When I had the epiphany to create www.AmIBeingCatty.com, it was over a small incident to which I was a third-party observer. I was neither the cat nor the mouse, but it made me really think about the dynamics of women and why we have such a negative perception of cattiness. Maybe I was just the wise old owl witnessing the attack from high up in a tree. (Oh shut up and let me call myself wise just this once.)
You see, it is an interesting thing having a psychology degree. But what makes it more interesting is that it came from a women’s university. I never planned to attend Mississippi University for Women, but little did I know my accepting that scholarship would lead to one of the best experiences of my life! Someone like me finds themselves at a smaller school because mediocre grades and a high standardized test score still earned a scholarship. MUW was four hours from home, and I was eager to get out of my house to become an adult. That being said I can thank my alma mater for two things: 1) It gave me a very rich women’s studies that analyzed everything from why women are perceived the way they are, to understanding gender differences and glass ceilings. And 2) It gave me many of my very best friends for life. This is where my Voxer plug comes in (if you don’t have that app, then get it. I have no affiliation with them). We talk on Voxer daily just like we were back in the dorms. And we talk about everything from those same glass ceilings that still exist 14 years after graduation to parenting and food. I shared my idea for this forum which would most certainly include them and their valuable and diverse knowledge. As the conversation evolved, we decided as a team that our end goal was to change the perception of women. Men are catty, too you know, but it’s never men referred to as such. We want to be a resource for women to gauge and validate their behaviors or seek advice when attempting to correct catty ones.
Women have multiple reasons for being catty, and picking this apart, I started separating the reasons for lashing out into two main categories: External Factors and Internal Factors. So, why are women catty?
Stress – Stress can come in many forms, but there is no doubt that everyone (including men) reacts poorly when under fair amounts of stress. Our patience is thin, our sleep is lacking, and we are dealing with things we most often cannot control and our judgment is impacted.
Group Bonding / Company You Keep – You and your attitude is often affected by the company you keep. You can hang out with people that revel in the catty and the next thing you know is that you find this cattiness the norm. Additionally, women are quick to jump on the Bitching-About-XYZ bandwagon when desiring to feel closer to a friend. It truly can be a bonding moment.
Revenge – We are basically animals, right? We eat, sleep, poop, fight, cry, and a few of us even get to lactate. The problem with being an animal is that we lash out when we are hurt. If we feel wronged by someone we are awfully quick to point out that someone’s flaws.
Hormones – Why do we cry at Hallmark commercials? Why do we find women in lots of touchy-feely, serving careers such as Human Resources, Nursing, Social Work, and Teaching? We are often hormonal messes piped full of passion which peaks one week each month. Yes ladies, if you don’t believe your menstrual cycle impacts your actions, just ask your husbands, siblings, or moms. They’ll tell you the truth.
Jealousy and/or Insecurity – Many times women don’t realize we are criticizing others as a preemptive strike until it is far too late and the damage has been done. We often lash out to divert others attention to our flaws and then hang our heads in shame because realizing what we mock in others is oftentimes what we hate about ourselves.
Validation / Reinforcement – Women often seek justification of our annoyance at people’s actions. For some reason we are always doubtful of ourselves and that conversation in which we find a partner in crime can sometimes make us euphoric.
Innate Bitchiness – Some of us are just rude or cruel and there is neither excuse for our behavior, nor any feasible repair until we start looking at ourselves as imperfect with a desire to change.
Unfortunately, there will never be clear lines between the areas. One person’s motivation to be catty in a conversation can be totally different from her friend’s. Just like two women on a beach judging a third for daring to wear a bikini, one woman’s comment may be driven by Innate Bitchiness while the other’s is driven by Insecurities which drives Group Bonding compounding the entire conversation exponentially. We will most likely never get this combination down to a science. Our goal here at AmIBeingCatty.com is to make you think about you, your actions, and how they impact others. The good news is that we get to laugh, but never at the expense of our faithful followers. After all, that would be catty. We should all be on the same team.
Peace and Love,
#amibeingcatty #changingtheperceptionofwomen #womenrock
P.S. Sometimes a behavior is not cattiness at all, but society placing the label on a woman who is standing up for herself or just telling it like it is. If this is the case, rest assured the AmIBeingCatty.com team has got your back.