A Rant: Why Women Are (at times) Their Own Worst Enemy

The Women Movie Poster (image via IMDB)


I am absolutely disgusted by the name-calling and labeling and it has to stop.

To all the beautiful, glorious, intelligent, fascinating women out there: you know who your worst enemy is?  YOU.

Yes, I said it.


It’s true. We are our own worst enemies.

Why do we insist on labeling ourselves?

Why do we call those that are different from us names?

Why must we divide ourselves with an “us versus them” mentality?

Image via CartoonStock

It wasn’t until I began blogging about fashion and really concentrating on this area that I fully realized how much of the negativity is brought on by us.

Throughout history, women have had to fight for everything and that fight still rages on today. I’m not just talking about legal and economic rights.  I’m talking about so much more than that.  I’m talking about the right to simply live.  We live in a world where honor killings and female infanticide are still acceptable in some cultures.

Given that, can someone please tell me why we insist on knocking one another down instead of lifting each other up?

There is nothing wrong with being proud of who you are. Quite the contrary. Own it.

Be comfortable with yourself and be aware of what makes you the person you are.  Your personality. Your experiences. Your attitude.  Your looks.  Your intelligence.  Your sex.  Your heritage.  And everything in between.

Be proud of who you are, but do NOT knock someone else down just because they are different from you.  There is something very wrong with that!

The sad thing is, I see it happening constantly in the world of fashion including the blogosphere.

Just the other day on twitter I kept seeing messages about Full-Figured Fashion Week (FFFW).  OK. That is fine.

It’s just that in an ideal world we wouldn’t have a separate FFFW.  In an ideal world, all body types would be represented at the same Fashion Weeks. We wouldn’t intentionally label and divide ourselves in this way.  Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world so  I understand the purpose of FFFW even if I don’t agree with it in concept.

That being said, I do have a serious problem with people tweeting about FFFW and touting the fact that no “TWIGS” were anywhere to be found.

It doesn’t matter if we are talking about women who are particularly thin or particularly curvy or particularly full-figured.  We are all women and we shouldn’t call one another names.  Calling someone a “twig” is just as derogatory as using the words “pig” or “cow” in a descriptive sense.

The plus/straight-sized debate is always a huge issue in the fashion world with some new controversy cropping up almost daily (Refinery29 referring to Size 10 as plus-size, anyone?).  I’ve covered the topic more than once on this blog myself and there are numerous items that need to be addressed before the issue can ever be settled.  Yet the majority of these debates seem to focus on the fact that mainstream models are not representative of “real women.”

Is Crystal Renn no longer "real" now that she has lost weight? I think not. (Image via Refinery29)

Well, guess what? Those models are real women too.  Whether or not someone may or may not have a health problem or eating disorder is not up for discussion here.  This post isn’t about that.

This is about the labeling. This is about the deriding and snide comments.

A year ago when I began this blog I was a size 12/14.  Now I’m leaning towards a 14/16.

Years ago, as a size 10, 5’7 woman with DDs, I was ridiculed and called fat. Heavy.  Plus-sized.  Yet I could still shop in main street stores like Express.

Today, shopping in those stores is more difficult.  Express and Forever21?  Unlikely.  Ann Taylor and Nordstrom and Saks?  Do-able.  As long as I don’t go for the high-end designer gear I am usually still OK.

Yet just this weekend someone – another woman – called me a cow in passing. A COW.  Seriously?  She didn’t think I heard her, but I did.  A cow.  Funny, I thought I was a woman.  How silly of me.

Image via Google Images and edited by me

I admit it upset me at first.  It shouldn’t have, because I know better, but it did. My self-esteem suffered a bit of a blow. But then the strangest thing happened…  I got angry.

I got angry because I knew it wasn’t true.  I got angry because how dare she call me a cow when I know that I am beautiful! I know that and that is what matters.

Yet the fact that another woman chose to call me that name still grates on my nerves.

And you know what the worst part about it was?  Knowing that somewhere along the way I probably judged another woman in a similar manner myself.

Think about it. You’ve probably done it too.  Can you honestly say that you haven’t, at some point, labeled another woman in some way?  That you haven’t looked her up and down and judged her without knowing a thing about her?  Maybe it was her looks.  Maybe it was her clothes.  Maybe it was her hair.  You may not have called someone a cow or a twig, but you did something.  Whatever it was, it was wrong and we – I – should know better.

We should be our own biggest supporters.

We should be lifting one another up, not knocking one another down.

We should stop creating imagined divides based on our shapes and sizes and instead be creating unity.

Stop the labeling.  Stop the name calling.

Our weight doesn’t define us. Our curves (or lack of) don’t define us.  Our size doesn’t define us.  We are more than just a set of numbers and measurements.

We are so much more than what you see on the outside.

We are all women.  We are all real.

{ 75 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

  • Gypsy-Dharma August 30, 2013, 8:03 PM

    It is odd that women always say that men who judge women based on their looks are superficial jerks. Yet women seem to do the very same thing and in many cases in a much more mean spirited way. Whether or not someone looks like you or not is no reason to be hateful whether they are skinny or larger.

  • Koi baby April 22, 2012, 12:12 AM

    Thank you!!!! My son calls me a woman-basher. I get upset with other woman for not taking a stand on the beauty we need to express to each other through sisterhood and helping one another through everything. I do not associate with catty, bitchy and controlling women. I appreciate your saying that even calling women twigs is just as bad. I would much rather have a friend than an enemy. It is very simple, treat all women with respect, dignity and genuine love for one another.

  • Chrissie March 26, 2012, 2:59 PM

    I have a theory that no 2 women actually ever like one another when they 1st meet and that they can grow to like one another over time but as a rule it never starts out that way

  • Racheal Alonzo December 20, 2011, 3:46 PM

    This is probably going to sound real messed up but this this reminds me of why growing up and heck even today I tend to have way more male friends than females. When I was young it would have been attributed to me just growing up with 4 brothers and being a tomboy but as the years dragged on I simply found most women to be petty and self destructive in how they relate to other women. Classic example of the proof right here.

  • Rachel December 19, 2011, 11:52 PM

    Though I agree with outlook you have on the unnecessary discrimination women place amongst each other I feel the need to argue that it is a necessary evil. I believe that as the culture has evolved to create the idea that women should be equal to men, women are beginning to attempt to keep their emotions hidden; using fashion and make-up as an outlet for how they really feel. Thus, as a woman I see it necessary when comments are made to me to ask myself, “what is it that they feel they are missing that I have” and in reverse when I see myself making unnecessary comments about another woman I need to step back and ask myself, “what is it that they have that I want”.

  • JF October 5, 2011, 7:00 PM

    I am a 61 year old male and I stumbled upon this blog by accident. It is not the type of blog I would normally read, however I found it very interesting and insightful. I wouldn’t worry in the least about the woman calling you a “cow”. People make those comments when they have deep unresolved fears about their own looks or persona. Belittling someone else makes them temporarily feel better about themselves, but ultimately they just become more bitter and twisted unless somehow they make a conscious effort to break the cycle.

    Thank you for an interesting read.

  • Freeda September 27, 2011, 8:33 PM

    Yi-up! It’s the unthinking behavior of humans. Most people don’t seem to utilizing our intelligence and compassion to review the social conditioning they obtained growing up. I hope you won’t hate me for saying this… It is not the thoughts that we should feel guilty about and dwell on that guilt. I personally know people in my life who are so ‘allergic’ to feeling guilty that their defense mechanism is to deny to themselves of having those thoughts AND to punish the person they perceive to be the source of their guilt.

    In my humble opinion, it is a lot more effective and realistic for us to accept that we have knee-jerk thoughts based on our social conditioning, catch them when those thoughts sprout up in the mind, feel a little bad about the thought (not ourselves) and focus on doing ourselves proud by counter-acting those stupid thoughts.

    Sometimes, women don’t just knock other women down based on physical attributes. Sometimes we are sexist against our own gender, especially in the workplace, but don’t get me started on this.. *sigh*

    Anyway, you are absolutely right – we are all women, we are all real. Labels are so counter-productive, whichever direction.

    By the way, if someone walks past and mutters cow at me, I might go “Moo!” just to shock and confuse the person and as a way to let him/her know that I can’t care less about their opinion of me.

  • Felicia Stevenson September 26, 2011, 12:15 AM

    You say it, sister! We as women have the power to rebuild the world – let’s stop tearing each other down!

  • Heather Fonseca September 17, 2011, 11:06 PM

    I’m sorry this is so upsetting you! I dint know why exactly, but I find the fashion blogosphere very encouraging and supportive. Maybe it’s just a matter of time…

  • Fashion-Icon September 10, 2011, 9:00 AM

    Very well said. Thanks for this reminder not to be so quick to judge.

  • Sofía July 23, 2011, 5:08 PM

    I have really enjoyed reading your article and I absolutely agree with you. And of course you are beautiful because your inside is so beautiful that I´m sure that it must be reflected outside. Thank you again for this wonderful article.

  • Tricia July 7, 2011, 5:29 PM

    The ugliness of people is so depressing. And I’m not talking about physical ugly, that I could care less about!

  • Danah July 5, 2011, 11:48 PM

    This is absolute perfection in every possible way. You are so genuine and just… straight forward with your words and that’s what everyone needs – no sugar coating, no putting the little sprinkles on words to make it all better. We’re, like you said, WOMEN, we’re also (most of us) adults – we should start acting like some. Everyone needs to live like this and spread this to others, especially in times of hate, which occur often. Keep it up, girl.


  • umbrellamom July 5, 2011, 12:36 PM

    Your blog is so very positive and affirmative. Thank you. It made me think of the story “The Little Princess” where her father told her all girls are princesses. It keeps me going.

  • Cristina Barone July 4, 2011, 9:45 AM

    This is so true. Women always seem to put each other down, find flaws, judge others by their looks or style and generally pick at each others differences! I think everyone should embrace difference – it is beautiful.

