The " bitch " factor

Charlie - posted on 11/09/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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Ok , we are all guilty of it from one time or another , i will be the first to raise my hand and say i am guilty .
So what is it with women's tenancy to bitch about other woman , put each other down , put ourselves down to each other EG: "oh i am so fat " friend replies "no your not i am fat " .

I have observed this happening from the VERY young age of four years old in a school setting ( viewed from a teacher perspective ), girls unlike boys set themselves up in cliques they emotionally manipulate other girls in a struggle for power and gain and dump friends as they see fitting to their social situation .

As well as sizing other women up in the looks and style department , they did research where men and women wore glasses that recorded where they looked for a day they found woman looked at woman 5x more than men looked at women .

And not to mention some womens need to gossip about everyone and everything .

Why do we do this , what is the motivation for negativity amongst our sex.

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JL - posted on 11/10/2009

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Insecurity and competition play a big part, but I do think the beauty myth is what gives that extra push and brings women over the edge into the pits of the bitch factor. Think about it terms of the beauty myth. How many women sit around thinking my life would be better if I could just loose 15 pounds. How many women buy into the products that promise to reduce lines and wrinkles, lift your breasts, tuck in your tummy, smooth your thighs, erase vericose veins, and remove cellulite. Check out a women's bathroom cabinent and then check out a mans and compare the products. How many women are ashamed or disgusted when they think about some part or the whole of their body. Most women never feel like they measure up when it comes to looks.



I think Naomi Wolf author of the Beauty Myth-How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women summed it up best with her thesis statement,



"The more legal and material hindrances women have broken through, the more strictly and heavily and cruelly images of female beauty have come to weigh upon us...During the past decade, women breached the power structure; meanwhile, eating disorders rose exponentially and cosmetic surgery became the fastest-growing specialty...pornography became the main media category, ahead of legitimate films and records combined, and thirty-three thousand American women told researchers that they would rather lose ten to fifteen pounds than achieve any other goal...More women have more money and power and scope and legal recognition than we have ever had before; but in terms of how we feel about ourselves physically, we may actually be worse off than our unliberated grandmothers."

[deleted account]

I think you've made a good point, Sara...I'll go one further, too. Tons of media has been created from a male gaze-think movies like Knocked Up-in which the schlumpy guy gets the gorgeous, smart woman despite all of his flaws. There are few instances in which a female gaze creates a similar scenario. Because of this male gaze, women have unrealistic expectations of what they should be like and what men should be like, breeding insecurity and its resulting bitchiness.

It's also been proven time and time again that most parents treat male and female children differently, even if they don't intend to. I can't remember who did the study, but there was a study in which the researchers watched fathers play on the beach with their children. Something like 90% of dads would lift up a little girl when a wave came through, but only something like 25% of men lifted up little boys when a wave came through. We condition children from birth-both as parents and as members of society. That is not to say that one cannot break from the mold, or that everyone conditions children in the same way, but it is to say that as a society we often begin teaching children about gender and how each gender should act and react from birth.

I definitely think that vying for a man is and can be part of this bitchiness-but I don't think it's a total explanation. I think it's more of a learned behavior resulting from insecurity and conditioning.

Ava - posted on 11/09/2009

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It's a matter of evolution. In nature, genders compete for spots to mate. Usually, like birds, males compete most heavily against eachother for the chance to be with a woman. In humans I believe this is because women are built to be attractive (even women who look dorky or otherwise unattractive, frequently is a matter of fixable things like weight, style/taste in clothing or hair, or habits connected to personality; if fixed up on the same par as women who show off, they may be equally as pretty). It is much easier for a man to find a good, loyal woman than a woman to find a good, loyal man (because men are built to mate frequently with many women; it is our higher cognition in combination with only having one or two kids a year that boosts this need for a perpetual mate, but that's not how we were originally programmed. Probably more like dogs, or certain species of primate that have a particular mate, but the alpha mates with any pack female at will). But with humans, there is a territory that we fall in with our higher cognition, and that's competition with other women. This has become far more prevalent in modern day because the ratio of men to women is beginning to tip in favor of women by a great deal, meaning competition for males has become priority (because you also have to, again, filter the bad from the good, which makes your selection more scarce). I think, in conclusion, that humans are gender mutual in their competition, unlike other animals that are heavily one sided for competition (female birds for instance never really have to worry about mating; they get to be selective). It's also because, unlike species like penguins which really do mate for life in some species, humans are not (like I said) actually physically built to mate for life. Men are tempted by other women because they're built to be out procreating everywhere, but our morals and sense of family values has tethered them to relationships. This is demonstrated quite simply in the act of a man looking at pornography---he's expressing his sexual temptation without stepping outside of the moral boundry of a relationship. He's venting without breaking a rule. If men -were- built to be with just one woman, and not cheat and not have other women compete against eachother, porn wouldn't be such a commodity. Haha.

