“Without elegance of the heart, there is no elegance.” Yves Saint-Laurent
A recent event in my life made me think about a topic dear to my heart that I like to call the “elegance of the heart” and more precisely between women. Quickly, I sadly noticed that some women have the bad habit of judging each other, gossiping, telling lies, always wanting to be in competition with other women. Let me tell you something, IT IS JUST SO INELEGANT, a perfect way to “unlady” yourself.
I have lived in Australia for a few years now. I have great affection for this country, I have opened my mind more by thinking out of the box. This journey in Australia hasn’t been without hurt, and I reckon that’s quite normal when you are new in a country learning about a new culture. You can meet wrong people, be “friends” with some of them when you realise that you have a totally different meaning of friendship as a French or an Aussie woman. And of course my journey won’t be complete without meeting a few “bitches” (what we call them here, pardon my French); however, fortunately, you can also discover wonderful people who embrace the same values as your own.
Through this article, I hope to make some women realise that being bitchy is unacceptable. I also want to show other women who suffer from bitchiness, that there are some solutions. Can we “unbitch” some women? I don’t know. Well let’s keep our feet firmly grounded but let’s talk openly about it.
Bitch is a terrorist on love
Let me tell you about my short story. I got married with an Aussie-Italian. Besides the wedding, I was expecting to receive my visa. This situation that lasted 11 months was the most emotional and difficult time in my life.
One day, during an unexpected interview with the immigration, I was horrified to hear that a very bad person called anonymously (obviously a coward too) the immigration department to say that our marriage was a fake. Once I heard this, a mix of sadness and anger seized me.
Who the hell could do something so evil? Trying to destroy my life, my husband’s life but also indirectly affect my family and my in-laws?
After the sad events in France (terrorism in Paris, Nice, Rouen), I couldn’t stop thinking about an act of terrorism on love. However Love always conquers, the interview with the immigration was perfectly fine and the day after I received the good news about my visa, the process was even quicker thanks to my “bitch”.
My philosophy: move on, believe in Karma, and keep going. I already know that after such a disgusting act the karma of this person totally sucks and will suck for a long time. I couldn’t stop wondering…
But why the hell can women be so bitchy? Did they cultivate that? Why can’t they embrace their femininity and act elegantly?
Hang on. It is a perfect topic for an article…
The etymology of « Bitch »
Firstly let’s come back to the origins of this word “Bitch” to better understand its meaning today.
According to my research, the word « bitch » dates back to the Greek Goddess of the Hunt called Artemis who was portrayed with dogs. « The bitch goddess of Antiquity was known in all Indo-European cultures, beginning with the Great Bitch Sarama who led the Vedic dogs of death. The old English word for a hunting dog, bawd, also became a naughty word because it applied to the divine Huntress’s promiscuous priestesses as well as her dogs. »
What is a bitch?
Etymology done, what is a bitch nowadays? Women can be very nasty between each other and these things, unfortunately, happen everywhere. Is it in some women’s DNA? I don’t know but what I do believe is that when I meet one I can immediately feel the insecurity and the lack of confidence in her and certainly a lack of femininity.
I love socialising, connecting, and meeting new people. This is what I did when I came to Australia. I’m always curious about humans, the way they think, the way they react, and I do love learning about a different culture.
But quickly I understood that this type of behaviour, being very comfortable with people and being “bien dans sa peau” (feeling good about yourself) could make some women jealous.
Plus as a French woman, I already had this reputation that seems to be in my blood: ménage à trois, French women are flirty and have this je ne sais quoi. Well… that will be for another article.
Dealing with a French bitch is easier for me as I know my culture. Indeed in France, if we don’t like each other, it’s going to be very clear. We are not really going to speak to each other; we are not going to call each other “darling” and we are not going to ask to each other “how are you?” as we obviously do not care. So the rule is simple. I meet you, I have nothing in common with you, I move on, you move on and au revoir. In France, women are very direct and you can immediately feel if you are going to get along well or not with a woman. It’s clear, and most importantly we generally speak face to face.
My story in Australia was quite different. I needed to deal with two different cultural things:
- Women prefer to speak behind your back, the so sadly popular gossip thing (of course not all of them, I’m sure you understand that I only focus on bitchy behaviour)
- The Toll Poppy Syndrome.
Women came to me very enthusiastic, calling me “darling” and sometimes over-complimenting me or finishing a text with “Love you”. I was perplexed. Is it real friendship or is it the way to communicate between women saying insidiously “I don’t like you but I’m watching you daaarling”?
