Do Women Hate Women?

by Mya McCall

Every woman has experienced it at least once. You’re out on the town feeling sexy and confident. Hair done? Check. Nails Done? Check. Super cute outfit and heels? Check and check.

Maybe your destination is a networking event or meeting the girls for drinks or a date night with your significant other. You walk into the place and the eyes of every other woman in the room turns to you. It’s not just them casually taking notice of a new person entering the room. No. Rather in a matter of seconds they have taken note of your shoes, dress, earrings, hair, handbag, even your makeup. From head to toe, they silently pick you a part taking note of anything that is not up to their standards. And after dissecting you with their eyes, at best you get a blank stare, but sadly it’s usually a smirk or an icy gaze, before they turn back to their business.

So that we’re clear, the issue is not with the act of checking out the new chick in the room. It’s the judgment that’s attached. It’s the nonverbal communication that asks:“Do you really think you look cute?” or that says: “Oh no she didn’t wear those shoes with that dress!!” And in the presence of men, ladies, we really show our ugly side by attacking everything from a woman’s physical attributes to making nasty assumptions about her personality. But news flash: whether he’s your husband, co-worker, brother or your best friend, men hate it when women criticize other women. When a man hears a woman ‘hating’ on another woman on any level for any reason she comes across as petty, insecure and catty. As a matter of fact, I think ‘not criticizing other women’ shows up repeatedly on the list of things not to do in the company of men taken from various men’s magazines and surveys. But I digress.

We have to stop assuming that the woman sitting across the room is plotting to stab us in the back, take our man, sabotage our job, steal our shine or is envious of the material objects we possess. And in turn, ladies we have to stop mistreating each other and be a better friend. I continue to challenge myself to smile at women I don’t know or offer a compliment when it’s due. Unfortunately far too many women have been burned and their hearts have hardened to other women who do attempt to reach out and be friendly. We are suspicious of the stranger with a smile and we often expect that other women will be our enemies. Ladies, we really have to do better. I’m not saying that we drop our guards and give our trust to every woman who crosses our path. We should still, as Erykah Badu suggested, “Pick our friends like we pick our fruit,” but if we want to put the jokes and stereotypes to bed about women hating other women, we have to start with ourselves and stop being so critical of one another.

I, personally, cringe whenever I hear a woman insist she can’t be friends with other women. Her statement is usually supported with generalizations like “women are back-stabbers” or “women are always jealous of me, how I look or what I have.” I get it. She’s probably been done wrong by a woman she thought was friend. But when I hear such blanket statements about our entire gender, I can’t help but wonder, if you are unable to form healthy relationships with other women, what does that say about YOU? Maybe that’s why Oprah and Gayle are constantly labeled as lesbians. Because society rarely sees two women, who never compete with each other or are jealous of the other’s accomplishments, demonstrate unconditional love, admiration, respect and support of each other in the way that these two besties have done. I’ve said it before: as much as I love men, there’s something special about the bond I have with my female friends that a male partner can’t provide.

Aside from our personal lives, we also have to do a better job of supporting each other in the workplace. Women often complain about sexism and the glass ceiling in corporate America, but too often I hear horror stories of other women, not men, who have sabotaged female coworkers or simply made the hours between nine and five a living hell. During a recent discussion about this topic, a female coworker, who revealed she had been terrorized by two former female colleagues, said that regardless of how she feels about a woman on a personal level, she owes it to that woman to support her goals and ambitions. For my co-worker, demonstrating her support could be as simple as not speaking negatively about the woman in public. And as we climb the corporate ladder, we can’t get so comfy in our corner offices that we forget to mentor a junior staffer or tip a former colleague on a job opening in our department. Even if that means the position may be lateral to or higher than our own. I was taught that when you recognize each of us was put on this earth with a special talent, you can be confident no one can ever steal your shine because these gifts have been given to you and only you. Unfortunately, many of us waste precious time we should be investing in ourselves because we are too focused on someone else’s lane.

And finally, as we prepare the next generation of teens and tweens, we have to serve as role models, which include promoting and displaying positive relationships with other women. Young women are literally killing themselves and each other because of cruel exchanges and personal attacks with their female peers that reach beyond the school yard. The torture is oftentimes made public via texts and social networks.