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?? - posted on 11/12/2009

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I think most adult women are bitchy to other women because it's easier to be bitchy and keep the majority at a distance than to be nice, make a friend only to find out that that bitch was more of a bitch than you are a bitch and she betrays you, hurts you, and turns out to be a total bitch.



Women generally don't have very many CLOSE female friends because the fear of being hurt is more real than the hope of being loved and accepted.



We all know that we say bitchy shit when our 'not so friendly friend' has her back turned, why would someone want to not be bitchy and let us in closer? So that we can stab her in the back and make her feel like shit to save face?



It's a hurt her first before she can hurt you kinda thing.



It's also competition. It's also learned. It's also a desire to be bigger, better, stronger, EVERYTHING every man could ever want. There are so many different reasons for it... it all depends on the actual situation, person doing it and the person it's directed at.



I've seen 5 year old girls do it and I've seen 25 year old ladies do it and I've seen 55 year old women do it. And it's all for different reasons.



Young girls, it's basically a popularity contest - little girls get the idea that the more friends she has the prettier, smarter and better she is than all the other children. And a part of that is making sure that the other little girls are put in their pecking order - unfortunately that means that all the things that aren't 'normal' on a child are the things that categorize what that pecking order is.



Little girls learn this from movies, TV, magazines, watching mommy and her friends, listening to mommy and her friends talk about how she's getting wrinkles and it makes her look old and ugly and how she's getting fat and how her jeans don't fit right anymore or that she needs to buy make up to cover up those UGLY freckles.



All of those... little... small... even whispered thoughts that little girls hear - everywhere - that's where she will get the idea that the little girl with the freckles and pigtails is the ugliest girl so she is OBVIOUSLY at the bottom of the pecking order.



It evolves from there...

Jeannette - posted on 11/10/2009

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Here is what my personal experience tells me: I often put myself and other women down to make the women I am talking to feel better. Well, not so much anymore, but I have in the past. I have told women that are heavier than me that I need to lose weight, I have told women that are not good looking at all that pretty women wear too much makeup...I mean stupid stuff really.

I have even felt bad because I like some of the people I felt I had to put down to make someone I was talking to feel better.

Which is why I often don't like befriending women! I think women are too emotional about EVERYTHING. Guys can just chill. I don't ever worry about how much I weigh when hanging out with 3 or 4 guys, but when I hang out with women, inevitably the conversation turns to diets or weight, and lo and behold I'm thinking about it!

I really feel comfortable in my skin most days...besides the boob job I want, I think I can live with myself! lol! I wish other women could accept who they are and not be depressed about not looking like whoever it is they are aspiring to look like!

I like confident, strong, independent women...they are so much more relaxing to be around, and we can say things such as...Beth looked great in that purple dress! Not everyone pulls off purple, but she does! And get genuinely excited and happy for another woman's success and attributes.

Sara - posted on 11/10/2009

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This is precisely why there is no "Circle of Dads"...

I will admit, I have done these things. I think part of it is that women/girls are thrust into a culture with unrealistic expectations of beauty, motherhood, wealth, etc. I think that makes for a lot of insecure women. All it takes is for one little girl to see her mother do it, and then all the other little girls follow. It is so unreasonable to think that if 50% of all girls have been on a diet by the age of 8, then we might display some bitchiness towards one another in grade school? Now, there's even more pressure to not only be perfect looking, perfect acting and the perfect mother, but also have the perfect career, drive a perfect car and have the perfect salary. I think all of these things just amplify the insecurites that many women face and that, my friends, leads to the bitchiness...putting others down to make yourself feel better and secure your place at the top.

