The Green Witch of Envy Between Women: and 5 Steps to Defeat Her.

Via on Aug 8, 2011
Jealousy by Shadow Geist

There is a vicious, green witch in the female psyche that persistently incites us to compare ourselves to other women.

It demands that we measure our weight, our breast size, our complexion, our careers, our talents, our qualities, our sexiness, our intellects, our wardrobes, our popularity and our whole lives with those of other women. Can any of us claim to be immune to this uncomfortable phenomenon? If we aren’t the one doing the comparing, then we are the one against whom other women measure themselves. And it can feel horrible.

There is nothing worse than detecting a half-hearted compliment from a jealous friend, or feeling the sting of an envious glance from a total stranger. It’s as if one woman’s success or beauty becomes a direct threat to the potential of another: “Because of her beauty, I will never attract a lover. Because of her sharp intellect, my intelligence will never be noticed. Because of her confidence, I will never find my own voice”.

Instead of inspiration, the comparison witch drives us to unreasonable lamentation, and suddenly her existence undermines ours. Kant described it as when “the standard we use to see how well off we are is not the intrinsic worth of our own well-being but how it compares with that of others.” Anthropologists blame this primitive reaction in females on our ancestral biology.

There we are, the females, stuck in a cave bearing children, utterly dependent on the male who hunts our food. (I know it’s not a pretty picture, but bear with me here.) When the male’s attention turns from our once perky, now sagging breasts, to those of a younger female, we become at risk of loosing our connection to a reliable food source, and protection. Suddenly, our very existence is under siege, as the more alluring female becomes an actual death sentence to the one she replaces.

Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield

Why our female species would carry this alleged survival instinct of measuring our reproductive lure against each other, as if our lives depended on it, into the twenty first century sure beats me! After all, we don’t live in caves anymore. Today, the threats women perceive in each other are no longer actual ones, but are, for the most part, imagined ones. Still, this raw-reaction, women have to the attractiveness of other women, seems to be alive and kicking all around us. What does that tell us about ourselves, as women?

Well, it might inform us that we women have an easily activated tendency to disconnect from our core: our very source of safety and confidence. It’s as if we have a block from those lower chakras that support our sense of security, our courage and our unique individuality. Instead of directing our attention within, and thus accessing our ability to activate our own personal power, we waste time comparing ourselves to other women around us. Worse yet, we try to destroy our perceived rival!

During the time of actual witch-hunts and killings, it is sad to note just how many of these “witches” were brought to trial and burned (or hung), due to the accusations from other females. Shockingly, they say it is the majority. Perhaps that fearful era in history, in which envy between women easily led to death, has yet to be fully extricated from society, as females continue to energetically deplete one another, instead of support one another as often as we could be.

And the literary trail behind us recording our competitive hysteria is just as rich and colorful, full of stories that continue depicting us as witches and snakes, from the Greek goddess Invidia to Shakespeare’s famous observation: “The venom clamors of a jealous woman are more deadly than a mad dog’s tooth.” That sure proved its accuracy for the hundreds of thousands of women who were executed as witches due to the gossip of other women. Who knew that comparisons could be so dangerous!

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Once, a close friend of mine nicknamed me Snow White. I thought it was sweet, until years later that same friend admitted to feeling envy towards me, for my beauty, my brains, my youth, my modesty, my financial stability, she said. She envied my art, my cooking skills, the way I wrote poems and even my metabolism!

I suppose, on that day, my friend unwittingly cast herself as Snow White’s wicked stepmother who, according to the old German story, hired a huntsman to carve out Snow White’s heart. My friend may as well have torn my heart out because that’s how it felt to hear of her envy towards me. At least she was open about it. Maybe it was unrealistic of me to expect her to be happy for me?

