All that is
Read this really intelligent article that's made me think a bit. its kinda made the penny drop a little bit and think about kate and i's relationship. Not to sound pompous as this article says it does, but some things have made me think that kate may indeed be slightly jealous of me.. The way she looks at me sometimes or some of the things that she says, that are back handed put downs, that i, being me, just laugh off, with the spirit of our friendship in mind. Or when i had my exhibition, some of the things that she said.. or if i talk about someone really lovely i've met, she'll make reference to the 'sex party' as if everyone i meet is from that party, as if i'm incapable of meeting people any other way.
Kate is not massively beautiful, but she's lucky that she's found a way to carry herself that flatters her.
So this article is titled 'when other women hate you because you're beautiful'
My talks about the curse of being attractive, or being seen as beautiful and how it may be damaging in your professional life, especially in a male dominated industry especially. Now that i'm a working girl, i have to think about these things lol. With regard to my self worth though, When I was younger, and in secondary school, i wasn't the 'pretty one' in my group of friends, but I still had friends who liked me just as i was, not because I was considered beautiful. So i learned to root my self esteem and sense of self worth in areas other than my looks (i was spotty anyway) - I was the 'funny' or 'crazy' one. So I think today, whenever my appearance attracts attention, (or doesn't) it doesn't shake my confidence. If someone is obv getting more attention for their looks than I am, it I don't automatically feel a resentment towards that person. And this I am thankful for. I liked this article because it articulates so well what so many women feel at times, but hate to address, because by addressing it, i suppose in a way you're admitting that there are others out there who are more beautiful or more intelligent than yourself, or better at what they do than you are. But it's articulation is spot on - especially the part about turning the anger you may feel at not being singled out as desirable, into resentment towards the woman who is - then refusal to admit that any resentment even exists for such a reason, but at the same time being on the ready to interpret maliciously something annoying that this woman may do, and then hating her for this reason instead. I see this all the time. I'm often told i'm beautiful. Though i don't think much of it, or attach to much credit to it, or frankly believe it at times (admittedly, the frequency of this particular compliment that's paid to me, as well as it's over-use in general, makes it difficult to do so), and it makes me wonder if my difficulty in forming bonds with women is an attribute of falling victim to this kind of resentment (this find came about because i was googlig 'having friends who are much older than you' but something else popped up in the predicted find 'having friends who are very attractive' and i thought 'oh wow, i had no idea this was a popular search topic)
So here it is, for those interested. Thoughts welcome.
When Other Women Hate You Because You're Beautiful
Submitted by complainant on Fri, 12/14/2007 - 9:00am
No one really talks about it, but one of the main issues preventing women from getting along with other women is jealousy. In the professional world, it breaks down to one of two things: jealousy over how good you are at what you do or jealousy over how good you look doing what you do. These related but distinct problems each deserve their own post, so I’ll start with Green Monster #1: when you’re prettier than the average woman. Many of you reading this are probably already feeling an aversion to the topic—none of us likes to admit that other people are better looking than we are or, even worse, that we resent them for it. In fact, many of us don’t admit it, not even to ourselves. Instead, we channel the jealousy into resentment and let it lurk inside of us until the object of it does something that we can interpret maliciously—and then we hate them for that reason. I was inspired to write this post when I got a tearful phone call from a law school friend about how women at her new job don’t like her. Having gone to law school with her, where women had a hard time with her even then, I wasn’t surprised (though of course I couldn’t tell her that—part of the beauty of anonymous blogging is that I now get to tell you). What I wish I could tell her is that being hated for being attractive isn’t necessarily about what you look like. A lot of it is about what you do with what you look like. The most sought after person may not be the most beautiful one but rather the one who puts herself out there. Yes, I’m talking about flirting. So, while I would never suggest that an attractive woman should slum herself up so her co-workers won’t be jealous of her, I would suggest that there are things that can be done to avoid being eaten by other women by Green Monster #1, especially since, as I detail below, while in my experience women might be jealous of any attractive woman, they only actively hate those who inappropriately use their sexual appeal to get ahead.
