We were at a karaoke bar on a weeknight. I was sitting near a wall-length mirror, and I felt self-conscious about my body.
This night, there were two beautiful young girls in the bar. They were confident, and sexy, and did I mention young? They writhed as they belted ACDC songs. I held my boyfriend’s hand tighter and wondered what he was thinking as he watched them.
I had one eye on them all night. Intellectually, I felt happy to see two pretty girls having a good time together. Emotionally, they made me feel bad about myself. I realised that at 33, I was feeling threatened by younger women for the first time.
I’ve gone through stints of hating other women in my life. Growing up, internalised misogyny led me to resist all things inherently feminine. I “wasn’t like those other girls,” whom I thought of as a vapid and petty and superficial.
Anything considered masculine was inherently more valuable than “girly” things. Fuck sisterhood — I’d seen that the men around me had all the power, and I was willing to throw my whole gender under the bus for a grab at my share.
Then, in my early 20s, I found myself filled with jealous resentment against other women. I was drinking alcoholically and working a job I hated editing test preparation materials for elementary school kids. I loathed myself deeply, so I sneered through my hangover at women who had achieved the things I felt I deserved.