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Do women compete against each other, more than support each other?

By July 5, 2008 - 12:49pm
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I saw that the Williams' sisters were up against each other in today's Wimbledon finals. Venus beat her sister Serena in two sets.

After, she talked about making sure to not celebrate too loudly or make a huge fuss, bearing in mind that her win meant her sister's loss. Their Mom watched but their Dad flew back to the States rather than watch his two daughters fight it out on Center Court! In concession, Serena said she was happy for her sister and at least one of them won!

Pretty nice for sisters - it can't be an easy time for either of them because one of them had to lose. And while their familiy want to congratulate the winner, they must also console the loser. A sticky situation, perhaps! But they seem to have a good balance.

The story made me wonder about sisters. And best friends. Is there always an underlying rivalry or is that just stereotyping women-friends as ultimately no more than competitive rivals? Many women I know have a sister as a best friend but many others tend to fight, compete or compare in such a way that the relationship is often uneasy. This may be also a bit of a generalization but men are portrayed as buddies - as allies, invested in the strenghthening of the brotherhood.

I'm a fan of Chris Rock, who thinks that women actually hate each other, underneath it all. Now I know he's joking but I also know his jokes have a ring of truth to them. I'd quote his jokes about women hating women but this is Chris Rock we're talking about and I don't have the time to do the amount of editing it'd take to make my point with on-line respectability!

Do you ever feel competitive with other women? Do you view the 'sisterhood' as a bit of a myth or do you see women as strong allies for each other? Do you think men strike a better balance in their relationships with each other?

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EmpowHER Guest

From experience, I think that " women actually hate each other, underneath it all. " Especially when they think you are successful or simply happier in certain areas of your life.

January 23, 2010 - 4:19am

I tend to think that most women are much more competitive than they let on and know my share who revel in schadenfreude. And with regard to Chris Rock -- I can hear him in my head - and I think I know these jokes so well because for me they rang true.

The only women I feel competitive with are those who I consider hypercritical -- a little judgmental on my part, but not uncommon for women, I'm afraid -- those who've come up with some killer idea or traveled somewhere I've always wanted to go. The looks, the clothes, the cars, the whatever, doesn't really get to me.

On the plus side, my strongest relationships are with women who share my (tomboy) values and overdeveloped sense of adventure. To me, I've found a partner in crime.
I also like to think of myself as a compassionate person and experience genuine sorrow when I think someone else is going through something that's even mildly unsettling or uncomfortable.

With regard to men, I'm not sure. I know some men who are very jealous and very competitive. Men do seem to embrace each others' 'flaws' better than women. It seems to the quest for perfection among women has driven us to choose one another as a target to bolster our status in the totem. Not sure if I see this as much among men.

July 5, 2008 - 3:56pm
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