Women Behaving Badly by Alana Munro
Hello! Welcome to my blog. My name is Vashti Quiroz-Vega, for those of you visiting for the first time. I am a writer of Fantasy, Suspense and Thrillers. I do, however, have a tendency to mix a little Romance, horror or humor (among other genres) into my stories.
I love art, creativity and beauty, and I know these come in many forms. In my quest to build my author platform, I have met and befriended a group of incredibly talented individuals. Writers, poets, artists and even singers who are masterful at what they do. I feel blessed to have found them, and I would be selfish if I kept the beauty, artistry and creativeness of their craft all to myself.
So for the next few weeks I will be featuring their art, writings and music along with my own work on this blog. I guarantee you will enjoy every bit of it.
In today’s post I will feature the beautiful and talented author of the fascinating book, Women Behaving Badly, Alana Munro.
I have included an early chapter that shows Alana’s struggle to get women to talk to her, and her early thoughts. I have also included an except from one of the many true stories that have personally happened to her. These true stories are an important part of her book.
The Fight to Write This Book
I think I prefer the way men conduct their relationships with their male friends. Why do I say this? I believe that males are in general fairer on their own kind.
Women are unfair on each other and women are often unfairly critical of themselves.
We are harsh on ourselves and often just as harsh on other women.
Women, who struggle to be fair and struggle to love themselves, will struggle to play fair and love other women.
It’s an important question to consider.
How can we women be emotionally generous to other women if we struggle with the concept of respecting who we are?
Men, in contrast, seem to have an easier ride with their friendships. I couldn’t ignore these inherent differences. There was little doubt in my mind that women conduct their friendships differently from men. It was time to probe deeper. I wanted to know more.
After having two fascinating conversations in the same week, I thought this book would be easy. I naively thought women were going to expose their female acquaintances and their friends’ challenging behaviors. They’d spew it all out. I’d change the names and details. No one would know who was who. Like a free therapy session, they would express themselves and feel better for it.
Aren’t women meant to be the talkers? I had visions of us getting right to the bones of the weird feminine behaviors over a bottle of wine. But it seems that women have also been taught the art of keeping their lips sealed.
I logged onto Facebook the following week and studied my friend list. I had more than 100 friends (perhaps after this book I will have a lot less), most of them female. I figured if most of these women can sit on Facebook for hours every week playing games, uploading image after image and commenting on someone’s outstanding cake baking efforts or adorable baby, then surely they can find the time to fill out my questionnaire?
The questionnaire was about personal experiences with female friendships. The responses trickled in. In total, three or four women responded. I sighed, a lot. I guess women are busy.
That’s when reality set in. This book wasn’t going to be easy.
If I couldn’t get my friends and acquaintances to reveal their negative friendship experiences in total confidence, then it seemed unlikely I would manage to get perfect strangers to be brutally honest.
Why was it proving so difficult to get the women in my life to open up and tell me what goes on with the females in their daily life or at least what had went on in their deep, dark past?
A few were polite and said they couldn’t help as they had never experienced any negativity from women. I felt this was either a cop out, outright denial or blissful ignorance. Or maybe they were lucky sods. I thought how nice it must be to only experience coffee mornings, homemade jam and loving hugs.
Maybe I had just been incredibly unlucky or ridiculously misguided in my friend choices? I felt utterly stupid. It was maybe just me after all. I am simply a loser in this friendship game with a capital L stamped on my forehead.
But I couldn’t accept this. I couldn’t be the only woman out there with painful experiences.
Ignoring my ego, which was now a burst and saggy balloon, I patched it up with some sticky tape and carried on, regardless. I felt fatigued, burnt out, irritated and despondent by my relations with many women. I refused to accept my reality as folly. The hurt I had felt was real. It was piercing and stung.
The next type of response was, “Yes, some women are bitchy, but I just stay away from them. I have no association with such women.” OK, better. There is something to work with here. At least some acknowledgement that women are prone to misbehaving with one another.
But the trouble with this response made me think that women believe they are simply able to stay away from troublesome friends. That it is easy to notice a negative friend and just step to the side. That they have a choice and can see a crazy bitch in their sights before she gets too close! Believe me, this is not the case. Often troublesome, negative women seek us out. They hide beneath smiles and loving hugs. And often their presence surprises us entirely.
Then there were a teensy-weensy amount of women who were frank and open. Interestingly, they were intelligent young women. They had experienced a lot of jealousy, bullying and unfair treatment from their female counterparts.