Before the Persians invaded Greece, the famed playwright Aeschylus noted of human nature: “It is in the character of very few to honor, without envy, a friend who has prospered”. First, such individuals are proud to call said prosperous person their friend. And then they envy them for their prosperity, as it reminds them of their own perceived lack of prosperity. I say “perceived” because I believe we all have something to be grateful for, and if we are always comparing ourselves to others, we may just miss it altogether. Instead of practicing gratitude, we allow envy to turn us into poison factories. We all remember the poisoned apple the witch offered Snow White, don’t we?

Snow White Ate The Apple by Lilou

How many of us have been offered poisoned apples to bite into by envious women we once thought to be our friends? Or, perhaps we were the ones offering the poison? It might sound a bit dramatic, but subtle (and not so subtle) “poisoning” occurs every day between women, in the workplace, at school, in the gym, at yoga class, etc, because of feelings of jealousy and envy. In either case scenario we find women disempowering themselves, and disempowering other women. Sometimes this disempowering phenomenon is so thick, you can feel it when you walk into a room. You can feel women comparing themselves to each other, measuring themselves up. You can feel women targeting other women as threats. Instead of creating a conscious and supportive sisterhood, our unconscious primitive impulses inevitably isolate us from one another. It’s a lonesome feeling.

Self-portrait by the author Katarina Silva

Some women have comparison witches that direct their poison outwards like emotional arrows they shoot at their perceived rival: “How comes she looks good in any pair of shoes? I wish she had short legs! I hate her!” This reaction is usually followed by guilt. Then there is the kind of comparison witch that does the exact opposite, she directs her poison inwards: “She looks so much better in those shoes than I do. I don’t even know why I bought mine. I wish I had longer legs. ” Yes, it’s harsh. Yes, it’s pointless. And yes, it’s self-annihilating. But women do it to themselves every day. Why? What do we feel we lack? What do we want?

After thirty years of researching the feminine soul, Sigmund Freud considered much of his work incomplete because he had not uncovered our deepest desires, and lamented that he had never been able to answer the question: What does a woman want? Considering it’s Freud we’re talking about here, it’s not surprising he never discovered what it was. But as individual women, we are our own authorities on what we want.

The comparison witch is but a challenge that can move us into answering that very question: What do we really want? Whatever it is, it’s not found in what other women have, or seem to have. It’s found inside of us.

My friend is now working on a little formula to defeat the Witch of Envy and quell her reaction to compare herself to me (or other women) in ways that make her feel inferior. It consists of five simple steps:

1. Identify your feelings: a) Are they feelings of jealousy in which you fear losing something of yours to another woman? Like your boyfriend, your job, your popularity, etc? (Jealous feelings are usually accompanied by distrust, anxiety, suspicion and anger about a perceived betrayal, uncertainty and loneliness, and a bad case of the blues over the perceived loss)

b) Or are you experiencing feelings of envy, in which you are directly frustrated or pained since learning about her weight loss, or her sensitive new boyfriend, or her ability to flex into all those advanced yoga postures? (Envious feelings are usually accompanied by resentment, feeling inferior, motivation to improve oneself, an ill feeling towards the woman envied –usually accompanied by guilt, and a unrelenting desire to posses the other woman’s qualities)

c) Or maybe you are feeling a combination of all these, as it’s common for jealousy and envy to hand out their torment at the same time.

2. Observe your feelings without judging them, and without energizing them. Allow yourself the experience without letting the experience overwhelm you. Practice being a witness of the experience instead of an eager participant. Make the distinction between your self and your emotions. Your emotions are fleeting; no need to let them devour your whole self.

3. Bring your attention to your body and breath, and make efforts to release muscle tightness and tensions. (We usually contract when feeling threatened and deprive our body of oxygen by taking in shallow breaths). Breathe deep, full breaths. Notice how your perception of the other woman is affecting the way you carry yourself: Are you suddenly slouching? Are you crossing your arms? Has the volume of your voice been affected? Return to your normal, comfortable posture through the aid of the breath.

