Monday, November 14, 2011

Online Behavior


A blogger I know said something that gave me pause.  She said that "in real life, women are catty and competitive."  She's surprised how polite and considerate bloggers are online when, in her personal life, she sees women behave differently.

Is this true, in your experience?  Do women behave differently online?  Or is the explanation that fashion-bloggers are nice people and the women who behave badly aren't bloggers?  Are all women "catty and competitive" or just some?

I've had the good fortune to be able to converse with several of you and I've found you all to be kind, sweet and caring people.  I don't see women acting badly online or in real life.  I concede, however, that my interactions with women aren't representative of female behavior.  In person, women perceive me as a man, not a woman, so they don't show me the same behavior they show other women. 

What do you think?

31 comments:

  1. You always have such intriging (sorry, bad spelling) topics! Women can definitely be catty and competitve in real life. Kayla has found being a teenage girl, girls are definitely quite mean. As we grow older we gain more confidence and don't feel the need to "battle for territory" Most women who act like this in real life are usually insecure. Good post! Heather

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  2. I think I have better luck with online friends because blogging has made it easy for me to find people with similar interests as me. Therefore, I tend to avoid catty people. In real life, if you are stuck working or going to school or even eating out at a restaurant where there are catty women, well, you cannot control that as easily. I guess that is how I could see that making sense.

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  3. I do think that a lot of women can be "catty" and snarky toward one another, and I certainly experienced this as a young teen. That's a driving reason as to why there's only one young female character in my novel among twenty-three young men! I find the minds of guys and their interactions a whole lot more interesting. They're catty in a different, more subtle way. (Well, sometimes not. But still).

    Every blogger I've met online has been awesome and totally down-to-earth. I feel that people inclined to start a blog are usually people with good intentions. Rude and obnoxious men and women either troll said blogs or are out getting into trouble online or off. (A huge generalization, but that's pretty much what I've seen!)

    www.atavisions.com

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  4. Going off of what has already been mentioned, I think that freedom adults have for self-selection of peers certainly helps reduce the worst of the cattiness.

    Probably 75% of my employees are female, and I find that the gossip, cattiness, and general bitchiness are usually related to someone feeling threatened in some way. There are certainly a number of them who find it entertaining, though, and that it somehow gives them a power position within the group. (It's why I prefer male dominated workplaces!)

    There's also the pressure of social acceptability with the audience - I'm much more likely to make a snarky comment to my sister than to the Sunday School teacher in the classroom next to mine! Which leads to my final, and probably most logical explanation for the disparity...

    Most commenters are trying not just to participate in the blogosphere but also to drive traffic to their own blogs. Overt bitchiness runs counter to that goal. Catch more flies with honey, etc.

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  5. What that blogger was talking about is fairly true. You only have to go through high school to see 'cattiness' at its worst. However I think bloggers are very well behaved and hopefully too mature to indulge in being catty or rude.

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  6. I read this shortly after commenting and thought it was relevant: http://www.agirlinboston.com/home/2011/10/30/the-highs-and-lows-of-blogging.html

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  7. I don't think that's true at all. I mean, I feel like immature people do that. But mature people don't. I like to be silly and giggle with friends but it's not at the expense of others. Unless I'm making fun of myself. And I do that a lot. But it's all in good fun.

    I love your curious mind, Ally. Love me some Ally, too!

    xoxo,
    Tracy

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  8. An ugly part of the female experience is the bitchiness, cattiness, and competitiveness of many (most?) women. For the bulk of my adult life, most of my friends have been men... because they are easier to deal with.

    Groups of girls or women tend to single one out for exclusion... it starts in childhood, and carries through for many. It's horribly lonely being that one, I can assure you.

    The bloggers you have "met" are not typical women by any means.

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  9. Sara said it well. I find it interesting how women act different online to real life compared to "average people". Many people use the anonymity of online to be hateful. I'm grateful for the opposite. I personally try to avoid dramallamas as much as I can. It has meant losing some friends, but I am much happier not to have that drain of negativity.

    I have never really had female friends. Even my "best friend" is a trans-male. So blogging allows me to have female attachments. I wish I was more effective at online friendships because I wish I had "closer" online friends. I do consider many of my online friends "real" friends though.

    As for catty attitudes, women are awful. And yes they are more likely to hide it from men, especially when it's women being mean to women. I always hated the high school drama and talking behind backs. So I pretty much stayed and continue to stay out of it as much as I can.

