As women, we need to do better at supporting each other

Did you know that women are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than men? 

It shouldn't be all that surprising. Just think of all the things our bodies go through — puberty, PMS, birth control, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause, to name a few. All of these things cause changes in our hormone levels, and this can alter the neurotransmitters that affect our mood. 

But it's not just hormonal changes that make depression more likely in women. It's also the inequalities we still face. We still experience a pay gap and unequal power in the workplace, with women holding only 35% of senior leadership positions. Women are also more likely to experience sexual harassment and abuse than our male counterparts. In fact, 81% of women, compared to 43% of men, have experienced some type of sexual harassment in their lives.

Of course, on top of all this, we also experience more body image issues than men. According to the U.S. Office on Women, "This may be because many women in the United States feel pressured to measure up to strict and unrealistic social and cultural beauty ideals, which can lead to a negative body image. ... Young girls and teens are more likely to be praised for how they look than for their thoughts or actions."

The craziest thing of all is that often, these pressures, judgements and ideals are coming from OTHER WOMEN! Umm...seriously? We know what it's like to struggle with everything mentioned above, so shouldn't we have each other's backs? Shouldn't we be able to rely on each other for support?

But the sad truth is that this is often not the case. 

I recently saw a photoshoot posted on social media of Millie Bobby Brown and Saddie Sink, the young actresses of "Stranger Things." When I looked at the comments, nearly all of them were comparing the two. "Millie is more beautiful," and "No, Saddie is." And most of these comments were from, you guessed it — women! 

I couldn't help but think, "What if either of them read these comments?!" And it made me sick. Why do we find the need to compare women, and why do we feel the need to pit two women against each other? And, even more so, why do we feel the need to constantly comment on the way women look? Not a single comment was about their talent, like, "Wow, these are two amazing actresses!"

Can you imagine if there was an image of two of their co-stars, like Finn Wolfhard and Noah Schapp? Would many — or ANY — of the comments be about which one is better looking? I can almost guarantee that, if there were any comments like these, none would be from men degrading other men's looks. So why do women do it? 

I can't even tell you the number of times I've heard a woman find her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend on social media — and absolutely destroy the way she looks. They'll analyze everything about her and make fun of her. I get it, you're mad at the guy — but why do we project this anger onto another woman who did nothing wrong? Why do we degrade her and say things about her we would never want anyone to say about us?

This is wrong, and it's a cycle that needs to stop. Women putting other women down. Women fighting other women over men. Women talking bad about other women behind their backs. Sometimes, we're seriously our own worst enemy. 

Think of all that women could accomplish if we just had each other's backs, instead of competing with one another. Of course it's not a cure-all for depression, but I really do believe, if more women supported other women, our mental health would significantly benefit from it. 

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