You Both Wore It Best

by Madeline Anscombe

Growing up, I was absolutely obsessed with People Magazine. So much so that my mom discontinued our subscription after the only conversations I was able to instigate with adults had to do with the tension between Jennifer Aniston and the budding Brangelina or their thoughts on who they thought truly wore it best. What I thought of as newfound maturity was instead the seed of  an idea I would grow up entrenched in: there is not enough room at the top for all women, and instead, we must compete with one another to make names for ourselves. One example that comes to mind is that when our ex-boyfriends move on, we must berate their new choices and convince ourselves of some sort of devolution in their taste. To a certain extent, we love it when our friends tell us, “she is so much uglier in person,” or that, “she is a total downgrade,” and it is incredibly possible that her friends are reiterating the same messages to reassure her that you are no threat to their relationship.

But back to my earlier concerns about Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie, there was no reason for the worth of these two women to be compared simply because the same male factor (now non-factor, am I right ladies) tied the two together. As for the “who wore it best” section, a dress worn by two women has equated to being enough for conflict, as if it is impossible that two people can look good in the same article of clothing.

As I grew up, this message was repeated loud and clear as girls justified themselves as being “not like other girls” in order to have a leg up on the competition. Shows like the Bachelor pit women against each other to compete for one man (while not a season has gone by where the Bachelorette has not been criticized for expressing her sexuality). Rihanna and Beyonce have been pitted against each other because apparently the world doesn’t have enough room for two black female musicians. And at a time when female CEOs represent a mere 4% of Fortune 500 companies, it makes total sense to believe that we must compete for the few positions made available to us. But growing up in constant comparison to my sisters and my friends has become as tiring as it is toxic. Women should not have to compete against one another to find self-worth, rather we should turn to one another as a vehicle for strength and empowerment as we continue to push the glass ceiling up, making more room for female leaders.

The Shine Theory illustrates the idea that there is strength in numbers. The world has room for the Angelinas, Jennifers, Rihannas AND Beyonces of the world. Instead of competing, we should challenge one another to surround ourselves with other strong women. These friendships are empowering and may help women learn the power that femininity really holds. After learning about the Shine Theory, I have challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone and befriend some people that I have admired for their style, tenacity and abilities. I have even befriended the exes of past flings and relationships because instead of critiquing them, I would MUCH rather talk about how cute we both are and revel in his incredible ability to pick such strong and well-rounded women.

In finding enough room at the top, I have made some incredible friends and have learned more about myself and the world than I ever thought possible. Powerful women are not afraid of your successes, instead they are the first people to congratulate you for reaching new heights. They educate you on things you have never thought about, challenge you to excel, and will still be the first people to bring over a bottle of wine and ice cream when you’re upset. In my inaugural post for Truth + Dare, I dare you to find enough comfort in your self-worth to accept other strong women in your life. As you will learn both from this blog and from your own life, women are worth embracing and celebrating. All it takes is an open mind and a willingness to forgo competition in the place of friendship. When we take our friends with us to the top, we begin to chip away at the notion that the world can only empower so many women. I can assure you, it is infinitely more fulfilling to be proud of your friends than spiteful of your enemies.