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Imagine a parallel universe where women empower other women, rather than sabotage each other. In this realm, female bullying ceases to exist. Negative female body images are obsolete. Women don’t backstab one another, steal each other’s boyfriends, or gossip about other women as soon as someone leaves the room. For in this parallel world, women strive to boost each other’s egos, rather than stomp on their esteems. Women are friends in this imaginary realm, not enemies, frenemies, or any other urban translation fitting to describe those girls you love to hate.

Let’s be honest, life is hard enough! Mainstream advertising already embeds distorted images of what female body types should look like. In the United States, a gender wage gap continues to exist, which results in women earning an average of $0.77 to every man’s dollar, even to this day. The workforce is competitive, friendships come and go, and relationships can be difficult to manage. Even without the added measure of female bullying, life is difficult enough for us ladies!

So what is female bullying? Female bullying is a form of harassment that is commonly referred to as relational aggression, where women do not use physical means of bullying each other, but instead deny other females social connections, often by mocking or shunning them. Relational aggression is a powerful tool to break down women, mainly because females typically seek solace in female companionship. Female bullying is a weapon that hijacks female-female relationships, thus breaking down a woman’s confidence, social networks, and overall self-esteem.

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Honestly, what do women receive out of this unnecessary aggression? We should be empowering each other, not sabotaging other women! With all of the obstacles and challenges we face throughout our lifetimes, it’s important to have a network of fellow women we can count on to support us, offer advice, and to share genuine friendships with. There are several ways women can support one another:

  1. Watch your language – it’s dehumanizing to name-call women. Harsh words such as “slut” or “bitch” carry the weight of hate. These words come with a shadow of negative connotations, which can be avoided. If we vow to eradicate these words from our vocabulary, society as a whole may as well.

  1. Compliment other women – it may seem unfamiliar at first, but dishing out compliments instead of insults is a powerful way for women to band together. By complimenting other females, you’re turning on the spotlight by praising them. Do you like the style of a girl’s outfit? Tell her! Don’t be shy, be bold!

  1. Be a positive role model – one of the most successful ways to empower other women is by demonstrating your confidence, strength, and attitude of tackling the world. Other females will likely want to mimic your sense of power, realizing it’s a way of life!

  1. Talk about female body images in a good way – women are all built differently. Whether due to diet, amount of exercise, genetics, or personal care, women come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Let’s not sugarcoat this ladies, embrace it! Do we really all want to look uniformly similar? Heck no! Embrace your curves, valleys, and natural appearance.

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Tell us ladies, what ways do you empower your fellow band of women?