I’m sure by now we’ve all seen the “Women Supporting Women Challenge” going around, with women on social media posting black and white images of themselves with the caption “Challenge Accepted”. The challenge is to nominate women whom you feel meets the requirements of being strong enough in their own self-confidence to support other women. I had written this piece last week based on another post I’d seen in two of my friends’ feeds, but it connects so perfectly with this challenge, so I’ve connected it here as well.
The original picture that sparked this article was this one:
It struck me twice because it’s the saddest truth. As women we will always be judged, no matter what we do and what choices we make. What makes it even sadder is that it’s usually other WOMEN doing the judging and critiquing each other.
Why do we this to each other?
Why do we feel it is even necessary to tear down another woman in order to raise our own egos and statuses?
Who amongst us actually sleeps better at night doing this? I know I don’t.
What we don’t realize is that when we women judge each other we’re making it okay for MEN to judge us too, thus constantly perpetuating the social inequality we face, and might very well constantly face forever if this continues.
Well, as a woman who’s sick and tired of seeing it——who’s sick and tired of seeing other women bashed for every choice they make for their personal lives and families; as a mom of daughters; and most importantly, as a mother given the responsibility of raising the next generation——I vow that in my home, it ends with me.
I won’t allow my daughters to grow up thinking negatively about the choices others make. I won’t allow them to judge other girls and women, and I won’t allow them to hear me do it either. I need to see this end: for them, myself, my friends, my sisters, and my nieces. I had always planned to raise them this way anyway, but lately more so, as I still don’t feel that with all we’ve been through, 2020 has taught us anything when it comes to “mom-shaming” and “mean-girling”. If anything, we’re doing it even more.
The adversity and equality we all faced during quarantine didn’t teach us enough it seemed, when all of us teachers, writers, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, actresses, and stay-at-home moms were all doing the exact same thing: working, teaching our kids, and co-struggling from home. I’d pop into comment sections and see other women bashed for not doing enough for Black Lives Matter or being questioned about what they ever did for the others. I’m currently reading comments from other mothers bashing the ones sending their kids to school in the Fall, or calling them out requesting Remote-Learning. And we haven’t even hit the school year yet where Moms are going to have to make the tough decisions about whether or not to return to work, or give their kids the Covid vaccine. Are we going to call them out too——saying they don’t care for their family’s health and could care less about their well being enough to stay home with them?
If you don’t feel this is a thing, honestly think for a second and ask yourself this question: can you mention the words ‘c-section, organic, breastfeeding, epidural, homeschool, formula, school, working mom, stay-at-home mom, work, plastic surgery, boss-babe, remote-learning, or vaccine’ in any social media post, group chat, mom blog, community page, or comment section without fear or backlash? And those are just the tip of the iceberg.
If you answered yes, then we have a lot to change. Before judging others we should ask ourselves an important question: Do we know what goes on in anyone else’s home? If not then how can we judge what another woman and mother decides is right for her own family?
Let’s let these critiques, judgements, and the adult ‘mean-girling’ end with us. There’s no better time—we’ve even been challenged to do so!
This challenge isn’t just about posting a pretty black and white selfie with the caption “Challenge Accepted”, the same way posting a black square with the caption “Blackout Tuesday” isn’t enough. It requires real thought and action. It requires us to look inside ourselves and make the effort to change.
And just like with those Black squares, the change with the Black and White selfie starts within our own homes. We must be willing to put the work in and consciously be nicer to each other—smile at each other, genuinely. Hug each other—with effort. Wish well for each other—with sincerity. Celebrate each other’s victories and curse each other’s losses. And most of all—love each other—in solidarity.
After all, we’re all going through the same thing. Only another woman will know what it’s like to live and struggle in our world. And so, my dearest friends reading this, if you dare to be strong enough to do so, accept this challenge, whether or not you post your Black and White selfie, and pledge to love one another wholeheartedly.
So that our daughters, daughters-in-law, grandaughters, and nieces can grow up in a world that gives women the empowerment we all want for them and hope they grow up with. Because no matter how tough you think you’re raising your daughter to be, if other women are tearing her down then there’s no hope for her self-esteem, confidence, and social welfare. But yet imagine a world where she felt she had a strong support system and affirmation everywhere she turned.
Seems like a dream right? Well Martin Luther King, Jr. also had a dream once. And though it took years and years, his dream was finally realized during a pandemic that changed the mindset of people everywhere when they finally had the time to listen. We finally have the time to listen and change a lot of ugly things about our world. So let’s do it now. Let’s finally be ALL the changes we want to see.