  • Cheryl parker July 2, 2011, 7:22 PM

    Brilliant, true, sad. Thanks for this!

  • Sorcha July 2, 2011, 12:51 PM

    This is so true. It’s a horrible, terrible thing that we can be so awful to people (even perfect strangers) just because of how they look, or what they wear, or what size they are.

    I’ve judged people in passing, I’m sure they’ve done the same to me, I just have to wonder what it is that makes us think this is okay. Something in our culture allows us to grow up thinking that it’s fine for us to act this way. It’s very strange!

  • Mariel July 1, 2011, 9:37 PM

    A lot of the things we women still battle are not so much the big issues but the little things a.k.a. the double standards and sadly we women are guilty of enabling them to continue. It’s sad. As to the cow caller I’m glad you turned the situation around to positive by writing this post.


  • Alexis of NorthOnHarper July 1, 2011, 2:18 PM

    Women always find something to complain about in other women (and often it has to do with their own fears/ insecurities)

  • SupermodelBlogger July 1, 2011, 2:46 AM

    I’d say that woman calling you a cow has to do with a reflection of how she feels about herself. You’re right. It is sad. I love women.

  • Kimberlee June 30, 2011, 2:41 PM

    Wow I can’t believe she said that! Yes, women are awful at lifting each other up. Definitely agree with everything you said. LoveBrownSugar had a post about starting a movement UPLIFT where she challenged her readers for a week to say something positive to another girl. We should do this every day!

  • Maria June 26, 2011, 10:03 AM

    beautiful. Love it.

  • poet June 25, 2011, 1:36 PM

    Amen! I know I have labeled myself and others with negative labels, and I know that I can’t help but be influenced by the nonsensical beauty standard our society keeps promoting. I know that my brain is set up to make quick judgments. Some of them will inevitably be negative despite the ideals I hold. But I do everything to not voice these judgments aloud – and to meet them with an inner awareness ready to take them apart and prove them wrong!

  • Freeda September 27, 2011, 8:39 PM

    So nice to hear this. We’re on the same ‘page’. 🙂

  • Bajan Beauty June 23, 2011, 3:19 PM

    I completely agree with your post. It is so easy for people to be hurtful towards others. We should all “own it”. Thank you for bring it to our attention that we have all labeled someone at one time or another and it isn’t right.

  • Pam @over50feeling40 June 23, 2011, 2:32 PM

    I just now read this post after Anne @ Frump Factor posted it….wow, this is amazing! Thank you for saying all of this!! May it change hearts…silence tongues and make a difference!! Great writing!

  • UN-stitched June 22, 2011, 6:14 AM

    I just wanted to leave a comment here, though a bit late. This brought tears to my eyes, it is so powerfully written. I’m feeling a mix of emotions – haven’t we all been victims and perpetrators of judging other women? What does it say about ourselves when we scoff at another woman’s style or body type? Does it stem from the images we are bombarded by as little girls in the media? But I’m glad you are so strong and have used a negative comment to shed light on this important issue. It really must stop!

  • Mattie June 21, 2011, 9:50 PM

    Such a great read. Beyond true. Extremely candid and I appreciate your honesty. I feel like we all as women have divided ourselves in some way whether it be size, age, race, religion or whatever have you. At the end of the day, we are validated and worthy to be loved and appreciated for simply existing. This is my second time visiting your blog but you’ve easily converted me into a regularly with this post. xo

  • Luke June 21, 2011, 7:34 PM

    I like reading things that shakes my head, and putts me out of my imperfect reality !

  • Jen June 21, 2011, 5:26 PM

    I hate to say that I agree, but yes it is true :=(

  • Heather Fonseca June 21, 2011, 12:09 AM

    I can’t imagine why anyone would walk past you and say “cow”. How f-ing rude. You had every right to be mad, and probably should have asked her what she had said.

    I think as long as we are human beings with eye sight we are going to look at other people and things and have opinions. I know I do. But that doesn’t mean we blurt our opinions. If you ask my opinion that’s a different thing, but otherwise I try to keep them to myself. As a general rule, if I’m going to talk about anything I keep it positive. I feel it’s part of being a professional.

  • Angeline June 20, 2011, 11:27 PM

    So well stated! I wish all women could be as secure and as encouraging as you. It makes my ears get hot to think that someone called you that. Yes, I have also engaged in destructive behavior in the past, but I know better now and make a huge effort to support other women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds. I think blogging has actually helped make me a better person in that way–I’ve learned a lot about appreciating diversity in beauty.

  • Gabrielle June 20, 2011, 10:10 PM

    I actually read this post last night on my phone, and finally have the time to comment now!

    Can I just say I applaud you? This post is so powerful, true, real, moving, honest, unforgiving in the sense that you just put it out there with no hesitation. Can I say this is amazing?

    People are so rude, and it’s always been astonishing to me how rude one woman can be to another. Whether it’s to do with size, style, background, choices in their life, we like to judge each other too much. We need to band together and say ‘That’s your choice, you are who you are, and I’m glad that you are happy.’

