It's no wonder that many will do anything to defend that which they feel is vital to their sense of identity, purpose and worth in the world.
Recently, The Atlantic featured a study focusing on how "bitchy" women are. They even gave the phenomenon a scientific name: 'indirect aggression' (just in case you were wondering).
OMG, that girl is sooooo indirectly aggressive -- it drives me nuts.
Nope -- can't see that catching on. Regardless, people studied it and found that women are more indirectly aggressive to women dressed in a 'slutty' (their term; not mine) way than to women dressed conservatively. I must say, I didn't really need a study to confirm this -- but hey, all in the name of advancement of the species.
The researchers suggest that women 'sexually repress' each other. When faced with a woman dressed provocatively they see her as as sexual competition. Their defence mechanism kicks in, and the snide, nasty, and degrading comments begin.
For me, this explanation totally misses the point. From our lofty position on the evolutionary totem pole of planetary life, are we really no better than literal bitches of the canine variety? Are we so driven by our animal instinct to reproduce that 21st-century women, women who are empowered, educated, and, frankly, impressively talented behave no better than dogs when faced with sexual competition? The answer, it seems, is 'no' -- scientifically, we perform no better than our furry little best friends. This (my distinctly non- furry friends) is a challenge.
So let me advance my own reason. Women will be bitchy, indirectly aggressive, when they themselves feel more like animals than humans. When they feel that their worth is tied up in their value as a sexual object, then of course they are going to attempt to squash the competition. Our 21st-century society values, as a commodity, women as objects. Our sexuality is used to sell everything from cars to credit cards. It's no wonder that many will do anything to defend that which they feel is vital to their sense of identity, purpose, and worth in the world.
In fact, this study contributes to wider research on bullying and could have dramatic and practical implications for the way we combat this growing problem.
If we can teach that value lies in something more than sexual availability, then we can cut at least one form of bullying off at the source. However, in order to teach that to our daughters, we must first teach it to ourselves. We must believe that we are more than our biological bitch. We must become, in every way, a woman.
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