The Up and Down


We do it in groups. We do it alone. We do it in public. We do it behind closed doors. We’ve done it to our co-workers, classmates, even strangers on the street. At times it’s been unconscious. Other times, we were well aware. Yes, we’re guilty of sizing up other women. Our eyes almost instinctively travel from the tip of their toes to the top of their heads. We compare our outfits, our bodies, our makeup and our hair.

She thinks she’s so cute.

The thoughts begin. A woman walks into the bar or boardroom, and we’re immediately assessing her appearance. Sometimes it’s as subtle as, “Those jeans do nothing for her.” Or, “Ugh, what was she thinking when she got dressed?” Whether it occurs daily or every so often, many of us put other women down in order to feel better about ourselves. We nitpick and compare, notice others’ flaws as a distraction from our own. There’s the pressure to compete, outperform and even impress other women. But why?

Sometimes we adopt the very same superficial standards that we’re held up to. As a product of our society, it’s hard not to. A woman deemed physically attractive possesses a kind of social control. As a result we feel threatened, making that woman across the room our rival.

We are more than our beauty and our bodies. When we stop the catty remarks and piercing glares, we acknowledge this and empower one another. When we can pay another woman a genuine compliment, we set the tone. We make a deliberate declaration that asserts, “I am not your competition. I am your colleague. I am not your opponent. I am your friend. I am not your adversary. I am an ally.”

But first, the shift must begin within.

-Audra E. Lord

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  • Glamarazzi

    I never understand why people “size” other people up. I think there has to be some underlying insecurity because I find it hard to believe that a secure person is so affected by someone that they feel the need to look them over. I believe that people who are generally happy with themselves and their lives don’t do this. But I also believe that the number of people who are generally content with where,who and what they are is very slim.

    I do this, because I fit in with the other 90% who isn’t so secure lol. Hopefully, one day I will be part of the 10% that doesn’t feel the need to look someone “up and down” or judge others at all, but I’m not there yet. I’ve also had it done to me by others.

    • Bronze

      Dear Glamarazzi,

      If you are in your 20s, you will spend most of your time feeling insecure because you’re still finding you way through life. Once you hit your 30s you become more confident and secure. The 40s is when you realize your full potential.

      So give yourself a break. If you are in your 20s now, I strongly suggest you spend most of your time getting educated on what you want to do for the rest of your life. Education can be school, self-education, traveling. Just in your 20s don’t limit our experiences.

  • Sherrie

    And I’m finding this to be true even on these natural hair sites. While the bloggers’ info is invaluable and I’m eternally grateful for their kindness, but lately in particular, on a particular one, Moptop Maven, it’s turned into a “ooh and ahh look at her hair” love fest and it seems to be not just the new viewers but ones that have seen all the posing self portraits of her. I get it when photos are used to show the results of a hair product review but quite a few other pictures indicate, “look at me, see all my hair…”. I think it’s just sad and gives me the impression that a person is not used to having a few inches/feet of hair. It’s seems to be an obsession! But then again, it seems to be the 20-30 something crowd (self-esteem issues) and I’m no longer in either group and I’m cool with that. I’ve had long hair all my life (natural, relaxed and now natural for life), got compliments from blacks as well as whites of my “nice hair” and I took it in stride but I just can’t see daily posting pictures of myself smuggly smiling/cheesing.

  • NayNayla

    I do need to work on not glaring at people from head to toe. But most times I dont do it to be catty. I am into fashion so I pay a lot of attention to how people dress. Admittingly, some thoughts are negative, but I don’t come off that way to anyone. Sadly, I can’t say that all those who look me up and down give me such positive feedback. It’s terrible. I try to be ladylike and ignore people but some people are just assholes! But I’m still FABO!