WHY DO WE BECOME MEAN GIRLS?

Unpacking why we hurt and hate on each other.

No matter what the trigger might be — I think we all go to a judgemental place inside ourselves sometimes. We can’t help our knee jerk reactions to certain things.

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However, what’s important is to figure out WHY. Where are the feelings stemming from? While I understand that we aren’t going to mesh with everyone, because of personalities, differing opinions or otherwise, there are certain crimes we commit against our peers that require a closer look.

For me, it started with having a friend in my life who would call me on my shit, and help me get to the bottom of why instead of immediately participating in the bashing session. It was the first time someone has stopped me in my tracks before I went “there.”

We NEED to hold each other accountable to be better. There’s a reason Tina Fey wrote this quote into the movies Mean Girls:

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CRIME #1: JEALOUSY

Admiration is healthy and motivating. Jealousy is your brain’s way of telling you something important.

Humour me, but I’m pretty sure it was this article in Cosmo that made me re-think jealousy. It’s worth reading.

Pay attention to envy. Sometimes it can remind you of your values/goals and how you’ve strayed from them. Sometimes it’s a sign that you’re putting money on the wrong stock and sometimes you just need a gentle remember that just because someone else shines doesn’t mean you can’t too.

I was jealous of people who appeared to be living their lives unafraid of what people think, and freely expressing themselves. Essentially, anyone who was confident and owning their life without fear.

WHY? Because I was scared of everything, most of all what people thought of me. I had always wanted to truly feel that way about myself but it never came naturally, so I put on an act of being confident without actually being able to walk the talk. This forced me to confront the fact that I had to dig deep and do the work to really and truly start accepting myself.

Ask yourself why, and keep asking variations of why until you drill to the core of why you feel the need to be jealous of someone’s vacation photos on Instagram, their new apartment or your co-workers promotion. It might be about as ugly as a colonoscopy, but knowing you don’t have cancer is worth the excessive amount of laxatives and discomfort.

Ok maybe that metaphor was a bit of stretch, but basically it’s an opportunity to look within yourself and maybe make some changes.

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CRIME #2: FEELING “FEMASCULATED” AND PUTTING OTHER WOMEN ON THE PERFECT PEDESTAL

Feeling femasculated is a term I first learned from the book F*CKED by Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson. The writer describes it as feeling like you aren’t feminine enough, sexual enough or hot enough. Hutchinson talks about her boyfriends’ girlfriend before they met (who was a pornstar), and says feeling this way has the ability to turn us into “ugly mean-girls.”

This is harmful for so many reasons, but most of all because we end up feeling like we don’t measure up when we build pedestals. It might lead to wanting to “cut that person down to size” and “who does she think she is?” thinking.

Usually, if not always, it’s about you — not them.

No matter what anybody says or does on Instagram, nobody is perfect nor are they claiming to be. That ‘perfect’ descriptor is something we put on people, usually on social media especially. Straight up, it’s not a healthy form of admiration because it’s not BASED IN REALITY.

Want to know the best way to immediately deconstruct the pedestal? Get to know someone and ask them out for coffee. Realize that they are also human, like you, and that they have feelings, flaws and baggage too. Realize there’s nothing wrong with the fact that you aren’t them, because you’re you. And you are enough in every way.

While putting someone on a pedestal might your initial reaction, it takes effort to look beyond that and unpack your thinking. It’s the only worthwhile way to work through this sort of reaction, especially when you are in an Instagram vortex feeling like garbage.

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CRIME #3: SLUT-SHAMING

This one is very near and dear to my heart because it is something I’ve realized over time that I’m SO NOT FUCKING DOWN WITH Y’ALL.

Not long ago, I found a note a friend of mine wrote me in high school, and it went something like this:

Is it true you like ______? Because I heard a rumour you do, and apparently you said it was ok because your boyfriend doesn’t go to our high school. Is it true? If it is, I don’t think you’re slutty, but other people might.

For the record, no I didn’t. I cried in my parents basement after I read that as a 24-year-old because I think it so perfectly encapsulates how slut-shaming starts young.

Here’s the thing: it’s healthy to check in with our friends and ask how they are feeling about their relationships and sex lives, especially if we think they might not be happy. But it should be coming from a place of empathy, caring and non-judgement.

It’s not helpful to use those conversations to feel superior about ourselves.

Like lots of other women, I dealt with crippling body image problems for most of life that still haunt me to this day. So when I used to see other woman freely loving and accepting their bodies and expressing their sexuality, instead of being like FUCK YA YOU GO GIRL – I silently judged. I was rude. I spit out monologues to my boyfriend at the time after scrolling through my social feeds.

And you know what? It didn’t make me feel any better about myself. In fact, it made me feel like shit.

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In my mind, slut-shaming is twofold: not only do we need to stop shaming each other for what we choose to do with our bodies, but we also need to stand up to those who try to shame us and put us in our place.

Because believe me, people will try (and some will succeed). Society has conditioned us from the dawn of time to believe that as women we need to be pure, demure and monogamous. Those expectations create pressure, and pressure creates shame. That’s one fucked up physics equation.

I think more than ever there are so many amazing female role models who refuse to take that shame, and shut it down.

Want to see a woman who refuses to be shamed? Watch Spike Lee’s reboot of She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix. Or the two women who host Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast. There is an entire chapter of the book they wrote (the one I mentioned earlier) devoted to shame, and how prevalent it is in North American culture when it comes to sex.

My final note on this subject: just because you wouldn’t do something or something isn’t your cup of tea sexually doesn’t give you the right to look down on anyone else that has different preferences. Playing it fast and loose with our personal opinions has the ability to hurt other people — be careful and considerate. Nobody likes feeling judged, especially not your friends.


