, do you look like a wizard/farmer/giraffe/knight? Well, there’s your answer. They don’t care about your pores or your nail beds or your spanx. If anything, they probably just wish you (okay, we!) wouldn’t be so super sensitive and self critical (e.g. me getting hysterical about a girl having skinny legs and then start crying). Overall: don’t sweat it.
So there. Boom. There’s your pep talk for the day. Now go out and be nice to your fellow girls and to yourself. Once you take yourself out of the girl-bitch-spiral, you’ll be ten hundred percent awesome. As Roald Dahl wrote in The Twits:
“If you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”