Most of us will agree that whether a woman is 14 or 40, this ultimately boils down to self-esteem. When you feel bad about yourself, you view other women as threats. Sure, we may mask our insecurities and self-esteem issues by one-upping another woman, pointing out what we have that she doesn’t, status-jockeying or publicly exclaiming that we are “all that” but the reality is, when you’re truly fabulous, you never have to shout about it, and you definitely don’t have to put others down; people will naturally take notice of your greatness.

It’s taken time, but I’ve accepted that there will always be someone who is, at least in others’ opinions, cuter, smarter, thinner, curvier and more popular than I am. And I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m good with me and that’s all that matters. I’m confident that Tyra Banks could walk into the room, but my boyfriend still wants to go home with me. And that as successful and gifted as Oprah is, my god-given talents make me just as valuable to the world. I’ve also become very comfortable telling another woman she’s gorgeous or that I admire her tenacity in the business world. When I offer these compliments, it doesn’t take anything away from me. In fact it makes me feel that much better about myself.

So regardless of the high profile job, pimped out pad, gucci bag, designer clothes, flawless makeup or x5 in the driveway, if a woman is judging another woman before she barely walks into the room, making backhanded comments, checking her out to find something she can tear down, or hating on her for no reason, she becomes diminished. She perpetuates the stereotype that women hate women. And there’s nothing appealing or lady-like about that.

  • AustralianGirl

    So true. Question: how does one deal with a jealous older sister? She has lots of lovely things in life: married to a nice guy, three gorgeous kids, pretty…. basically she has a nice life, and I love her and want the best for her – and when I’m with her I simply want to enjoy her company, and have a nice time.
    But for some reason, whenever I’m dolled up looking nice, or someone compliments me on this, she gets all catty and competitive, and subtly-yet viciously puts me down. When she does this, I really don’t like her at all.

    I’ve tried to bring it up with her but she denies it, and is just defensive.

    I love going over there and I love her kids (my nephew and nieces) more than anything… so I really don’t want to cut her off/distance myself from her too much….


  • CaliDreaming86

    I’ve come across many women who proudly claim ” I hate females” or “I hate bitches”

    The women who I work with now are the type of women who when a woman comes in with a new hairstyle or shoes they like, they make a big scene with their compliments. Women are just too damn critical of each other. Instead of women creating long-lasting friendships, they are concerned with why a woman chose to get a black Hermes bag instead of the new, red one.

    I’d say more here, but I have to leave for work.

  • AustralianGirl

    p.s. she is quite an attractive woman, and always has been – so not sure why she is like this.

  • whilome

    I hate to say this, but didn’t y’all have an article JUST like this not too long ago? About fabulous women somehow jealous when another fab chick enters the room?

    But to answer your question: women do the same thing that men do: assess the competition. Next time you’re with a man in public, watch how he looks at the dudes coming into the place. It’ll be quick, but it’s there. Hell, my husband will give me a running commentary, “can’t believe mane wore those shoes with that…”

  • Lainad

    I don’t think I would call what I experience ‘jealousy,’ but location. In Canada, where the Black population is minimal and there is a huge Caribbean influence, the cattiness between Black women here is astounding. I am born and bred Canadian, have no ties to Caribbean culture, have prominent tattoos and I am a metal journalist – even though I don’t broadcast it on the street. There is an emphasis here on Caribbean culture as a measuring stick as to how ‘Black’ you are, and I think that the insecurity between women – I also get lots of disappointing and disapproving looks from Black men, too – is based on me not looking like they think I should. I have a corporate day job so I have to look ‘together,’ and the hair is always done, but I know there is something about me in which I get dirty looks on the subway, on the street, at the gym, etc. I just don’t fit in, and that’s okay……because I have realized that I never will. but I wish that some women would get a goddamn life.

    However, I have many black female friends whom I admire and love, and I am one of those people who will compliment a Black stranger on the street on their hair or their style. I do think though, that there is a fair amount of Black women who are afraid that one embarassing-looking woman will make it harder for them to get by – we are overly concerned about how white folks view us, and more than once, I have been told more than once that the (example) loud Black woman with the bad wig ‘makes us all look bad.’

    As an social / cultural activist this really saddens me, as this divisiveness is hindering our progress, but we are more concerned with tear each other down, than encouraging each others progress.

