Grab a seat, I’ve got something important to say.
*positions loudhailer at the ready and dons hard hat*
Ladies- we need to talk about horizontal hostility.
What is this horizontal hostility I hear you cry?
I can’t possibly be guilty of it, I don’t even know what it is!
It sounds like some kind of hanging basket, I hear you exclaim. I just can’t possibly even begin to identify with what this is.
Well, I’m willing to bet you’re guilty as sin.
So am I.
And most of the women I know.
Wanna know why?
Because horizontal hostility is when “members of a targeted group believe, act on, or enforce the dominant system of discrimination and oppression”.
Or in other words, when women bitch about the way other women look.
So, have a think again and raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by Regina George?
Now KEEP your hand raised if you’ve personally victimised another woman‘s outfit, looks, eyebrows, hair line etc etc?
Still got your hand up? I thought you might.
(Me too- FYI).
It’s so common because you see- us women, we’re actually socialised to bitch about others.
It’s so we keep other women down.
We ourselves enforce the very rules we hate.
The women’s magazines, movies, adverts- all of the mediums through which images of what women “should” look like, all encourage these rules.
And we enforce them through bitching about others.
It’s like we’re all part of a secret police force, working to keep the rules of beauty, sexy, and youthful in place.
(And don’t even get me started on fucking “dewy” skin- WTF is that?)
So, we are infact adept at using the “masters tools” to keep the house in order. AKA ensuring that other women all conform to the same, boring, standard vision of beauty.
We’re silently brainwashed to keep our sisters down, and we do it through criticism, bitchiness and snide comments about the way others look.
Gemma Collins- a prime example
Did you see Gemma Collins from TOWIE and the backlash to her wearing a mesh swimsuit?
I’m the first to admit I joined in on the bandwagon, slagging her off- “who is SHE to wear that? My Goooooood”.
And then I caught myself, and wondered firstly what on earth it had to do with me what Gemma Collins does on her hollibobs?
I don’t know the woman. I didn’t see her in person. I wasn’t even in the same country as her.
And secondly, I remembered what I know about horizontal hostility, and I made myself feel sick.
I realised, the more I have these thoughts, the more I keep all women in the “only one type of beauty” camp, and reinforce the ideals that makeup firms, fashion brands and weight loss businesses profit from.
Who wins when we have these thoughts?
And Gemma Collins deserves to feel good in whatever she wears and whatever she decides to do. Literally, who are we to judge?
This article “Ask yourself why you’re being a bitch before you judge Gemma Collins in mesh” is great because it gets right to the heart of the issue of why we women judge each other so much.
How does horizontal hostility affect our sex drives?
The more we are encouraged to judge others (mainly by women’s magazines!), the more we’ll judge ourselves.
And how can we love ourselves and be keen to take off our clothes and have sex if our own minds attack our bodies and we tell ourselves that we’re not thin, toned or tanned enough every time we get a peek at our naked bodies?
It’s a sure fire way to shortcircuit any kind of desire you have if your brain encourages you to feel anything less than the sexy, gorgeous goddess you are!
So, how to avoid horizontal hostility?
#1: ask yourself… is that really your voice and your genuine thoughts? Or is that the voice of the system getting you to police her for looking a certain way? Because she doesn’t fit the “ideal” shape? Because shes daring to step out of the box and live her good life?
#2: think about what that means for your own self love. When we use horizontal hostility, we’re also silently judging ourselves. And we’ll feel shitty afterwards. The more you can challenge those inner voices and realise why you judge others, who benefits from those thoughts, and what that means for all women, the less you’ll begin to judge yourself.
This is a call to action women. Love your sisters, big them up, uplift them. And it’ll help you in return.
Let me know in the comments one compliment you’ve ever recieved that’s made you up? It’s time we made love not war!