“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet” – Adrienne Rich
Our club is founded on building a no-judgement zone where women support women so naturally we wanted to have a discussion to explore why women judge, and importantly, what’s the difference between judgement and opinion?
We hosted a brunch with Danae, one of our members, who is a candidate for a Psychology degree at Harvard University. Danae believes that creating a judgement-free zone would stop not only women from judging other women, but would also stop women judging people altogether. What a relief that would be!
So how exactly do we do that? Danae explained that opinions are beliefs, they are not based on facts, but on experiences. And we all have very different experiences. A judgement, however, is an opinion hardened by pride. We’ve all heard and passed one, right? And we can all recognise the tone and the way we phrase a judgement.
Where does it all come from?
Most people like to think they are open-minded, but beliefs, values, family, culture, society and environment all have a huge impact on how we think, act and speak. That means that the way in which women in our surroundings are treated is going to shape how we view gender.
The most popular news website is the Daily Mail, with more than 20 million viewers per day, and a large part of it are stories about age-defying celebrities, near immediate post-pregnancy weight loss and Disney style romantic relationships. And guess what? The majority of readers are women! We are all conditioned to believe that we need to look young forever, we need to feel magical sparks like in The Notebook for it to be real love and we need to be skinny to be happy.
Everywhere you look it’s all about getting a beach body, reversing aging, and how to bake and contour your face. It’s no wonder why women are often striving for “perfection”. And with social media pressures, this need for perfection affects young girls and teenagers with reports showing that 4 out of 5 girls aged 17 don’t like their bodies.
When do we judge?
You won’t be surprised to know that we tend to judge when we are not happy. Another problem is that social media perpetuates the myth that people actually lead Instagrammable perfect lives which makes us feel jealous. When we’re scrolling down looking at the supposed lives of others, we judge. We feel inferior or superior to others. When judged, we doubt ourselves and lose our confidence in ourselves.
So what do we do about it?
According to Danae, the answer is unsurprisingly simple:
• Find a way to live a life that makes you content and won’t give you the energy and time to judge others.
• Find a way to boost your confidence. Now this takes time, it takes forever. With age, you’ll have to work on becoming more confident, defending your choices, loving your body the way it is and standing by your decisions. People can’t tell you how to feel good. You need to figure that out yourself.
• Chose the right people around you. Chose the right friends. Everything is your choice! If you complain about your relationship and/or friendships, remember it is entirely your choice to be there and it is entirely your choice to get out.
• Also, stop clicking! Stop looking for those happy family pictures on Facebook or those #fitspiration shots on Instagram. Be content with your own life, spend as little time as possible on checking other people’s filtered and heavily edited lives on social media.
What’s the difference between confidence and bitchiness?
During our brunch, we also explored the issue of bitchiness. A bitch is mean, overbearing, imposes respect and is ultimately insecure. A confident woman will glow with strength, confidence, resilience, empathy and the ability to love and be loved.
Food for thought:
• Reflect on the people you choose to stick with, why are they in your life, what do they bring to your life?
• Who are your role models and how do these role models treat other women?
• Think of the social media pages you keep going back to, the publications you keep reading, what is their added-value?
• How is your relationship? How were your past relationships? How much do you like, value and respect yourself? And if you are unhappy in your relationship, why is it that you stay?
• How do you treat other people? And more importantly, how do you treat people you perceive to be more successful or prettier than you?
• Ultimately, are you happy? And if you are not – what are you doing about it? There is always a way to be happy! Happiness is 50% genetics (the hard disk that dictates whether we tend to be more pessimistic or optimistic for instance), 10% external circumstances (illness, environment, family) and 40% our own actions and thoughts (relationships, career, priorities in life, what we decide to spend life on).
And if you’ve figured all of this out, make sure not to close the opened doors behind you but reach back and help other people through that door! Share your toolbox.