  • Summertime Fine

    PREACH!! Wait, but I think I already read something like this on this site not too long ago; oh well…still good nonetheless.

  • Timcampi

    The articles on this website have gone full circle. Can we talk about something else please?


    “Most of us will agree that whether a woman is 14 or 40, this ultimately boils down to self-esteem. When you feel bad about yourself, you view other women as threats. ”

    This I agree with.

  • eileen

    W-O-W how ironic is this.i was just speaking to a friend on this very issue.i’ve never understood this,EVER.i’ve always thought every female is beautiful,that every female has something wonderful to bring to the seems i can’t go out without getting a death look from another female.never met any of them in my life but i’ve walked into restaurants or stores and gotten the nastiest looks ever.i’m thinking damn what did i do,lool.all i can say is the day i have to go to another female to ask for permission to feel good about myself,to ask can i wear this or that,do my hair like this or that without getting cut down with the eyes.we have a very serious’s almost like you have to go out and walk to some random female and say ” is it cool for me to be me,be confident and you not possible look at me like i’m crazy” sigh

  • Mimi

    I have begun to make a concious effort to smile more at women. I’ve never seen the level of mean looking women like I have here in Cincinnati. Let me say that while I do not think I’m all that, when I do get dolled up, I carry myself differently. The head is held higher and the walk shows more confidence. In the beginning, I thought the mean mugs were just my imagination, but I went out to dinner with my man and he said to me “do you ever notice that women look at you kinda funny when we go out?” Now that’s one of his favorite things to do when we go out is see how many women are giving me the stink eye. I go back and forth between thinking its funny and sad. I’ve never quite understood the whole “she think she hot” mean stare that women give to complete strangers. It’s like jr. high school all over again.

  • SAA

    I don’t think its so much that “women hate women” but more so self-esteem issues and dealing with insecurity. Or maybe they’re just having a bad day. It takes me back to the bully mindset- attack first before you leave an opening available to be attacked. It does disturb me and makes me go “uhm okay” when I hear females say they don’t befriend other females and then rattle off a list of reasons why. In that case I don’t think the problem is other females but definitely that female herself that is the problem. Oftentimes women who I hear say that embody the characteristics of the females they say they don’t like: bitchy, catty, arrogant, back-stabbing and just flat out mean however the one thing that is often glaring to me is how insecure they are.

  • OSHH

    live and let live is what I say and what I do.

  • SAA

    Right! I think the author is dead on when she says its an issue of self-esteem/ insecurity. when you look good you definitely feel good and carry yourself differently. It really is like middle school again and is just really unneccessary.

  • mztonichilds

    I went to a birthday party for one of my male friends, and when I walked in the room, all the women looked dead at me, and said NOTHING. I took it upon myself to be the bigger person and give out smiles and hellos. Eventually, as the conversation started, the ladies started to open up, and I guess they would have looked stupid to continue to size me up when I have done nothing but be nice to them. I believe women see others as a threat, especially when they are confident. Women show their own insecurities when they hate on people they don’t even know. It’s so simple-minded and 8th grade.

  • Are You Serious Bro

    Cue Side O_o

  • d_nicegirl

    I have never really felt this as a problem. Women are no different from men in this regard except for women being sometimes more vocal. If I do happen to be confronted by negative sisters, I pay them no mind. I pray for them and hope that someday they will drop that heavy load they’re carrying.

  • OSHH

    Of course it stems from insecurity, and most people let the spirit of envy have free reign over them, instead of exercising control or even deliberately catching and countering that behavior in the moment. It’s other folks issues projected onto strangers, but people have a choice in that is basically all I am saying. That is a tell tell sign of a mentally and spiritually weak individual IMO.

  • geek chik

    i guess it is something women do.

  • Blahsquared

    Yeah you’re probably gonna have to distance yourself from her. She’ll never admit what’s really going on. One thing I noticed about people with low self esteem is that they’re not exactly losers. People with low self esteem aren’t always ugly, poor and dumb. A lot of them have so much going for themselves. The problem is they want to be the ONLY person doing well. I don’t know your sister but going by what u wrote, it looks like she’s that type. Some people have everything and still have low self worth. The human mind is an enigma.

