There is no competition to equal that between girls. There isn’t. The politics and hidden landmines of being female is more destructive than any knock-down fight between guys. And I will be the first to say, that the most damaging competitions I have started and found myself in, have been between myself and other girls. I don’t understand it – I never will – but there is just some ugly, petty part of me that takes over when I find myself up against another woman.
And the most disturbing part is that it is always almost directly related to male attention. It’s competing with my best friends to see who can get the attention of a hot guy. It’s flirting with a guy that’s rejected a friend to prove that I’m prettier. It’s saying petty things about the way another girl relates to males. It’s all of it.
It undermines any sort of female solidarity because competition of that nature makes the other party into a two-dimensional character. It’s easier to compete with someone when they stop being human, and start being cardboard. Talk about then enough, make them into an uncomplicated, less vulnerable figure, and the competition seems more justified, less harmful, more challenging.
I even catch myself doing this with my friends. Sometimes. Usually with “frienquaintances”, or with the girls I just can’t bond with. I’ll catch myself flirting with a guy they couldn’t get, or trying to be the first to get the cute guy at a party. Or saying something petty when I’m not the one getting the male attention. Or trying to out-dress the other girls around me, so that I can get the most male attention.
But I am guilty of this in the worst way when it comes to my boyfriends’ Other Girlfriends, past and future. I will compete with the memory of an ex, trying to prove that I’m smarter, more sophisticated, prettier. I will never stop to think of the other girl as a human being, but just as a dramatic figure that I have to vanquish. That I have to compete
with, even though there is no point whatsoever to doing so.
There have been times when I’ve been absolutely horrible to my ex-boyfriends current girlfriends. At nineteen, I went so far as to have my ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend after me removed from my Future Shop on suspect of shoplifting, simply to humiliate her, and to show that I had the power to do it. More recently, I have started online debates with an ex’s
current girlfriend simply to vanquish my own insecurities over a breakup sixteen months in the past. I have said the most terrible things possible about my ex-boyfriends’ current and previous girlfriends: called them crazy, called them white trash, called them stupid.
I am not proud of these competitions. But it’s far easier to compete and win and demean the other girl than it is to accept the same flaws in myself.
So that’s the competition that brings out the worst in me. And the only good thing about that kind of exceptionally negative competition is that, when forced to think about it, I have to recognize the motives and insecurities that inspire and fuel it. It’s not even a competition that should happen – it shouldn’t matter. And I should be above that kind of stupid jealousy. I guess I’m just, well, not.