Thursday, September 19, 2013

I Have a Bit of a Problem

I have a problem, and it's been bothering me for a while now, and I wanted to talk about it today. {Note: This is not related to travel at all, and is a bit heavier than what I usually share. However, I really feel like talking about it, so here it goes.} 

The Problem I've Been Having: 
I have a problem with the way women talk to other women, and at times the way women talk to themselves. 

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I think this problem really started to bother me when I started teaching middle school last year. The way these girls talk about each other is ridiculous. I started to notice how the girls would interact with each other in my classroom and in the hallways, and then I became aware that this is a problem for women of all ages. 

Girls are mean to girls. Even girls that are supposedly friends are so mean to each other. And what I find troubling is that these young girls thinks this behavior is perfectly natural. 

When I was a freshman in college, I had some girlfriends that I was pretty close to. And one thing that really bothered me was they would greet each other by saying things like- "Hey, bitches" or they would call each other names like "Whore" "Slut" etc. 

Call me crazy but, my nicknames for my close friends aren't derogatory. 

And if you think it was bad in 2006, it so much worse today! I taught middle school, and I was so surprised at the way these girls talk to each other. Some of the stuff they said I'm pretty sure I had no idea what it meant. I don't know how many times I heard "F- yous" swung around the hallways, and most of the time it was in a joking manner. I don't know if I'm being a prude about this, but it just really bothers me. But for real, ladies clean your mouths out. Your best girlfriends should be treated with respect, and calling them a whore is not the way to do it. Even if you think you're joking. 

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Another off shoot of this problem is the way a lot of girls/ women talk about food today. When I was teaching back in the states, I had a group of girls that would always eat lunch in my room. And by eat, I mean they would sometimes bring a pack of tuna with them and split it among the four of them. Most of the time, they ate nothing. And when one girl actually brought a full lunch she would eat it almost in a guilty way, the whole time saying "Oh, I'm such a fat kid" 

This is completely crazy to me. Now, I know exactly where this pressure is coming from, and really don't want to get into that topic today, but good grief! Has it seriously gotten to the point where girls can't buy/ bring lunch to school for fear of being a 'fat girl'. 

And imagine my complete shock when a friend from high school, who is currently in med school, was saying the same exact thing about finishing her dinner and having dessert! She put a picture up with the caption 'fat kids' under it. 

I understand the struggle with body image. I really do. And I get that there is so much pressure. And I guess what I want to say is just because you enjoy your dessert, or you eat lunch- does not make you a 'fat kid'. I really wish we could stop feeling the pressure to justify ourselves for wanting to eat. Being afraid to eat, or being afraid to like to eat is a place that is so depressing to me. I saw this with my girls all year, and regardless of what I said, or the food I brought it- I never saw a change in their behavior towards food. And as someone that was supposed to be there to teach and inspire, I must admit I felt completely defeated. 

As women, we have so many more problems in the world than having girlfriends talk badly to us, or being afraid to eat real food around people. We need to be building each other up, not cutting at each other. 

But what's frustrating is what do we do about this? How can we help other women through this? I am struggling here because I really don't know how to fix this problem that is bothering me. Do you guys have any suggestions? How do we help fight this battle against self-esteem? How do we show our girls not to talk to each other like trash? 

And that's the end of that- I'll get off my soap box now. 

14 comments:

  1. Great point! I hate when girls call each other bitch for no reason. Words are words. They're hurtful!

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    1. Chantal- They really are. I just don't know how to stop my students from saying to one another.

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  2. You are so right. I think self-talk is my worst enemy. It's almost like when these young girls say their self-talk out loud (ie I'm such a fat kid), they're just doing it to verbalize what they think everyone else is thinking.

    It's a tough time to be young and maintain any self-etseem. Is being a little thick or fat or whatever really that bad? I beat myself up all the time and just when I think I get okay with it, something creeps in and throws me off my positivity game.

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    1. Rita- I'm glad you commented on the fact that when the girls say things like that it's like they are doing it to show how they are supposed to feel- not how they really feel. I struggle with self-etseem all the time, but one thing I never allow myself to do is verbalize it in ways like that. I feel like if these girls start to say it enough then by the time they are older they are going to have a serious problem with their relationship with food- and that is never a good thing.

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  3. This was something I really struggled to wrap my head around when I was teaching high school. The "pet names" girls would use among friends was cringe-worthy, and the names they would use for girls they didn't like were even worse. It was hard to see how they wouldn't think that even saying something in a joking manner might still be hurtful or lead to thinking worse of yourself. And it's tough to communicate that to your students without coming off as a prude or out of touch.

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    1. Oh my gosh- I can't even imagine what high school is like! Middle school girls were tough enough. I always lucky when talking to my girls because they knew how young I was and were pretty open, but I still couldn't fix these problems. Thanks for your comment!

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  4. I think this is a good soap box to get on, Alex! ;) I think this is so terrible. We didn't do this when and where I grew up. I think it might have taken place here and there, but not often and never in my group of friends. It's so unfortunate that this is becoming the norm.
    I'm somewhat anxious to see what my girls will face in just a few years in England. I have no clue what pre-teen/teenage years are like here. I just need to start praying now!

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    1. Tina- I don't have any children yet and I worry! It really is a scary world out there, but there is hope :) We just have to set a good example.

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  5. Such a great post and so true! Society plays a huge part in this and the more campaigns (Dove) that start focusing on natural beauty, the more it can help. I think this also goes along with my post about the mommy wars. Women seem to be in such competition with one another about everything when we should be supporting one another! Thanks for sharing!

    www.fromcasinostocastles.com

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    1. I love the Dove campaign! I wish there were more things like that out there.

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  6. I ran across your blog and have to say, I love this post. Not only are we unnecessarily hard on ourselves, but we are not nice to other women! I'm not always very good at the self-talk, I must admit, but I do try to uplift those around me.

    bri @ deliciouslyactive.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by. I totally agree with you- why are we so hard on other women? Thanks for your comment.

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  7. Many times girls are just awful to each other. I feel lucky to have made some wonderful girlfriends in college who are always respectful to each other. My husband and I recently started being involved with some inner city youth at our church, and its really sad to see the way some of the girls treat each other...and that's just the norm to them, and I'm not sure if they see anything wrong with it. But once you talk with them, you can tell that its causing some trust issues because they don't know who to trust as being real friends. So sad!

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    1. How amazing that you and your husband are working with the youth! I think that is great. I'm sure you'll be such a great influence on those young women!

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Thanks for taking the time to comment- I appreciate and read each and every one of them. All replies will be in the comment section, please check back to read them!

- Alex