  • Blahsquared

    I’ve said this before. We all have the ability to notice the B.S. we put out and put a cap on it. I’ve caught myself doing/thinking something foul and knew I was wrong and corrected it on the spot. There’s nothing wrong with having bad feelings just let it be overt. The prob is most people aren’t honest with themselves any way and are incapable of seeing the truth.

  • Blahsquared

    I meant to say “DON’T let it be overt”

  • tabatha

    the negetivity that’s spewed at other women/ppl is a reflection of one’s own insecurities.

  • OSHH

    WOW……. I’m hear to tell you that insecurity, and envy are not exclusive to black women. I have had the “rainbow” react foul/threatened by my mere presence many many many times, so go head with the dumb sh*t.
    Those others are just as capable, if not moreso of the same negative vibes, if they feel threatened/insecure by another woman’s shine/beauty, these are negative human behaviors, not just black behaviors.

  • Sunshine

    This issue of “hating” is a pervasive, insidious problem among BW that stems definitely from low self-esteem, bad upbringing and lack of knowledge about our history. We didn’t have time or energy to be jealous of our fellow sisters fighting for integration 40 years ago and basic human rights the centuries before that. Now that the fruits of those labors are being enjoyed, we forget about our solidarity and throw each other under the bus constantly. The hate spewed in front of men has backfired and now so many of them see us as weak-minded and disposable, hence their blatant disregard and disrespect. I refuse to fall into the trap and bash BW to ANY man because I know that game. However, BW find it so enjoyable to gather together and “discuss” other women that it makes it hard to create friendships without the nastiness being directed at somebody. Even in our familial relationships. That’s why I think so many of us state our intentions not to befriend women. It’s become a double-edged sword! You’re cut either way as a participant or recipient.

    I agree with the author. Let’s do better, smile at each other, stop being suspicious and lend a helping hand without being afraid that BW is going to take something from you. We all should be in this together, especially in the hateful social climate we live in now. What’s it going to take? More Mammy movies like “The Help” to wake us up???

  • AllisonMG

    I admit I don’t have a lot of female friends in comparison to males (idk why), and upon meeting most I usually get the evil glare. I’m nice to all types of people, but it’s kind of awkward to try and befriend someone giving you attitude and dirty looks.

  • Melinda

    ” I’m nice to all types of people, but it’s kind of awkward to try and befriend someone giving you attitude and dirty looks.”

    I know what you mean.How do you go about being civil with someone with a screwface on ? it’s just not possible.I swear I had the worst experience with a female supervisor.She felt it was her duty to comment on my body (‘Im underweight) in front of our male collegues.I put that woman in her place so quick.It’s like,so …because you’re fat,you get to put me down? Um…no.

  • Lainad


    I understand how you could misconstrue what I said, but It was not intentional…I should have said “African – carribean” if you want to get into semantics.

  • African Mami

    I hit the IGNORE button, depending on my mood.

  • binks

    Agreed! The best way to get over these insecurity is simply “to be the woman you WANT to be” I notice that all the women who are unhappy with themselves or hating on the next chick isn’t proactive when it comes to themselves. It is easier to tear someone down but what are you going to do to build yourself up? Because while you giving the chick the stink eye she is living her life why you are wallowing in your own pit…shrugs…

  • FauxBLAsian

    I haven’t had female friendships in a few years. I felt they were just not genuine or the chicks really were talking about me behind my back. Now that I am a little older and a little more mature, I realize that with proper selection of friends, I can have some genuine friendships. My main road block is the dismissive attitude that a lot of females greet me with. I admit I am not a bubbly, all smiles chick. But I am courteous and open up easily when I meet cool people. IDK. I find friendships with males easier…my jokes go over better with them, and things are typically drama-free but I’m still holding out for some cool chicks friends.

  • FauxBLAsian

    And I don’t hate women, it’s more like “don’t trust until proven otherwise”. LOL

  • Isis

    I don’t hate women. They hate me. It’s ok less drama

  • Apples

    Great article. Having attended an all female school I’ve seen this attitude dozens of times. There are females whose best friends are males and state they CAN’T STAND females (yet they go to an all female school :-)). I struggle making friends in general so I don’t define my situation as a love male/hate female thing.