  • WendyB June 20, 2011, 8:23 PM

    “Yet just this weekend someone – another woman – called me a cow in passing.” — why the hell are people like this? Ugh.

  • M @StyleSizzle June 20, 2011, 8:04 PM

    This is so so true. We’re so judgmental to others and to ourselves! You are right in that calling someone a “twig” is just as bad as calling someone a “cow” and I think that isn’t something that’s brought up enough. There shouldn’t be a division. If you’re a smaller girl, being called “unreal” for being thin is just as mean as being called a “cow” for being bigger. Everyone has a different shape, whether or not they can help it and it would be great if we could all stop judging ourselves and others so harshly. Men do not seem to have this problem as much as women, they aren’t constantly beating themselves up and “hating” the way women too.
    P.S. I love your blog.

  • Mode Plus June 20, 2011, 5:27 PM

    I have been to the FFFweek and I agree, we are all women. Personally I’m open to discuss this labeling openly and the emotions behind it. In reality I realize that not everyone wants to debate about this matter . Being a former size 10 (now a size 20), it is hard for people (mostly women in my case) to understand that I feel better and happier than ever. How can that be? With my bodacious self? I try (and will keep trying) to explain that my happiness is not linked to my size. It is a self realisation that in order to be loved, in order to be accepted, I must start doing it myself. The day I gave myself permission to be me (whether I was a size 20, or had an influential job or not), a new door opened. With more kindness and grace. This an every day choice, to give me, the room to be. Hopefully I will do the same for others. Thank you for being so open.

  • Anna June 20, 2011, 3:38 PM

    sometimes I believe that no matter how beautiful or gracious a woman is, we’ll find something negative to say (not only about her size)! I honestly don’t know where this comes from!!I hate name calling and labeling, though ok I’ve admit I’ve done it myself (never called a woman cow though…my negative comments usually have to do with one’s character…). I cannot understand why we have to call names in order to feel “superior” ourselves!!! (no wonder there is no male equivalent for the word “bitch”) I’ve spent my teens being labeled a geek and un-cool from people (mainly girls) that didn’t hang out with me out all!! Oh! did I mention I was chubby too??? yeah! right…I don’t want these kind of people in my life and I’m pretty sure they still think of me as geek and un-cool…

  • Kristin June 20, 2011, 3:27 PM

    A to the men sister. It is sad how women are so judgmental of one another!

  • Midnight Cowgirl June 20, 2011, 3:11 PM

    This is so refreshing!

  • Jessie at Fashion Limbo June 20, 2011, 3:04 PM

    Too right, my dear. It really is a sad world when the words we call each other carry so much hatred. I’ve spent a weekend trying to cheer up my little sister who is been called every cruel name on the book by who used to be one of her best girlfriends. All I could keep telling my beloved sibling was that that girl was ruining herself from the inside, sabotaging her own existence by harvesting such disgustingly untrue beliefs.
    There really is such a thing as SISTERHOOD. We dont have it easy, the female sex, but sometimes it seems we will never realise that we are our own system of support.

  • Perdita June 20, 2011, 3:01 PM

    I agree 100% with this. I have heard disgusting things said about larger women… and slender women (the assumption that all are anorexic is as offensive as the assumption that all larger women are greedy – most are healthy and just thin, not to mention those with colitis etc’ who simply cannot change their shape). And yes, usually by other women not men; most men I know will perhaps have a ‘type’ who they might admire and even ogle (which I’ll comment on as it’s utterly uncouth) but they don’t have this venomous hatred and assumption of (usually mental) ill-health when viewing anyone bigger or smaller than they are used to.

    It just has to stop.

  • Heidi/The Closet Coach June 20, 2011, 3:00 PM

    Yes yes yes yes yes.

    There is so much to say about weight and size and body image that sometimes I don’t know where to start. I’ve tried writing about it before (for example: http://www.closet-coach.com/2010/06/15/theres-nothing-wrong-with-your-body/) but I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.

    I’ve worn a 0 and I’ve worn a 10 and at both of those times in my life, I didn’t like my body.

    Given that sizes vary not only from label to label but sometimes *within* a line, why do we let these numbers define us?

    What does it take to stop judging each other–and stop judging ourselves?

  • Metsy June 20, 2011, 2:58 PM

    I agree with your post, but it took a few hours for it to sink in so I could comment. I could state unequivocally that I don’t make the judging mistakes you posted about, but that would be a lie. I think we all do at one time or another. Sometimes we say it out loud, but other times we judge internally… feeling that it’s not as bad because the words weren’t spoken. It’s a long journey for self-acceptance, so accepting others is also going to be a long journey for our culture. I have to remind myself every day to give myself a break, so that I won’t waste energy beating myself up. I also remind myself that judging someone and course-correcting someone to help them is a fine line… a line that must be walked in love. I love women – all kinds of women – and want so much for them to live out their dreams and make the best of this life we’ve been given.

