The Triple A-Cup Bra (and Other Stories of Women Who Tear Each Other Down)

So often I hear (or read online or in books) women speaking of lifting up other women, talking about how women are so good at this, how they build each other’s confidence, toot each other’s horns, tell each other how great they are.

I’d like to ask a very serious question: Where the hell are these women?

In elementary school, it was a girl in my grade who made me cry when she asked if I picked my fluorescent green skipping rope out of my nose. I loved that skipping rope. It was an Easter present. But I never took it to school again after that.

In junior high and high school, it was a girl who made fun of my boots (boots that I did not choose, because we all had to wear what our parents gave us to wear back then). It was a girl who made fun of my hair. It was a girl who made fun of my freckles. It was a girl who yelled, “Timber!” in class when I jumped off a chair after cleaning the top of the chalk board (because I am tall and thin, and apparently look like a tree).

In university it was girls who made fun of the way I walked. It was girls who said to me in front of a room full of other girls, “What exactly do you put in a triple A cup bra, anyway?” (though I’ll have you know it was a regular single A cup, thank you very much).

In my twenties, I had female friends say things to me like: “I don’t like freckles” (while looking at me and all my freckles), and “I don’t like the name Shannon” (knowing, obviously, that this is my name).

And now, after over 25 years in the workforce, I’ve had female co-workers make fun of my clothing, my body, my paleness, my hair...

It has never been the boys. It has never been the men.

So, I ask again, where the hell are all these women who are supposed to be lifting me up and praising my accomplishments and telling me how beautiful I am? Did I miss the memo on how to obtain these fantastic friends? Was there some application I was supposed to fill out? Can I get one of those applications now, or is it too late?

3 Comments on “The Triple A-Cup Bra (and Other Stories of Women Who Tear Each Other Down)”

  1. Oh, wow, I definitely can relate to what you’ve written. I was picked on a lot for my looks by my female peers growing up (having “buck teeth” didn’t help). At my last job – working with an all-female staff – I always felt like I was being left out of conversations. But if my husband showed up at the office, those single women were all kind and flattering to him [rolls eyes]. I’ve also noticed a tendency among women of my generation on Facebook to tear down certain female singers (“She doesn’t have any class/talent/singing ability”) but applaud male acts who seemed equally classless/talentless/unable to sing.

    Maybe it’s a generational thing? Or a cultural thing? Whatever the reason, I find that, in general, I’ve always had better, more long-lasting friendships among (mostly gay) men and older women than among my female peers.


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