In thinking about writing this post, there are three main questions with which I struggled. The first is: why are women jealous in the first place? I don’t have the answer, though perhaps women are still socialized to think that their primary task in life is to get a mate, and the main thing that mates are looking for (so it may seem) is the most attractive woman around. Other women are therefore competition, even if logically a woman can recognize that she’s in a relationship or not actually interested in dating people at the office herself or that there’s actually not a cash prize for being the best looking person in the office. Still, perhaps it’s experienced as a subtle insult to not receive attention directed at someone else, and the hurt of not being singled out finds an outlet in jealousy at the person who is singled out.
Question two: what can we, as women, do to stop the vicious cycle of women hating women? Again, I don’t know. We can all do our part by recognizing feelings of jealousy when we have them and working through our own issues instead of taking them out on other people. Though, as I discuss below, sometimes we actually aren’t jealous of the pretty girl and are rightfully pissed that flirting and sex appeal are being harnessed as professional tools to advance.
Question three: what can my friend do now that she’s found herself the object of office jealousy (and jealousy’s BFFs, resentment and hatred)? Many of you will likely argue (with good reason) that it isn’t my friend’s responsibility to change anything—that the jealousy is about other people’s issues and not her fault. True, but . . . like many things in life, you can be in the right and still be professionally damaged from your moral high horse. Every person has to decide what price they’re willing to pay for any one of a million different behaviors, and using your physical assets in a professional context is no different. My friend tells me (and this echoes what I’ve had other friends tell me, and what I’ve told myself on occasion) is a variant of “but I don’t do anything” (subtext: I was born this way. Men just can’t keep their eyes off me. I basically shower myself in shit every morning, but I am still so attractive that I can’t repel them). If you are someone who tells yourself stories like these, it wouldn’t hurt to explore whether it’s actually true that you do absolutely nothing. From what I’ve seen, more often than not if people at work dislike someone for no other reason than because that person is attractive, it’s not only because they are jealous of how pretty that person is. Why do I think that? Because there are plenty of very attractive women I’ve worked with or gone to school with who other women don’t hate. Is it that the ones who are hated are just that beautiful? No. Well, is it that the ones who are hated are just that much bitchier? No. So what is it? I’ve thought about this issue a lot, and my best analysis is that women hate women who use their physical attractiveness to their professional advantage. No one hates the Angelina Jolie twin hard at work at her desk in a turtleneck and flats (or even a professional suit like the rest of us mortals wear). Women tend to hate the Angelina Jolie twin who wears a short skirt and a low-cut blouse and smiles suggestively at the partner while asking about assignments. So, if women hate you and inside you tell yourself that it’s because they are jealous, but you actually want to get along with other women professionally, here are my suggestions:
Know that you rarely if ever make friends by talking about how pretty you are
It may depend on your audience, but I feel comfortable saying that 99% of the time, you don’t engender positive opinion about yourself when you 1) talk about an issue with another woman and attribute the conflict to the other woman being jealous of you; 2) talk about how many men are after you, the compliments you receive on how beautiful you are, how some guy crashed his car while staring at you walk down the street, how it’s so hard to be you because of all the attention, etc.; 3) talk about how guys in the office stare at you, hit on you, etc. (unless of course it’s a sexual harassment issue, and then you absolutely should talk about it, probably to your boss in the form of a formal complaint). Just remember, no one likes a braggart, and when you draw attention to an aspect of yourself repeatedly, people notice and tend to draw conclusions about you that may not be favorable.
Recognize your own self-worth
My assumption about many women who spend a lot of time flirting or talking about the items listed above is that their main source of self-esteem is their appearance. Regardless of whether or not I’m right, I view these women as less complicated and competent than they actually are because their own internalized belief that their looks are the best thing they have to offer comes across loud and clear, and I believe it because they believe it. A lot of us have been rewarded in life for how we look, and it’s natural that a certain amount of self-esteem has become attached to our pride in our appearance. However, we’re not in high school anymore. I maintain that it’s actually professionally damaging to project ourselves as pretty faces. Why? Because we’re so much more than that. We’re smart and ambitious and competent. If we still derive pleasure and self-esteem from being physically desired, then it’s important to leave that aspect of ourselves at home because people pick up on what we project, and if you spend a lot of time priding yourself on your looks and drawing attention to your physical attractiveness and flirting at the office, then a lot of your colleagues will view you in a one-dimensional way, and you will never be truly valued for what lies under the surface. You are more than a pretty face. Step forward and embrace that truth.
