Girls are too competitive with each other. Even the most “chill” of us are competing to be the most chill and pat themselves on the back for being different. “I’m not like other girls” is the worst line anyone can use. I’m not sure where it came from, but it has become ironically cliche. Especially when it’s used in literature to describe a strong, independent girl (usually in some dystopian society) who can be identified with on some level by every girl who reads the book.
What’s so great about being different from the other girls around you? What’s so great about being the same as them?
I guarantee that any woman reading this at one point has felt stings of jealousy towards another woman, wishing they could have the awesome dress/friends/grades/life that she seems to have, but has also felt superior to another woman because they don’t wear the ugly dress/hang out with the slutty girls she does/fail classes or try too hard like she does/or have her awful, basic life. As proven by the lessons in the brilliant movie “Mean Girls,” being competitive with other women brings everyone down.
Whenever you compare yourself to someone else (the girl next to you in class, your ex’s new date, or the model in the magazine) you’re judging your worth by someone else’s standards. You’ll probably never get your hair to fall in those effortless curls or pull off a jumpsuit, but they’ll never have your green eyes or ability to look good in light pink.
Stop placing unreal expectations on yourself. It takes a lot of work — I do it way more than I wish I did — but I began feeling more confident in myself the day I stopped spending an hour covering all the acne on my face every morning. I personally hate make up and the numerous “skin clearing” products I desperately used in high school just left me with a stinging face and running late to my bus. Beauty is no measure for your worth because there are so many different standards for what can make a person attractive.
I firmly believe that beauty comes from the inside out and everyone has the opportunity to be a strong, wonderful person. Smiling is the closest I think humans can come to for a universal beauty standard. Being happy and confident in your decisions will carry you forward into being the best person you can be. Don’t feel the need to conform to what the masses seem to do. If you spend an hour putting on makeup and doing your hair everyday and dread getting up to do it in the morning, cut that time in half. Use the extra thirty minutes to sleep in, actually eat breakfast, watch an episode of a show that makes you laugh, read some articles online or a book about something that interests you.
If wearing makeup and having perfect hair is something that brings you happiness, don’t feel like you need to stop. Catch yourself if you realize that you’re judging a girl with a full face of makeup or judge the girl whose pores are showing.
I’ve found that recognizing the validity of yourself helps you recognize the value of others.
People who are different from you can teach you something new and people who are similar to you aren’t a threat but rather someone whose company you can enjoy.
Tearing each other down is such a waste of energy. The almost instinctive competition that girls feel towards each other comes from our insecurities. We need to empower each other and become confident with ourselves so that we can focus on what really matters.
Anna is a junior at Hartwick College, majoring in anthropology and history.