Dear girls.

This is for all who identify as women and have been hurt by others who identify as women.

I may not know you and you may not know me but there is something that makes us the same despite our different narratives.

We need to remember to be kind to each other

because the world is not kind to us.

We are all women and we have all struggled.

We have all been cat-called,

Slut-shamed,

Fat-shamed,

Told that we are not (insert adjective here) enough.

We are condemned as dramatic when we show emotion

But labeled as heartless when we don’t.

Girls are catty, they say.

Girls are drama, they say.

And the worst is that sometimes they is we.

We’ve all disliked other women,

Almost as often as we’ve disliked ourselves.

We have all been called a bitch behind our backs,

We have all called some one else a bitch behind theirs.

If you’re like me and come from a conservative family

then you’ve also been told your place in society —

“Women need to be smart but not too smart.”

“Women need to be pretty but not too pretty.”

“Women should be feminine but not too girly.”

If you’re a woman of color,

You’ve been objectified, fetishized,

Told that you’re ethnic — or worse — exotic.

When we go out for drinks,

dress too little and you’re a slut.

Too covered up? Prude.

And when we get hurt,

when we are attacked,

when we are violated,

It’s our fault — we shouldn’t have dressed this way,

smiled this way,

moved this way.

The right to our bodies,

The right to reproductive care,

The right to decide for ourselves

— when will that come?

It’s hard enough to be a woman in society as it is,

I’m sorry for making it worse for you.

You’ve hurt me and I’ve hurt you.

I forgive you. Will you forgive me?

Because we need to stop this nonsense. We are not each other’s competition. We are not threats. Bringing one woman down will not bring you up and of course we know that already. So then why do we do it?

The way we act or are perceived to act is not predetermined by our gender because we identify and define our own genders. We have been socialized to think a certain way. We have been told that the world is comprised of binaries so you should stick to one side and conform to all its labels. And once you decide to identify as a woman, if society even gives you the decision, these labels are then dumped onto you as you struggle to catch them. But then we grow up and realize that we didn’t need to fit these labels in the first place. And then we just feel silly.

We have been taught to be afraid of other women but that is wrong.

We are each other’s best allies,

So let’s treat each other with kindness.

Please.