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.

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  • 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!