Please feel free to share this with your pals and spread the love.

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WHAT I LEARNED FROM GOING SOBER FOR TWO MONTHS

I have nothing against drinking. In fact, I get why people do it. This was 100% my choice and it wasn’t brought on by a bunch of binge drinking. Actually…quite the opposite.

The whole point was to shift my thinking so much that I’d never see it the same way again, and I think I was successful. Some of this stuff I already knew, and other things just became really apparent as the weeks went on.

Drinking after a hard day isn’t a given

“I had a rough day/week/month and I deserve this,” is something I definitely used to tell myself.

It’s SO socially normalized to feel entitled to binge drink when things are shitty because we want to forget about whatever’s causing the feeling. All we’re doing is using alcohol to take a break from whatever feelings are consuming us. In my case, I would then wake up hungover and usually more depressed than I originally was. It’s like hitting the pause button on life, HOWEVER, the movie’s still gonna be there for when you come back. Being dry forced me to work through some of my pent-up end of the week negative self-talk in a constructive way. I would go to yoga, put on a guided meditation, cook or bake, go for an insanely long walk outside in the cold, get food with a friend or hit a workout class. Laughing honestly helped more than anything.

I also rage-consumed an entire medium pizza to myself one night, but hey, nobody’s perfect.

Self-confidence doesn’t need to come from alcohol

If I was as confident as I am after five drinks in everyday life, pretty sure I’d own Google or Dominos Pizza by now. I didn’t realize how much I used alcohol to boost my self-esteem and quiet the negative self-talk in my head until I had to go out and meet people over and over again without that crutch.

Buzzed Raegan values herself, calls you on your bullshit and knows she looks good in that outfit, whereas sober Raegan seems to act and think like she’s a homely pile of bricks with nothing to offer.

I figured out I was using the drinks as an excuse to feel confident — almost like it wasn’t ok if I just felt that way about myself in everyday life?? Which is dumb??? Wow someone who likes themselves..how radical and different!!! Not allowed!!!!!!!!

But seriously though, it made me come to terms with the fact that I’m allowed to be ok with myself as I am, as weird as that sounds. I don’t need to hide it or blame it on the booze.

Aiming for mental/emotional sobriety is actually what matters

This basically means not just avoiding drinking, but any behaviour that numbs. For me, I found myself eating junk food to feel better instead of drinking. For some people, it might be shopping or swiping on Tinder. Being sober is about stepping away from those behaviours and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and feel what you’re feeling.

This might sound harsh, but If you’re feeling like ass it’s actually better to just accept it. Numbing is what we do when we can’t accept our bad feelings, or we want to feel only good stuff. We’ve gotta stop telling ourselves we are wrong for feeling sad, angry or heartbroken because these feelings are part of being human.  Forcing those things down or away is sort of like looking at inspirational quotes when you’re not in the mood — it makes your brain want to vomit.

We can’t be happy or feel great all the time. It’s literally just not how life works.

Weekends are awesome when your stomach doesn’t feel like a dumpster fire

I have IBS, which basically means that if I have over three drinks it’s going to feel like there’s a colony of seasick fire ants living in my stomach the whole next day. The first Saturday after I broke my dry spell I woke up and was immediately reminded of how shitty it is to be incapacitated by a stomach ache like that for an entire day. I know hangovers aren’t that intense for everyone, but even just the fact that I sleep like shit when I drink is enough to make me a grumpy bitch.

Drinking is way women are “supposed to” bond

I already knew this already from watching a CBC Documentary in 2016 called Girls Night Out but it was good to take a step back and think critically about alcohol and it’s larger function. Critical thinking and questioning usually isn’t best done after having a pint, which is arguably why we have the pint in the first place. Because if we really thought about certain things there would be a big ol’ well of #rage underneath.

Reality television, memes, alcohol advertising, Buzzfeed articles, innocent social media posts (like the Cosmo one above) and more all tell women that it’s ok to use drinks to let down our walls, bond, have a wild night, free ourselves of our hangups and tell each other crazy shit we’d never say sober. It’s literally engrained in us socially. Is it fun sometimes? Hell ya. But it’s truly not necessary if you’re friendships are built on mutual values, trust and girl power *insert sparkle emoji here.*

Drinking doesn’t need to be used to make a chill night even chill-er

Ok don’t stab me, but if you’re having a relaxing night in a glass of wine doesn’t really need to be involved. That’s literally just years of marketing and magazines telling you those two things are correlated.

Remember: just because you’re willingly staying home on a weekend doesn’t make you a grandma or mean you don’t like fun. I hate phrases like that after doing this 60-days-sober thing. I just fucking love sleep, ok? That doesn’t mean I’m 90.

When I would stay home and taking a bubble bath, I had to tell myself wine really isn’t necessary. In some cases, it’s ornamental (a.k.a a carefully balanced glass of wine on the edge of the tub in a hot-dogs-or-legs-style bath pic). In other cases, I was finding it really hard to unwind. The main thing I learned — that I already knew, but needed reminding of — is that sleep is amazing and restorative and has the ability to change your mood and improve your life more than a face mask and a glass of merlot. But the economy doesn’t make money off me getting nine hours of shuteye sooOOoooOOoo ya.


Just know that I’m not coming from a holier-than-thou place where I’m saying I’ll never drink again. In fact, I did miss good ol’ beer and wine during January and February, but I now fully understand the role alcohol plays in my life and that seriously outweighs my love of a good rosé.

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