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Why Do Women Hate Other Women So Much…?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Posted in: Uncategorized


Bitch Fight Posted by Picasa

The reason I ask the above question, is because over and over again, I see examples of how much we, as women, seem to dislike other women.

It happens a lot in the work place.

I once had a female boss who could have been Attila the hun in another life, but do you know what, I thought she was f*cking great. All the men who were subservient to her thought she had balls instead of a vagina, (although I did catch one or two of them drooling over her, must have been the power thing) and the women thought she was Hitler disguised as Barbie, and thus, she became the number one focus of their bitch fests.

I once asked a colleague why she hated our boss so much. Do you know what her answer was? Well here it is for you.

“Because she acts like a man”.

Now apparently, acting like a man is a cardinal sin amongst other women. Being strong-willed is frowned upon, and is seen as an affront to sisterhood.

Sisterhood? What sisterhood?

It seems to me that it’s ok to be a ball buster as long as you’re not female. The fact was, most of the females in our company at that time, hated my boss because she was attractive, intelligent, strong-willed, had a good job, and had other men in her power. She was just too much competition for the average woman. She should have been applauded for being all those things, yet because of those very characteristics, she was villified by other female members of staff.

Another example is the Big Brother T.V show. In this country, every year without fail, the strong-willed women, and the women with big personalities always get voted off first. We’ve had six big brothers so far, and in all of those years, we’ve only had one female winner (and that was because all the men were either assholes or snooze- worthy). Nadia, who was last year’s winner doesn’t count because she was a transsexual. She used to be a frickin’ man.

Women in politics is another good example of woman on woman hate. When Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister over here, she was often referred to as the Iron Lady, The Bitch, and a whole host of other derogatory names, that had nothing specifically to do with her brand of politics. Why? BECAUSE SHE WAS A STRONG WOMAN.

In the few introspective articles that I’ve read about Condoleezza Rice, (articles written by other women incidentally) she’s often referred to as a cold woman who would benefit from a good lay. Did we ever say such a thing about Colin Powell? Why not just say, ‘she’s a tough talking politician who takes no prisoners?’ Why are emotive words and derogatory terms used by other women, when it comes to describing another woman?

In romance books, we generally seem to love the hero, and more often than not, find the heroines irritating, and even if we like the heroine, we don’t gush to the same extent as we do when a writer creates a truly wonderful hero. Why is that?

I, myself am guilty of this also. I find it hard to tolerate wimpy women, but ball-busting heroines who are overly aggressive, piss me off too. What is the happy medium?

We talk about feminism and sisterhood a lot, but I sure don’t see any shining examples of it. Even within the romance community, there is more bitching and backstabbing that goes on (and I’m not just talking about the readers) than I’ve ever known. This has to be because the industry is run mostly by women for other women.

Why is it so hard to support each other without letting petty jealousies get in the way? As women, are we generally more hateful than men? Scott?

18 Comments »


  • Scott
    August 24
    9:52 am

    I have often wondered that myself Karen. It seems like when guys get pissed off at each other, a few hours later were are talking over a beer at the bar like nothing happened.

    I haven’t seen it so much in the work place, because I work with so few women. And one of the only women that I worked with on a day to day basis had a very laid back attitude about it. Most of us guys used to refer to her as one of the guys.

    I don’t know why women would hate another woman for being a “ballbuster” in the work place. Quite honestly, though I hate this fact, that is about the only way they get anywhere and gain the respect they need in business (whether outright earning it or demanding it). Sure, that’s a stereotypical statement, but there is more truth to it. And maybe women don’t want to see it have to be that way and take it out on the woman that is using those tools to get there.

    I remember interviewing for a job, either out of high school or a couple of years later when I was laid off. The company’s VP was a woman, and the head of engineering was a women. Very odd in the engineering business (like I said, I don’t work with many women at all). They asked me in the interview if I would have a problem working for women. I started to laugh and said, “No, why should I?” It was probably taken the wrong way, but to me it really didn’t matter. And it seemed to be a big deal to them that they were in the positions they were. Maybe that would rub other women the wrong way, as if they are saying they are stronger and more adept then other women.

    I really don’t know. This is one of those subjects that reminds me that I’m glad I’m a guy. LOL

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  • Dionne
    August 24
    11:53 am

    Scott makes some really good points. Men are a lot more laid back, and don’t seem to have the same issues with each other that we do. A lot of it does stem from jealousy though.

