Look Like A Lady?


Are we too hard on each other?

I was thinking about this today.  I was looking at fliers for upcoming films and noticing the billing and actors and images. I was thinking about how we sometimes accept men for what they are.  If they are a bit grey, skinny, geeky, beefy, craggy, pale, pretentious, broody, bronzed, awkward, proud, menacing, small, bald, beardy, sexy, not… whatever… we just look at kind of go ‘Right-o. There you go. That’s you. Okay.’

But I think the ladies are a different kettle of fish.

I think that often, when we look at the ladies, we notice if they are busty, not, voluptuous, ethereal, tiny, tall, blonde, fashionable, indie, tanned, thin, plump, fragile or fierce.  We kind of go:  ’I like that. I don’t like that. Could do better.   What are you wearing?!’ Are you following me so far?

I think we look at the fellas and take them for what they are.
I think we look at the ladies and decide if they are our sort of girl.
I think we look at the fellas and dismiss them (or not!)
But I think we look at the gals and think more deeply about what they mean to us.

I wonder if you think this too? And if you agree, is it because we identify more with the ladies?  Or is it because we see bits of ourselves reflected in them, and perhaps that triggers insecurities?

I think this carries over into other situations too.  See a woman with a baby and we tend to look at the overall picture and check out how she’s parenting, what she looks like, how happy said kidlet is, what shoes Mama is wearing.  See a man with a baby and we tend to go ‘Aww. What a good Dad!’

See a man in his swimsuit. Pass him by. Try NOT to look, even.  See a woman in a swimsuit.  Give her the once over.

See a man with a trolley at the supermarket.  All is right with the world.  See a woman with a trolley at the supermarket. What woman?! I didn’t even notice her! Oh yeah. Whatevs.  That’s a lot of ice-cream lady.

Why do we judge the ladies and let the men free-range about the place?!  Or are you totally lovely and non-judgey in the lady department.   Personally I try VERY HARD NOT TO DO THIS!  How about you.  Do tell.  Have you seen the other ladies looking you up and down?  Are we more accepting and forgiving of our fellas?

xx Pip

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kelliechristie kelliechristie

    I think it is a very interesting and honest observation. I do definitely look at other women and size them up in positive or negative way. For example “wow I wish I had legs like that!”. I think is in our nature to see how we compare to others even though it shouldn’t matter. Maybe we should be asking some men if they judge other men or size up their competition?

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      Yes! I asked my partner, Cam, about that and he reckons men DON’T do it. I wonder if that is true! x

  • Lill

    Have you seen Killing Us Softly 4? It;s a lecture by Jean Kilbourne about how devastating advertising can be, especially for women. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ujySz-_NFQ I think it answers a lot of questions! I saw a lot of hateful female-directed comments on twitter today, that upset me. Why can’t we all be nice to each other?

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      I will go and watch that now. Thanks Lill. That’s horrible, re Twitter. Why do women do that? It’s totally not cool. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  • SlowYourHome

    I think it’s all down to insecurity. For whatever reason, many ladies (myself sadly included at some stages in life) find solace in tearing others down, and find dismay in those who are “better” than us. Better looking, better educated, better connected, better dressed etc.

    I think it’s wrong and sad and within our power to change. The past year has seen me make massive changes to the way I view myself and the world and other people, and I am happier, more accepting (of myself and others) and also more empowered – if I don’t like the way I’m parenting, looking, fitting into my clothes, praying etc then I can change it. What I can’t change is other people and their thoughts, opinions and beliefs.

    It’s been really difficult and really rewarding. Great, thought-provoking post, Pip!

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      YES! We can make changes within ourselves! And those are the MOST IMPORTANT CHANGES of all! Progress and growth makes us happy! Self assurance, kindness and self acceptance are paramount (and very hard to achieve, but worth striving for!) Thanks so much for your comment! xx

  • Tara

    I think there is so much truth in this! I will say that I do judge men too but not in the same way. It is something I am trying to work on in myself because seriously who am I to judge anyone or even myself? Thanks for this post.

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      It’s hard to stay on top of this, isn’t it?! But we can try our very best! Thank you for reading JustB today, Tara!!

