“I don’t think jealousy is the right word,” says Pauline. “They were both strong women. And in those days people liked to make strong women compete with each other. Like you couldn’t have two strong women in the same room at the same time. The world would explode.” Richard Osman The Bullet that Missed

Do we like to make women compete against one another?

And when I say WE, I mean, do women feel the need to compete with one another?

What do you think about strong women?

Are you a strong women?

Are you in a relationship with a strong women?

What say you about strong women?


These are the quotes I keep on my desk…

Shouldn’t we all be fighting the theory of what is well behaved vs what is ill

34 thoughts on “Competition

  1. I can’t stand competition and prefer self-focused improvement. I believe that a mind that is oriented towards competition cannot be focused on true self-improvement. Self-improvement isn’t based on looking over your shoulder to see what the other guy is doing. Self-improvement is tailored to fit each person’s unique goals, drives and weak points. I would much rather strive to be a better human being for the sake of improving the world around me than to be better than Lilly or Sarah.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. I feel like this is a complicated topic. I’ll just throw out some thoughts:

    Is there really jealousy among women who want the same thing or is the jealousy created by the concept that society creates in forcing the general idea that competition breeds success– if it is a given that competition is encouraged as a social norm for both sexes, are women forced into the mold of being labeled jealous/petty/bitchy when they embrace the norm?

    Does being *strong* even mean the same thing as being competitive and who decides that? Are we talking about business settings, a strong matriarch in a family…and are those strong women defined differently given the situation?

    I see strong woman as easily being a derogatory term depending on what context it is used and I base that on the variance in what society sees when we say *strong man*

    I know that I come toward societal issues and labels from a feminist perspective and that’s because I believe that we have found ways to cover up our bias, or pay lip service to just how far women have come, yet underneath nothing has changed. You only have to really listen when someone uses the term “strong woman” and look at their face in the context of the conversation. It usually becomes apparent how they really feel and being a woman while being strong is a dichotomy of massive proportions. The people who have come beyond those views I applaud but sadly I think they may be in the minority if we’re honest.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Truly “Strong women” can work alone and/or together when necessary. Insecurity drives cat fights . However, it is a common enough problem that the stereotype has been created . This is not really a “strong women” issue. It’s a “top dog” issue. Every group has to have a person who has the final say. Men and women fight for that position. It’s natural .

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I am definitely a strong woman, which isn’t always welcoming to some. But I don’t have a desire to compete. Women competing with each other drives me crazy. In fact, it doesn’t make sense for a strong woman to do this, because there should be less insecurities. That’s what seems to be the driving force behind that type of competitiveness.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. It seems to me that jealousy and greed are the source of many conflicts. I have believe real strength is defined by the ability to sow peace instead of discord, regardless of sex, but prevalent among women. 💕C

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Well said, Cheryl! Yes, I agree with that vision of true strength – more holistic and less ego-centric. And in that vision, strong women aren’t vying for power but instead raising the level for everyone around.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Yeah, I think there’s competition. Sexual competition definitely, it’s wired in, but also competition for social power. Social power means access to resources and support, back when we evolved. Personally I’d admit to feeling both pleased and threatened when a strong woman enters the scene. As a strong woman myself I feel competitive… the attention might drift over to her… and as a weak woman I feel like I might be ridden over. And as a woman who likes robust company I think great, someone interesting to talk to!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. In my opinion, women become competitive with each other at a young age as we are fed the falsehood there are only so many “spots” for strong women, beautiful women, intelligent women…or just women period. It’s a fallacy, but one we somehow buy into. Bless – as we get older, we learn there’s not a shortage of those “spots” and begin to recognize and honor the talents and strengths of the amazing women around us. I’ve never considered myself an outwardly strong woman, but when I consider the challenges each of us face individually, I realize that strength doesn’t have one definition. Great discussion topic!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I think it’s a curious concept- especially since it is peculiar to think of half the people on the planet as a “we”. I think there would be very different answers depending on who was asked! So I can only speak for myself- and I’m not a particularly competitive person by nature

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I find this to be an intriguing question and an interesting perspective from The Orangutan Librarian. Would we ask the question about do men compete with men? Should we purposefully not position women to compete with each other?

      I feel that Richard Osman meant what he said in a different context, of “in those days” it was not really acceptable for women to be strong, let alone to have 2 women, and do the norm, according to him, was for the women to be pre-conditioned to be adversarial towards each other. What a horrible “those days”… If only today those questions need not have a reason to be asked…

      Liked by 2 people

  9. On some level we all compete.
    My thoughts on strong women? Good for you. Stand and be heard. Be reasonable and willing to listen. Don’t argue with an idiot.
    As parents, we need to raise our daughters like our sons. This is a modern world and good or bad, it is always better to deal from strength.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I agree that “strong woman” can have many meanings. I think historically that women were encouraged to be competitive for a variety of reasons that I won’t list here. But none of those reasons had the well-being of the women in mind – not physically or mentally. It’s a way to keep their attention diverted from being oppressed. When we continue to fall into this trap, we retard our progress toward equality, which we have not achieved in any sense.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Most of the strong women I know are not afraid to acknowledge their (past or present) vulnerabilities because, just like positivity, strength comes in both toxic and authentic flavours.

    The only person I compete with is myself. I like being around strong women, I enjoy their company. In my fifties, my group of female friends were all strong women. It worked well, until one day, it didn’t. But it wasn’t competition which caused the rift. I’m now in a professional women-only network, and I love it. There’s no competition, only mutual enjoyment and support, loads of laughter and uplifting of each other. And yes, I would describe us all as strong women, ones who’ve overcome past ‘stuff’.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So many great comments in this thread and of course I agree with them. Given the current state of my own affairs, I am working my way back up to being a strong woman. As far as competitiveness, I kind of look at it from how men were traditionally viewed as being competitive but also, oddly, being more involved in team sports. On the other hand, as many have said, I think competition among women has been hyped up historically and societally and that, really, women generally work well in teams. Personally, it’s kind of been my goal to organize women in teams to accomplish various projects, assuming each brings a different skill set to the endeavor and that we will all encourage and appreciate that.

    Liked by 1 person

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