Successful Women are NOT Bitches–Meghan

First, I would like to say I thought the Strong Sisters documentary was very interesting. I had no idea that women were so involved in politics in Colorado, which I think is really exciting. However, I think this documentary fails to address the problem with stereotypes of women in power. I agree it is absolutely necessary to bring society’s attention to the one-sided nature of politics, but I also think it is necessary to address why women are not choosing political or leadership roles as often as men. The documentary does address this to an extent (i.e. women should be mothers and they are bad mothers if they work, women have less access to money because they are less assertive than men, etc). Obviously, there is a problem with how society views women–women should be caregivers, loving, and supportive of their husbands, etc.–but I do not want to talk about those issues for this post. I would like to draw our attention to the idea of “bitch.”

“Bitch” can have a lot of meanings depending on the context. Friends sometimes refer to their girlfriends as their “bitches,” or “bitch” is sometimes said in jest. However, when “bitch” is used to refer to a woman in a leadership role, the connotation is as negative as can be. Women are classified as “bitches” if they are confident, give direction, or, really, just if they are good at their jobs. Men, on the other hand, are identified as strong leaders when they are confident, give direction, or are good at their jobs. This double standard is a big problem.

So, here’s my question: Why are we calling women “bitches” if we are encouraging them to follow their dreams and become leaders? By doing this, aren’t we being contradictory?

I think women (some, not all) are hesitant to enter competitive fields and leadership roles because they are worried how they will be labeled by society. Men aren’t the only party perpetuating this problem. Women are mean to other women. I appreciated the idea of “sisterhood” that the documentary mentioned in the end; but, I have to say, it peeved me when the younger woman laughed when given the question if sisterhood exists in politics and then said “I hope so.” “Sisterhood” should exist because nothing is going to change if women are not supportive of each other. I thought it was great that the women in the documentary banded together to make a difference–I don’t think this happens enough because women are competitive with each other and are worried what other women are going to say about them. I’m not sure where this issue began, but, as Naomi discussed in her post, young girls are telling other girls what is acceptable to wear (and not only wear, but also behave). If this problem is starting at such a young age, it is no wonder why women continue to judge other women for their appearances or their successes.

We need to stop allowing the idea that a woman is a bitch if she is successful. Not only is this harmful to the women being accused of “bitchery,” but also to the young women and girls who aspire to lead.

I don’t have an answer to these problems, but I think we need to stop saying there’s a problem and actually start doing something about it. I think we need to be like, and start encouraging women to be like, the women in Strong Sisters. Even though they did not always agree on certain matters, the women were still able to be supportive and friendly towards each other, rather than calling each other “bitches.”

Here’s an interesting TIME article if you want to read more about these problems: http://ideas.time.com/2013/03/07/confidence-woman/

And here’s a video, just for kicks. 🙂

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