Kathy (second from right) and some of her favorite women (l to r) sisters Mona, Maria and cousin Mary
By Kathy P. Behan
When did it ever become acceptable, even fashionable, to bash women? I’m sick of hearing about “mean girls” and lines like, “Well you know how catty women can be.” It’s common to hear otherwise perfectly-mannered people making these comments. You can bet if these sentiments were directed at a religious or ethnic group, there’d be a public outcry and our “PC” culture would pressure the offenders to hold their tongues.
Why is insulting women fair game? You can say whatever you want about them without reproach. Why? It’s not so much that women bashing is new, it’s probably been around as long as women have. But what is new is the popularity and arrogance of the position to impugn them. And frankly, since we’re inundated with images of women behaving badly on reality shows such as “Bridezilla,” and all those ridiculous “Housewives” programs, everyone is all-too-familiar with vile females. These women put the “b” in “witch.”
Not surprisingly, these images are having an effect on our society – and it’s not for the better. But what’s most heartbreaking is that these slanderous lines are often uttered by women to women. That’s what’s so hurtful. Many women promote, or at least, tolerate their own denigration.
Even worse is when a woman proclaims, “Women tend to hate me, but I get along really well with men.” These dopes honestly think this somehow raises their stock. A person like this is probably telling the truth though – I’m not sure about the men liking her, but I can bet that she’s not a female favorite. The reason is obvious. She has a hard time with women because they see right through her. Sorry, but I think it’s often much easier to fool men.
Ironically, women may have gotten a bad reputation because they possess a positive trait – they’re good character judges. The average woman is a master at reading people, and she can obtain, and assess personal information in a surprisingly short period of time. This ability can be good or bad news. Because women have the inside track on what makes someone tick, they know what to say or do to get closer to them, or to get under their skin. That’s why depending on the circumstances, women can use their “power” for good or evil.
I know women are not all saints. I know some who are first-class phonies, difficult divas or just plain malicious. But my best friends are women. The support, encouragement, affirmation and conversation that I routinely get from my female relatives and friends is what helps keep my emotional boat afloat. Men are great, but when you’re having a quintessentially female experience – being pregnant or going through menopause, for instance – no matter how wonderful the man or men are in your life, you need a woman to really understand and relate.
Badmouthing women is toxic. I’m worried about the toll these negative statements are taking on my daughter, and everyone else’s daughters. They’re getting the message loud and clear that other women are the enemy. Females can’t be trusted so watch your back. Not only is this detrimental to their own self-esteem and sense of well-being, it’s also dead wrong. No one nurtures and knows you as well, and watches out and fights for you as hard, as the important women in your life.
I get along really well with women. And you can bet, I’m very proud of that fact.
Kathy P. Behan, a mother of three, is a nationally published freelance writer, specializing in health and family issues.