  • Sharon Fielding June 20, 2011, 2:52 PM

    The weight issue – especially in the fashion world gets on my nerves. Most people agree that skinny women do not look attractive, yet these skinny people are used as models. The argument is that they look better in the clothes – who says so. What fashion designers, fashion editors, photographers…..all of them? People who are unlikely to ever have to pay for clothes for themselves anyway. They are just throwing there own values, preceptions and tastes on us as to what a model should be like, even though we disagree. Stop buying there crappy little publications – then maybe we will get what we want and not what they want us to want.

  • Beautifully Invisible June 20, 2011, 3:04 PM

    I understand what you are trying to say, but I take offense at this part of your comment: “Most people agree that skinny women do not look attractive, yet these skinny people are used as models.”

    I’m not sure if maybe it simply came out wrong in your comment, but that line essentially exemplifies what I am talking about in my post. It may not be name-calling (though I know some women who are thin and despise being called skinny), but it IS labeling.

    Please do not make a blanket statement like that and insinuate that “most” people agree that thin women are unattractive – that is as ridiculous a statement as someone referring to me as a cow. All women are beautiful. THAT is the truth.

  • Perdita June 20, 2011, 3:07 PM

    “Most people agree that skinny women do not look attractive”

    I feel a little contraversial saying this, but I think statements like this are exactly what the blog is asking us NOT to do.

    I know ‘skinny’ women who are wonderful mums, couragious career women- and ARE attractive. Some are slim due to medical (NOT eating disorder) reasons, some just naturally so, some are very very tall. Imagine being slender and reading what you’ve just written there; that most people think you ugly and ‘agree’ on that, and that’s right. It isn’t. It’s wrong.

    BTW I am 5″2 and curvy. Not that it needs saying, but I’ve no self-interest in the above statement. I just felt it should be said.

  • Kirstin June 20, 2011, 2:52 PM

    Such a beautiful written piece. I really needed to read something so uplifting. Thanks for writing such a positive piece for the blogosphere!

  • Jenmarie June 20, 2011, 2:44 PM

    Women are TERRIBLE at making quick judgments about themselves and others. I can’t believe someone had the nerve to call you that name! That is so low. Namecalling is definitely hurtful but I’m glad that you didn’t let it bring you down for long. You are so strong, B!

    One time I met a friend’s girlfriend and immediately she treated me so rudely. Later I found out that she doesn’t like women. Supposedly she’s so insecure about herself and so she just doesn’t get a long with any women because she can’t help but compare herself to them. I think that’s so sad 🙁

    Unfortunately I’ve had to deal with a lot of women judging me. I’ve had one too many publicly compare themselves to me and put themselves down like you wouldn’t believe! It’s so awful! I’ve had women tell me I’m too thin, tell me I can eat anything because it won’t do a thing to my body, ask me if I eat enough, etc., etc. Every time one of my relatives comes to visit she makes comments about how thin I look to her and asks if I eat. How does my own _____ not know that I loooove food? What gives her the right to ask if I finished a slice of pizza? Really?

    This comment could turn into a story so maybe I’ll save it for my own post someday. I keep telling myself to reach out more to women through my own blog and you’ve greatly inspired me to do it more often! I think inside women are crying out for help and so they need all the encouragement and positive praise they can get!


  • Pearl Westwood June 20, 2011, 12:58 PM

    Oh I cannot even begin to tell you how much I detest all the name calling and bitchiness between women. I simply won’t entertain it, nor will I join in which has found me outcast at times. I have been called names for being too fat, too thin, too smart… whatever, the point is that it is the women calling the names who are just very insecure in themselves. The models/weight issue grates with me, they are models i.e walking mannequins they are not meant to be representative of all the different shapes and sizes of women in the world, they are there to simply present the designs to the fashion buyers. Magazine models OK I agree we should maybe see a range of women if that is what people want, but runway is a different thing all together. I think what we do need more of is self belief and confidence in women, I think people need to ask themselves why they don’t like seeing thinner / fatter / prettier people than themselves? It is usually due to their own insecurities. We are all women, we all know how it feels to be on the receiving end of some stick so why on earth dont we all just stick together rather than attack each other???

  • No Guilt Fashion June 20, 2011, 12:36 PM

    Yet another great article B. Thank you for addressing the “Twig” label too. I’ve always been small and/or having an athletic build. It annoys me just as much people commenting on my small size as it does that they compare themselves to me, and call themselves fat. I never know exactly what to say.

  • FASHION TALES June 20, 2011, 12:24 PM

    Superb post B!
    What hurtful words… I do not understand why some result to harsh words, but it bites them in the end…. I loathe snide remarks on any level whether size, appearance, race, gender, etc.

    I have been reading many posts lately on how women are really in their own way sometimes, I think this is very true. Why do we criticize other women, judge, rolling of the eyes if we don’t agree with what a person is even wearing when we ourselves would not want to be treated that way.
    I wish we as women would learn our own beauty from within, having enough self-esteem/confidence where we can look at another woman & celebrate her differences, our differences without a hidden agenda of off-putting words…. is that not the same very way that we want others to view us? Judge not: we are beautiful, and even stronger when we work together.

  • Elissa June 20, 2011, 11:53 AM

    Such a powerful, well-written post. Thank you for having the courage to write what so many of us are feeling.

    I believe that women are conditioned to be competitive with one another. This starts early, often in elementary school. We are taught that while boys are encouraged to be competitive, either through sports or academics, women are not. We’re supposed to be feminine, docile, delicate creatures. We are taught to suppress our competitive urges. As a result, what should be natural competition becomes inherently evil and cruel. We belittle one another. We back stab. We cut. Instead of celebrating each other’s differences and strengths, we become jealous and petty.

    No one deserves to judge anyone else. End of story. We need to create a dialogue encompassing supportive, positive communication (such as your post.) Even more importantly, we must become more mindful and conscious of the ways in which we exclude and hurt each other. There is no excuse for putting someone else down, or acting exclusionary, in order to elevate our own self-esteem.

  • GRIT & GLAMOUR June 20, 2011, 11:46 AM

    Preach it, sista! You are dead-on in this post. So many haters, judgers…why can’t women just stop already?!

    And whoever that imbecile was who called you a cow, oh, she’s lucky I wasn’t with you. I’d have to open up a can of southern Greek whoopass an her. She wouldn’t know what hit her. But she’d never call anyone else a cow again.

    You know there will always be haters, B. Hold your head high and leave ’em in your dust.

  • Courtney June 20, 2011, 11:33 AM

    AMEN girl!

    I’ve never been “plus sized” but I think living in a world where we are judged by what we look like is enough to relate to this post. I especially resent everyone’s need to comment on someone else’s weight (I am guilty of it, too).

  • Kirstin Marie June 20, 2011, 10:36 AM

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I was never a skinny girl. I grew up constantly being bullied and ridiculed for the way I looked, it ended up driving my then low-self esteem self to an eating disorder, and even so, I went from a size 16 to 11/12 in a few months. And I still thought I was fat, though, because of my body & bone structure, my ribs were sticking out, and I looked all disproportional. Wouldn’t you know that the bulk of my bullies were women? It’s a terrible thing that we judge each other so much. This is an amazing rant, and I love you for being such an amazing woman.

  • MJ June 20, 2011, 10:08 AM

    Girl you hit this issue squarely on the head! Women can be very judgemental towards one another and you are soo much better than me because if I heard that woman call me a cow, we would’ve had words! How rude is that??!!

    The gender gap in all aspects of life, fashion included is ever so apparent and whether you are a small, petite girl or a one with plenty of curves you aren’t represented. Women period are still struggling to have an equal footing in the world. Instead of focusing our energies on each other, we need to get together, raise ourselves up, and show the world what we can do.

  • Jamillah June 20, 2011, 10:08 AM

    Oh B. Gawsh I feel the same way. I appreciate and understand why FFFW exists but I hate that it does and wish that sometime in the near future there will just be ONE fashion week that can celebrate fashion on ALL bodies. I’ve been seeing the “twig” remarks and it makes me feel really sad that they are objectifying models this way, it is so akin to the same insults they fight and it makes me really sad that to extol their fuller figures other women will put the straight models down.

    I’m actually so sorry for that woman who called you a “cow”-you know there is a saying that “hurt people, HURT people” and I think there is so much truth in it. Labeling someone else and calling them less than yourself is an easy way to build yourself up and going about life like this will be incredibly lonely and superficial. I wish I could zap all the negativity and judgment in this world. We need to be our biggest supporters!! There is so much against us!!!

    I love you, B.

  • Rocquelle June 20, 2011, 9:53 AM

    BRAVO for this post B!! I too notice the tweets and comments of division within the fashion blogosphere and industry as whole, and I find it very disheartening. The fashion industry could be so much more powerful and instrumental if there was no division and women of all sizes on the runway!

    I am so sorry that you were disrespected by this stranger on the street (it makes me angry)!! B, you are beautiful, of which you already know, but I wanted to remind you :-). I find it much more beneficial and gratifying to find something I like about a woman and compliment her than to find something I don’t like and ridicule her. Whether a 0, 6, 10, 14, or 20, we are all beautiful in our own unique way, and we as women need to do a better job of appreciating each other than tearing each other down!

  • Kenzi June 20, 2011, 9:39 AM


    When I graduated high school I was 5’9″ and 120 lbs. Typical Cheerleader type.

    Then college and real life hit and now I’m 176 lbs. Yes, I would be happy to lose a bit of weight. Not to be back to what I was in high school because face it, that’s impossible. But I would just like to get in shape. Feel good and healthy. If that means I still weigh 170 lbs that’s fine with me!

    The Refinery 29 thing has burned me up! I don’t wear the same size from store to store. I shop for fit not by number. Sometimes I can wear an 8 and the other day I bought my first 12! The same day I bought the 12 (at Old Navy) I bought 2 T-shirts in a Small. BUT I also tried on another top in a different style in a Large. Women are not made from cookie-cutters.

