Mean Girls Need Love Too

Last night’s viral video of WKBT anchor, Jennifer Livingston, gracefully and poignantly responding to the viewer who wrote to Jennifer chastising her about her weight made me think of all the ways women – and men – but mostly women feel the pressure to conform.  To fit in.  To compete.  To Bully.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdJ2jHii6Y0&feature=share  “Do not let your self worth be measured by bullies.” ~ Jennifer Livingston

While men connect through playing and watching ballgames or grabbing a quick beer together, women connect through sharing, through talking, through opening their hearts.  We want to be vulnerable.  We need to be vulnerable.  Down deep, most of us are walking, talking bleeding hearts.

I’m someone who’s always had a handful of solid girlfriends.  While I recognize and respect the nature of friendship ebbs and flows, and while it does get harder to maintain and/or make true friendships as our lives change, I know it will always be my nature to want to connect on a deep level with other women.  To laugh ourselves silly, to share recipes, to reminisce crazy old boyfriend stalking stories, to bitch about a family member, to encourage each other’s dreams, to feel a sense that somebody besides your partner’s got your back.

However, it saddens me that some people want friends to build them up for the wrong reasons.  I find it even more intriguing when gossiping (aka bullying) is used as the web:  Once she’s wrapped her stickiness around a vulnerable suspect and given the impression it’s a safe cocoon of give and take, of closeness, of connection – as they’re gazing upon another victim, talking ear to ear – she bites off the unassuming suspect’s head and then weaves someone else into her wicked web.

A wise person once told me that when women gossip, they indeed share a sense of connection.  Their bodies touch side to side as they gaze afar, whispering into each other’s ears.  They’re so close they can feel and hear each other breathe.  They feel the warmth of each other’s skin without it being a sexual affair.  They share a sense of warmth, closeness and INTIMACY we all desperately need.  But, instead of looking into each other’s eyes and facing the raw truth – of whatever that might be that’s inevitably there, they slyly but violently attack others with words – and ironically at their own expense.

I recently left a mom’s group on Facebook because I felt it was getting too exclusive.  Someone actually said that if other moms don’t parent the way she does, she has no interest in befriending them.  I decided to stay far away from her, and when the group started feeling too sorority-like (any minute I expected to hear letters of recommendation were required for new “members” to be accepted!), I decided that while I could connect with the ones I knew already, it was best for me to look for parenting connections elsewhere. 

From the viewer who wrote the nasty bullying letter to WKBT’s Jennifer Livingston, to neighborhood mama drama, to Facebook sororities, I challenge us all to think.  Stop and think before you write another word.  Stop and think before you send a hurtful letter.  Stop and think before you talk behind your “friend’s” back.  Stop and think before you comment anonymously on a forum.  Stop and think before you do what you tell your kids NOT TO DO.  Stop and think before you pull up to another ear, and think about looking into that person’s eyes instead — then you can gently and carefully say what you mean and mean what you say.

If you’re looking for a connection, start with yourself.  Start by tuning into your breath.  Your belly.  Your core.  Find out what stirs you, what moves you, what saddens you, what angers you, what excites you, what grounds you.  Find a trustworthy and qualified confidant to help you, to be your rock, to help you face your own truth before you fluff up your feathers by attacking others.  Find a sense of an authentic friend and connection in your self, and then seek connection and expression with others. 

Lastly, check out these lyrics ~

Kindness by Ryan Adams

If you’re so kind
Can you let down your hand
Can you let down your hand
If you’re so kind

If you’re so strong
Can you shelter the weak
Will you listen as the strangers speak
Bring them calm

Kindness don’t ask for much
But an open mind
Kindness can cure a broken heart
Honey, are you feelin kind
Do you believe in love
Do you believe in love

If you’re so kind
Can you let down your hand
Will you try and understand
When it goes wrong

Days come and gone
And it’s been said and been done
I will shelter you with my love
And my forgiveness

Kindness don’t ask for much
But an open mind
Kindness can cure a broken heart
Honey are you feelin kind
Do you believe in love
Do you believe in love

Kindness don’t ask for much
But an open mind
Kindness can cure a broken heart
Honey are you feelin kind
Do you believe in love
Do you believe in love

2 responses to “Mean Girls Need Love Too

  1. Wonderfully said 🙂 I hate that people use facebook as a place to upload pictures of people they don’t know and then comment on that persons behavior. SO UNHEALTHY !!!!
    Less related- today I was reading an article for my Feminism & Queer Theory class. I was reminded of this quote (referencing intimacy) by what you said about vulnerability: “The terrain of intimacy is a place where our deepest fears come face to face with our most profound desires.” (Amber Hollibaugh, Defining Desires and Dangerous Decisions)
    I think most women seek connection (this is the profound desire) but because of all the junk the world teaches us, we only have negative things to say about each other and we’re willing to say them to avoid living our deepest fear-being alone.

  2. Veronica, you get it! And, cheers to taking chances on being vulnerable in the *right* places. A yoga teacher recently said, “don’t let future potential friends pay the price for your past hurt…open your heart with healthy boundaries.” In the end, we do all want the same thing…I do think *kindness* with ourselves and others is where it starts! (yes, yes, easier said than done….intention, intention, intention…practice, practice, practice!) xoxo

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