Understand the broader consequences of sexualizing yourself as a professional woman
I firmly believe that it is damaging to all professional women when any professional woman chooses to use her looks to get ahead. Why do I say “chooses”? Because I do think that it is a choice. True, none of us chose how God made us, but we all make choices about what to wear to work and how to interact with our clients and colleagues. Am I… gasp…saying that women can’t wear whatever they want to? I am absolutely saying that. Am I…gasp…saying that women have to take responsibility for how people respond to their natural state of being? Yes. Why? Because our “natural states of being” are socialized. Many women get positive responses to their looks and learn (from an early age) how to keep getting those responses through subtle things like eye contact, body language, etc. Do you do things of which you’re not aware that others perceive as flirting? Why don’t you ask someone you think would be honest with you because you might be surprised by the answer you get. I truly believe that my friend doesn’t realize that she flirts all the time. After writing this post, I think I’ve convinced myself that I should tell her. Her flirting looks like this: low cut tops and high heels that she uses as props to accentuate her body in how she moves, a different smile for men than for women, brief touches on men’s arms or hands while she talks to them, standing closer to men than strictly necessary, complimenting men, laughing differently with men than with women, using different tones of voice when speaking to men than with women, making statements like “This judge likes a pretty face, so I should be able to get a good outcome for my client,” etc. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. I have no idea if my friend knows that she behaves differently with men than she does with women, but I guarantee that the women in her office notice, and if they dislike her, it may not be because they are jealous but rather because they are disgusted by the behavior.
In conclusion, if you’re a pretty girl, please think about this: As much as you may enjoy getting attention for being pretty, the cost is high. When you draw attention to your looks for professional benefit, even if subconsciously, you are reduced to a lowest common denominator, you damage your relationships with other women, and you create an expectation that all women who could flirt to get ahead should, which continues a scheme of rewards for behavior that we as professional women want to leave behind us. We no longer need to battle it out to be the fairest of them all. We have a seat at the table now. We can get ahead on our own merits. We aren’t reliant on men to take care of us. Ladies, I beg you to be more than just your pretty face, and I think you’ll find that in the process, you’ll be more respected by women and men alike.
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Good advice. And I just
On December 18th, 2007 Legal Eagle says:
And I just wanted to say: GREAT screen-name for blawging!
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I'm giving my take on this
On December 19th, 2007 1000faces says:
I'm giving my take on this as someone who is considered "attractive". Why I say that is even though I have gotten (and still get despite being happily married) my fair share of attention from men in everyday life, I've never had a problem while in law school or at work. I also don't think anyone hated me over how I look though I never make that an issue. I did get compliments on work clothes when I worked at a law firm before going to law school but I always dressed tastefully and professionally (which I firmly believe one can do while looking one's age & reflecting personal style).
I'm not so sure the problem you mention is limited to attractive women. I've seen plenty of women I wouldn't consider very attractive conduct themselves in the same manner you describe. I can't stand such women anywhere since I think they're pandering to men instead of being themselves & it just diminshes any "attractiveness" they may have. Plus it makes it harder for every other woman to be taken seriously on the job.
I don't think attractive women should be subjected to double standards as you seem to suggest; however, I do think they should conduct themselves just as professionally as anyone else & be considerate of everyone, not just men. I wouldn't dream of using my looks to get ahead since I don't feel being a lawyer should be akin to being an actress but maybe some of these people wanting to resort to that should look into a career where that would be an advantage. Maybe they should also pursue jobs in environments where their preferred dress code is the norm.
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Women or just people?
On December 29th, 2007 lenagraber says:
I'd just like to point out that this isn't a 'female thing.'