Relief swelled over me. (It’s not just me! I am not a complete loser in friendships – well, hopefully!) My relief was coupled with grief for my friends who had experienced terrible pain at the hands of other women.
Then, of course, there was the non-response committee.
Perhaps they felt uncomfortable talking about personal feelings. For this very reason, I didn’t push people. I assumed for some women it would be too painful and I respected that possibility.
I also concluded that for some women, the subject of my book was perplexing and they wanted no part in it. They did not want to support or encourage my ‘woman hating’ project (ridiculously unfair – I am in no way a woman hater. I’m only trying to understand women and how they behave.).
Or perhaps (I hope this was more likely) they felt they couldn’t contribute in a meaningful way and so they said nothing. They didn’t want to waste my time. They didn’t have enough dirt. They had been luckier than me.
After many more months of silence drifting by, I decided I was pretty much on my own. I would have to wring out the few responses I received and lean on my family for support. Mostly, I would have to rely on my own reflections and personal experiences to write this book. Well, it turns out, lucky for you, I have a ridiculous amount of bad experiences to draw from. But despite having so much personal insight, I knew this would be one of the biggest creative challenges of my life.
For starters, it was never going to be an easy subject for a woman to discuss. It naturally makes females uncomfortable and close down ranks. The lack of responses confirmed this natural reaction. Let’s close the blinds and pretend no one is home, hopefully she’ll bugger off soon enough. She thinks too much, she’s too deep, too emotional. Leave me alone, you freak! Women are always lovely to me, you’re the problem!
Another issue with this book’s subject is that I am going against the widely held belief that women are always nurturing and supportive to each other. Women are the carers. We look after each other and most days hold up the sky. We care for our families, soothe our babies, kiss away the tears. We are in many respects outstanding individuals.
However, females, by their very anatomy, nature and character, are complicated creatures.
Their behavior sometimes contradicts the common rosy stereotype of feminism’s idealistic ‘sisterhood’. Sometimes a woman’s behavior towards another woman is more inhumane than accepting, engaging or fair.
What was really going against me was this notion of sisterhood. The sisterhood myth ensures women keep their lips sealed. To be disloyal to our own team is unacceptable or frightening. After all, we women have experienced years of oppression (mostly at the hands of men); we must continue to stick together.
Understandably, there is the belief that talking out negatively about females is surely wrong. We must boost each other, support each other and minimize the negatives.
Of course, I agree; we should encourage feminine solidarity. It is a beautiful and rewarding experience. It is essential for our social progress that women appreciate and consider other women. We should advocate loyalty and respect other women’s differences. We cannot possibly create positive change in this world for women if we attack each other.
But equally, we must also accept that sometimes women do not stick together. Sometimes women rip each other to shreds in a frenzied verbal attack. Sometimes respect, solidarity and loyalties to one another are far from a woman’s agenda.
With all these conflicting thoughts swirling in my mind, it was clear this book would be a tremendous challenge to complete.
For weeks, I thought I won’t bother. Perhaps it is just too dangerous and I don’t want to make waves. I don’t want to provoke women and I don’t want to plague women with dark thoughts about their own kind. What good could come from this book?
My conscious kept hissing at me. This is stupid. Women will just hate you! They won’t want to admit to this behavior. I stuffed a sock in her mouth. I was tired of smiling and pretending everything was okay.
I said to my over-active conscious – I’d rather tell the truth, expose my female reality, than spend my life pretending that all is rosy in the garden with females, because you know and I know this – some gardens have more thorns than flowers. She pouted and huffed.
I found that when I started writing this book, the words poured out. It was uncontrollable. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t. Did the truth of women like me need to come out? I’d like to think so. Was it now time to arouse debate and stimulate our awareness of what can go on between females? I thought yes, it probably is time to awaken and challenge our perceptions of women.
And so, despite all my doubts and fears, I carried on writing.
*** And one more sample – this sample shows one of the many true stories about how females can behave towards each other. This story is from the chapter about Jealousy. This excerpt is an example of my personal stories which are throughout the book.
A boy fancied me in school. He asked me out on a date and I took him up on his offer. I didn’t fancy him, but I thought I’d give him a chance and maybe I’d find out he’s a nice guy. I decided not to date him again. After all, I was only 16. I had plenty of time to have boyfriends and he wasn’t really my cup of tea.