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  10. Your posts are so interesting Ally! I agree with that comment. We have a natural tendency to be bitchy. But I agree that it's the insecure women who do that mostly. (and I've met plenty of them)

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  11. This topic actually has crossed my mind a couple times upon step backing and admiring all these lovely personalities and girls I've met through blogging. I suppose, unless you truly, truly have gotten to know the person, you don't really know if they may have catty tendencies in a social setting. I don't believe most people would make it a point to put forth that attitude when they can in all honestly create whatever image they want for themselves online. It's just another blank slate.
    At the same time though, I wouldn't generalize and say all women are catty. Sure, you'll run into those sorts, but there's a great deal of varied personalities out there, and I like to think not to judge until you truly get to know that individual.
    So, all in all, I'm sure there's a bit of both attitudes in both worlds, it's just about being around the right people. xx

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  12. I think bloggers are like minded people - we all love the same thing: fashion! I've never come across any negativity. I was always brought up to treat others how you expect to be treated yourself & it has bode me well so far xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

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  13. Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my blog recently, I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to stumble upon your blog. I've just read through the last 7 or so pages and have been fascinated by your insightful, interesting and very stylish posts!

    I find the blogging community to be very friendly and accepting, perhaps moreso than in real life, and I think that may have to do with the fact that we are all here celebrating a common interest, and we're all doing something similar, so we can relate to one another.

    On the other hand, bloggers can be quite competitive, and insecurity is bound to come out when people expose so much of themselves through blogging. It's so easy to be jealous of another blogger's looks/style/success that sometimes bitchiness can arise!

    xx

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  14. first of all let me say that i love this post! really makes you think. i think that bloggers are really nice to other bloggers because all of us put ourselves out there and understand each others' positions. it takes courage to publish your photos and thoughts to the entire world. there will always be negative comments but we can at least be nice to each other because we are all in the same shoes :)

    xxx,

    Fashion Fractions

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  15. Great responses, guys, which are actually helpful to me in understanding the often-hidden life of women. Plus, I learned a new word -- dramallamas!

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  16. I do tend to think that people tend to be a little nicer online -
    Although it's not always true as many of us have experienced the evil, bitchy and catty messages of our anonymous commenters.
    I think some women are capable of handling competition while others cannot deal with it and I guess that brings the worst out of them.

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  17. The best part about online cattiness is that sometimes, you can just block them, which makes it easier than real life! I think we're all prone to catty moments, and some do enjoy the anonymity of the internet as a misguided release for their anger. However, when dealing with people I know in real life, I find them just as equally catty online and in person.

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  18. Women are frighteningly catty, manipulative, spiteful, and competitive. Very true. But the claws only tend to come out when there is drama to be had (fighting over a guy, for example).

    That drama isn't really in the blogging world, so it allows girls to just be nice to each other. And it's easy to be nice to someone when you both share a passion for Louboutins and that's basically all you talk about.

    That being said, I have seen bitchy girls in the fashion blogging world. Some of them make mean comments because they are jealous or offer "constructive criticism" meant to hurt another blogger. It does exist...

    Great topic. :)

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  19. I have met women who behaved in catty, competitive, and even downright bitchy ways (though I hate that word I can't find a good substitute). But they were definitely in the minority, and women in my circle of closer acquaintances don't generally behave like that. I do know that the media and our well-beloved social stereotypes (floating around our heads mid-air as part of the general cultural consciousness no doubt) set women up to be competitive and catty, and I imagine this has an effect on most of us somehow. Even though I grew up without immersion into TV-babble, I know I was very competitive, and probably catty, for a large part of my youth, and my reasons for being so went back as far as to the fairytales I was told as a preschooler, where it was understood that only one princess gets to have the prince and the happy ending, and that it's usually the one who is *the most beautiful*... I'm going to have to write about this strangely appealing mind-poison that fairytales present, sometime...

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  20. I have worked with some awful, mean women. Some of the men were bad too, but nothing can cut as much as another woman intent on tearing you down. That said, I have known some really wonderful women and I really believe that the people I have met blogging are wonderful and supportive. After all, it takes time for people to respond to a blog and to write thoughtful comments. If they weren't sincere, I don't think they would take the time. I don't know about everyone else, but I wasn't real popular in school or even at work, so maybe that makes me kinder to others because I know what it is like to be left out of the cool crowd. I know I am not perfect and sometimes I say things the wrong way because I am a bit too literal, but I try hard to be a nice person.
    It is a great post!

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  21. I don't know. I don't believe this. All the bloggers I've met in real life have been lovely.

