The Truth About the “Catty Woman” Myth

Putting the claws away for good.

Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought of as half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult. – Charlotte Whitton

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A significant quote that unfortunately has not deteriorated in validity as the years have rolled by. It is no secret women are judged more harshly than men, especially in the work place and in their interactions with one another. In fact, this paralyzing judgement has led to the myth of the catty woman. A stereotype that may not be as real as its implications are.

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At school, they were the “mean girls,” those who found great pleasure in the inequality of others and made an extra effort to be hurtful and insulting to expose the gap in standard. As we grow older, these catty girls coin the term of the “queen bee.” Her role not very different, only exaggerated as she becomes the dominant and controlling position in her realm and targets other women to cut them down.

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We all know very well the kind of character I am referring to, but do we know what the male equivalent is called? No? It simply does not exist. This is because, supposedly, a women’s biggest enemy is a powerful woman. But statistically, this is not true.

 

Although studies do reflect that it is 51% less likely for a second woman to reach a senior management position, they also exposed the reason for this was not a result of the powerful woman at all.

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Instead, it was a male chief executive that was blocking the path, and that a female chief executive often showed the opposite effect. Furthermore, these studies revealed when there are fewer women on the corporate board, they are unlikely to be mentored, and more women on the board often lead to a better chance of these women rising to top executive positions.

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These studies are a clear example of how women empower each other, rather than aiming to break one another down. In business, and in life, women support each other every day.

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Perhaps the reason women are so devoted to helping one another is because we are so harshly judged and suppressed under the stereotype of being kind, quiet and soft. Not strong, powerful, firm, decisive, or, God forbid, independent. Thus when a woman steps out of this stereotype to fill her shoes, she is harshly judged, inaccurately characterized, unfairly treated and internationally scorned.

This is not to say Queen Bees do not exist. There definitely are some out there, but they are quite uncommon. And often times this is by no fault of their own, but a result of the gender inequality still so very prevalent in our world today. Their inherent reaction to fight the crushing barriers of discrimination has become their identity.

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Maybe if we could stop judging a person’s behaviour so harshly, we would have the time to see that unlike men, women can argue and disagree, and even compete with one another, but still have each other’s backs. When one woman empowers another, we all rise.

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