Amie - posted on 11/09/2009

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A lot of it is insecurity or jealousy. Even if it's not defined in the persons own head.
If you're secure with yourself though there will be no need to evaluate and then cut down other females.
We're all guilty of it, most won't admit to the reasons why or don't even consciously know why. It's something that's ingrained, it's competition. Just like males have but ours is different set of of competitions because we are female.
It is one thing that will probably never go away. While we can hope and work with our daughters so the next generation will hopefully get better at expressing themselves instead of being catty, it will never fully go away. The competition will always be there but we don't need to act like children to "beat" the next woman over or to "win".

Kylie - posted on 11/09/2009

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Quoting Ava:

It's a matter of evolution. In nature, genders compete for spots to mate. Usually, like birds, males compete most heavily against eachother for the chance to be with a woman. In humans I believe this is because women are built to be attractive (even women who look dorky or otherwise unattractive, frequently is a matter of fixable things like weight, style/taste in clothing or hair, or habits connected to personality; if fixed up on the same par as women who show off, they may be equally as pretty). It is much easier for a man to find a good, loyal woman than a woman to find a good, loyal man (because men are built to mate frequently with many women; it is our higher cognition in combination with only having one or two kids a year that boosts this need for a perpetual mate, but that's not how we were originally programmed. Probably more like dogs, or certain species of primate that have a particular mate, but the alpha mates with any pack female at will). But with humans, there is a territory that we fall in with our higher cognition, and that's competition with other women. This has become far more prevalent in modern day because the ratio of men to women is beginning to tip in favor of women by a great deal, meaning competition for males has become priority (because you also have to, again, filter the bad from the good, which makes your selection more scarce). I think, in conclusion, that humans are gender mutual in their competition, unlike other animals that are heavily one sided for competition (female birds for instance never really have to worry about mating; they get to be selective). It's also because, unlike species like penguins which really do mate for life in some species, humans are not (like I said) actually physically built to mate for life. Men are tempted by other women because they're built to be out procreating everywhere, but our morals and sense of family values has tethered them to relationships. This is demonstrated quite simply in the act of a man looking at pornography---he's expressing his sexual temptation without stepping outside of the moral boundry of a relationship. He's venting without breaking a rule. If men -were- built to be with just one woman, and not cheat and not have other women compete against eachother, porn wouldn't be such a commodity. Haha.


hmm i don't know about that theory..i don't think i bitch about my sister or my cousin because I'm competing for a mate, I just like to gossip sometimes. When i was at school i liked having my group of girlfriends because we could rely on each other and make fun of the girls/ people outside of our group for fun. Perhaps it's just part of our learned communication or social bonding. I'll talk about my sister being a skank with her 4 boyfriends on the go but i still love and respect her..its just a bit of entertainment or venting.  I go shopping with my family and if i see some woman or group of girls in bad fashion or doing something weird i"ll say something (bitchy) to my hubby and he'll make a comment back like "slapper" or "tacky" or whatever. I'm not in competition and I'm not saying it so they can hear it and i can put them down..it's more entertainment or a learned reaction... i dunno..it seems pretty sad...i don't do it all the time but i do do it.
And women look at porn too..its not a man only thing :p

Kylie - posted on 11/09/2009

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Quoting Ava:

It's a matter of evolution. In nature, genders compete for spots to mate. Usually, like birds, males compete most heavily against eachother for the chance to be with a woman. In humans I believe this is because women are built to be attractive (even women who look dorky or otherwise unattractive, frequently is a matter of fixable things like weight, style/taste in clothing or hair, or habits connected to personality; if fixed up on the same par as women who show off, they may be equally as pretty). It is much easier for a man to find a good, loyal woman than a woman to find a good, loyal man (because men are built to mate frequently with many women; it is our higher cognition in combination with only having one or two kids a year that boosts this need for a perpetual mate, but that's not how we were originally programmed. Probably more like dogs, or certain species of primate that have a particular mate, but the alpha mates with any pack female at will). But with humans, there is a territory that we fall in with our higher cognition, and that's competition with other women. This has become far more prevalent in modern day because the ratio of men to women is beginning to tip in favor of women by a great deal, meaning competition for males has become priority (because you also have to, again, filter the bad from the good, which makes your selection more scarce). I think, in conclusion, that humans are gender mutual in their competition, unlike other animals that are heavily one sided for competition (female birds for instance never really have to worry about mating; they get to be selective). It's also because, unlike species like penguins which really do mate for life in some species, humans are not (like I said) actually physically built to mate for life. Men are tempted by other women because they're built to be out procreating everywhere, but our morals and sense of family values has tethered them to relationships. This is demonstrated quite simply in the act of a man looking at pornography---he's expressing his sexual temptation without stepping outside of the moral boundry of a relationship. He's venting without breaking a rule. If men -were- built to be with just one woman, and not cheat and not have other women compete against eachother, porn wouldn't be such a commodity. Haha.


