Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I mean her butt, It's just so big, I can't believe it's so round, It's just out there: Or Cattiness and Why We Do It

Thank you, Sir Mix-a-lot, for not only one of the bestest songs evah, but also a perfect example of girl-on-girl cattiness. This topic was in an Already Pretty post today titled, "Why So Catty?" exploring why women's default settings seem to be set on being catty and being critical. Sal boils it down to self-centeredness and unexpressed aggression.

She says,
"Remember middle school? If you're anything like me, you'd rather have your hair set on fire than go back to that time, when we'd finally learned to be cruel, to humiliate each other publicly in the name of social status. And why did we do that? Because our bodies were changing, our world was shifting, it scared the shit out of us and, unlike boys, we weren't "supposed" to break stuff, beat each other up, or run around like hooligans to exorcise our fears. Now here we are and our bodies are changing, our world is shifting, it scares the shit out of us and ... we attack each other. It's a socially-sanctioned action for angry, confused women. Again, ineffective, destructive, and infantile. But it's what's expected of us."

The whole conversation, and the comments are really interesting.

I see this in all aspects of my life. In the business world, I see a lot of women knocking other women's choices so that they can get ahead -- we've all been told there's only room for so many women at the top, and we all want to be that woman. In my mommy world, what can I say about the so-called mommy wars that hasn't already been said? Look no further than the forums on to see the grown up version of girl-on-girl hate. And in the blogosphere, in the fashion and fat acceptance blogs I follow, every so often an argument erupts that devolves into meanness and pettiness before the "sides" are even done making their opening statements. Why does this happen?

I'm sure there are numerous psychological reasons for this, but I know that my own cattiness is largely the insecurity flavor. When I feel bad about how I look, I am more judgmental and look around to try and find someone lower in the pecking order than me. As long as I am not the fattest, oldest, slowest, dumbest, whatever -est that's bugging me that day, I am okay, passable. When I feel guilty about being a work slacker, I find someone to pick on (in my head: I'm not that big of an asshole) who is a bigger fuck up than me. When I'm feeling guilty about my parenting, I try and find some example of somebody who is clearly deranged like a Susan Smith person, and think, "well, compared to that, letting Z eat Cheerios off the bathroom floor probably is not so bad in the grand scheme of things." And when I feel like I'm the shittiest wife ever, I remember the first Mrs. YG and make a mental list of reasons of why I am superior to her.

Maybe not everyone does this kind of shit, but I sure do, and it makes me feel like an asshole. And I never end up feeling better for that long. I end up feeling worse -- bad about whatever I was feeling bad about to begin with and even more bad for being immature and insecure.

On the flip side, when I am nice to myself, I am nice to others. I have long believed that I would never treat a friend as shitty as I treat myself, would never hold them to such impossible standards, and when I manage to give myself a break, I tend to appreciate everyone else around me too. Imagine that.

Today, or well the 2.5 hours left of today, I'm going to stop being so judgey.

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