An Open Letter to Women, Especially on the Internet

Dear Women Everywhere,

It’s time to stop talking about each other. I know, this is a bold statement. Some of you are probably scoffing and saying “I don’t talk about other women”, while trying to mask the guilty look on your face. Others may be thinking “What’s the harm as long as she doesn’t hear about it?” Others may be saying “I’m just bashing some female celebrity who’s acting like a (fill in the blank). It’s not like I’m gossiping about my friends.” Stop. Just stop. Be honest. We all talk about each other. We talk about our girlfriends with our boyfriends. We talk about our girlfriends with our other girlfriends. We talk about female celebrities to anyone who will listen. We say mean things under the illusion that it won’t hurt anyone because they’ll never find out. I’m here to tell you that even if they don’t find out, talking about other women is still harmful, and it’s time for it to stop.

We’re raised to distrust and compete with each other. I don’t think anyone can deny that. When we see other women we’re much more likely to think of them as an enemy than a friend. Or worse, a frenemy. We’re raised to tear each other down instead of build each other up. We’re raised to take power away from other women rather than empowering them. This serves a purpose in a patriarchal society. It keeps us apart. It keeps us from gathering together and finding out how intelligent and powerful we are as a group. It keeps us from upsetting the status quo.

This is even true when you’re judging female celebrities on the Internet. When you slut shame Kim Kardashian for her nude selfie you’re telling other women that you don’t believe our bodies are beautiful or worth flaunting. You’re telling other women that being empowered by their bodies or their sexuality is wrong. You’re telling other women how to live their lives. I don’t care if you “have more self respect than to post a nude selfie online”. Keep that shit to yourself and stop telling others how to live their lives. Every time you slam Kelly Clarkson for gaining weight you’re telling other women that only skinny bodies are valuable. You’re telling other women that their bodies are shameful. You’re telling other women that the natural size of their body is wrong. I don’t care if you “think she’s really let herself go and she used to be so much prettier”. Keep that shit to yourself and stop trying to tell women what bodies are acceptable.

Every time you say a critical, judgemental, or unkind thing about a woman you do or do not know you are contributing to systemic misogyny. More importantly, you’re teaching women younger than you that this is how they should treat women. You are indoctrinating the next generation with the same misogyny you were raised with.

Be a part of the solution, not the problem. The next time you want to comment on another woman’s body, sex life, career choice, parenting choice, or pretty much anything, just keep it to yourself.

Sincerely,

Feminism

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