4. Consider the big picture: There will always be women in the world who are more qualified than you in certain ways, and there will always be those that are not. There will always be women in the world whose forms are more aesthetically pleasing to look at then yours, and there will always be those that are not. These facts will never bear any direct impact on your own personal potential unless you let them. Make the decision not to let them, and restore your own sense of power.

5. Feel the LOVE: There is a Buddhist practice prescribed as an antidote to envy and jealousy which involves finding joy in the good fortune of another. It’s called mudita, and it has to do with perceiving the interconnectedness between us all. We need not separate our self from the successes of other women. In genuinely rejoicing when we see other women thriving, being prosperous and reaching their goals, we are also celebrating our own ability to do the same. The blossoming of one flower actually stands as an encouraging reminder that all flowers were made to blossom, in their own time. Keep this vision of yourself prominent. It honors abundance instead of scarcity, and it salvages the compassion for self and others that is always shadowed by the Witch of Envy.

When we surround ourselves with other women who are grounded in this inner sense of their own purpose, the whole energy between us changes! Suddenly we are watering one another’s flowers instead of stomping on them. We are no longer our own worst enemies. We appreciate the beauty in a mixed bouquet of flowers. What Freud failed to discover in all our glorious feminine complexity is that we all want to blossom. So, next time the witch of envy visits us, or we feel the sting of her stare, we’ll know exactly what to do.

About Katarina Silva

Katarina Silva is an artistic self-expressionist who thrives on the spontaneous thrill of creating photographic images in ten seconds, and inevitably employs witchcraft to do so. Her autobiographical art reflects her emotions and dreams, and is characterized by the mysterious absence of her complete face. She lives unafraid of darkness, wrapped in nature, in an obscure corner of the planet with her magical kitty. You may view her work at The Art of Katarina Silva. Or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter

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42 Responses to “The Green Witch of Envy Between Women: and 5 Steps to Defeat Her.”

  1. benice says:

    Sadly I've noted women acting viciously towards other women even more in my professional than personal life – there is room enough for us all!

    • Yeah, I hear you Benice. I've also encountered that. So how do you deal with it? I guess I didn't really cover that, did I? But yeah, there is indeed "room for us all".

  2. Linda Buzogany linda buzogany says:

    Here's to a 'conscious, supportive sisterhood!' This was quite the yogic piece, Katarina. Thanks for the call to women.
    ~Linda

  3. Yogini5 says:

    There will always be women who want to take on the whole world. If you try to re-socialize these women to cooperate in groups, then they just change their chips to "win" by practicing exclusion and in-group/out-group stuff as a form of "currency" (the traditional social competitiveness before the stakes changed to money, careers, beach houses, etc.)

    It's hard-wired.

    But it's nice to meditate and, at least, subjectively feel that women who have something against cooperating (where that affects me and my affairs) … have the potential to be cooperative, at very least.

  4. misa derhy says:

    Great article of the great writer. Thanks for sharing what we deeply live in our everyday lives. It really helps to be aware. And it helps to find our Sisterhood!

  5. annieory says:

    This is a common mis-characterization of the source of jealousy. The time period you speak of, when our ancestors lived in caves , was a time when humans lived communally. Women were not starved for lack of a penis in their families. Hunters hunted for all the people. Gatherers gathered for all the people. Caretakers cared for anyone and everyone who needed it. Every human in the village had a purpose, a reason for being within the system that allowed all to survive together.

    This type of jealousy began to be taught to us socially when humans began "owning" things, land, money, other people. It was in those times, when men began holding title to land based on their father's name, that come to have value ONLY by being beautiful "enough" to land a husband with some property.

    Jealousy is not confined to women either. The same thing has happened to men. They compare the size of their assets, their cocks, their wallets, their cars, their guns, even the size of their yoga classes, to those of other men, in hopes that by having the biggest (fill in the blank) they will get the girl, the land, the security, whatever. Jealousy is not a natural emotion. Want is. Hunger is natural. Desire is natural. But jealousy is learned. And you are right, it can be unlearned.