  • Alexandra

    Women that hate on other women for no reason other than them being women are insecure with themselves. End of story.

    This doesn’t exclude women who feel: “This is why I have no female friends & I hang out with guys”. I see no difference. The problem is you, not an entire female population. It makes you look pathetic when you can’t get along with certain people and then blame it on their race, gender, etc;

  • chinaza

    It’s about insecurity and most women are insecure.They are intimidated when they think another woman is more beautiful, more educated or more “it”. A lot of this also centers on how men respond to their “competition” as they don’t understand that all women are not fixated on getting a man. It’s also true that men hate to hear the female-bashers.
    We must all learn to grow up and love ourselves and try to be the best we can without spite or envy towards each other.

  • T. Girl

    Idk, i have to both agree and disagree on this one. Im only 24, but throughout my life i’ve had some pretty awesome friends, both male and female. Lucky for me, i’ve never been the type to attract catty females. There’s the stereotype that women dont have very good sense of humor, but i tell you, that is so not true. I happen to be a very goofy person who loves to just laugh and have fun & talk about juicy stuff that goes on in my life & with my friends as well, so i’m pretty sure that if i ever came across a female who did not fit that description, she would most likely pick up on it & hate my guts, lol. Fortunately, my circles of friends (who happened to be mostly female) shared my personality.

    Now, on the other hand, i do agree with the fact that some things you can do and say around guys that you cant when you’re arpund women. For example, i like to roughhouse & talk sh8t just for the fun of it, or sometimes make really stupid, dirty jokes & curse a lot, lol. With guys, they really appreciate a girl who can do those things with them but is still cute & bubbly. But, in spite of being able to be like that around guys, it’s also very necesary to have female friends that you can be more vulnerable with, tell your innermost fears & secrets( and naughty girl talk about guys, lol). I have a group of female coworkers who i just love talking to- We have SO much fun when we get together & talk about guys, sex, & just all kinds of things- just laughing & having fun & giving each other advice. What can i say- i love being around both guys & gals & neither relationship can be replaced by the other. We all need both. What it all boils down to is being able to eliminate people from your life who do not have your best interest at heart & welcoming people who do :)

  • BellaNO

    This is ever so relevant! I recently had to drop from a HS friend’s wedding b/c of this very topic. I witnessed Grown Woman bullying, name calling and ferocious gossip…This is so not Okay…I felt as if my character would be compromised if I continued on w/ my participation. I too have been burnt by women, but I in no way “hate” Women. If anything I want to make better choices in friendships and people! I totally agree that we must do better!

  • lola289

    great post & sooo tru!

    “I, personally, cringe whenever I hear a woman insist she can’t be friends with other women.”
    Took the words out my mouth….these ladies will always get the side eye look from me.LOL
    Went to an ALL girls Catholic school and it screwed me up. I can trully say women are worst then guys, but Im not gonna put out a statement like that.
    I guess it comes with age and maturity…

  • lola289

    Do You Laind!
    Stay positive and on the right track :)

  • lola289

    Ok right…
    Happen to me with a friend of mine when I first met her.
    Im the kinda chick that usually gets my share of cute guys, but I noticed they looked to her first! WTF!? LOL! So I was a lil bit p.o’ed, but all that ended becuz although that happened she was still a sweetheart of a person and just awesome to be around. I realized that we as women are confident w/in ourselves UNTIL we think a threat comes in the pic. But in the ends its not that deep to begin with.
    It was a lesson learned and corrected!

  • oknow

    i don’t hate women.. when i see someone walk into the room looking a hot ass mess or better than me, i don’t judge and i don’t hate.. for what? how is her doing her affecting me? it doesn’t.. if women spent more time worrying about themselves they wouldn’t be judging others.. and bet if she wearing something i like, i’ll tell her.. i like giving compliments.. i always smile because i’m friendly.. why walk into a room w/a scowl or give other ppl nasty faces because your feeling some type of way.. makes no sense to me..

  • Robyn BankZ*

    If a woman is insecure around other women and can’t make genuine friendships with them, she’s a woman that I would typically steer clear of. It shows a lack of confidence, a lower sense of self and self-esteem when a woman can not support other women who have similar goals and life experiences.