Bitchiness: a way of bullying
As an entrepreneur in France, I started to think about my new project in Australia. I was waiting for my visa, without being able to make money, a perfect opportunity to visualise my new professional journey with my blog FrenChicTouch. I went out to different events, met beautiful and inspiring women and… others. I was certainly quite naïve at this time, opening up my heart too much and trusting people too quickly. But let me tell you something when you arrive in a new country, there is always this period of euphoria, seeing only the positive, finding everyone wonderful… being in a kind of “la la land”.
I quickly developed my social media presence, something quite new for me as in France we keep things more private, receiving nice messages and realising that I was quite appreciated. And I certainly was and am.
I started to discover that some women were speaking behind my back. How did I know? Simply because other women told me. It was quite new for me and I couldn’t understand this type of reaction. But when one went too far by speaking about me to someone I was working with, asking people to delete me everywhere. It was too much too handle.
I needed to meet this person and speak my mind and maybe show her a bit my Frenchness (you can take me out of my country but you cannot take my direct culture out of me). If you have something to say to me, you come to speak to me. Not behind my back, not asking people to delete me on Facebook (even if it’s a good way to see who the women with a real personality and enough good sense for me are), not suggesting bad things about me.
Especially when this woman only met me a few times without even once having a real conversation with me, and so without knowing me at all.
At this stage, I started to think about bullying and I realise that I was definitely bullied. When I came to Australia, I was very amazed to see how much Australians spoke about bullying, even having associations to speak about it. Ok in France there is also bullying but certainly not at this level.
It was by the cowardly behaviour of some women that I noticed that bitchiness was an extension of bullying. The goal is exactly the same: make the person isolated, have a superior behaviour and make sure to destroy the person.
Definitely upset as you can imagine, it was important for me to talk with these people. People bully people who make them scared and always bully when they feel surrounded by their friends. When I spoke my mind with one, without even raising my voice or insulting her but just by making her know that I found her behaviour so pathetic, I was horrified to see her escaping, like a little girl and telling me “I’m not a confronting person”. I was thinking what the hell… So you can speak to people behind my back, send emails, spread false things about me but you are unable to speak to me? I was for the first time in my life exposed to a new type of cowardly behaviour.
What scandalised me more was when some people who I thought I knew a bit, without calling them my friends, more like acquaintances (as in French we have different words for friendship), deleted me everywhere, didn’t answer my calls anymore. I found this absolutely childish. Because as you can guess women spoke behind my back, but also other women spoke to me about other women behind their back. I never paid any attention, stopping the conversation by telling that it was not my business.
I’m convinced that if a woman is telling you bad things about another woman you are the next one on the list.
Seriously I have better things to think about. This behaviour makes me feel like going back to school. This is sooooo childish, and what? She’s a businesswoman too? Seriously?
I wanted to learn more about this. Was it me? Was it my behaviour? Was I the only one? I quickly found out that I was not the only one and started to listen to terrible stories. One of my friends needed to move because a woman tried to destroy her marriage, another one almost lost her job because of a woman jealous of my friend who she thought was too good in her work.
And recently what horrified me was the story of a French woman who went back to France when she noticed that some women at work pretending to be friends with her, made everything possible to make her uncomfortable at work. Another friend of mine told me that for one year, she didn’t go out due to fear of connecting with jealous women and another one confessed that troubled women scared her especially after she won a prize for her talented work.
The Tall Poppy Syndrome
During all these events, my husband and my Aussie friends started to explain to me that I was the victim of TALL POPPY SYNDROME. I had no idea about what they were talking about but I was pretty sure that if it was a “syndrome”, it must be negative.
I started to research this syndrome and I was totally flabbergasted and troubled by what I found.
For those like me who are totally ignorant about it let me give you a quick insight into this problem.
This problem is rooted in Australia and I’m sure it creates a lot of damage even to the economy. It’s a social phenomenon in which people working hard, determined to be successful, with merit for their work is attacked and put down. It is the most ridiculous thing that I have experienced. I believe that when someone has a great idea or has a different and interesting professional point of view, I want to learn more about this person, admire her/his positive attitude and be totally inspired. When I told a foreigner friend of mine, who was thinking about an investment in Australia, about the tall poppy syndrome, she said to me “no way, I can’t deal with something like this, this is too silly”. It is but unfortunately, it exists.