  6. Janet says:

    This article reminds us all what we should already be practicing! It is so hard in this day and age to not compare yourself to other women. I think that the biggest fear, not totally mentioned in this article, is that if we see a difference in bust size, intellect, weight etc…then the men will too. Since lets face it, that's what our competative nature is looking at. I think that when we try to think what men will preceive us as, it muttles up our own self image. I have felt most jealous in my life when I was in a relationship with a man who had a wondering eye and an inclination to cheat. Instead of making him the bad guy, it was so much easier to hate on the women who intimidated the relationship- or who I felt threatened by. The relationship was toxic, and looking back on it, I would try to look at woman how he saw them and I would compare. I would immediately become the green witch and damn both them and myself in comparison. Unfortunately I was too blind to see this happening right in front of my face. We not only have to love ourselves, but have to be with men who also love us and appreciate who we are.

    • Thank you for that great point Janet! Yes, to be in a relationship with a man who loves us the way we are, would certainly make us less prone to feel insecure around other women (ones our man may be comparing us to!). A man who REALLY loves us would have no need to compare us to other females, and so, in turn, we would have no need to feel insecure around them. I often find myself cast as the woman that might make others women's men wander. It is so uncomfortable to be seen in this way, and to be blamed for the man's wandering eyes on top of it! So I am very familiar with what you write about because I was on the other side of it. And I agree with you when you say that the solution in this case is to align ourselves with love more! Both with self-love and a loving partner. THank you so much for opening sharing your experience. I really appreciate it.

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  10. jessie says:

    I had a hard time even reading your article because I was so distracted by the photo of Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield. Jayne is practically bursting out from her dress, and Sophia's look capture's to me why women are often disdainful of each other. Come on, reeeaaallllly??

  11. Nadine McNeil Nadine says:

    Katarina, for me, this piece was INCREDIBLY validating. Interestingly enough, this past Christmas, I had a dinner for women only and it was just incredible. I'm all for inclusion of men, however the reality is that whenever included in the mix, the dynamics shift not because they shift, but more so because WE as women do! Few will admit this! Sadly, the patriarchy has conditioned too many of us to be afraid of our unique, divine, feminine power. And until we [re] claim it, we will continue to be stomped upon; by self and others. Abundant Blessings, Nadine!

    • Thank you so much for sharing that with me Nadine. Yes, I have also seen the way dynamics shift in a room of women as soon as you add the male factor! Interesting to observe what we needlessly do to ourselves at times. And kudos to having all women gatherings. Sisterhood are so important! Blessings unto you too, and may your new year be full of more sweet times with your girlfriends! :-)

  12. Yogatchr says:

    The patriarchy loves to perpetuate this kind of characterization of women. The patriarchy wants us to buy in because it keeps a sister down. Just say NO! Be part of the revolution, reject patriarchal bullshit, and stop feeding the patriarchy with this kind of stereotypical portrayal of women. And for the love of God, some of the writers and readers her have got to get out more and meet some different women if this represents who you know. The women in my life are fun, adventurous, funny, smart, caring, interesting people who could no more identify with this article than they could sport a Burka every day. Seriously. All this self worth crap about women really chaps me.

    • It is wonderful that the women in your life are so supportive of you and each other. If only every woman had the experience you have! This article was intended to be a part of that "revolution" you propose we join. It was aimed at exposing negative experiences that many women have, and building a greater sense of sisterhood between us. While you may not be one of the women who have suffered from this, I have. That is my own personal experience. It is not the ultimate reality of what constitutes femininity, it is my experience only, but apparently one that some other women can relate to. I am happy you do not have issues with your self-worth. But just because your experiences do not match the one's of those who wrote, or related, to this article does not mean that everyone else's experiences are "bullshit", as you say. That is very strong language. I hear your anger, and I am sorry if you feel my article is propagating a patriarchal stereotype of females. But, from someone who grew up in a developing country in which women who spoke up against the patriarchal government got assassinated, I am most grateful I am given a chance to express my voice here, even if my views do not match yours. And thank you, in all sincerity, for expressing yourself as well, and so candidly, sister! You go girl!