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  22. ...Hmm. I think only some women are catty and competitive. I mean, I'm competitive, but it's not like I hate on others while being competitive, ya know? It's more of a silent thing. Like, "Well, if so-and-so can get great abs, then I can too!" And I can be a huge bitch (HUGE BITCH) in real life, but I can also be sweet as pie, too. I think most people are like that. Very rarely do I meet someone who is 100% catty and competitive, whether it be online or offline. We're complex ladies: we can switch back and forth from bitch to actual human being.

    But yes, women are mean. I think a lot of it just boils down to jealously. I really do.

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  23. Girls are always competitive and catty. Look no further than the comments you've already gotten and see how each woman is dying to tell you how she is soooo not like that, even though A LOT of women are. Does that sound competitive? Yes. Does it also sound catty? Yes.

    I love irony.

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  24. Hi Ally - I love that you throw these topics/issues out and get everyone thinking and talking - I think all women are born with an inherent bitchiness, I think it shows its face mainly when we are feeling insecure or threatened...I try not to believe that women are bitchy and mean, because they enjoy it, although I have met some women who make it difficult not to believe....On the whole, I think as I have gotten older, I have weeded out the women whose behaviour I don't like and have enough confidence in myself to not resort to bitchiness, although in a showdown - I could probably give as good as I get - I just don't need to or want to.....

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  25. Oh, no, that's not my experience at all. My mom believes that of women and that's what she attracts in her life. I don't, and I see very little of it. Honestly, the catty women out there probably want nothing to do with the kind of person I am so I don't seem to cross paths with them.

    As I entered my 30's, I made female friends that were so loving and accepting and beautiful that in turn they helped me see other women that way. I started drawing more women that way into my life. I think we drawn in what we want, or expect, whether consciously or unconsciously. So when I meet a beautiful woman I expect her to be loving and generous and kind. I guess I run in the right circles.

    I bet there are catty bloggers out there but they're not appealing to us and we don't get to know them. My 2 cents!
    xo, f
    You sound like such a great mom, your daughter is a lucky one. A very stylish and great mom! Looking super cute:)
    xo, f
    The House in the Clouds

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  26. I have found many women are catty. We seem to hold onto the negative and talk about it over and over. I find it annoying. I have yet to find a catty blogger. I have noticed the bigger bloggers have talked about too many negative comments. But I have yet to experience.

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  27. I think both men and women can behave in ways that make me swallow, close my eyes and count to ten. I find it easier however to deal with women's faults, maybe as I'm one of them too. :)

    One of my goals in life is to be less and less judgmental, and one of my techniques is analysing people's motives for behaving in certain ways. I'm convinced nobody wants to behave bithy, it's just a way to cope with certain situations. I try to think of this when I feel hurt by the behaviour of a girl or a boy.

    I think it's easier to be nice to each other online as we have time to word what we wish to say - so we don't hurt anyone incidentally.

    Also, blogging is something we do out of pleasure. We're not forced to spend our time together, we choose who we read, who we respond to... (Unlike in real life, where we might be enclosed in one office with people we might not want to see again after the first 5 minutes.) Bloggers are our chosen colleagues, somewhere between friends and work aquaintances. Hopefully more like friends. :)

    Great post and great discussion again! Just wanted to tell you I've added your blog to my blogroll, I hope you don't mind. :)

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  28. Beautiful post!!!i'm following you!!!if you like mine, do the same!!
    WWW.ZAGUFASHION.COM

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  29. I bumped into your blog by random cause and I must say you are such an interesting person. I believe you get what you put into it, every one is in the same position. Putting yourself out there is something all bloggers know about and know how it feels, therefore, we are sympathetic to each other and provide constructive criticism to each other to improve what is already there. That's how I see it.

    I'll be adding you to my GFC blog roll to keep up : )

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  30. Since I am still on a college campus, I find that women are much, much nicer online than they are in person. Granted, since I am still in school, I am around a wide variety of people, and students aren't the most caring people in the entire world. I am not sure why women seem to be nicer online. Really, I think that more mature women go out of their way to make friends over the internet because they know the value of that relationship.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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  31. Have you not seen Real Housewives of Orange County, Bev Hills, Atlanta, NYC etc? Women can be that way. I'm not sure what it is... we should support one another, it's tough enough being a woman! I'm not going to play innocent and say I've never uttered a catty word ever. But I'm not a mean girl and I detest cattiness in others. I love people. That's why blogging is such fun! It has opened up a whole world of new interactions with people I wouldn't have the opportunity to encounter on a daily basis. It takes all kinds. I wish women, and the world in general, were more tolerant but I suppose you can just chalk this one up to the human (or female) condition!

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