    Some online stores, I’m appalled to see the sizing charts. a 10/12 is a large?! Does the world just drop off after that? Do size 14’s have to run around naked or in brown burlap sacks?! One of my good friends is “plus sized”. But she always looks so very stylish and adorable. Sometimes, I find myself jealous! It is all about how you present yourself and confidence has a lot to do with that.

    Food for Thought- Marilyn Monroe (THE sex symbol of the 1960’s) would be considered a 12 or 14 in today’s dress sizes. And THEY were tight. I read that they sewed her into most of her clothes and had to repair the seams multiple times throughout shooting.


  • Ashe @ Dramatis Personae June 20, 2011, 9:39 AM

    “Think about it. You’ve probably done it too. Can you honestly say that you haven’t, at some point, labeled another woman in some way? That you haven’t looked her up and down and judged her without knowing a thing about her? Maybe it was her looks. Maybe it was her clothes. Maybe it was her hair. ”

    Yes! I admit, I often catch myself thinking (not saying in passing, because that’s frankly fucking tacky) judgmental and harsh things. AND I HATE IT. I keep trying to catch myself and change that attitude. And then I ask myself what I hate about myself that is making me lash out at another person that way. Don’t take what she said personally, she’s probably having a bad day.

    And really– WHO DOES THAT?! Calls someone a cow in passing? My god.

  • birdie June 20, 2011, 4:11 PM

    I’m with Ashe on this – sometimes I catch myself thinking those super neg thoughts… and I always have to pause there. I pause to try to remind myself that whomever those negative thoughts are directed at is undeserving. That person is beautiful in multiple ways, and so am I.

  • WendyB June 20, 2011, 8:26 PM

    Oh, I definitely hate on people’s style in the safe confines of my mind! Ha ha! But I don’t say it. As long as they’re happy with it….

  • SACRAMENTO June 20, 2011, 9:37 AM

    I am soooooooooooo with you!!!

  • Bella Q June 20, 2011, 9:09 AM

    You really are on a roll aren’t you? Yet another heart-felt and powerful post, and offer up a challenge that will help us support eachother rather than tear eachother down. I’m not sure why women pick on other women. It is my experience that unhappy people seek to tear down others in a mis-guided attempt to build themselves up. It never seems to work. I was picked on as a kid, and when a teenager, I was super skinny and odd-looking so was the target practice for many a teen-age girl. I was accused of anorexia, called all sorts of things without regard to my humanity- it appeared that I was an object to be discussed, not talked to. I had friends who were overweight and also treated with the same regard, only more taunting- my skinniness put me in the league of a model which somehow was supposed to be a compliment, didn’t have a counterpart for a heavier girl. I never forgot how it felt to be treated as “other,” and that’s probably why I have never ridiculed someone based on looks. I won’t stand to have someone in my ear-shot ridicule another based on looks, skinny or fat, not just because I’ve been both and know how it feels, but because I know it is destructive and useless.

    It takes real confidence to look around and praise the beauty around you. Because a confident woman is NEVER in competition with another woman. Proof in the pudding: all the wonderful women you listed as real life friends in your last post. Every single one, a beauty in their own right, and all they ever do is build up, build up, build up, not themselves but the people around them.

    I think what we say to others is more telling what we feel about ourselves: when Anika or Casee Marie or Vahini tell someone they are beautiful and they often do, they could easily be describing themselves. And that poor wreck of a woman who bleated out “Cow” was probably describing her interior world- one of cumbersome discomfort with herself and her body image. I am sorry you were the brunt of her discord. But I’m glad she at least aimed it at a person who is confident and can defend herself instead of at another sort who may have taken her garbage words as treasure true.
    the Citizen Rosebud

  • Shybiker June 20, 2011, 8:05 AM

    I’m sorry about your encounter with rudeness and understand your need to rant. You express sound points.

    Oppressed groups (and they include women) sadly often internalize their oppression and direct it against one another. It’s terribly destructive, as you note. Thanks for pointing this out.

  • Veronica June 20, 2011, 2:04 AM

    Well said. Thank you for this post and thank you for emphasizing that as women, we must support one another, help one another and truly wish the best for one another.

  • THE-LOUDMOUTH June 20, 2011, 1:56 AM

    Such an amazing post! Thank you so much for this…

    It’s true, women will find any reason to pull each other down. Years ago when I was 5’8″ and 118 pounds, I was called “chicken legs” and “anorexic.” Now I’m 5’8″ and 158 pounds and I’m called “pregnant-looking” with a “gut”! No matter what, if someone is different from you, they’ll try to knock you down… but that’s because they are already down and they want to bring you to their level. Women are insecure and narcissistic and want to feel equal.

    Why can’t we all be excited about our differences instead of mad, jealous, or bitchy!?

  • THE-LOUDMOUTH June 20, 2011, 2:04 AM

    (This is just a side note, but I’m confused as to what “plus-sized” really means. I’ve heard that it’s anywhere from over a size 6 to over size 22! I’m a size 8 and I don’t care if I’m labeled “plus” or not, but I wanted to point out that there may be some confusion out there. I’m not defending Refinery29 but maybe they really didn’t know…)

  • Casee Marie June 20, 2011, 1:49 AM

    Wow. This is such a powerful post, and you wrote it without a hint of inhibition. It’s quite an affective wake-up call, really, and I don’t think there’s a single woman it won’t resonate with. Brilliant job on this, B.