      • Yogatchr says:

        I am truly sorry you have those issues. I hope the sisterhood raises you up indeed. And P.S., maybe Sophia Loren is looking and the tats next to her not out of jealousy but because she thinks, "Mmmm…those are hot!". A different point of view. Go forth and enjoy 2012!

        • Thank you! Your compassionate and understanding response is indeed part of that elevating energy that us sisters can offer each other. And yes, Sophia may indeed be experiencing a turn-on instead of envy. Definitely! I would! May you also have a beautiful new year! :-)

  13. [...] the mirror, we blame the witch. We toss our fears onto the witch in a kind of scapegoat phenomenon. This witch then becomes our own inner demons. [...]

  14. thetruth says:

    sounds more like Katarina tooting her own horn than anything else…

    • Actually, if your met me in person, or spoke to anyone who actually knows me, you would realize that I am not the type of person to toot my own horn. Sorry that's all you got from my article. Do I sense some envy here? ;)

      By the way, interesting name you got there "The truth". I guess you are excluding everyone else's views that do not match your "truth". Talk about tooting one's own horn!

  15. vanessa says:

    Everything you wrote is true from my experience. I have had so many poisonous female friendships and it has broken my heart more than any romantic relationship with a man. It took me many years to realise what my mum always said was true, "They are being mean to you because they are jealous/envious". Why anyone would envy me, I have no idea, but I envy other women all the time. It makes me sick to my stomach how I look at other women and judge them. It makes me hate myself. I envy the women who have never experienced these issues too! Maybe one day I will be full of compassion and love for other people and will accept and love myself for who I am. For now, it is a daily struggle and one I combat through my yoga practice. Good luck to all the women who feel like me, we can change our thought patterns and give each other the love and support that we all need to flourish in this life :-)

  16. [...] such as receiving the blame for the stalkers behavior. In my case, my girlfriend had secretly grown jealous of me, and the ways I connected with her [...]

  17. Sherrie L says:

    I find this article interesting and spot on during a time when we are seeing the harsh judgement & denouncement of free-thinking women by ‘women of authority’ all over the political arena. The green witch seems to appear everywhere right now, pushed by the male politico agenda & spewed by their female lackeys. There is a decided war going on, and sometimes it feels as if the average woman gets lost in it all, mainly because we forget that we don’t have to listen to this undermining self-abuse that they drop into our subconscious thoughts.

    The only part of your article that I might argue with is the misinformation about this originating in primitive cultures, painting women as helpless because they relied solely on men to hunt & provide for them. Those cultures were much more complex than that, and women weren’t seen as a weaker sex who had to wait around for the men, they simply had different skills which were needed & valued by the entire group. If you look at history, the devaluing of women and their strengths was mainly introduced by the partriarchal religious leaders who found it needful to debase women in order to control them. This ‘propagating a patriarchal stereotype of females’ was a calculated tool of the male leaders, and they used it to such an extent that it survives in our cultural beliefs today.

    I see a breaking down & out of this mindset, however, and with each person, each woman speaking out against it, uplifting each other instead of tearing each other, or ourselves, down, and once again bringing to light our strengths, our beauty and our compassion which, I believe, is the greatest natural gift of our sex. I believe this is a turning point for all of us for so many reasons, so let’s be aware and consciously drive the change into a new era that we can truly believe in.

  18. marcy says:

    I must be totally naive or in lala land but in my sixty years of being a fairly attractive woman, i have never encountered the petty attitudes among women that you have mentioned.

