Last week I saw an Instagram post from another blogger I really like and respect that rubbed me the wrong way. It was a picture of her with a caption that told women to not “be a bitch.” She goes on to say that women are becoming stronger and we need humble ourselves. And I don’t even know where to start with how I feel about this…
First of all, why call other women bitches?? Is that necessary? Why use a sexist, demeaning word especially in such a vague way? And seriously, women need to be more humble?? Last time I checked, women are plenty humble. In fact, there are countless articles about how women struggle with confidence and apologize far too much. Why, when you extoll yourself as someone who is out to uplift others, would you put out such a negative message? It made no sense to me.
When I first saw the post, I made a point not to comment on it. I closed IG and went about my day but I couldn’t quite shake my annoyance. After taking some time to let it settle, I decided to send a DM to the poster. I figured, she probably posted it while mad about someone in particular and didn’t intend it to be taken the way I did. I thought I’d share my feelings and she’d totally get it. Wrong. I’m not going to copy the whole DM here but I’ll summarize. So basically I told her the post rubbed me the wrong way and felt her use of the word was derogatory. I continued by saying it’s something men say to women to put us down. It’s unkind and I was surprised to see it coming from her. I tried to keep my message short and sweet. I wasn’t interested in attacking her but rather wanted to share my point of view.
She responded very quickly. Again, I won’t copy or screenshot the message. She replied that she felt men can be bitches as well and that in her experience she’s noticed a lot of women being bitches to each other. She went on to say that women use the word bitch more than men (as if that makes it okay) then abruptly ended it by wishing me a good weekend and thanking me for sharing my thoughts. This was not the response I anticipated.
Her reply felt very dismissive. It was like she didn’t even bother to see my perspective. She was stuck in her mindset that women are bitches and women label each other as much. That was perfectly okay with her. Why not strive for something better? How about encourage women to be kinder to each other? How about don’t stoop to someone else’s level? What happened to the high road? And when did a blogger whose main focus is on self improvement and being better, stop trying to hear constructive criticism about herself? In fact, in the IG post immediately before this one, she talks about how jokes about race, gender, and religion aren’t appropriate and even uses #bebetter and #checkyourself. Is she checking herself? It doesn’t sound like it.
Maybe I’m totally overreacting. Maybe I just expected too much because I thought highly of this person. Whatever the case is in this particular situation, I think we all can do a better job at walking our talk. If you’re out there trying to be a beacon of positivity and holding yourself out a someone who is lifting others up, your words should match. I don’t pretend to be perfect but I do try to choose my words wisely. I have posted things on social media that I deleted not long after because it just didn’t feel right. It felt good to get those thoughts out but leaving them out there wasn’t the right thing to do. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we get called out on them, why not try to be receptive? If you’re caught off guard and defensive about it in the moment, take time later to reconsider it.
I think we could all try to be better in general. And just because someone else says or does something, doesn’t mean it’s right and doesn’t mean we should do it too. Was this whole post much-a-do about nothing? I don’t know. Maybe. I just wish everyone, especially women, could be kinder to each other. Women have it tough. We face sexual harassment and discrimination at work. We still have unbalanced responsibilities at home and we have a huge amount of pressure to “have it all.” Maybe we all wouldn’t be so bitchy to each other if we stopped calling each other bitches?