Womens Issues

Why Do Women Hate Women?

We’ll never get ahead if we delight in each other’s downfall.


Recently, a female friend of mine remarked that she preferred being friends with men, rather than women. She smiled as she said that she found men easier to get along with. “They don’t always talk about clothes, makeup, men or children, are not so critical, and most of all, they are less vicious and jealous than women. Women hate other women.” Almost immediately, she realized that she made a faux-pas and changed the subject.

Why Do Women Hate Women?

Initially I felt resentful about what she had said. ‘Typical’, I thought, ‘here’s another example of women hating women.’ But then it got me thinking – was there any truth in what she said? Are women really that critical and vicious, particularly with other women? Do women judge other women more harshly?

Why Do Women Hate Women?While we would hate to admit it, there could be a grain of truth in what she said. I remember the countless times when I have heard a woman make a less than flattering comment about another woman’s appearance. Or the times I saw a girlfriend relish in criticizing another woman based on any range of issues, from her looks to her character to who she dates, etc, like: “She’s put on weight since the last time I saw her – that dress seems a little tight, doesn’t it?” Or passive-aggressive snips, like “She’s lost weight. Of course, she spends a lot of time looking after herself. I myself hardly find the time – I am so busy looking after my family, you know. I like to do all the housework myself”. The implication being that the other woman who lost weight is a narcissist who neglects her family.

And I certainly know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of harsh and unfounded remarks.

Do these situations sound familiar? Many women are instinctively wary of another woman who is better looking, and happy to find fault in them. Look at the comments that are made about female stars, every time they gain half a pound or step out looking less than perfect. Or how viciously we comment about pretty women when they start losing their looks.

These comments are not all made by women – men can be just as bad or worse. But how many times do women make similar comments about a man?

Why Do Women Hate Women?

Actor Ashley Judd speaks about this in her blog, citing the unkind comments directed at her when her face appeared bloated in photographs. The actor had to clarify that the puffiness was due to flu and sinus medication, and not plastic surgery. But even if it had been from plastic surgery — why should we criticize her for that? Why not, instead, have empathy about how we all live in a society that puts a ridiculous amount of pressure on women to stay young looking? Ashley Judd also mentioned how she was called a pig and cow when she gained weight, and states that “this conversation was initially promulgated largely by women; a sad and disturbing fact. That they are professional friends of mine, and know my character and values, is an additional betrayal.”

Why Do Women Hate Women?And are things any different at the workplace? We keep talking of how men discriminate against women at work – but do women treat each other any better? Many working women will tell you that women are as bad as men when it comes to sexist discrimination. Most women openly say that would prefer to work for a male boss, and women bosses have been criticized for being more supportive to male employees.

If this is true, the question is why. Why are women so critical and cruel to their own sex? One reason could be that women have been conditioned to accept the patriarchal view – that is, women need to be put down, bullied and discriminated against to keep them oppressed. So unconsciously, we do the same. We are cruel and vicious with women, but not with men, because we accept that men should not be criticized – they have the right to their follies, wrinkles, ambition and defects, while women do not.

In the workplace specially, it is easier for a female boss to side with the men and treat women as inferior. That way she blends right in with her male colleagues and also eliminates any competition for herself from other women.

Yes, perhaps a lot of it has to do with social conditioning over centuries. But then… wait a moment. Half of society is comprised of women — so should we not accept 50 percent of the blame? As women, we face discrimination every day. So why don’t we support another woman when she is discriminated against? Why do we continue to discriminate against women? Why do we feel competitive and insecure around beautiful women? As bosses, why don’t we mentor our female employees, and as employees why don’t we support female bosses?

Yes, society, religion, the media, and even Disney pits women against women. But that is not an excuse — we must educate ourselves so that we can rise above our conditioning. The fight against gender inequality can never be won if we continue to propagate gender injustice. Women need to stand together in support of each other and work to bring about a change in society. We can achieve a lot if we simply choose to support each other and stand together as a sisterhood.

So let’s do it – support and care for each other and make sure that when a woman needs help, it is always available to her – especially from other women.

Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 160 Comments

  1. Avatar of Chris Grant

    Chris Grant

    Most women are simple, half-witted people. Their life consists of thinking about how they look and how to get the next man to pay for those looks. Some women have character, ambition, willpower and a backbone. They share responsibility and earn their pay, the have control over their life. Sadly those half-witted women ruin most things for the clever women because they then have to prove that they are not stupid and arrogant and full of themselves and shit. Sad but very very true.

  2. Avatar of Darla Lynch

    Darla Lynch

    As women, we cant share our moment of glory. we are used to be the center stage and once we have somebody stealing the show, we hate them immediately.

    • Avatar of Martine


      Frankly I see no reason to like someone or dislike them because of their gender. But many of us get tired of being told we HAVE to like some, or vote for somneone or whatever because they are female. Sorry, but I have had enough bad female bosses to know that many women do not belong in charge of anything.

      • Avatar of Mary


        You implication is that since you have had female bosses who were terrible human beings you’ll resent another female boss or leader just because she’s a woman?
        You’re the same women she’s talking about in the article. Don’t lump up all women in one basket because you came across some who were terrible

    • Avatar of Sophie


      Thankfully I’m not this way. I am used to being the center of attention all the time and being praised for being beautiful and looking like a Victoria Secret model. If another woman recieves the same attention, I’d be happy for her. Because I am confident and know that no one can possibly “steal” my spotlight. They share it. Sharing is always caring, and that is why I appreciate the beauty of others as well as my own.

  3. Avatar of Sherry Sandoval

    Sherry Sandoval

    They might not have known you, but if you are new at school, or work, they are absolutely judgemental about anyone that they don’t know especially in a negative sort of way. That’s the thing they love, to hate the other girls that are not one of them.

  4. Avatar of Colleen May

    Colleen May

    I think the stereotype that the powerful women are cold-hearted is untrue. The truth is that women do help each other.

  5. Avatar of Alexis Weber

    Alexis Weber

    ody image and body issues continue to be ripe for conversation of all sorts. Finding fault with someone else, particularly criticizing their body size and shape, is sometimes a national pastime. The media i.e reality TV feed the frenzy. Sometimes, there is a genuine concern for a loved one, friend, or acquaintance regarding body issue, like an eating devaluating someone’s body or size is just for sport.

  6. Avatar of Albert Powell

    Albert Powell

    Women may like each other but never be too fond of them, they are made that way.

  7. Avatar of Faith Lucas

    Faith Lucas

    What goes around comes around. Love and support those around you, and that love and support magically returns right back to us.

  8. Avatar of Ashley Abbott

    Ashley Abbott

    I think women need to be more supportive of each other.

  9. Avatar of Jean Perry

    Jean Perry

    I always wonder why women judge other so harshly and guess what I am not alone.

  10. Avatar of Charles Adams

    Charles Adams

    One of the reasons why girls don’t get along with each other is because they get threatened by each other.

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