The trouble was there was a girl in my year who fancied him. He didn’t fancy her. He was a free agent. When she found out I had went on this one date with him, she and her friends tormented me and made my daily life at school a living hell. They wrote on the toilets, naming me a slag, a slut, a bitch, a tart. They shouted at me, sneered, spat and ridiculed me. They stood outside my classrooms swearing and glaring at me. They launched an active campaign to break my spirit and self-esteem, but most of all, they tried to destroy my reputation. I was a virgin, but their slander was changing people’s perceptions without a doubt. I was made to feel like a leper.
No other girl wanted to be seen with me. I’d try to approach a group of girls and they’d huddle together, shunning me as if I was a dangerous beast. None of those girls dared to look me in the eyes. They all believed the propaganda. No one questioned it. No one stood up for me and told them to leave me alone. Not one person in my year wanted to know where all this targeted hate and persecution was coming from and why.
I’d spend my lunch breaks on my own, often by a railway bridge. I thought, This could all end now, this hell could all end. I just need to jump off this bridge. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it to the poor train driver, I couldn’t do it to my family and I was too stubborn to allow these girls to take my life. They had my present. They had my present in their hands and they were crushing the very life out of me. But they wouldn’t take my future. I wouldn’t allow it.
I’d walk back to school just before the end of lunch bell rang out. My heart beating, my hands and legs shaking, trying to hide the fear, trying to hold it all together for one more day. When would it end? Would they ever become bored of these cruel games? Would they never tire of tormenting me? How can these girls enjoy threatening me quite so much?
As time went on, the bullying showed no sign of stopping; it had become their daily habit like a cup of coffee or a morning jog. I couldn’t live in fear anymore. I didn’t deserve to be treated like this. I walked straight to the school office and quietly asked to see the school headmaster. I politely asked the ladies at the school office if they could please help me. I told them I was desperate and I must talk with the principal. They must have seen the torment creeping out from my red eyes or they must have seen my hands tremble. They told me to come into their office and sit down. Their compassion caused me to cry a little, but I had to stay strong. I needed to be able to explain what was going on. Thankfully, the principal was a good man and could see what was going on. “These girls,” he said, “have a terrible case of jealousy and it will stop. I promise you, Alana.” The bullying only stopped when he excluded the ring leader.
In the first week alone, 500 books were downloaded from Amazon and with lots of pleasant reviews doing the rounds, Alana has been encouraged to write her second book. Here is a recent newspaper article about Alana’s debut book. Watch this space for more media coverage and new book releases.
In recent times, Alana runs a Google+ Community for all writers, bloggers and poets. Support-a-Writer offers support and encouragement to all new writers. The members share marketing tips, discuss their writing ideas and cheer each other on. It is a very active and friendly community, do consider joining if you hope to discover new talent or you are a writer looking to connect. You will be sure to receive a warm welcome!
Alana also writes articles for STEEL Magazine. It’s an American multi-cultural life style publication ran by ZAE Publishing. Alana is open to new writing jobs. If you have a blog or magazine and you need a writer to contribute – contact Alana Munro today.
Alana was recently interviewed by ABC Radio. You can listen to Alana’s full studio interview – http://alanamunroauthor.com/about/
Alana’s debut book is available to buy on Amazon and will be available from various online stores world wide this June, with plans to release paper books.
Be sure to check out Alana Munro’s Website!
Illustration by Anne Teubert
by Vashti Quiroz-Vega
The sun shone brightly on the day we met.
The radiance of your smile promised eternal sunshine.
When darkness loomed I dried the sorrows you wept.
Always by your side, I offered dawn when you suffered stress.
I was gravity, ever-present for each trivial affair of your life.
But when I needed you most, you couldn’t care less.
As I neared my goals, and success was within my reach.
The luster of friendship began to dull in your eyes.
Why do you despise me? Tormented, in my mind I screeched.
You feigned to listen, when all the while
you gathered information to judge me with.
Why the hatred, my friend? Why am I on trial?
When you betrayed me, the skies grew gray and dark.
My heart bled within me as the storm clouds gathered in your eyes.
You held up a broken mirror to show me my heart.
Sodden by the tempest of envy, unable to tolerate my radiant soul.
You set out to drain my spirit with distorted images you presented.
Until one day, in another’s eyes, my heart’s true reflection I stole.
Eerie, cold, and turbulent was the night our friendship ended.
I was too fetching, too clever, too creative for you to love me.
How am I to release my disappointment? Will my heart ever be mended?
Your spiteful squalls tore a hole in my heart, but my spirit you did miss.
Some friends crush you with a cold glare or a hurtful word.
A jealous friend betrays you with a cowardly kiss.