Cattiness Is Not a By-product Of Having a Vagina

Maybe I’m naive. Or in denial. Or too forgiving. Or a hopeless optimist. But I don’t believe¬† that if you put a bunch of women together in a room they’ll inevitably become catty.

Just so there’s no misunderstanding, I acknowledge that cattiness is a real phenomenon. I’ve heard of gossiping, backstabbing women in the workplace. I’ve heard stories of women purposely excluding one particular female because they’ve unanimously decided she’s threatening or unlikeable. And I’ve heard stories of women whose cat claws come out when they enter a room in which there’s another “alpha female” present, and they resort to telepathically telling each other to “Step off, b*tch!”

But none of the stories I’ve heard have been replicated in my own life experience.


Yes, really. Well, okay…maybe there was that one time. But the situation that comes to mind escalated and resolved about a year ago, which means I had already lived 30 years on this planet before razor sharp cat claws made their one and only appearance in my life.

Conclusion: Cattiness is NOT a by-product of having a vagina. ‘Cause I’ve had mine for a long time and it’s not usually a problem.

Exclusive to Vaginas?

If you think claws only come out when vaginas get offended, think again.

Cattiness is really just one of many expressions of insecurity, ignited when your sense of self-worth is threatened by others. Similar expressions of insecurity are arrogance, extreme competition, and perfectionism.

But are any of these tied exclusively to the idea that men are awful because they’re men so they can’t help it?


But cattiness? Cattiness is viewed as the inescapable downfall of the female gender. It’s attributed to women being b*tches, instead of to the fact that when people are hurting they sometimes express their pain in truly stupid ways.

Look, cattiness exists not because women can’t get a grip on themselves, but because we are ALL responsible for creating a culture of scarcity and competition. Male or female, we are all perpetrators. Male or female, we are all victims.

Why I’ve Been Spared

Sometimes I wonder why I haven’t experienced much cattiness in my life. Am I lucky? Blessed? Sheltered?

Despite my own insecurities and the imperfect culture in which we live, I think my fortune boils down to my belief that women are not evil b*tches. I really like women. I give them the benefit of the doubt. I’m proud to be one. And I think most women sense this from me, so really, claws are never necessary.

Final Thoughts

So here’s some advice: If you want to combat cattiness, don’t tell off a catty woman. Build her up if you can, because cattiness is a sign of her need for love and validation, which we all deserve.

In other words, don’t tell her she inspired this photo:

But if you lack the strength or patience to address the source of the problem, simply walk away and focus on becoming so comfortable in your own skin that you don’t even feel mad at her, nor feel the need to lash out, which would only perpetuate the cycle of insecurity and meanness.

Oh, and lastly? Stop blaming vaginas.

Your Turn: What lessons have you learned from experiences with cattiness?

Sources: Photo #1, Photo #2

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10 Responses to Cattiness Is Not a By-product Of Having a Vagina

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  5. Sheryl says:

    While I don’t think cattiness is an inevitable occurance when you put a bunch of women in a room together, I do think there are situations that encourage it. Like living in the all female dorm, or having a workplace that’s all women and encouraging them to be super competitive in order to get a promotion. Or at least in my experiences those two particular situations were breeding grounds for cattiness.

    I also came to the conclusion in those particular situations that the best way for me to deal with things was to stay out of the conversations. If someone wants to be pull everyone else down at work by constant criticism? Well, the best way to shut her up was to consistently out perform her.

    • Kimberly says:

      Speaking of having a single gender at work and encouraging them to be competitive, I was watching The Ultimate Fighter last night, which is a reality TV show about male amateur mixed martial artists who are forced to live, train, and fight each other for a spot in the big leagues (UFC). In every season of the show, many of the guys act embarrassingly immature, egotistical, and douche baggy. So there truly is something to be said about competition in a same-sex arena bringing out the worst in people. But here’s the thing: no one calls the guys in the aforementioned show catty. They’re just imbeciles on an individual level, due to the pressure. So what bothers me most is when women are lumped together and given a very specific label for their brand of meanness, pettiness, and cruelty because somehow it’s worse than what men do to each other. I just don’t think this is true. The only difference is that men don’t gossip or act out in an ongoing, community-oriented way like women do. They’re more likely to randomly blow up and tear someone a new one (verbally and/ or physically). Or they might gossip about someone one day during happy hour, but not bring it up again after that. Same crimes, different styles. Except men don’t get labeled.

      Tangents aside (Sorry, had to get that one off my chest!), yes, it is VERY helpful to keep out of all the smack talk that happens on the job and focus on your own work instead. Glad you were able to steer clear!

      • Sheryl says:

        I can definitely see where you’re coming from there. Division by gender in school or the workforce is a pretty stupid idea to begin with, and when we just shrug off the male behaviour in that situation but give the female behaviour labels that reinforce poor stereotypes it doesn’t help.

        The other place where I can see it being problematic is that in a lot of cases, what tends to be called “cattiness” might just be called “bullying” in another context. So instead of calling people out on legitimately problematic behaviour we’re lumping a spectrum of behaviours generally attributed to women, from mildly annoying to serious issues, all into one label and just calling it a characteristic of groups of women.

        • Kimberly says:


          • Allie says:

            Agree with this thread— the MMA reference made me think of my office and when the (male) executive team gets together. Individually most of them are good people, but add a particular bully and all of a sudden it descends into trashing other people for kicks. And I also agree with the bullying comment— as per the above, it’s a bully who instigates it and a bunch of spineless lackeys who chuckle along and add in the random comment to get a pat on the back…!

            • Kimberly says:

              Yeah, Sheryl’s bully analogy is spot-on, and whether we’re talking men or women, things certainly do shift when there’s an entire pack (and a leader) involved. It’s fascinating to see how the same phenomenon plays out in such different arenas. I suppose it truly is “natural” for social animals like ourselves to act this way, although I do feel this behavior can be either encouraged or discouraged based on the teachings and practices of a particular culture.

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