We all have things or situations that we’re a little scared of. Mine seem to go through phases. At one point the dentist, then flying, then the dentist again,...
Feminism is everywhere at the moment. But unfortunately, not in our Facebook feeds. While bold, amazing women like Lena Dunham and Cara Delevingne lead the way in championing women they know, many of us sit, hidden behind our phones, feeling unhappy and unencouraged when something good happens to someone else.
Why? Because for the majority of us, being happy for other women and expressing said happiness through the ultimate validation of the digital generation – a Like, Retweet, Favourite or Share, is just too hard. When you think about the effort needed to like someone’s engagement update, or holiday selfie it really is minimal. Yet, more often than not, we choose not to.
How do I know this? Because I’ve been on both the receiving end and the instigating one. I’ve had friends reference events, a new job, holidays and exciting news I’ve had, which I know I’ve never told them, but which they’ve seen on social media and have chosen to publicly ignore. I’ve also sat with friends, discussing a Facebook status or tweet we’ve seen, that I know for certain none of us liked on social media, but one in which we’re all keen to provide a commentary.
‘Every time we tear women down, we create rubble again.’ – Caitlin Moran
I’m not narcissistic enough to think that every friend should like every post I write, or that we should all go crazy on the favouriting bandit in a poor attempt to validate the greatness of others, but I do think our failure to champion other women on social media is a representation of our inability to champion women in life. It’s sad that so many of us, find it difficult to celebrate the success of the women closest to us. That we skim past an update or image and stoutly refuse to like it or do anything, that may come close to supporting that woman.
Somewhere along the way, someone told us that there was only enough room for one of us to reach the top, that much like school, life is made up of Queen Bees and their drones and if we can’t be the Queen, it’s not worth being anyone else. This has led to a culture where we view other women, in business and in life, as hurdles in which we must jump over on our way to greatness. It is why my most successful and kindest friends, are the ones who are most disliked, for no apparent reason. Why the women who I view as being great mothers, driven businesswomen and beautiful inside and out, are the ones who have the least female friends. It is the mindset of all of us, in times of insecurity and doubt, to react to another woman’s good news, with jealousy, resentment or anger, rather than happiness or gratitude. But in our inability to champion other women, we are creating a precedent that no one should champion and celebrate women and even more damaging – that women should be shamed into not championing or celebrating themselves.
‘I don’t know who wrote this book, but you all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores.’ – Ms. Norbury, Mean Girls
The more you can share your friend’s successes, the greater you will feel and the more you will benefit as a result. One of the reasons the new wave of models, the Caras, Jourdans and Karlie Kloss’, are so appealing to our generation right now is because of how tightly knitted their friendships are. Where once, they might have competed and bitched in a way that kept the roofs over the Daily mail writers’ heads, now they tweet congratulations, show off each other’s cover shoots and publicly crown each other with success.
Your first instinct, many times like my own, may be to sneer and pass and carry on flicking through your feed when you see that a friend or acquaintance has done something great, but what if you could challenge these thoughts? By making an effort to publicly celebrate other women, we will all reap the rewards of great friendships, good karma and a better society for our future daughters, godchildren and sisters to grow up in. It may feel fake or insincere at first, but the more you get into the habit of championing other women and their successes, the more it will become a natural reaction.
‘One thing that I do believe as a feminist is that in order for us to have gender equality we have to stop making it a girlfight. We have to stop being so interested in seeing girls try to tear each other down. It has to be more about cheering each other on as women.’ – Taylor Swift
Being happy for people is infectious. Really, it is. And the best thing of all? Once other women start to champion our successes and openly promote our talents, it will become okay for us to champion our successes and openly admit when we’ve nailed something.
And that, will truly be a step forward for everyone.
Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.
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