It’s in your DNA, apparently.
Yup. As Jezebel reports, there is this study that says women are catty because it’s in our DNA, apparently, to hate anyone younger or prettier.
According to ABC, the study’s author and psychology professor at the University of Ottawa, Tracy Vaillancourt, “Women are biologically programmed to perceive women who are younger, prettier or more desirable to potential mates as threats. To diffuse a threatening rival, women tend to employ passive aggressive behaviors. So rather than lift a finger, a woman will wound her opponent with contemptuous glances, unkind words and petty remarks. Men, on the other hand, seem programmed to use direct aggression techniques like shouting and physical violence to defend their social turf.”
Vaillencourt tells LiveScience that women prefer indirect aggression because it has a low cost. “The person [making the attack] doesn’t get injured. Oftentimes, the person’s motives aren’t detected, and yet it still inflicts harm against the person they’re aggressing against.”
The whole study is ridiculous. To reduce an entire sex to a silly set of unbecoming behaviors is a stupid attempt to further label women as shallow and bitchy while using science as an excuse for poor behavior.
As usual Tracey Moore over on Jezebel hits the nail on the head with her assessment of the so-called study. Being “catty” isn’t about a person’s sex. It’s about power. As Moore says, “And I think it’s a symptom of any group that is routinely denied power, or reduced culturally to having only one kind that matters, such as sexual power, and that, furthermore, is conditioned to never express anger or physical aggression, to come up with more indirect ways to express these human things.”
Right. If there’s one thing to be said about the word “bitch” in recent years it’s that it can certainly apply to men too. Thank you, Jesse Pinkman. Appropriating the word “bitch” for men is great because the term shouldn’t just apply to women. As Moore points out, it’s not a gender thing, it’s a way of behaving and I’ve known just as many “bitchy” and “catty” men as women.
Men use passive aggressive behaviors just like women: when they think it might work. Problem is, when men do it they’re powerful, scheming and strategic, women are just catty bitches. Moore points to this article on the subject as evidence that the term “catty” is a sexually biased way of describing an unhealthy way women act on an otherwise healthy feeling of competitiveness.
Yet the old double standard is still in existence wherein if women act as powerful as their male counterparts they’re called bitches while men acting in the exact same manner are extolled as good businessmen, or whatever.
Stop putting the big, furry catty mantle on the shoulders of all women! As evolutionary psychologist Anne Campbell, tells LiveScience, “There is virtually no sex difference in indirect aggression. By the time you get to adulthood, particularly in work situations, men use this, too.”
We all use what we think will help move us forward in life so, in my opinion, we should all take a page out of Jesse Pinkman’s book and use terms like “bitch” and “catty” when it applies to the behavior, regardless of the sex of the individual.
Image: M Bielanko
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