    • Evie

      I am the same. It’s a work in progress…and until recently I had no idea I was doing it. I was shocked to realise how judgemental I can be…

      • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

        How weird is it, Evie? We really have to work hard to unlearn it. It’s like twisting your brain into a new way of being, a bit of a stretch, but totally worth the effort! xx

  • Christina

    I think you’re right. I also think that a lot of what we do we we do for other women. Men don’t really notice a ladder in our stockings, or if our makeup isn’t right, or we have regrowth and need a dye job. But other women do and we know they will make a judgement about us based on those things. I wonder how all this evolved? I wonder what the purpose of all that judgement is? Competition? Hierarchy? Or are we just as hard on other women as we tend to be on ourselves? Hmmm….

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      Oh my gawd. I wonder those VERY SAME THINGS! It seems to be SO ENTRENCHED! How did it come to be? Hmmm…!

  • Charlotte

    I totally do this, alot, I do it with my friends too. If were watching tv, looking at magazines or just people watching while out and about, we will comment on every woman around, some good stuff, some totally horrid stuff, its hard to pretend you didn’t see the lady with bad varicose veins or express envy and the brunette with perfect waist length hair. Some people think its bitchy, but I just think women are more observant, and competitive, and generally interested in random and inane conversation, the conversation about the ladies varicose veins was a combination of shock (omg!), sympathy (poor cow), concern (i hope that doesn’t happen to me when I get super old) and then the usual wtf how does this stuff happen anyways, oh you heard about a treatment for it? cocoa butter? I use that for stretchmarks… and thus begins a whole new conversation, which may or may not involve pointing out the lady two sunbeds down who has likely had at least 10 kids judging by her stretchmarks, bitchy? I don’t know.
    I think your Cam is right too, I can’t imagine a group of guys drinking a beer on the beech and commenting on the dude with sunburn or the old mans choice of speedos.

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      Aw Charlotte! I am loving your HONESTY on this! It’s kinda hard to admit that we do it… but do it we sometimes do! I would love to see a group of dudes standing ’round chatting like some girls do. ‘Check out his chest hair. Is that a RUG?!’ ‘OMG. WTF is he wearing?’ ‘Mutton dressed as lamb, fo schizz’. Imagine it!?! Thanks for popping in today!! x

  • Charlotte

    Your post reminded me of this article btw… in a weird way, because it stirred up a whole lot of the kind of thoughts you wrote about.

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      Oh wow. That’s totally amazing. How ABOUT those modest fashions?! Gosh. And the shiny hot pants?! Golly! Thanks for le link! x

  • Fiona

    Hi Pip,
    I think we are our own worst enemy.. I don’t think it comes down only to personal insecurities (some of it is) but I think society has played a huge role in telling us what we should look like, what we should wear, what size we should be etc. So when we give other women the once over I think it’s a combination of admiration (I want to look like that!) which is not a bad thing and justification (Yes I think I’m doing alright – compared to her). I try SO hard not to do it, and if I realise I am staring (with admiration) and you get that awkward moment where they catch you out, then I’ll bring it out in the open “I really like your dress, it looks good on you!”. I learnt that from this girl who I was in the lift with once, there was just the 2 of us and she gave me the once over so bad! I could just feel her eyes glued on me – THEN she said “I love what you’re wearing, it looks really good on you” and off she went. It made me feel so good! I thought to myself, we all look, but let’s also compliment to encourage each other because society is so critical already.. Have a great day x

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      Oh I love that lift story! I think if ladies took the time to compliment a stranger a day then we’d all feel a LOT better about ourselves : and a lot better about how other women are viewing us! Thanks for commenting, petal! x

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001275592155 pennimoussa

    Loved your article Pip, VERY THOUGHTFUL and quite true. I think that this happens for a number of reasons, whether it is somebody’s own insecurity leading to comparisons, or even if you are just a “people watcher”! I love watching people! To me they are SO interesting. So, I do this quite a bit.. As a psychologist, it is also part of my job to “people watch”. I do however practice “Mindfulness” during this process, by being a non-judgemental “observer”! I do agree with a previous comment though, that women can be their own worst enemies. But, this has been spurred on and reinforced continuously by the media, who have a lot to answer for in their “sexualisation” of young girls and women, ads for cosmetic work, etc – horrible stuff! It’s like..”If you are not thin and beautiful” you are not a “worthwhile” person! What a crock! Us girls are so much more than that, and we need to expand our views within the community about this. Be an interested “OBSERVER” girls and boys, not “JUDGE” and “JURY”. It will lead to a “HAPPIER HEART” for all concerned! Penni xxx

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      Oh wow.

