Since the beginning of civilization ancient texts have depicted women as seductive, prophetic creatures able dissemble their invidious dispositions through the use of flattery and manipulation. However, not all women are fully despicable towards one another. Often, women known for their loyalty, even to comrades who they know to be guilty! But often times, these same women are almost bipolar in their personalities, sabotaging anyone who dare to cross them; and so I ask: what the hell really leads women to betray one another in the first place? After some deep thought and research I have come to a conclusion:
Women betray each other for three main reasons: manufactured media stereotyping, power acquisition, and self-hatred.
In present day media culture, the constant depiction of women in a state of physical and societal perfection leads to the manufacturing of feminine roles in society. America’s most popular magazines and television shows now encourage their viewers to worship feminine “role models” for their mean-spirited behavior and stick thin bodies. (Ie: look at every “reality” show ever made?) Consequently, women are given the idea that in order to become successful and beautiful they must climb all over each other’s backs all the way to the top of the social corporate ladder. I’m not talking about ambitious go-getters, either. I’m talking about women who purposefully cut each other’s throats, the one’s who laugh at the pain of others, the one’s who feel the very need to fight with those who are supposedly on their team.
Moreover, as influential older women attempt to mimic the behavior of these successful beauties, a domino effect is created affecting the impressionable youth. According to Dove Beauty:
Industries use an ideal person that is unachievable to society to maintain profits. Women who are insecure about their bodies are more likely to buy beauty products, new clothes, and diet aids. The diet industry alone is worth between forty and one-hundred billion a year selling products. The number one ‘magic wish’, of girls between the ages of 10-14 is to lose weight. In a recent study [out of] 10,000 girls aged 8-12, 17% induced vomiting or used laxatives or diet pills [in order to] to lose weight .
Is this the feminine mindset we want to have? Do we want weight loss to be our greatest desire and achievement? What the fuck, ladies? Get a grip here. Take back what’s yours– take back your dignity, self-respect & pride. This shocking figure depicts the grave danger that presents itself to the feminine mindset. You all must see the disturbing truth that the media actually profits from our self-hatred? It profits from our dissatisfaction. If we all woke up one day and were totally happy with our appearances, guess what?– the make-up industry, the fitness industry, the diet industry– the self-image industry— they would all go bankrupt! The truth is that the media profits by creating mental chaos within the minds of women. The media profits by creating subtle suggestions that women are meant to be hot and that their power comes from their beauty. Further, it teaches women that in order for them to become sexy and powerful they must betray and backstab their friends; women have to one-up each other to prove their worthiness. As a result, women find themselves scratching and clawing to reach most powerful layer of some elusive social pyramid; a pyramid that is unattainable by normal standards.
The struggle within female social groups over power is one that many women are familiar with. The basis of this power struggle comes from within the minds of these aggressive women themselves; it begins with the idea that one individual should be established as the leader or “alpha female” of the group, and often ends with one controlling woman who makes the mistake of assuming that aggression and assertiveness are the same trait. As a result of this need for power, women are led to betray and backstab each other. According to an article titled, Tumultuous Teen Relationships, a recent study revealed that, “Girls [tend to] hold their friends to a higher standard than boys do, which [leads] us to think that girls might have an especially hard time coping if one of their friend does something to disappoint them,” . This reveals the burden that girls place upon their friends to be emotionally supportive, and it further reveals the struggles that girls face while attempting to maintain “healthy” friendships. Once a girl feels betrayed by one of her friends it becomes a competition for power, “Girls… seek revenge against an offending girlfriend, verbally attack her and threaten to end the friendship for some perceived betrayal. Girls also reported they were more bothered by these betrayals [as compared to boys]. They felt more anger and sadness and were more likely to think the offense meant their friend didn’t care about them or cared too much by trying to control them,” . This often becomes evident especially when one observes the interaction between most women in the workplace; women often sabotage one another when competing for management positions and other positions of power.
According to Allison Ford in her article, Power Struggle: Why Do Women Compete?, women’s betrayal of one other is caused by a power struggle to pick up the “scraps” that are left behind after men are granted all of the valuable roles in society:
[The] truth is that women are still very much unequal to men in our society. Women might comprise half of the population, but we hold far less than half the power. We earn less money, shoulder most of the burdens of children and family, and are subjected to beauty standards that we can’t live up to. When there’s only room in the world for a select few powerful women, then we have to squabble and fight for these few scraps, and sadly, we don’t compete with men for these leftovers—we compete with other women. Women are always on the lookout for someone who might usurp their place in life—someone smarter, younger, or prettier—and when we come across another woman that makes us feel threatened, even if she’s really a friend, a jealous ‘I want what you have’ mentality takes over .
The fight for power between women has grown since the creation of new leadership roles in America; the fear of being expunged from control by another woman leads even the most confident of girls to become insatiable, aggressive and controlling. Once one looks into the deeper meaning behind betrayal, though, self-hatred proves a common underlying factor that invokes aggressive behavior in women. Unfortunately, self-hatred holds a commonplace in modern society, especially in the hearts and minds of younger generations.
The evil cousin of self-hatred is idealization. The pressure to be perfect in all aspects imaginable, leads us to feel empty, unfulfilled and bitter towards one another, especially if one woman possesses desirable qualities in such a seamless fashion; “[This] explains why a beautiful, slim woman who´s successful in her career and who has a tall, handsome rich man will have to deal with a lot of haters. These women hating her, who would go as far as gossiping and scheming to ruin her, are women who hate themselves because they don’t have what she has,” . Women who act on their negative thoughts are those who hate themselves; they disregard their personal relationships for personal gain due to insecurities. Self-hatred devalues an individual and causes one to act ruthless and aggressive towards others. Women who hate on themselves will most likely attempt to pass their hatred and criticism onto other women in order to make them feel worthless as well. You know what they say: misery loves company! Women who feel miserable about themselves absolutely hate the idea that another woman has more than them or feels great about herself, and for this reason, these self-hating women will do anything in their power to betray, hurt and sabotage her with all the power they can muster.
Women betray each other every day because of the perceived idea that another woman has what they think they need. As a result of media depictions of the ideal woman, individuals find themselves striving to appear as the ideal woman as well- but to no avail. Women who are insecure find themselves struggling for the top-dog position and hate themselves when another woman has it. Women are lead to be constantly miserable if they are not in a state of perfection, and they take it out on each other through betrayal. The idea that a woman needs to be on top and needs to win through betrayal is a demented perception that our culture has placed upon these women.
Wouldn’t it be great if all women agreed to get along and attempted to build each other up instead of ripping each other apart?
It begins with awareness, education & change; it begins with you.
RL. Copyright 2017- Present. Please Cite author and article in any use of this information.
Burns, Shelby D. “Tumultuous Teen Relationships.” Tumultuous Teen Relationships. Psy Web, 26 Nov. 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
 Dove Company. “How The Media Portrays Women.” Whiteearthdove.com. Dove, 11 Oct. 2012.Web. 26 Oct. 2013.
 Ford, Allison. “Power Struggle: Why Women Compete – Admin Secret.” Power Struggle: Why Women Compete – Admin Secret. Divine Caroline, 05 Aug. 2010. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.
 Lea, G. “Why Women Betray, Backstab and Trash-Talk Each Other.” Creative Fashion RSS. Creative Fashion Glee, 20 Sept. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2013.