November 9, 2016

How to Respond when a fellow woman Throws Shade.

two women vintage

There are two kinds of women—those who “throw shade” jealously at other ladies, and the gals receiving such misaligned and misplaced feminine energy.

Sure there are hues of gray between the two, although most of us have, at one time or another, leaned more toward a certain side of that field. Either we’ve been bitter and unfortunately judged somebody else, or we’ve been snubbed and treated badly instead. The latter can feel so belittling, blindsiding and betraying to say the least, and especially when it hails from the creatures of our same sex.

After all, aren’t other gals supposed to be our colleagues and compatriots in life and not our competitors?

Yet, falling into the second category of women who experience negativity from other females does not negate the fact that we also have healthy relationships with ladies, or that we have great gals who genuinely love, adore and support us on every level. No, we’re not victims and recipients of “hate.” But clearly, we as women lean a bit more one way than the other, whether we are “mean girls” or part of the more “humble and kind.”

But so much of what comes across as ill-founded and borderline broomstick-clad behavior stems from some simple truisms and different life experiences amid women.

First and foremost, a lady’s resentment toward her “sisters” out there in the world may just be learned behavior.

I was 10 years old when a stunning model-type walked down the Montreal streets wearing an enormous plush fur, thigh-high leather boots, and intoxicatingly beautiful perfume. She then sauntered her way into a quite lavish hotel. (Possibly, she was a high-end escort). But I knew not. I was hungry, I was just 10, and I had to go to the bathroom.

Accordingly, my mom had corralled my siblings and I into what she deemed a “clean” place for us to use the restrooms—us having ventured north from our Vermont town and for a day trip of culture and fine cuisine.

My mother however, not only told the glamorous and gorgeous lady that she was “beautiful,” but my mother was then raving, for hours on end, about that gal’s big, gorgeous coat, impressive mane of hair, and confident walk!

Yes, my mother always reminded me to appreciate the beauty in other women. She taught me never to be jealous, catty, or intimidated by someone’s attractiveness and aura.

I am most certainly aware however, that not everybody’s Mama behaves that way. No, not at all.

Having overheard mothers just downright “hating” on Miley Cyrus for her twerking, or remarking that Demi Moore isn’t “that pretty really,” or whatever it be, there are moms who differ from what I was exposed to as a kid. And I believe that such early “schooling” is not only our first and foremost lesson in life about our own sensuality and feminine mystique, but it’s also quite unequivocally our most defined and formidable marker, and at an impressionable age no less. This all matters, and quite deeply, when it comes to how we see our female teammates in life.

Are they to be cheered on or challenged?

We make that decision early on , whether we know it or not, via the help of the highly visible role models we’ve got.

Back when I was a kid, my mom was a little heavy (despite her being mighty skinny now) and yet I never once heard or observed her behaving as if even remotely jealous of someone thin.

She loved her food, and seemed secure in her being when it came to owning her body, mind, heart and instruction for her children to do the same. She walked around the house unafraid to show some skin here or there and unafraid to eat with gusto, and to talk to her kids about whatever they brought up. When I moved home as an adult more than once—when struggling with boyfriend break ups, moves and grooves, and whatnot—and told my folks aplenty, my mom was there, (as was my dad) and they were hearing and helping to advise on everything. I am thankful to them. Yes indeed!

But after we leave the nest as women, and venture along our own paths and doings, we are shaped and sculpted by these unique and vivid life experiences and which our mommies just cannot fix.

This, in my belief, is where we verge, and make two critical choices. Will we grow and work on both coveting but also cultivating the components that we so greatly admire in other women (and in individuals of both sexes), which we genuinely wish to live by?

And will we so smartly face our own swirling pain when it comes about, and not project our issues onto another in the form of escapism?

Or, will we so sadly instead seek out a woman who has manifested what we haven’t, in one genre or another, and then be rude to her?

Tragically, when in denial of what’s really bothering us, and when we are feeling hurt, it becomes much easier for us to switch our focus off of our own lot of ilk and onto someone else’s so seemingly perfect life, with efforts to numb our own pain.

But we, the benefactors of someone’s bad behavior, must never feel bitter toward that energy, for such reactions from within us only lump us into that same lot. Growing from such “shade” thrown our way proves to be far more beneficial.

Instead, we must emerge as stronger than our norm when experiencing glares and flare-ups from other females, as those folks are clearly hurting inside themselves and thus are behaving weakly. No matter how the situation goes therefore, one thing is clear. That room or environment does need for somebody present to be of strength! And that somebody may as well be us.


We can take those moments to gain empathy into the fearful lives that some of our fellow femme fatale creatures are living. We can put our own tender egos and feelings aside, when a down on her luck diva in the room is behaving badly, and instead we may begin to help “rise up” the ladies in the world—including the sometimes cruel ones!

The most attractive quality in a woman, as I see it, is her warmth. And all too often, it is a woman’s “warmth” that is the very thing feared and causing intimidation and ill behavior from other women and that can prompt us to dim our own light or downplay our innate hearts and authentically giving selves. We play small.

But if we remember that what we learned as a child, in the way of respect and confidence regarding other gals, may not be the same thing that some others were raised with, and if we can be summoned to stand up as the “stronger” or bigger person in the room, and keep sharing our warmth despite any slight that we may have unjustly been thrown, there is a good chance that energy will shift and change.

It doesn’t mean that the sting from another co-pilot in the feminine world wasn’t disappointing. Yet it is in how we choose to think about it, grow from it and show others that there is another way to behave, that we begin to slay those patterns of misconduct.

And with our choice of taking the high road, when faced with rude or “mean girl” shade on the incoming, we women must never allow someone else’s escapism to deter us from our own inner journey. We must get through all the muck, and move full steam ahead, right on to our own quite magical moments and strides toward improving all we wish.

This is a powerful step, and in assuring that we may never succumb to bitterness, and in turn become one of those who throws shade at other women.


Author: Laurie-Beth Robbins

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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