Are Women Ever Genuinely Happy for Each Other?

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Regardless of your religious background, you must have, at some point, heard the story of the Garden of Eden, and Eve’s iconic deceptive role. So from the beginning of time, women exhibited some traits that should really make you question trusting them with pretty much anything. However, the irony is that friendship among women somehow appears to be based on some sort of unbreakable bond. Thus, at a young age, when my mother warned me to be careful around girls at school, I did not really understand… Until I started to make some personal observations and have experiences of my own. I soon discovered the very thin line between love and bitchiness and realised that this unbreakable bond amongst girlfriends in many cases was actually superficial.

As human beings, there is a natural inclination towards competition with one another. But there is a difference between healthy competition and over-competitiveness, which could lead to sore-loserism (yes, I just made up that expression), jealousy, envy and bitchiness. Women in Nigeria are particularly obsessed with checking out their opposition for designer clothes, shoes and handbags, if they have on the latest Brazilian hair, a good figure, successful career and even a wedding ring.

Could women possibly spend more time checking out other women than they would a handsome man? Do women dress to impress men, or do they do so in preparation to defeat their competition in the silent “Who-wore-it-better” war? A really good example here, in Nigeria is at our “Owambe” parties (weddings, birthdays, etc) where a specific fabric, Aso Ebi, is distributed prior to the event, and everyone is left to design their own style. In the past, traditionally for the Yorubas, men would sew Agbada and Fila (cap), and women, Iro and Buba. Today, men still wear pretty much the same outfit. However, for women, Iro and Buba would just not cut it (this is actually my preferred option). At these parties you will see all sorts of fashionable and sometimes outrageous outfits on women and then question whether it was in fact the same fabric they all used.

The interesting thing about this competition among women is that it is very silent, which is what makes it so dangerous. On the contrary, men seem to handle competition in a more laid-back fashion than women. This could be due to exposure from a very young age through their involvement in team sports. Such competition is unknown to women, as early on, so expressing this competitive nature comfortably later in life may not come as naturally. And sometimes, when a woman simply just wants to share her accomplishments, other women could perceive it as an egoistic attack, when it wasn’t the woman’s actual intention.

How can women overcome this issue? In my opinion, with a dose of self-confidence, women would not need to feel so insecure as to check other women out just to assure themselves that they are doing well.

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