By Cynthia Ayeza, South Africa:
Girls can be volatile beings. Yes, girls are very unstable, inconsistent, unpredictable, impulsive, and fickle; name it and they are only the beginning of what you would never be able to define. At any given point in life, girls are likely to cause unnecessary trouble and when you think they couldn’t possibly cause any more trouble, they start some new trouble elsewhere. If I were to pick any random country to visit, I would be sure to find a group of girls somewhere that is “hatin'” on some girl or another group of girls. Yes, I use the word hatin’ because it is the only word that best fits what we do.
I think it is an interesting fact that no one is born with an inherent desire to be at loggerheads with others. We do not know anything when we are born; we do not even know who we are and cannot even communicate beyond manipulative cries for attention when we are hungry or in pain. However, when you flip on the television, there are many reasons to start finding fault or fickle reasons to hate another sister. In recent years, since I do not know much about the centuries before, girls are best friends forever until you let slip their not so dirty secret, wear the same dress they are wearing to a party, buy the same shoe they bought from a more expensive outlet but you got it for less, wear a similar hairstyle even though you went to different salons, wear a perfume that is better than the theirs, have a more handsome boyfriend, your boyfriend drives a car and theirs is still on the twos (thank God for sneakers); the list is endless.
What I wish more girls realised is that they need each other in this world. We are quite similar yet so different and therefore need each other. The challenges that girls experience are similar on so many levels across the globe. Caucasian, Chinese, African, Indian, Coloured – whatever your ethnic background – all girls share a lot more in common than they realise. Most of us will have a period, most of us know what cramps are like, most of us cannot stand shaving or waxing but prefer waxing because the hair won't grow back as fast as when you shave, we like to look good, be complimented, called beautiful and amongst other things, we want to be loved.
I have been seeing quite a bit about the PHD syndrome, which is the “Pull Her Down” syndrome that is becoming more and more common. It appears that this is mostly with the black community – black sisters pulling down other black sisters, instead of celebrating each other; I do not know if it is limited to the black community though. I feel that whereas one cannot really blame the media or whatever else people can think of, the media does encourage this behaviour. There are magazines out there that thrive on shaming women – how unbelievable it is that some celebrity has cellulite (as if to suggest they stopped being made of flesh and blood after fame entered their lives), how a celebrity couple is on the verge of divorce, and how Kim Kardashian extended her butt…it is all quite in our faces, directly pushing us to think in an unhealthy way. It is increasingly challenging to be yourself in a world where being yourself seems to entail being defined by other people. We really are living in an absurd vacuum – a black whole where the individual is unlikely to comfortably win by walking a natural or organic journey.
I’ve been thinking about the girls I do not get a long with. In my experience, there is always a need to distance oneself from toxic people. Infact, there are many articles and quotes on avoiding toxic people – they will never get you anywhere in life. However, toxic people are also human and could possibly excel elsewhere, under the right circumstances and perhaps different groupings of people. I can think of girls I did not get a long with, and therefore distanced myself but wherever they are, I sure hope they are making it. Do I want them back in my life? Absolutely not. As I said, in my experience, it is important to let go of some ties – completely. Maybe someday, under different circumstances, that may be possible. But I celebrate their lives – their being because their purpose here on earth remain valid, whether or not I get along with them.
So here are my thoughts: When you see another girl making it in this world, do whatever it takes to withhold any criticism if it is not going to build her. It really is that simple. We already have to deal with a crazy patriarchal-influenced pedestal, intended in most cases to break us – to prove that we as women cannot make it. However, we know that we can make it. The best way to withhold your comment, especially if it is only going to break another girl or woman is to shut up. Yes, just do not say it. If you really must say it, go to some far far far away forest or enter a deep sea and whisper it there to your satisfaction. But by all means, do not whisper it near another human being. Refrain from doing anything intended to break another girl. Yes, call us out when we are losing our way, and be gentle when you do, but do not break further what may already be broken, thus destroying it.
Girls are volatile beings only because we encourage it; yes, girls encourage this volatile character in each other. I think we need to turn that around in our minds, and then our mouths, which will then affect our actions towards each other. Granted, some girls may never get it, but that is not the point, nor is it your business. Lead by example on this and let sleeping dogs lie. The plan is to create a better sisterhood for you, for me, and for tomorrow's us. Let's build a loving sisterhood together, wherever we are. I find that it is more important to build a loving sisterhood across the globe, knowing that wherever we might find ourselves, we can always depend on each other for strength.