    Now, I know women who will not go places if there are too many other females present- partially because there’s a feeling of rivalry and competition that’s palpable. You can feel it, and yes it’s uncomfortable. But I don’t worry about that kind of thing, it doesn’t really bother me. In any room of women, I can find at least one who I could probably vibe with- no matter what she looks like or where she comes from. There’s a confidence in you that you must posses in order to make other women feel comfortable around you, and I don’t mean the typical “I look better than everyone in here” attitude that females exude in the club in order to hype themselves. It’s an “I trust me. I see you. I trust you.” Kind of approach. It’s mutual respect without knowing who she is and what she stands for. It’s the respect you give another human being in your space just for being a human being. No one says you have to be her friend- but respect that she is human and she is in your space. Just like you would do for an unassuming man. it shouldn’t be different because of gender. We women are too quick to give men respect in our space and not do the same for our same-gender peers. Why do you have to size her up first and give her a stamp of approval before you can talk to her? That’s petty.

    I know a lot about women. I’m a daughter, a sister, a feminist, an aunt, a soror. Yes, we are challenging and complex beings. But we deserve each other`s respect at minimum, and support at most.

  • jane

    my problem is i love woman in a sister girl way. my problem is feeling comfortable around men, they look at me and my eyes divert. IMMA BE SINGLE FOREVER but have a great female support system…haaahhaaa

  • Alexa

    I am like this too. lol. I get along fine with women, but am uncomfortable around men because it’s a different sort of feeling/relationship.

  • Sweetilocks

    I really can’t stand women who brag about not having female friends and claim that the problem is “all other women.” I mean, really? How stupid does that sound? If you keep having problems with women every where you go, YOU are the common demoninator. And nine times out of ten, you are projecting the negativity you claim to be recieving. Many women are just insecure, but moreso, we’ve adopted this inferiority complex that we were taught by this patriarchal society. We’ve consumed the bullshit that says: women are catty and can’t get along; women aren’t funny and have no sense of humor (didn’t discover this shit til recently); women are the only ones who get jealous or judge each other; women lie about being raped or getting pregnant to get benefits; women are overly emotional and can’t run a business; etc. All of this is poison to make us hate each other and remain divided. This is why so many women are misogynistic themselves. So in short, yes, women hate women. Why do you think Basketball Baby Mamas is so popular? We really need to reverse all this misogyny within ourselves because it’s not only unhealthy for us, but we are inevitably passing it down for generations to come. It is really sad, but we have to break the cycle.

    I couldn’t be half the woman I am if it weren’t for other women so I’m not even sure how these negative mentalities prevail. But it has to stop.

  • DBG

    Regardless of what some women think and despise about men, men and women I know pretty much agree that women hate on each other way more intensely.

  • AustralianGirl


    You’ve summed it up for me, ‘some people have everything and still have low self-worth’. That’s her to a tee.

    Thanks for your feedback :-)

  • CatFan

    Yes, this happened to me just today in the grocery store. Two girls just gave me the whole up and down icy stare. I wasn’t doing anything except minding my own business.

    My boyfriend comforted me saying that it says more about their own insecurities (apparently my figure is what set them off according to someone there) than anything about me. Good to know other people have experienced the same thing.

  • Tinka

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I don’t take it personally. I have seen the nasty looks and to be honest, never thought more than 5 seconds about it. People have their own issues and problems, that it would be narcissitic(sp?) and self-centering to make it all about me. Have I met nasty women? Absolutely. But more often then not they were battling their own insecurities. I was the just the misdirected target that these insecurities landed on.

  • bldion

    Yeah…think Phoebe Prince. She had an entire posse of women after her…

  • Anna-kay Ellis

    Here is another good article on why women hate each other.

  • Christy Smith-Nichols

    How about we talk about the reasons that these judgmental women feel so insecure??? The social system (supported largely by the media) makes so many women believe that looks are more important than anything, and that they need to “compete” with other women. Of the females I know well, NONE are like the ones described in this artcle; in fact, I think it is a very small minority of women who actually exhibit these behaviors. (However, I have certainly experienced the icy stare of strangers in public.) I have seen it much more with adolescents and young women, and it is true that they learn these behaviors from others. However, not only do these females need better role models, they need to stop being shown by the media that it is normal to be judgmental and superficial…

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