Why Are We So Judgemental?

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Why Do Women Feel The Need To Judge Other Women?

BY DR SARAH HUGHES

Last week the Sunday Telegraph published an article by Ros Reines. In the article Ros accused mummy bloggers of being self-indulgent and, in a not so subtle way, made it clear that she has very little respect for the “waffle” of mummy bloggers. She took particular aim at Mia Freedman.

To be fair, at one point in the article Ros admits “But maybe I am missing the point”. I would tend to agree that she is.

I am a huge fan of the so called mummy bloggers for one very significant reason – they speak openly and honestly about the issues many women are too afraid to talk about. Why are we afraid? Because we’re worried that if we don’t keep up appearances and – at least outwardly – have it all together we’ll be judged.

So many women suffer in silence believing they’re the only one. Too often I hear:

Why can’t I fall pregnant when everyone else does so easily?
I’m the only one who feels overwhelmed by motherhood
I’m a terrible mother, none of the other mums lose it with their kids

For women who are struggling, knowing that at least one other person is going through the same thing helps them to know that they’re not failing. By sharing their daily struggles, mummy bloggers empower other mums by breaking the illusion and creating a more accurate picture of parenthood.

So I disagree with Ros Reines’s article and I’m grateful to all the intelligent and articulate mummy bloggers who take the time to share their experiences, but I think Ros’s article raises another important issue – why do women feel the need to judge other women?

Women who don’t have nannies pass judgment on those who do, women who don’t exercise during pregnancy critisise women who do exercise during pregnancy, formula feeding mums feel judged by breastfeeding mums, and the debate between stay at home mums and working mums doesn’t ever seem to end. Whatever happened to a women’s right to choose? Why all the fuss?

What works for one woman might not work for another and that’s ok. I fully support the right for everyone to have their own opinion. I also fully support healthy debate, HOWEVER, there’s a difference between expressing your opinion in a constructive way and belittling others.

If you dislike mummy blogs, don’t read them. If you disagree with another women’s parenting or lifestyle decisions, don’t follow them. But where you can, practice tolerance.

Dr. Sarah Hughes is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Think Clinical Psychologists. She enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults, and specialises in anxiety, depression, postnatal depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and challenging behaviour.