I admit first that I generally disagree with the premise that what you describe is a reflection of general truth, but insofar as it is true at least some of the time, it's equally true of men as of women.
The difference of course is that men rarely need to appeal to women to get ahead; they need to appeal to other more powerful men.
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Thank you for this post - it
On April 29th, 2008 ipgirl says:
Thank you for this post - it recognizes a problem that I have always suspected existed, but have found difficult to address, for, how pompous it would be for me to say, "hey, i think the women hate me at work because i'm more attractive." I work in an intellectual property law firm, with many men, and few women. Throughout law school, I had many females who hated me. When pressed for a reason as to why they despised me (yes, it was that evident to 3rd parties that they would ask they haters why they hate...), they couldn't really pinpoint a reason. I'm told I come off as confident, independent and well put together. I'm 30, but I look much younger. I am on the attractive side, and have a more stylish sense of fashion. I never wear anything trashy, I keep myself well covered and strive for professionalism and class. I've had women at my firm look me up and down, comment on my clothing in a way that creeps me out. (mainly insincere compliments and they way they check you out, comments on my weight- I am very petite) I'm sarcastic and self deprecating -- which is something a lot of women don't know how to react to. I think it infuriates them more, since it makes their attempts at putting me down seem more futile. A more senior, female associate has often made condenscending comments about my work, experience, and even made comments about how much older she is. (turns out we are the same age). I don't get why women have to put each other down. I have great friends that are supportive, then there are the insecure people that I work with. perhaps its a by product of being in a male dominated profession -- women have to compete with men, and to look better, they knock other women down. I've considered dressing more dumpy, but that's just a depressing option. It's infuriating because I just go about my day, minding my own business, tying not to let the put downs and subtle disses bother me. I don't act like a stupid helpless girl with men, nor do I try to flirt to get my way. When stupid comments are made about me, or stupid passive aggressive things are done to me, I try to make a joke to diffuse the situation or try to put a positive spin on it to show that it doesn't bother me --- on second thought i'm sure that fuels the hate more. Maybe my perception of myself is skewed, but I don't think I do this to other women-- i recognize that it takes more effort to be mean to other women, and frankly don't have the energy to do that even if i wanted to. I'm an easy target since I don't fight back, and I think some women may just be testing me out to see how far they can get before I smack them in the face... (jk). This phenomena of women hating other women is hard to describe unless you've experienced it -- it's not something you can easily put your finger on, but I'm so glad I found this site for support. Thanks!
misan just text me saying 'how are you? you've forgotten about me! :('
I wanted to reply saying 'Quite.'
I definitely learn from experience. It's such a wonderful feeling when you encounter a situation you've been in in the past, but this time you see yourself navigate through it in a completely different way to how you did before - more intelligently, self assuredly, and with no sweat. I know that when you don't hear from a guy for a few weeks (even one who professed their adoration for you so bluntly and so intensely), then you suddenly hear again, it's one of two, maybe 3 things: 1. He's not gotten laid in a while 2. He knew he blew his shot and getting into your pant, and wanted to give you time to forget it, then have another attempt 3. In the short amount of time he spent with you, he decided that he'll settle for short term with you than long term (which would explain why he put the moves on you so forcefully after listing all of your qualities on his fingers some of which included 'conservative', 'good' and 'not looking like you've just come out of a strip club'). My point is, all three mean 'just not that into you' or 'just not that respectful of you' either way, i don't want to be second best. If I knew then what i know now (then being with ben) I'd never have responded to that message that morning. Anyway, that was nearly 4 yrs ago. time flies.
On a different note, just thinking - is it weird when a guy invites you to have a drink with him and his girlfriend? I'm only very early 20's but I've been out a fair bit, and done a fair bit too. The last time I was invited to have a drink with a guy and his girlfriend, I had just engaged in everything but sex with this guy without his girlfriend's knowledge (or knowledge of there ever being a girlfriend..) and it turned out they'd talked about having a 'play thing' join them. Anyway, I always fall prey to such kinds of invitations and requests. As if I have a sticker on my head saying 'open to anything & everything'