  19. mariucc says:

    I have always been lucky enough to be surrounded by women who support me tell me I’m beautiful and help me with fashion and makeup when I wanted it. I have been friends with women who were very gorgeous and i am able to see how beautiful they are inside which makes me feel happy to be their friend. I have compared myself to beautiful women from afar but when getting to know them this goes away. I either like them for who they are or if they have a bad personality I am no longer envious. People have called me beautiful but if any one is jealous it doesn’t affect me because I know who I am inside. No one can put on you what is not there to some degree. If. I have a pure heart I will not take on the role they may try to ptoject. I can be beautiful inside and out and feel good about who I am. If someone is jealous I can have compassion but not take it in. I love the women in my life and for those who don’t start loving yourself don’t spread talk that women are jealous witches. Soon you will attract loving female friends I guarentee.

  20. Misty Merritt Oehmke says:

    THIS is exactly what a few brave friends and I have been discussing lately. I was so excited to find this site to solidify the candid conversations I and some friends have only encountered just this past week. For me, It was triggered by the recent Oprah Lifeclass with Iyanla Vanzant where the discussion focused on 'why women betray each other'. I have experienced this first hand and have been guilty as well ..but more so in the latter part of my life….having seperately lost 3 lifelong friends in the past 7 years. Iyanla stated, "Comparison is an act of viloence against thyself" AND "The privilege of a lifetime is being WHO you are". Thank you for continuing the discussion!

  21. Plain Jane says:

    I believe everything that most of what was written has some truth. Women can be very jealous of one another, it's sad, but true. Those of you who are fortunate enough to have women in your life who validate and not compare are to be envied. Society creates these jealousy and comparisons and likely, if you delve into the childhoods and past of women like this you will see that it started at a very early age, typically with sisters, sometimes even their own mothers. It is a sign of the times. Combat it by being generous with compliments, most just need the validation of those they admire.

  22. LGV says:

    When my 'friends' thought I had middle class income and assets I was invited to events and included almost always. My 'friends' didn't seem to hold my education, successful career turned into stay-at-home mom status, children, ideal husband, friendliness, charitable activities or figure against me. After recently suffering through one of those no good deed goes unpunished days, a wise older woman explained to me "you know, women don't have friends, they have acquaintances – just be happy with your children and family. They envy you, they don't think you deserve all this." I've always been the type to be genuinely happy about the successes of others, envy just isn't in my spirit. But, I see now that some women aren't happy for my successes and the only plausible explanation is envy. To protect myself, I just have to be kind and above the fray / because they aren't friends, they are just acquaintances. Outside of my beloved mother and mother-in-law I have two true female friends, and I thinks that is just enough.

  23. Ann says:

    Wonderful articulate post. I work with younger women that are extremely insecure and find every excuse to demean me and other women. Never experienced anything like this before.

  24. So many people try and control your life with their insecure emotions they feel as though their life is out of control. jealous people have that need to squash you. If they can make you feel as miserable or inadequate as they feel inside, then their sorted for the day. They'll convince those around them that your the problem. The reality is the problem was probably there long before you stepped into the picture. It's called emotional baggage. We all deal with our stress and emotional baggage in different ways. Sometimes i exercise, othertimes i get angry and frustrated and fight and box, or even knock things about in my garden. But not everybody is like this. I've met some really amazing, supportive women in the past, women who have got self esteem. Women who respect themselves, and ultimately their energy is nicer, their nicer people and your drawn to them more. My sister always says go where your loved, why try and socialise with negative people. You'll never fix what's broken in them, it' something they need to do within themselves.

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  25. kay says:

