Queen Bee Syndrome & the Empowerment of Women From Women

I haven’t ever been one to claim myself as a “feminist.” I like to believe that how I view women and our power goes above needing a label. I don’t need some fancy word to characterize me as a believer in gender equality and the beautiful, strong creatures we call WOMEN.

I was reading through my feed on here today when I came across a post by a blogger that I admire, Bitchin’ in the Kitchen. The gist of her post was about how she still feels shame about not jumping in to stand up for a childhood girlfriend when she was being made fun of back when she was about five years old. She goes on to explain that she feels guilt today when she sees women “roasting” other women.

This got me thinking about how women treat each other, and just how true it is that women often times degrade other women. So I did some research and found a really interesting article from BBC called “Queen bees: Do women hinder the progress of other women?”

On one side, you have the idea that successful women become role models and mentors to women that watch from the sidelines. I believe this to be true. You can’t say you haven’t been infatuated with a strong, successful woman at one point, can you? Whether we like to admit it or not, I do believe that most women do root for our female counterparts to succeed.

However…

That’s only when they aren’t competing against them.

I introduce to you something called “Queen Bee Syndrome.” Queen Bee Syndrome was first defined in 1973 by psychologists at the University of Michigan, and it’s more or less how women in a dominantly male environment tend to be harder on other women. It questions why women are most likely to look out for their own success once they get to the top, rather than helping their fellow female counterparts up along the way.

There have been quite a few studies on this so-called Queen Bee Syndrome, specifically in the workforce. I guess the truth to Queen Bee Syndrome is kinda controversial, but some of the findings suggest that women act this way for a few different reasons.

One) Possibly because women enjoy being the only woman when they get to the top. That makes sense to me simply because often we see headlines that say things like “So-and-so is the only woman to be an executive at so-and-so company” or “this woman was the first to do this awesome thing.” We tend to think more of a woman when she has broken the barriers of a male-dominated company or organization, while also being the only woman to do so.

Two) This article suggested that women have a hard time competing against other women due to a stem from sexism. When competing against another woman, it’s been proven that women try not to be like other women and take a more masculine approach. Women try to overcome gender bias by definitively showing that they are different and even better than the other women they are competing against.


I think we, as women, should change the way we treat other women. Instead of accepting our society where women feel threatened of one another, we need to recreate a world where we all lift each other up and cheer on the successes of women in any way. If you look back on history, women have accomplished the most when they united and stood strong for the betterment of women everywhere.

ALL women are queens. Be a storm. Be fearless. Embody what it means to be a woman. But most importantly, be an empowering force to women everywhere!!

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