Woman-on-woman crime. It’s a hot new topic of conversation lately. Whether or not your familiar with the term, you are likely familiar with the phenomenon itself.
Woman-on-woman crime happens when another woman sees your pantry and says, “Oh, you’re not buying organic?”
It happens when you say behind another woman’s back, “I would never treat my husband like that.”
In short, it happens every time you judge another woman for making a decision you wouldn’t make.
Woman-on-woman crime has a huge, ugly mole on her face called “Mommy Wars,” which, again, you have probably observed, if not experienced. You can identify a mommy war when you hear things like, “haven’t you heard that breast is best?” or, “Oh, I would never let my child cry it out.”
Mommy wars, wife wars, food wars, fashion wars, friend wars. They’re all woman-on-woman crime.
Or to be more specific, they are one facet of woman-on-woman crime.
I found another facet recently. A trend that was bothering me but I couldn’t quite figure out why.
See, here’s something you probably don’t need to know about me: I can be really awkward around women who are in a different stage of life than I am. Especially new moms. I never know what to say. I never know what’s appropriate or what’s offensive to say or ask.
I also feel kind of … petty? I have a job, a husband, an apartment, and I’m working on my master’s degree.
But moms carry a human being in their body for 40 weeks, literally push them out into the world, keep them alive for the first several years of their lives, and then teach them how to become a good person for the rest of it.
So that’s one example, but I can seriously be really awkward around women who aren’t exactly like me — working, young married and currently childless women.
So as if I weren’t already insecure and awkward enough, there’s a new blogging fad that just makes everything worse — “10 things never to say to a …”
You’ve seen those posts. 10 things never to say to a mom, a new mom, a stay-at-home mom, a working parent, a single parent, an adoptive parent, a foster parent, a parent of a child with special needs, a single person, a newlywed, a couple without kids, a couple with multiple kids, a nurse, a retail worker. This list literally goes on and on.
Your friends share these posts on social media and say, “THIS!!!! #truth.”
And I can make fun of those lists all I want, but I’ve made them. In my head. When I was a newlywed I would just wait for someone to ask me when I was going to get pregnant or if we’d had our first fight yet so I could get put-off and offended and feel superior. I’ve actually written about those thoughts on Rediscovered.
My thoughts and those posts always bothered me, and I never knew why until I realized: IT’S ANOTHER FACET OF WOMAN-ON-WOMAN CRIME!!!! The “10 things never to say to a …” blog post syndrome, if you will. The mindset that we are the only ones in our incredibly unique situations and that we deserve to never have anything said to us that could possibly rub us the wrong way. The mindset that we don’t have to show grace to people who say things we consider rude because how dare they be so inconsiderate?
So, to review: Being catty, judgmental and gossipy is woman-on-woman crime. Being entitled, easily offended and elevating your own status (be it marital, job or motherhood) above everyone else is also woman-on-woman crime.
But Ephesians offers a better alternative:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
If Jesus could live a perfect life without anger, harsh words and slander towards those who didn’t, maybe we can try to live our imperfect lives in the same way. If Jesus could be kind and tenderhearted and forgive our massive offenses to God, maybe we can forgive the minor offenses of our fellow women.
So let’s make a pact.
To decrease the crime rate. To be kind and tenderhearted, loving and gracious. To empower others, to forgive their faux pas, and to be nice for crying out loud. Please repeat the following words.
I vow to prayerfully make the best and wisest decisions I can make for myself and my family. But I further vow to consider that my minor lifestyle decisions and opinions are not the only valid ones out there. I vow to consider there are other women who may pray and seek wisdom about the same issues and come to different conclusions and that does not make me better than them.
Even if I disagree with someone’s decisions, I vow not to be snarky or condescending or eye-rolly towards them. I vow to keep my opinions and judgments to myself unless I truly believe that another person is legitimately harming herself or others. When I think judgmental thoughts about others (as I am bound to), I will try to keep those thoughts at bay and replace them with positive, gracious and uplifting ones toward the other person.
I vow to NEVER EVER EVER get in a cat-fight about any of this stuff on social media or blogs. EVER.
I further vow not to keep a running list in my head of things that people “had better not say to me” about my circumstances. When someone is inconsiderate or rude in what they say to me, I will be graceful and forgiving and give them the benefit of the doubt.
I vow to attempt to be considerate in what I say to others, especially those in a different situation or stage of life than my own. I vow to truly think about what I say to them and try not to say anything that would hurt them. But if I do accidentally offend someone, I will be forgiving of myself and not beat myself up over it.
I vow to be, as best I can, supportive, affirming, encouraging, uplifting and kind to other women (and men) of all ages, shapes and sizes.
I vow, through the grace of God, to get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander. I vow, instead, to be kind to others, tenderhearted, forgiving others, just as God through Christ has forgiven me.
We will all break this vow at one time or another, but let it be a reminder to us that Christ is above woman-on-woman crime and therefore we have hope.