hmm i don't know about that theory..i don't think i bitch about my sister or my cousin because I'm competing for a mate, I just like to gossip sometimes. When i was at school i liked having my group of girlfriends because we could rely on each other and make fun of the girls/ people outside of our group for fun. Perhaps it's just part of our learned communication or social bonding. I'll talk about my sister being a skank with her 4 boyfriends on the go but i still love and respect her..its just a bit of entertainment or venting.  I go shopping with my family and if i see some woman or group of girls in bad fashion or doing something weird i"ll say something (bitchy) to my hubby and he'll make a comment back like "slapper" or "tacky" or whatever. I'm not in competition and I'm not saying it so they can hear it and i can put them down..it's more entertainment or a learned reaction... i dunno..it seems pretty sad...i don't do it all the time but i do do it.
And women look at porn too..its not a man only thing :p

Mel - posted on 11/09/2009

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i think its mainly a teen faze but some people never get out of it. I went to 2 different high schools and the one from the upperclass area are all the girls who bitch behind each others backs, say they are bad parents and say all sorts of things, and the ones from the school I was worried about going to, are the oens who have become my greatest friends, they are friendly, open and honest, fun, and loving. they may not all have licences , cars , and live out of home or have good jobs like those other girls but I just think they are fantastic people.

I remember being the girl who got kicked out of the group for a week sitting outside class every lunch break because I had no friends, and I remember being the one to kick one girl out of our group the next week and make her sit by herself. Its 14 yr old behavior and i dont even understand myself why I was like that or they were because now we have all matured so much. Its a maturity thing and a faze most of us go through. You hang with the popular girls u go through hell u hang with the not so popular they are no fun but you know they wont ditch you.

In some envirronments like certain jobs eg hair drssers they tend to be more bitchy and I know then women in my mums work office bitch about each other all the time and they are 25-50 yr olds its sad. My mums like that and she is turning 50 this yr

Kylie - posted on 11/09/2009

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I don't know either...I'm guilty of it and I'm not looking forward to my little girl going to school and learning about cliques, gossip and bitchiness. Didn't Sara Long Butler do a women's studies major? maybe she can shed some light on this.

Charlie - posted on 11/09/2009

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Honestly i dont know either , it is disturbing that grown women do it ( i wonder why i do it )but what is more disturbing is watching little 5 year old girls get around in gangs being absolutely bitchy towards each other .
I dont get it their mothers are mostly lovely ladies ( alright some of them are bitches too ) but for the most part nice woman , i was stunned when i first began work and watched the little girls interact with each other , i had always known women to be bitchy which is why i have always been drawn to male friends and female friends with a more " masculine energy " because men are upfront if they dont like you they tell you , if something shits them they tell you !

Another example is the female obsession with train wreck celebrities WE LOVE when a (usually female ) celebrity fails , gets fat , dumped , becomes an addict which is horrible BUT WE DO .
I love my trash mags but its seriously horrible that this is what we like millions of copies sold to women across the world just proves that women are bitchy .

WHY ???

Sharon - posted on 11/09/2009

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I don't know. I do know my daughter has done it and with NO example of such a thing from me.



I don't know. Maybe she heard me on the phone with a friend doing something like that. I also don't do it with my husband. I know I'm not fat. I do know I'm out of shape and a bit lumpy! And he isn't bright enough/or is to smart to do that "oh you're not out of shape" thing either. He just grunts and says "yeah we need to start exercising..."



I'm looking forward to someone elses insights.....

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