If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me discussing this topic a few nights ago. I started a conversation with the hashtag #UPLIFT in hopes of generating some commentary about the well-known plight of young and fierce females who can't seem to wrap their heads around the idea that kind words and sincere smiles go much farther than side eyes and snubs.
The other night I had the pleasure of attending an event in lower Manhattan that a few friends and colleagues were hosting. Though I was sick, I got dolled up in my dress and heels and headed downtown to show my support. Like most other industry events I attend in NY, the women in attendance were beautiful and well-dressed in killer outfits and the latest designer duds to boot. But sadly, like many other events I attend in NY, there were a few women in attendance that (for some strange reason) couldn't keep themselves from doing one or more of the following:
A) Rolling their eyes when other fierce divas walked by.
B) Completely avoiding eye contact when a sincere smile or a "Hey your outfit is cute" was mouthed from across the room.
C) Whispering to a friend and then laughing (while subtly pointing in another female's direction).
D) Doing the "once over" up and down look to another female and then proceeding to do A or C.
After seeing this type of behavior repeatedly over the years, even before working in the media industry, it suddenly dawned on me that women (especially in groups) have a serious problem! So that night, I sat down with a group of friends over drinks and asked the following...
Why do fab females choose to break each other down and not build each other up?
After asking my friends in person, I proceeded to ask my Twitter peeps. What an eye-opening conversation that was! Revelations and commonalities were uncovered that I never knew existed. Here were some notable quotables from the Twitter convo:
And one of my fave comments of the night came from my friend Ama:
The crazy thing about this "invisible competition" is that it doesn't just exist between strangers. Friends do it too! Coco + Creme posted an article last week entitled Fashion and Friendship: When Dressing Becomes a Competitive Sport and it touched on the idea that we, as fashionable women, often unconsciously create this competition within our social circles that can actually cause hatred and ill feelings. Does this "fashion faceoff" require an internal referee? Or are we the only people "losing" in this competition because we're choosing to participate in it? I pose another question to you all.
Is it truly that hard to uplift other women? Is it that hard, when you receive a compliment, to find some way to return it to the sender?
I recently picked up the May 2011 issue of ESSENCE Magazine. The theme of the May issue is "Girlfriends" and it celebrates the importance of friendship and uplifting the people you care about.
While I love this idea and I'm completely in love with celebrating the sisterhoods and bonds that we've taken precious time to build, this week I want to challenge us all to uplift a few divas who we might not necessarily call our "friends".
So I've crafted the #UPLIFT Challenge. Over the course of this week, I encourage each of you to do the following:
1. Find at lease ONE female that you don't know personally (whether on the train, at your job, inside the toll booth on the highway, wherever) and tell them something that makes them beautiful. It might be a hairstyle, a fly pair of shoes or a pretty smile. Whatever it is, find a way to uplift a stranger this week.
2. When you've done it, come back here and leave a comment about how it went down, and how you feel. Feel free to include her reaction. Did she accept with open arms, or did she look at you sideways?
Can't wait to see your responses! If you're on Twitter, tweet me @LoveBrownSugar with the hashtag #UPLIFT so we can keep the convo going. Good luck!