      I do however practice “Mindfulness” during this process, by being a non-judgemental “observer”

      That sums it up, really. That is what I try to do (and frequently lapse!) A ‘mindful, non-judgemental observer’ sounds like something I want to try and be ALL THE TIME. I will start today!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, pennimoussa!

  • Alicia Webster

    Nobody checks me out or gives me the “once over” anymore. I am 42 and I dress as a frumpy housewife, so I am both sexually irrelevant and a non-entity. It’s OK, I’m fine with it :) BUT I love to look at women (and no, I’m not gay), and I think that I do it in an admiring, positive way. I just think think that there are so many looks out there, and I love to see how other women are choosing to express themselves. Whether you are a punker, a goth, a conservative lady, or a bohemian, I love to look at all the different looks–they add color to my life. You go, girls !!

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      Oh wow, Alicia! I love your take on it! You are part of the Lady Fave society! A group of ace chicks who admire the style and smarts of other women! It’s a totally great society! Everyone should join!!! Thank YOU for commenting!!! x

  • CJ

    I reckon men are brought up not to think they need to compare themselves to others whereas women are judged by comparison from a much younger age. Boys are taught that their achievements will get them through andperhaps that takes the pressure off so they don’t need to worry about their looks (am sure they don’t all think they’re hot stuff but it does sometimes seem that way) whereas girls labour under a longer legacy of cultural pressure about what it is to be girly or feminine (I’m not sure they’re the same thing).

    Although I always make an effort not to judge other people – if there’s a new girl being introduced to the group I will go out of my way to make her feel at home and included – often I judge myself against other people and that must be as pervasive and potentially unhelpful as judging others. Personally, I’d always rather focus on the positives in other women – it makes it much more fun to get to know them than seeing negatives which only keeps us distant from each other.

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      Wow, CJ. What a thoughtful, honest comment. I really love the way you talked about welcoming the ‘New Girl’. I think that’s such a great approach, and that we all should think about welcoming the new girl! I think that it’s really super great to find SOLUTIONS, not just highlight the problem. And I love the way that you (and a couple of other great commenters) have done that. Yay YOU GUYS! Thanks for helping to find a ‘fix’! xx

  • Nnatasha Faulkhead

    oh Pip, i think i have a little girlfriend crush on you (dont tell my gorgeous hubby)…If i saw you in the supermarket with a trolley full of icecream id barrell you over with a big hug! YES! thats what id do!
    I think we ladies are our own worst critics and we need to let a bit of sisterly love flow(i’m the eldest of 5 gorgeous ladies)… it seems strange to me that its in our nature to nurture but we often attack our own…what’s going on there?

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      I think it’s one of life’s TESTS! And we have to learn to overcome the (seemingly) natural urge to diminish or critique others! Look at all of us going…
      ‘Oh! YES. I do that sometimes. Sob!’ It’s nice to talk about this together and work out how to fix it! To fix us! We will be new and improved from now on! x

  • Name

    Yes, Pip, YES! Being a single mum for some time I had all sorts of judgements foisted upon me…yet when my child was with her father, most people (especially those who know nothing of the situation in which we became separated) said exactly what you wrote…”AWWW, what a good Dad!” Seriously? Just because he happened to show up? I never left in the first place.

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      YES YES YES! YES! I was a single mum for a while when my eldest was a wee gal… and had exactly the same experience as you! Dads are ‘GOOD’ by default, just automatically. But Mums are taken for granted. Boo. That is dumb, isn’t it?! GO THE MUMS, I say!

  • Name

    This is a great comment piece Pip! Yes it’s hard even to do school drop off these days without the looks of other mums doing the ‘up and down’ glance. Judgements, yes we are all guilty of it. And perhaps pressure on women to be intelligent, creative, fashionable, thin, hip, super amazing job etc etc is part of this judgement and pressure. I could rave on for pages about all of this because it gets my goat sometimes. Love your work Pip!

    • http://www.meetmeatmikes.com Pip Lincolne

      Aw. Thank you SO MUCH for such nice feedback about my piece. And isn’t it weird that we do this stuff, even though we KNOW it’s a bit naughty. It’s quite deeply ingrained, methinks. Let’s unlearn it! Yes! xx