Not since Sex in the City has a show celebrated the intimacy and vitality of female friendships as #BroadCity (@broadcity). Same-sex friendships, like Abbi and Ilana, can even rival romantic ones in closeness and intensity. Loyal and supportive friendships are also good for our health. One study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found women with early-stage breast cancer had a better survival rate when they had a good group of friends to support them.
But women can also be super nasty (men can be too, in a different way). From jealousy, judging, back-stabbing, status-jockeying, to gratuitous gossip, one-upsmanship, and purposeful or unintentional sabotage at work.
In the office, unfortunately, it is not uncommon for women to experience mistreatment by other women. Through overt or subtle actions, whether intentional or not, some women seem to have a knack for knocking fellow women down. I’ve personally been embarrassed in front of peers because of female managers shaming me for taking initiative, for having “frizzy hair” at the office, or “making them look bad” because I went off script in a brainstorming session.
Women have suffered from all sorts of discrimination and harassment from male superiors forever. But to be subjected to mean-spirited, spiteful, power-wielding behaviour from women bosses seems even harder to take.
What is the source of women meanness to other females in the workplace? Insecurity? Jealousy? Power-mongering?
Author Kelly Valen covered these “frenemy” characteristics in her book, “Twisted Sisterhood”. Valen says that all that ugliness can be traced back to our own insecurities and the perceived superiority of another female.
Have you experienced mistreatment by other women in the workplace? And how can we stop it?
But let’s end on a positive note. There are also many strong and secure women bosses who provide invaluable mentorship and supportive actions to other women. And I personally am blessed with many amazing women in my life who always remind me to be the best version of myself.
Tag a friend and tell her how much you appreciate her friendship!