A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I were sitting at the bar in one of the local steakhouses that we frequent, and I overheard a conversation between a woman and her companions. I know, I know, you shouldn't eavesdrop on other people's conversations, but they were so loud it was impossible to not pay attention.
The woman was telling the man sitting next to her that she thought young women were evil and that they were the absolute worst. I found this disappointing, but I figured that I would keep listening to see where it was going. She started in on how her 15 year old daughter's best friend was a horrible bitch... Her reasoning? The friend told the daughter that she was beautiful without make up. That's it. She told her friend that she was beautiful. Mom wasn't having it though, she made sure to correct the friend and tell her daughter "She is only saying that because she wants to steal your man, and they only want she can do that is if you're ugly and not wearing make up."
I had to stop listening at this point, because I was starting to see red and I wanted to swim across the bar to confront the lady. Instead I leaned over to my boyfriend and whispered into his ear, "Did I hear that right? Did she really just tell these people that her daughter is ugly without a face full of paint? Did I misunderstand?" He assured me that I heard correctly, and that maybe I shouldn't be listening in on conversations that I'm not part of.
So I went back to my drink, and food was served shortly, but clearly this exchange stayed with me. It really bothers me that people are teaching their daughters that other girls are the enemy, and especially at such a young age. A fifteen year old shouldn't have to worry about someone "stealing her man" she should be worried about whether or not she's going to pass her final exams, and what she's going to do over the weekend. She should be learning that her girlfriends can last a lifetime, but your high school crush will likely only last a few months. GIRLS ARE NOT THE ENEMY. Boys aren't either, but they shouldn't be your only focus in life, there are so many other dreams to chase at that age.
I hope all my friends with daughters teach them to be true to themselves. If they want to wear make up, that's cool, but that they don't need it to feel worthy. They don't need to paint themselves to be beautiful, to be loved. I hope they're taught that ugliness is more than skin deep, that you can be conventionally pretty, but still have a hideous soul and that it's better to be a good person than to look good in designer jeans. Help the underdog, hold your friends' hand when they're feeling insecure, build up others instead of tearing them down. Speak out when something needs to be said, be fearless. Strength is more that big muscles, it's in your character, make yours one worth remembering.