    UMMM. I found this to be a somewhat truthful article but it still was a jealous one in and of itself..I noticed that the picture of the women holding hands was not very representative of the differences in how women look. Too many of these women look the same size and height and also race without much difference. I really think that this was a sneaky "well meaning" article that is guilty of the same thing it professes to be against. I for one am a woman who is not "slim" and or "fit" .. I do consider myself physically strong. I have no health problems accompanied with my weight or stature . I am 33 years old yet I feel younger. I wear make up when I want and I dress the way I want . I am not held hostage by these ridiculous pigeonholes that women resign theirselves to in this society. I however have seen that for some reason I have virtually NO female friends . When I ask myself why that is , I also ask my best friend who is a male why that is ? He tells me and I have come to know the reason to be jealousy. I have met many women who were "prettier" , thinner, more educated, and more financially prosperous than me and you know what ? They have been very angry and mean to me for no reason. I have even found out that many of these so called beautiful women have called me ugly etc. around other people to try and get people to see me through a shallow lens and somehow it has often worked because people are so bad. I dont like that this article tries to act like women are only jealous and envious of women who "cook good" , "write good poems" , and have "fast metabolisms" are the ones who are worthy of envy. This author lives in a sad little box herself and I resent the implications in this article that a woman like myself who may be "overweight" yet attractive, poor yet I am grateful to get by on what I have, resilient , self reliant , very happily married to an attractive sexy man who provides, and who has always prided my personality and spirit over physical beauty (as if it were one dimensional anyway) cannot in fact be envied or hated ..it is sad because this has been my reality for a long time . But according to this article we mainly percieve a woman's looks as something to envy..

  26. Torranceninja says:

    I am a guy. Let me say that first. Until recently, I have been friends with mostly women. I now am close to several men, who have been carefully selected to keep me from returning to my younger mode of punching friends.

    "There is nothing worse than detecting a half-hearted compliment from a jealous friend, or feeling the sting of an envious glance from a total stranger. "

    This, as a guy, has happened to me somewhat often. Guys don't tend to be as catty as women, but, trust me, they are catty, just on different subjects…sometimes. This is why I had to sock the shit out of a friend or two, though it rolled out into a fairly even exchange each time. I didn't know how to deal with the catty competitiveness of some guys who simply had to be better than me in this or that way. I was okay with being catty back, but there is a glitch, culturally, that sends guys into stupid zone when they are bested.
    I have had guys try to twist my arms out of socket when wrestling, who have punched and kicked me with real intent when roughing about, AND who have outright said I was "gay" when I got upset about it, and who could not handle it when I returned the heat to "prove" that I wasn't . Guys need to also be socialized out these behaviors. Sports…to teach sportsMANship. Controlled, focused and accepted engagement with aggression is much higher with men than with women.

    Women are instructed to be the best, to be it quietly, to be it relentlessly, and to only cry about it if it doesn't work out.
    Women are taught to show up another woman and to NEVER let it look intentional, and NEVER look aggressive. I imagine that women should be territorial, if caveman days have any bearing, because she would have to be more invested in AGGRESSIVELY defending resources. In any predatory or omnivorous mammals that I can think of the female shares the exact same niche as the male, and only defers to a male, territorially, and will respond aggressively to females, and often males, size permitting (even not permitting) . Yet, women are taught to NEVER be aggressive, and here we go with the "evolution" stuff of legend that women look to men for ALL aggressive protection. Nonsense. Name one beast that has an ineffective female as an answer to a highly effective male?

    Also, men tend to remind women that they are in danger. There is a cultural climate for that. I don't argue that there is not some basely human logic to why women are consistently suppressed through out different societies in the world, but to deny women the right to be aggressive and defensive is stupid and antihuman.

    "Beauty" is not the only reason women are "jealous". Just like humans can be, they are often jealous of another person's happiness, and are often angry they have to be a certain way in order to feel cared for. This is not just a simple statement about economy. People should be angry if they are unable to provide for self in a decent way in a "land of plenty", but I mean this in a "Why do I have to be perfect when she doesn't have to be???" way. I have seen the fat girl attacked just for being fat. Her boyfriend attacked, by men and women, for being with a fat girl. My sister recently told me a story, which I have seen, experienced, and was not surprised by, about a guy who went to her high school who had an "ugly" girlfriend. He ended up losing a couple of friend because they "reminded him of the fact" and so, considering his floppy stomached, acne scarred girlfriend too important, he gave up a friend or two. Two who had obviously lost sight of humanity.

