Most nights of the week I watch TV while getting caught up on work after Azita falls asleep. Since I work a lot, I end up watching a lot of TV, and since I’m not always watching pre-recorded stuff (although I usually do) I end up watching a lot of commercials. And, lately I’ve noticed that many commercials geared toward women seem to feature a woman hating another woman for achieving something as the punchline. Seriously. Next time you’re watching TV take a good look. There’s the diet product commercial where a group of women hate another woman for being thin. There’s the beauty product commercial where a group of women hate another woman for looking prettier or younger. I think you get the idea. Women supposedly hate other women for being prettier, thinner, younger, smarter, more successful and so on. You can substitute any superlative in that list, and it will work.
I would say that this is just an assumption made by the male-dominated advertising industry (and if you think we’ve come a long way since “Mad Men”, you’re sadly mistaken. I worked in the advertising industry not too long ago, and women’s lib is unheard of still.). However, as much as it pains me to say it, this is no assumption. It’s the truth. I hear it all the time. “I hate her. She’s so skinny.” “She’s so pretty it’s disgusting.” Women hate Martha Stewart because she’s so perfect and Gwyneth Paltrow because she’s so skinny after giving birth to two children (and she does manage to do it all also). You get the idea. Women hate other women for excelling at something, for being born with a little something more than we have, for working hard to achieve something. And, I have to say it’s not just a crying shame. It’s downright criminal.
Whatever happened to girl power? I’ll admit to the occasional pang of jealousy when I see a woman who can fit into skinny jeans. What I wouldn’t give to be in her place, I think, but I honestly cannot understand feeling negatively toward that woman. Rather, I see them as inspiration. “Wow, she looks great! Maybe if I run an extra 15 minutes a day and eat just 100 calories fewer, I too, could look equally great.” When I see a woman who does it all, I see them as a role model, someone I aspire to be like. Yes, I know that Martha Stewart has a ton of help, that people don’t see that and that they think “If she can do it all, why can’t my wife/mother/daughter/sister/etc.?” But really, who gives a damn what people think?
This past year, a woman came pretty damn close to being elected President of the United States. Irina Bokova became the first woman chief of UNESCO. Ursula Burns became CEO of Xerox, becoming the first African-American woman to run a large U.S. corporation. And, that’s not even a drop in the bucket of women’s achievements in the past year. If we’ve really come such a long way, why are we still playing that same old game?
When I gave birth to my daughter this year everything did change, but one thing that remained the same is my feelings on this issue. Actually, it didn’t remain the same, my resolve has gotten stronger. I want my daughter to have female role models, to look up to women who have accomplished things, and not to think “I hate her” but rather to think “I can do that too.” And, I’m going to do my small part to make this change happen. I’ll celebrate the achievements of women, big and small, in my life and in this blog, and my daughter will never hear me put another woman down. I hope that other women who read this can do the same. It’s time we put a stop to this girl on girl crime.