Saturday, September 11, 2004

Women casting stones at each other

I have to confess that I am half amused and half disappointed by my friends recently. Well I call them my friends because I feel a certain affinity to them. We have mostly known each other over ten years now (longer for some), from our University days to the present where we all have our own careers, families and spouses. I do like their company because I thought we had seen each other over the years grown more mature, although some more than others.

We had gone on some trips to KL together. Met various people from the net. Learn about each other's quirky behaviours and temperaments. We were all very different individuals but somehow we learnt to live with each other’s opinions, aspirations, struggles, the ups and downs in life. Sometimes it’s a love and hate relationship, but we managed to forgive and forget.

Somehow the group had a new addition recently. Sometimes the “new” additions brings a new dimension to the friendship. (I myself was a new addition to this circle about seven years ago.) Some of the new additions stay, others move on after a while but the main core stuck to each other.

However the newest addition added a different tension. I have yet to meet this person myself but I got to know her from her various emails to the group. (Not all of us have the luxury of meeting up all the time as some has moved on to live in a different city from time to time. Thus emails became the best method of communication to everyone.) Perhaps being new to the circle of friends, she did not know the temperament of each and every member of the circle of friends and had somehow managed to offend another member of the circle. And suddenly a cold war ensued.

What is it about us women that it is inevitable for us to get bitchy with one another?

I read this article from the New Scientist that Fertile women rate other women as uglier.

Maryanne Fisher, a psychologist at York University in Toronto, Canada, decided to try to find evidence for female competition by presenting heterosexual students with photos of faces. She found that when women were in the most fertile phase of their menstrual cycles, they rated the attractiveness of other women lower than when they were not.
Being more combative during a fertile period backs the idea that women are competing for the best mate. "When you're in a high fertility phase, you have to be more able to judge other women as potential rivals," says Fisher.

The 57 female students tested, along with male controls, were asked to look at colour photos of 35 female and 30 male faces. The models for the photos were asked to display a neutral facial expression, wear a black smock and remove any accessories to help standardise the experiment.
Women with high estrogen levels, in days 12 to 21 of their menstrual cycle, rated other women's attractiveness significantly lower than women in a less fertile, low estrogen period of their cycle.

Fisher does not know exactly how women's heightened sense of competition during ovulation may help them win a mate. "Does putting someone down make you feel better about yourself? Or does saying it to a male make her less attractive to him?" she asks.
She adds that this kind of intrasexual competition could also carry risks - being too bitchy could make a woman look " mean-spirited" to a man. To answer these questions, Fisher is now investigating how men's attitudes are affected by women using such derogatory tactics.

Could it be that my friends were at the most fertile period of the month that they became so competitive?

But for us women apparently it is not so easy to forgive and forget. If any of you found a study why this is so, please forward the study to me.

All I want is for all my friends to be happy and to get along. The world is already filled with such atrocities and hatred that I feel it is so unnecessary to perpetuate more of this feeling of animosity and hostility amongst friends.

Life is too short to be spent on unpleasantness. Is it just too hard for us to get along?

No comments: