This blog post was inspired by a meme, which I’ve added below, and also by the comments of a good friend who was subjected to loud derogatory comments by a young skinny athletic woman at a fun run. The post was written for us by a clinical psychologist and hopefully it will remind us to support and encourage each other no matter what.
Athletic women and mums seem to have it all- they’re fit, healthy, and happy. However, sometimes this doesn’t stop us from gossiping about other women, or worse, saying negative things about them behind their backs. One study found that women spend an average of 298 minutes throughout their day gossiping at work, home, or school. While gossip can be playful and fun, it also has the potential to turn nasty. This, along with the fact that teenage bullying is on the rise, is all the more reason to remind ourselves to close our mouths when we feel like gossiping in order to be good role models for younger women. Women face so much criticism from the media in regards to body image that it would serve us better to support one another rather than break each other down.
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, said that there were two primary emotions: love and fear. Gossip and bullying are
two actions that derive from fear: fear over other people having more than us, not feeling good enough, or jealousy. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to fitness. Instead of supporting other women’s fitness success we often try to minimise their accomplishments. Who could forget Maria Kang, the mumand personal trainer who received backlash when she began her “What’s Your Excuse?” campaign. Both Kang, who put mums down for not being able to manage it all like her, and her haters were in the wrong. Both exhibited anger, jealousy, and fear aimed at hurting one another, rather than rallying together toward a common goal, like the fact that fitness in any capacity is important whether you look like Kang or not.
The first and most important step in eliminating gossip and bullying from your life is recognising it. We have become so accustomed to putting others down that much of it is automatic. Recognizing this pattern requires being more aware of what you are saying. If you have a friend that you tend to gossip with more, remind yourself to be extra cautious when you are with this person. The second step is to let those who you gossip with know that you are going on a gossip-free cleanse. When your girlfriend starts to put down another female, gently stop her and say “I’d really like to talk about this, but I’m trying this new gossip-free thing. Maybe we could talk about something else.” Lastly, remember that despite our differences, we all share common characteristics that unite us. We all have feelings and are sensitive to gossip and criticism. Try to put yourself in the victim’s shoes and suddenly making that negative comment no longer seems so urgent.