'I Still Believe' That Women Can Come Together To Support Women (Including Mariah Carey)

by Christine Burke
Eugene Gologursky / Getty Images

It’s a scene that plays out at PTA meetings, play groups, and social media groups far too often:

“OMG, did you hear about what she did?”

“Can you believe she said that? She is such a bitch.”

“I mean, I would never wear something like that. She looks like a slut!”

And we are all guilty.

All of us.

If you say that you aren’t a woman who has torn another woman down when she’s made a mistake or suffered some type of public embarrassment, you are a fucking liar. You can sit there, acting smug AF that you’ve never beaten another woman when she’s down, but we both know you are full of shit.

Sure, you may hold your friends in high esteem, but you’ve bad-mouthed a female celebrity or made fun of another mom’s parenting at the park or picked apart the looks of a woman or made snap judgments in the comment section before reading the entire article. Admit it. I’ll wait.

Ladies, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

Really. We have to knock this shit off.

Sure, we talk a good game about supporting and building each other up professionally. We repeat catchphrases like, “I’ve got your back,” and “Girl, I’m on your side,” but really, we are all just waiting for each other to fuck up royally. And when we see other moms or colleagues make those mistakes, we take that opportunity to talk behind backs and trash talk on social media because, ladies, let’s be honest: That’s what we do.

Women fail each other day in and day out. It’s like we are all waiting for another mom to make a mistake so we can feel morally superior about our parenting. When we hear of a mom who’s dropped the ball with planning a PTA event or a female colleague who was taken to task for missing an important deadline, we are ready with our pitchforks. At worst, we join in. At best, we act smug and superior. We relish in passing judgment about another mom’s parenting mishap, and we all know that mom who sidles up to you at a school activity and says, “I just thought you should know what so and so did…”

I see it in online social groups, I hear it at parties, and I watch it go down on the playground. I see women habitually treating each other like crap, and not only does it make me sad, it also pisses me off. We judge celebrity moms (and no, they don’t “ask for it” by being in the spotlight) as we sip our chardonnay at girls’ night out, and we laugh uncontrollably as a friend describes another woman’s humiliating experience she witnessed at her company party.

We often find it amusing to cut each other down.

And worse, we think it’s okay to tear another woman down to make ourselves feel good.

I’m ashamed to admit that I’m just as guilty as the next woman. I’m not wagging my finger in superiority, I’m pointing the finger at myself too.

This weekend, I watched in horror as Mariah Carey gave an unfortunate performance in front of about a billion people. With damn near the whole world watching, she had issues with her earphones, screwed up her lyrics, and basically had the most embarrassing moments of her life captured on live television for everyone to see. She was humiliated, and it was painful to watch in real time.

My first reaction? I made a joke about Mariah on my personal Facebook account. And it wasn’t long until my friends and I were having a field day, cracking jokes and poking fun at what was very obviously a terribly humiliating experience for her.

We weren’t alone either, because the internet loves a woman when she’s down. They especially love it when this female is a celebrity.

The internet went to town on her.

Women from around the world made comments about her professionalism, her talent, her figure, her reputation as a so called diva. They made horrible remarks about Mariah’s character, her physical appearance, and her choice of clothing.

The reviews of her performance were scathing, and obviously she’s not getting a Grammy for that performance, but so much of the criticism focused on her appearance and physical attributes. And yes, before everyone goes there, being in the public eye comes with a certain amount of expectation that a celebrity will be critiqued and criticized, but, seriously, ladies, we can do so much better than what we did to Mariah Carey on social media. And we can do better for each other too.

At the end of the day, I can’t sing like Mariah. Neither can you. Those high notes you hit in the shower? You go, girl. But you are no Mariah.

She’s also a strong woman who has to pick herself up and forge ahead. We’ve all been there at some point along the way.

Every single one of us makes mistakes. Hell, I make at least 15 solid mistakes a day. And that’s usually before 9 a.m. When I mess up professionally or let my kids down, I feel the shame deeply. I am capable of chastising myself and holding myself accountable without the help of a mob of women to shove the humble pie down my throat. I’ve been embarrassed on social media by acquaintances who want to point out my flaws, and I’ve been the victim of the gossip mill more times that I’d like to admit. It stings.

But for all of my embarrassing moments, thankfully, I’ve been able to contain my humiliation to my social circle. Poor Mariah, on the other hand, had to face her humiliation on a world stage, and we women just let her flounder. We shared, we tweeted, we posted, we texted. We let a hardworking, accomplished woman flounder as we pointed and laughed our asses off. And we’ll do it again the next time a female celebrity messes up, because we just can’t seem to grasp that ridiculing another woman is baseless and does nothing but perpetuate the stereotype that women are catty and insensitive, especially to each other.

So, Mariah, you keep your chin up, girl, because I’ve got your back. I’ll watch your next performance, and I will cheer you on. I’m embarrassed that I hopped on the “The Last Thing to Die in 2016 Is Mariah’s Career” bandwagon, and I will reel myself in when I feel the need to partake in the mocking of my fellow women (celebrity or not) from this point forward. You aren’t your mistakes and as for that nude bodysuit? I’d never have the balls to strut my stuff in front of a billion people wearing a sparkle leotard, but I genuinely admire any woman who can. You go, girl.

Ladies, the bottom line is that we face enough shit out there without holding each other down. Let’s support the fuck out of each other in 2017. Game on.