The tall poppy syndrome is also another type of bullying and we can’t ignore it. Why can’t we be supportive each other? We have so much to learn from everyone.
I needed to understand how this thing happened because it must certainly have an origin. “Australia was originally settled as a British penal colony, and many current Australians trace their heritage to the criminals sent there. They were angry and violent people, failures in British society, and one thing they didn’t like were successful people.
Conspicuous success aroused envious hostility, and modern Australian culture began with a shared attitude of hostility toward successful people and behaviours to thwart them and ruin their success. Today, Australians call successful people « tall poppies, » and cutting them down to size is called « tall popping. » The terms are based on Aboriginal stories.” (source: http://www.businesspsych.org/articles/244.html)
How to deal with bitchiness?
I went to visit a male Aussie friend of mine who has a successful career and great skills in communication. I explained my situation to him, and the feeling I got with some women after also speaking with one on the phone who told me “you don’t understand that you go too quick, you upset people”. He was not surprised and encouraged me to keep going, to not listen to these women who obviously saw a threat in me. But a threat in what? We are absolutely different and we are not at all in the same industry. Is it jealousy that can make women so stupid?
Then I changed my state of mind. I decided that bitches would make me feel stronger, more determined and even more positive. After all the more they speak about me, the more they create advertising for me. My mum always said to me “it’s only if people speak about you that you exist and create an interest” well ok but…
At the end of the day, you cannot avoid people speaking about you but you can definitely manage your thoughts and your behaviour about it.
If you start to feel down or if you give up on your dreams, you make them win. Only the doers succeed, the gossipers stay just gossipers. Be inspired, be surrounded by positive people who make you feel good and encourage you in everything you start. Always be nice but I also have understood that by being nice it doesn’t mean being silly. Do not attack people but defend yourself. It is also important to make your statement when bitches go too far.
And most importantly, be yourself, but do not become a bitch yourself because of anger or sadness, you don’t want to turn into this. Manage your trust. Only give your trust with time and protect yourself by being more reserved about your heart. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same values as yours.
Why a woman can be nasty?
My only answer: jealousy, insecurity, envy, fear, stupidity… and an obvious lack of confidence, femininity and emotional intelligence.
You may be experiencing bitchiness because you are the mirror of what they fear or what they are unable to achieve. To be honest, it makes me sad. By being yourself, showing your confidence they may be scared that you will steal their husband (are you speaking with him? Be cautious), scared that they are losing attention (do you have more likes on your Facebook? Bad girl and shame on you). Or they don’t have the love they want (are you married to a sexy man? Disgusting).
Instead of focusing on how they can create a better life and learn about loving themselves, they prefer to focus on how to hate the one who has things they want.
I also often noticed that nice and caring women spreading love are more attacked. And let me tell if you are pretty, you can be sure that you are already on a nasty bitch’s blacklist.
What is absolutely sad it is that these women do not realise that with destructive feelings like jealousy, they are destroying themselves, destroying a part of their creativity and diminishing their femininity.
If a woman is nasty with you it’s maybe because you have a quality that she doesn’t have, maybe she’s going through a hard time however there is NO reason at all to be nasty.
Be yourself and LOVE yourself
I have no shame to say that I feel very good in my own skin. I’m happy, comfortable with my body and I guess at 38 years old, I am at peace with my mind. My experiences in my life and my travels have allowed me to meet different people and made me understand how much it’s important to spread love. My experience in Australia made me understand even more about myself, realising how I can work on my weaknesses and what my strengths are that I can highlight.
Trust me or not I have never felt jealousy for another woman but I have more often felt admiration.
You totally have the right to not love a woman, to not have something to share, to realise she’s not the type of person you want to hang out with however YOU HAVE THE DUTY TO RESPECT HER as a woman, as a human being by not gossiping and being honest to her and even if you need to confront her face to face. You will maybe realise that you judged her wrongly.
I reckon women have enough problems in the world: dealing with inequality of rights, misogyny, rapes, periods, so we do not need to add problems to our life. If you cross the path of a woman you don’t like and if you feel some bitchy feeling coming from you, ask yourself if you cannot change these feelings into admiration and understanding.
Elegance of the heart is the most beautiful thing you can have. You can be the most successful woman in your business, you can have the most luxury brands in your wardrobe, you can have the sexiest body you want… if you don’t have the elegance of the heart, which is a sign of real femininity, you will go unnoticed and you will never be a complete woman.
We are definitely born a woman but we can’t all become a lady.