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  • Marianne LaCroix
    August 24
    1:09 pm

    It is jealousy. Yeah, definitely.

    And I like Ms.Rice. I think she is kick ass and I’d vote for her to be first female pres.

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  • Eve Vaughn
    August 24
    1:33 pm

    You are absolutely right. If you even mention Hilary Clinton’s name around a conservative around here it’s alway bitch this and bitch that. They even have “stop her now” campaigns. Wow, talk about hate and it has a lot to do with the fact that she’s a strong outspoken woman. Despite all the social advances we have made as women, we’ve been programmed to think that being go getters and strong makes us a bitch. It was the reason there were so many bodice ripper romance novels in the seventies and eighties.

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  • Desiree Erotique
    August 24
    1:44 pm

    Hi Karen,
    I think a lot of it has to do with women who confuse strong with bitchy. My Mama was like this, as much as I hate to say it. Her father raised her as the son he never had, and she has lived her life trying to get his approval. In doing this she relinquished all claim to femininity. She hated the fact that I liked to wear dresses, she resented “sissy” women (those who like cosmetics and dressing attractively), and I spent a childhood listening about how “strong”, “manly”, ect., ect. she is. Of course, she was bitchy in attitude. I love her, but its a fact.
    When my aunt lost both breasts to cancer and suffered the post-depression of the experience, Mama had no sympathy at all. She simply couldn’t understand why a woman would want to have surgery to replace something “useless”, as she deemed breasts altogether. She refused to hug me because she viewed that as “gay”. It is a sad, pitiful situation to see a loved one like this. But I really feel this reflects society’s weird confusion with femininity and weakness.
    I feel that we can be strong of will without emulating male traits. Nature created the sexes different for a reason. If She didn’t want us to be different then men could conceive, lol. There’s nothing un-empowering to be tolerant of the idea that the sexes are complimentary of one another, instead of asexual equals, or worse, rivals. Probably a lot healthier, too.
    The strongest women I know embrace their feminine side as well as their feminine determination without a psychological need to bully others.

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  • Rosie
    August 24
    2:10 pm

    I’ve had this conversation so many times with friends over the years. In my work life there have been lots of women in positions of authority. Some handle it better than others to be sure.

    However, a recurring theme seemed to be that the women all had more respect from the men who worked with them than the women who worked with them. The other thing that always amazed me is that the criticism always seemed to take the form of a personal attack. What they looked like, how they dressed, hair style, etc. It’s depressing to say the least.

    I just left my job as an Office Manager. The two women I worked with frequently asked me why I worked so hard. Huh? And why my work was so important to me. Double huh? All I did was show up and do my job for the alloted time to the best of my ability. That was perceived as being driven, intense and caring too much.

    Go figure.

    Of course I think we are all products of our society and what are acceptable roles. I just think that while we may have intellectually accepted that women can succeed in positions of authority and power, emotionally we have not.

    I do see in my nieces and nephews in their 20s a difference in attitude toward women. Ironically it is a more extreme. They seem to either have a calm acceptance and joy in a woman succeeding or an exceptionally hostile and venomous one. Scary.

    One last comment…I have to agree with Eve’s remarks about Hilary Clinton. You want to have a guaranteed volatile conversation? Just say her name…

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  • Dakota Cassidy
    August 24
    3:04 pm

    This is way deep for so early in my morn, babe. LOL

    It’s called ENVY and women suffer from it far more than men. Not to be confused with jealousy (a whole diff emotion)and men suffer from it more than women, in my estimation.

    Women are supposed to be soft, nurturing–if they’re not–they have balls the size of the UK and are bitches. All of us women hate to admit that we envy that in another woman. It brings out the meow in us 🙂

    The woman who can take charge, do it with a loving, but firm hand, and look good while she does it, is to be commended.

    It ain’t an easy package to come by.

    Dakota 🙂

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  • Melissa
    August 24
    3:16 pm

    But don’t you find that women in power are often more aggressive than men? I worked for a woman who really was an awful woman. She was so bad, she used to make even some of the guys cry.

    She was hated by the other associates, but she did bring a lot of the hostility on herself. There are some women, who really abuse their position of power.

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  • Dawn
    August 24
    3:41 pm

    Hmm…

    I’ve worked “under” a couple of women previously. Both of them were very strong, opinionated women.

    However, one of them I genuinely enjoyed working with, and we became friends, and the other I didn’t really like until I moved out of her department (her people management skills sucked IMO).

    Funnily enough the one I really got on with, the majority of the men thought that she had iron balls, whereas I just thought that she had high standards and she let you know what she expected from you.

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  • MaryMary
    August 24
    5:43 pm

    I’ve been guilty of saying that I’d rather work for a man than a woman. I had two early work experiences with women that weren’t good. I accept my roll in those experiences, but I think both women felt they had something to prove. Something like, “I can’t be feminine or soft in any way because then I won’t get any respect”.

    It’s a very fine line for women with authority. If you’re strong and aggressive you’re a ball buster. If you’re feminine and softer, you’re using your sexuality to get ahead.

    There are a lot more issues for women in the work place. As a gender we’re just figuring out what makes us succeed vs. what makes a man. It hasn’t been that long that women have had positions of power.

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  • Eve Vaughn
    August 24
    6:29 pm

    Melissa, I’d like to answer your question. I do think women are often more aggressive then men in business, because they have to be in order to get ahead in what is still a man’s world. Perhaps I’m not in the norm, but I have always had female supervisors since I’ve worked and I can’t complain. Sure there have been personality conflicts but don’t we have them with male supervisors as well?

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  • Kristie
    August 25
    3:02 am

    I don’t know why we are so hard on our own kind – vagina envy maybe. I don’t understand it myself. My new supervisor is a woman and I have to say she is great to work for. I have worked for other women and men as well in the past and I think I’m in the minority, but I like working for women better

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  • Karen Scott
    August 25
    5:16 pm

    Scott, I totally agree, in order for a woman to be successful in a ‘man’s world they have to be better and tougher than anybody else. The only problem is, that this kind of behaviour seems to alienate other women.

    Dionne, I’m not sure if it’s jealousy or insecurity, maybe it’s both.

    Mari,you know what, from what I read about her, I don’t think she’s a bad lady at all.

    Eve, I really admire Hilary Clinton. I saw her being interviewed by one of our journalists about a year ago, and I loved how articylate and well-spone she was. I think she should run for president.

    DES WROTE:
    She refused to hug me because she viewed that as “gay”.

    I can’t believe thaty any mother could treat their own flesh and blood this way. I guess you didn’t have an easy life huh?

    Rosie, you’re so right about women criticising other women, it’s always personal, it’s either ‘fat bitch’, ‘skinny cow’ ugly ‘bitch’ and so on. Totally unnecessary.

    Kota, you may be right about the whole envy thing, but I don’t understand why we can’t stick together and be happy for one another’s triumphs.

    Melissa, I’ve gotta say, in all the years that I’ve been working, I’ve never had that, sure the women were strong, but I never felt that they abused their position at all.

    Dawn, you’re so right. The boss that I was talking about was just like that, she was a perfectionist, which seemed to translate into ‘bitch from hell’ as far as the other women were concerned.

    Mary, knowing how hard we have it as women, you would think that we would be more understanding and supportive to other women.

    Eve, I totally agree, to be successful in a man’s world, you have to be tougher than them.

    Kristie, I love the term Vagina Envy, I must find use of that term soon!

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  • Desiree Erotique
    August 25
    7:39 pm

    Hi Karen, she’s my adoptive Mom. My real mother is with the angels.

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  • Anonymous
    October 4
    5:51 pm

    I don’t understand why “we” can’t be a happy medium. Must we always behave agressively? Must we always behave in a subservient manner? That seems to indicate inflexibility to me. I think that we need to be different things in different situations and with different people. Who wants to be too hard or too soft. I think I, I will speak for myself, want to establish that medium/middle of the road approach. I think this should apply to men as well.

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  • Anonymous
    September 19
    4:22 pm

    I find it degrading to women that this blog seems to imply that FOR a woman to be strong, she has to “act like a man”. I am sorry, but women have their own strengths without having to act like someone else. Femininity is not weakness. Maybe this blog should be entitled “Why Do I Hate Other Women So Much”, because I simply disagree that a woman can only be strong if she suffers from sexual idenity crisis.

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  • Karen Scott
    September 19
    4:39 pm

    I find it degrading to women that this blog seems to imply that FOR a woman to be strong, she has to “act like a man”.

    I’ve just re-read my post anon, and I’m pretty sure that I didn’t imply any such thing.

    You may want to read what I wrote again.

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  • […] often discussed here at KKB about the sheer lack of sisterhood there is out there. You see it in shows like America’s Next Top Model, Big Brother, American Idol, and X-factor. […]


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