The hidden world of women and girls culture can be one of adventure. Fun-filled. Going shopping. Slumber parties. Sleepovers. Going out with your friends on a Friday night. Sharing secrets. Cathing up on the latest dish tales. All of the culture that goes with BFFs. Yep! That’s the fun part about women and girls’ culture. All of the girly stuff and things that make being a woman or a girl. . . Fun! Unfortunately, there is another side. A side that is not only scary, but one that shows a toxic area of feminine culture. A dirty side of female aggression, and its silent display is a prevalent aura in women’s circles. Even those where we consider to be true friendships.
The literature has been written. Authors and researchers such as Rachel Simmons, (Odd Girl Out, Odd Girl Speaks Out) have addressed that silent aggression. It started off as a fester in girlhood, only to continue as an expansion into womanhood. The research has been done. Odd girls have come out to address their problems. Odd women have kept secrets of their own struggles and stories of their personal mean girls clique. The information is ready and out there. Yet, what does not seem as prevalent, or available, is how young girls and women can navigate and avoid the world of “mean girl” culture. Whether it is at school, in the social arena, or at the workplace. Methods of competition, sabotaging other women’s projects, careers, or relationships; husband/boyfriend stealing, gossip, and sheer jealousy are some of the many categories of toxic femininity. Unfortunately, age does not determine when such behaviors will end. It can even last into mid-age and above. In various cultures and societies, it is evident that people are not ready (or comfortable) in addressing this often hidden, overlooked, and “secret” culture. This level of emotional, psychological, and sexual violence which moves silently, with subtle beats.
Yet, for those girls, women, and dames, who wish to avoid all of the drama, here are a few tips that you can do, in order to avoid that toxic aggression existant among women’s spaces. Making your journey to girlhood and womanhood much more fun and fruitious!
Often times when girls or young women enter into spaces, occupied by the feminine persuasion, we can sense the energy. We may not be able to explain it, especially as little girls. Yet, we feel it. We know when an energy is not inviting, OR if there is deceit behind it. A solution? Run! Exit and leave, immediately! Do not engage. Just remember that you are under no requirement to acknowledge energy, spaces, or Beings which do not respect you as an individual. Go with your feminine instinct and stay away from toxic spaces.
One of the main aspects of toxic femininity is manipulation. Getting their targets to think that they are “crazy, weird, or unstable” for acknowledging when something is wrong. Vocalizing the toxic femininity and calling it for what it is. Part of the manipulation of mean girls and toxic femininity is the “normalizing” of psychotic, sickening, and abusive forms of female aggression. Its considered “part of” girlhood or “part of” womanhood. Similar to that whole “boys will be boys” mentality for abusive behavior among boy and men circles. If you have been hurt or abused, if you recognize toxic behavior and all of its sneakiness, SPEAK ON IT! The best way to combat toxic femininity is to address it. The whole point of such behaviors is to remain hidden. If they remain hidden, they are able to operate. So, shining light on these behaviors dismantles the whole plan.
From a young age, young girls should learn how to protect their personal spaces. Those who do not honor those spaces should not be allowed to enter. This allows practice in learning to be comfortable and happy in being with oneself. Which eliminates the “necessity” of needing to around other girls and women for the sake of not being alone. Girls and women can verbally practice letting emotionally abusive people know that their presence is not welcomed. Simple!
Abuse is abuse! No friend, or “friendship circle,” makes you feel belittled. Healthy, feminine circles make you feel alive. Girls and women with inner beauty encourage you to feel beautiful and valued. Friendships or healthy working relationships, are not based on meeting up, going out, and being around other women. The foundation is based on trust, honesty, healthy communication, and care. Activities derive to support these elements.
The phrasing “birds of a feather flock together” is cliche, but its true! Healthy women, or women looking to work on their own self-value, self-worth, and overall self, will not render themselves to the abuse of toxic women. Such women always look for healthy, powerful women, who aspire to spirtual elevation. They thrive on healthy energy. They thrive on nourishing energy. They thrive on other women, who nourish themselves. Whether in the workplace or in the social arena. Seek out inner beauties!
Don’t be afraid to cry or get angry when you get a whiff of toxic femininity. Such emotional reactions are healthy. They are reminders that toxic femininity is not healthy. That it is abnormal. Never settle or accept such behavior as being “ok.”
The beautiful thing about girlhood or womanhood is the individuality. Its what makes every feminine being beautiful. There can never be another you. Be you and all of the unique beauties, which comes with her.
Hobbies contribute to a healthy self-esteem and image of self. The best way to avoid toxic femininity is to immerse in positive activities of love. Unfortunately, there are toxic women, who manage to enter into these spaces. If such happens, exit them, or create your boundaries, firmly, and without apology!
Trust is earned! Even among girl groups. Do not rush the earning of trust. If you are in a heterosexual, romantic relationship, wait a bit before bringing your partner around. Women show how much they value women, when a man appears. When that time comes, observe how you are valued. Be silent in and wise in the telling of your secrets. Listen to people. They often reveal themselves to you by what they say, and who they say them to. Don’t reveal all of your plans, fantasies, or goals. In this sense, a woman’s mystery has its place.
As women, any work environment, where abuse of other women, by women, is overlooked or ignored, resign. Immediately! Your emotional and psychological health is important. The irony of it is that women know when abuse is taking place against another woman. Many choose to be indifferent or ignore it. Go to a work environment where emotionally healthy women are the example of womanhood.
As society opens more in addessing the reality of toxicity among women’s and girls’ circles, we will awaken to feeling a sigh of relief. The “hidden” will be revealed. Roots of age-old problems will be brought into light. And maybe, just maybe, women can begin the work of eradicating this problem. It will take time. Nevertheless, its worth it. There is nothing healthy or normal about women abusing and mistreating other women. In whatever those forms take place. Abuse is abuse. Men have often gotten credit for the BIG A! Yet, women’s performance among each other becomes a silent hush! Acknowledgement of its problematic reality is a first step. Leading to its slow dismantle, for a second one.