    People do terrible things to each other. Sighting "ugly women" as the problem is so narrow and surface deep.

    I had a girl who I was close friends with who tried talking about how "not attractive" were a couple of girls that I dated. She was leagues better looking than a couple of the girls I dated, technically more intelligent, but I like funny girls who like to cook. That is what piques my interest. So I thought about my friend "Fuck you. If this chic makes me laugh and can make lasagna I am going for it. Fuck any pimple or cellulite she has, and fuck you too."

  27. Megan says:

    I believe the jealousy does stem from caveman days for the reason stated. Female jealousy is so instinctual that it must have taken thousands of years to evolve with such a deep root. I'd say almost all of females experience deep-seated envy and hate toward other females. I think humanity is just realizing how truly prevalent and deep seated the hatred and envy are now that we're out there working, exposed to watchful eyes, rather than indoors being homemakers who rarely encountered new females. History is a getting a new glimpse of the female gender now that they've entered the workforce. Behaviors observed obscurely before are out in the open, observable outside of the home. It would make great fascinating material for sociologist students. They'd never run out of material although they'd have to keep a watchful eye as most women are cunningly deceptive when it comes to displaying their jealous behavior.

  28. Alli says:

    Can we just get one thing straight? Using the word "Witch" to describe a mean female or as an allegory for an imaginary concept having to do with female dynamics is pretty insulting for those of us practicing witches. Please learn about modern Wiccanism and practice some respect for those of us witches who are kind, tolerant, and focused on earth-based spirituality. This article actually offends me. I am shocked that Elephant Journal of all places would be so ignorant as to let something so offensive get through their editorial filter. Replace every instance of the word "witch" with the word "jew" or "muslim" and you will have an idea of just how offensive this article is to modern wiccans.

  29. YenniaV says:

    this is a very good article! a must read by women in all walks of life.

  30. CharmingLucy says:

    I totally support the point of this article: that women are "pitted" against one another for various reasons and that it's harmful for all people.

    That being said, this article is inaccurate in at least one important point: it's not known whether most prehistoric humans were monogamous, and in fact it's probable that they were not. So the logic that a male would turn to a younger specimen and leave a woman and his children with that woman out in the cold is probably not true. It's far more likely that humans lived in highly social and flexible communities where everyone took take of everyone's children and the "my genes above all others" imperative was not as much in play as us modern humans like to speculate. In fact, some researchers have speculated that it was a natural part of prehistoric tribal communities for the members to have sex with multiple partners regularly, and some cultures even now believe that an egg must be fertilized by more than one man to develop into a strong and healthy child. So sexual jealousy is NOT likely to be a 'natural' aspect of our psyches that has its basis in survival instinct. In fact, the opposite is just as likely to be true.

    I believe that sexual and competitive jealousy is societal, and is taught to us. It's not normal in all cultures, and in fact jealousy is seen very differently in different cultures. It IS natural, I believe, to fear losing something we value, and I believe that sexual jealousy is worse in societies where we're taught that monogamous love relationships are the only option, that womens' only value is their sexual value, and that men are predatory sex-crazed beasts who only care about one thing.

    In some communities, people are exploring new ways to develop committed intimate relationships where monogamy is not necessarily the only option, and where jealousy of all types can be explored in honest and open ways, including the underlying issues with jealousy, which are usually that the jealous person is not feeling valued and important. This doesn't necessarily make end jealousy, but it ends a lot of the damage that jealousy can cause.

    It's also important to note the difference between jealousy and envy. Jealousy is when you worry about losing something you value,and envy is when you want something someone else has.

  31. Emily says:

    Love this Katarina, & relate on so many levels. Thanks for sharing x

  32. I just re-read my article and found one case of "loosing", which I changed to "losing", thanks to your much needed guidance. Were there more? I am not a professional proof-reader, but if I missed any other misspelled words PLEASE let me know so that others will not have to suffer through what you did. Thanks!

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