We’ve all watched Mean Girls, and while it’s understandable that we would like to relate most to Cady Heron, even she did some pretty catty and immature things. In high school, for most of us girls, “gossip” was synonymous with “hanging out.” Seemingly harmless yet vindictive and downright bitchy comments were ubiquitous.
When we came to college, we told ourselves that we would be adults, that we were past our high school immaturity and our middle school playground tendencies. We smiled and hugged our newfound friends, became privy to random yet intimate details of strangers’ lives at parties and in classes, and simultaneously created a bank of faceless names and nameless faces that we occasionally reference when our friend comes back from a “wild night out” and gives us all the gory details.
And then months go by, and we whisper only to our closest friends. Somehow the “getting to know each other” conversations turn into “OMG, did you hear what she did last night?” The “Her makeup looks so good” conversation becomes ‘Why is she trying so hard?”
We are all inevitably exhausted and consequently have a shorter fuse, but worst of all is the way that we women turn on each other.
Now I don’t mean that anyone executes a full-on Blair Waldorf-style takedown. However, blatantly mean comments definitely fly around, and they’re most often said behind each other’s backs. Then someone’s friend hears it from this guy they used to talk to who heard it from his girlfriend’s best friend. Suddenly it seems like half the school is talking about the day you had a little run on your tights, that somehow through the chain of whispers turned into a rip right up your ass.
I know that I have been guilty of making such comments to my friends on numerous occasions, and there’s something I’ve been wanting to say:
To all the girls I’ve loved before:
I’m sorry. To the girl who caught me eyeing her cargo pants last week with a strange look, I want to say your style is wonderful. On some level, I was jealous you could pull that off when I definitely couldn’t.
I’m so sorry to the girl I called “too superficial” just because of her brief crush on the guy I was seeing. She is so unbelievably pretty it made me nervous.
I’m sorry to the girl I complain about for being “difficult”; I’m difficult all the time. How can we not be with the amount of stress we’re under?
I’m so sorry to the girl that I let my guy friends call “ugly.” What might actually be worse than saying any of these things is not stopping a group of men from doing so. You are truly beautiful.
I’ve probably had a hundred off-days, just this year, where I wear something that looks absurd or forget my homework or accidentally say something that sounds downright stupid, and I would hope that people wouldn’t judge me every time I slip up.
I mean, come on ladies. We have it hard enough; between periods and relationships and that stupid glass ceiling to shatter, we, of all people, should not be tearing each other down. We’re allies in this, and we’re going to get nowhere unless we support each other.
I am personally beyond thankful for my rocks (Meg, Cass, Gabi) for being there 24 hours a day, seven days a week to save me from some bad decisions or provide the spoons for the ice cream pints when I make my worst ones. For the fifteenth time.
So, to anyone I have ever made a negative remark about, I am truly, deeply sorry. I wish I could take it back or promise that I won’t ever do it again, but we’re all human and we make mistakes. All I ask is that if you’re reading this, you do the same.
Think about how that girl would feel if she heard you say her sweater makes her look fatter than she is. Think about how you would feel if you found out that someone thinks you’re a bitch just because you were with the guy she liked. I’ve been there. It’s not fun. We need each other.
With the new year coming and next semester with it, I’m making a public promise: the only comments you’ll hear from me about the wonderful women that populate this campus will be positive. I’m going to do my best, but, if you ever hear me slip up, please call me out.
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