    Quite frankly, I think there’s just too much attention put on appearance. There seems to be a hitch in women’s perspective on fashion because somehow we can’t seem to enjoy clothing and accessories without noticing the size of the body they’re on. It’s ridiculous! I’m lost somewhere between 5’5″ and 5’6″ and equally lost between US12 and US14; and I’m wildly insecure about that. I didn’t even get into fashion to the fullest until I started blogging because I didn’t think I was entitled to a wardrobe unless I lost weight. But I never let my insecurities deny another woman their own beauty, and of that I am rather proud.

    As to the woman calling you that, I abhor that women think they have some sort of right to not only think such things, but act on them. What is that? What makes people think they have the right to talk to another human being like that? And what’s more, why do they WANT to? I experienced some small unpleasantness on my latest trip to the mall a few days ago; my sister and I were in the fashion jewelry section of a department store having our girly, giggly fun and a sales associate needed to get by, but rather than go a different way or politely make us aware she poked my sister in the back and huffed “Excuse me” in a tone that made one want to do anything but. I don’t know if she was judging us for being “loud” or for being in fashion jewelry instead of fine jewelry, but she clearly didn’t think we were worthy patrons of the store. I was still reeling from that when in a completely different department store I walked in front of a woman who tsk‘d me for reasons I still haven’t been able to figure out. If people devoted half the energy they put into judging others into some other productive cause we’d be so much better off.

    Clearly I need to be done with this comment because it’s turning into a follow-up rant of its own. Sorry! I do have to say that I haven’t experience any such judgments or unpleasantness from other bloggers, I think I’ve been uniquely fortunate in that. I remember once a commenter hinted that I need to lose weight, but it was five minutes of my time spent feeling bad about myself before I snapped out of it and moved on. We can’t please everybody, but we can please ourselves – and at no one else’s expense!

  • Cate June 20, 2011, 1:01 AM

    i have to admit though, i am guilty of this sometimes. and you try to brush it off as “not that bad” because it’s “coming from a good place” but how is shaming someone else EVER coming from a good place?

  • Any Second Now June 20, 2011, 12:53 AM

    Wow. Mind. Blown. Truth. Spoken.

    Thank you for saying here everything we all think about, but rarely give ourselves the chance to admit. We do this with weight, body image and even age, as it happened on my own blog. Lots of food for thought because I know I’m a culprit myself.

    I’m sorry someone said that to you. Someone said that to my husband once while he was shopping, and I know how hurt he felt. We are all people first, but labels never.


  • vanessa June 20, 2011, 12:32 AM

    I know this is going to sound cliche but GREAT POST. Why don’t women ever think about how we feel when being called a name before doing the same. exact. thing. I’m sorry someone had the nerve to say such a thing to you, and women normally do attack each other out of jealousy. When I was a size 14 (now I’m an 8/10) people would comment about my weight all the time. It drove me crazy. After I lost some weight, and some pant sizes people still couldn’t shut up about my weight either. I like being told I look nice but when you say “You look so good now that you lost the weight”. How should I feel after that? What if I gain it all and more? I just wish we could be viewed as more than a pant size, or weight. I’m a good person, and my pants size does not change that.

  • Heidi June 20, 2011, 12:29 AM

    BRAVO!!!! I LOOOVVVEE THIS POST!!! As a smaller girl- I am SOOOO tired of people calling me sickly or telling me to eat a cheeseburger. I have 5 sisters and I have seen the stupidity they have had to put up with so I try hard not to hurt other people’s feelings by judging. Women should be each others biggest supporters. <3 Ya girlie!!

  • Elle June 20, 2011, 12:20 AM

    I’ve been seeing a lot of these posts in the blog world lately, and I’m loving them – I really hope though that the people writing them are listening to their own words and really trying to believe it themselves – because the first step to helping others believe in themselves is to believe first in your own self. I think you do. And you know what B? From what I’ve seen you are beautiful- and more importantly than being beautiful on the outside- I know you are beautiful on the inside and to me that is what matters most. Every woman is real- none of us are imaginary right? What’s great though is to see someone capture the essence of a woman- and that has nothing to do with size, shape or look- it has to do with the heart as I said in my email to you. Thank you B for sharing this wonderful piece- and by the way 14/16 is by no way “cow” sized. and frankly- the average cow weight is 1300 lbs, and if a human weighed that much, I think being called a cow would be the least of their issues. Some people are just ridiculous- but the truth of the matter is people who say hurtful things like that are typically insecure about themselves. And you are right- we are so judgmental not only towards others but to ourselves and that really is to our detriment and needs to stop.
    Off to share this post now.

  • Kate June 20, 2011, 12:08 AM

    This is an absolutely phenomenal post! Thank you so very much for writing this. I agree with you 100% on every point. We truly can be our own worst enemy.