You and I have both seen it; those memes of girls praising each other in pictures with the caption "me vs you because we're both queens" because we're finally realizing that we need to start supporting one another. Yeah, those pictures. They've started circulating the net and only recently has it become, dare I say it, popular to actually support a fellow human being. A ridiculous statement, sure, as it is something that shouldn't need to go viral in order for us to treat one another like actual people, yet here we are in 2017, tagging our fellow girlfriends in memes to remind them what 'boss bitches', 'queens' and 'goddesses' they are. But, why now? Why has it taken us so long to realize that other women are not our competition?
The male gaze is prominent. I'm sure many (straight) females can back me up on this one by saying that one of the biggest reasons girls tear each other down is because if one guy, or even multiple guys, see a girl as beautiful, immediately other girls start talking about her, all in the name of jealousy which will later link us to insecurity. This is simply not because they hate said female, but because many actually aspire to be like her. From a young age, a majority of girls have been conditioned to think that pretty is all we need to strive to be. It gets you friends, boyfriends, popularity blah blah blah. Though not directly stated through family members, comments like, "Oh, better watch your weight!" or "You shouldn't do that because guys don't like it when a girl does that!" etc have influenced some of our decisions regarding our own happiness. We become slaves to magazines like Seventeen who tell us how to flirt, how to dress, what to wear on a date, which makeup products to use to appear 'flirty', 'how to get a summer body' - but not how to stay healthy for the rest of the year. Our bodies are the objects of desire in music videos, car advertisements, lingerie campaigns, shaving ads - granted these are all consensual, we still aspire to be like the women we see on social media and in advertisements. After all, what would male products be if females didn't market them?
Insecurity is a weakness - and also a waste of time. If I could give my younger self, or anyone in their early teens, one piece of advice it would be that there are more ways to be beautiful than your outer appearance. Girls compare each other so much; from breast size to hip ratio to the size of our butts and the length of our bodies, it doesn't seem to stop. The cycle is endless as we think in order to compliment someone else, we need to put ourselves down. Stop. Just stop it. The more you repeat those words, the more you'll believe them because that is the energy you are manifesting for yourself. Yo-yo diets don't work, weighing yourself every three days will only aid in losing motivation because you're not giving yourself time to work for lost weight, losing weight in a short amount of time doesn't always count as it's usually water weight first, bleaching your hair won't fade your other insecurities. You need to work on yourself, your inner being, focus on what makes you happy. Altering your outer appearance rarely ever fixes what is missing on the inside.
One thing I hate about Instagram is how unrealistic some of the standards are. On Instagram, everyone appears to be happy and successful. Our online success is measured by the amount of followers, likes and comments we receive, from our friends and even people who don't know us. You continuously refresh your page to see if you've gotten likes - it's incredibly addictive. You know what, it's exhausting comparing ourselves, don't you think? For example, our boyfriends lurk for hours on the pages of Instagram Baddies, our friends aspire to be like the women we see on our morning feeds, we envy the bodies we could be working for, instead we criticize our own and what's worse, we allow ourselves to feel a certain way due to an unrealistic image featuring a girl who has taken hours to do her makeup in the best possible lighting and then continued to edit her picture so her feed would be coherent. You see, social media is as fake as you make it - people almost never post the bad stuff. It's taken me ages to accept and get used to that I'll never look like some of the girls on there - and that's perfectly okay. We've allowed ourselves to become so comfortable with categories and labels, jokingly tossing phrases to our friends where we call ourselves 'literal trash' because it's cool and something we got used to saying but we forget what we're doing to ourselves in the process. We're comparing - and when has that ever made us feel better?
Comparison is toxic; to your mental health, to your thought process and at times even to your physical being as some go to great lengths to achieve what they think is perfection. Perfection is an illusion created in order for us to continuously strive for better. While better is great, happiness is more important and I can reassure you that you won't find that by envying someone else's Instagram feed. Realize your power as a female and own it. The world sees us as the underdog, the weaker being. The very part that identifies us as female is used as an insult to insinuate that something is weak. You're powerful, you don't need to compare - if you do have a desire to compete, work on the person you are and improve on the person you were the day before. I repeat; other girls are not your competition.