Bad Feminist

Jealousy: a toxic emotion for bad feminists


Photo by Carolyn Mennecke

I’m an incredibly jealous person.

I’ve known that to be a fact of my life since third grade when my older sister, Carolyn, was published in the “Anthology of Short Stories by Young Americans.”

I was an unflattering shade of green with envy that she had celebrity status in our household: she got to sign books, get her picture taken and have our entire family fawn over her authorship. I wanted that too.

So in third grade, I would write pages and pages of stories during class to try to get my teacher to notice that a.) I was not paying attention and b.) I was writing stories that should get published too.

This did not work.

I still think this jealousy played a role in my decision to become an English major.

But that jealousy doesn’t always materialize itself in good ways. I constantly put myself down because I see how awesome other women are and I don’t really believe anything good about myself.

Everyone has insecurities and I’m no exception. I have awful acne, I’m always panicky that I’m overweight, my forehead is way too tall and I feel like I have the body proportions of a football player, among other things. So when I see other women and they’re killing it, and they own their bodies, I’m instantly super jealous.

Or, when I’m in a relationship, I’m definitely the kind of girlfriend that goes on red alert when there are other women around. I don’t understand how I can see them as threats and not the fact that I don’t trust the person I’m with — furthermore, I should be deeply concerned about the fact that I don’t trust people. Period.

That’s concerning.

But I still freak out that the person I’m with will find someone funnier, smarter, prettier, yada yada yada.

Jealousy is a really toxic emotion to have on file.

It’s not good for you, it’s not good for the people around you — it’s not good for anyone, really.

And the fact that I feel jealous about women makes me a really bad feminist. I should look up to other women and feel powerful because I am one of them, not try to start ranking them and see how I fit in.

So I did a little research, and found some handy tips for overcoming jealousy. I’m working on it, because I want to be the healthiest, most best-est feminist I can be. Here’s what I’ve gathered so far:

I might be a bad feminist, but I’m still working on it, and identifying the problem is the first step to the road to recovery.

Here we go!

Mennecke can be reached at [email protected].