Was talking with a few friends recently about how women in majority-male realms tend to be hostile to one another (as has already been proven to exhaustion). I think it stems from the Smurfette principle: y’know, you’ve got the straight man, the goof-off, the scientist, the bro, the girl, and the regular guy in the middle. Since many movies and games have only one or two female characters, and they’re always slotted as some kind of love interest (holy fuck this grates on me), you tend to see yourself in this role if you find yourself among a bunch of dudes, despite yourself. And there’s precious little room there.
The spot is special because it’s so limited. There’s any number of classic roles available in friend groups, but you can’t all be The Girl, the hero’s flame, the one everyone wants to be or be with. And once you aren’t The Girl, your specialness, your clear identity, the place where you obviously fit in is taken away.
There’s only room in our Platonic posse for one woman, and she is THE woman. Pair that with a cliquish culture that respects newcomers once they prove themselves, and you’ve got a rich medium for jealousy.
So, you war for it. When you’re aware that your demographic is underrated, you’ll Sméagol whatever kinds of value you can claim.
That’s where I think this backbiting springs from. And while it’s infuriating to observe the same urges in myself, my friendships with other women in tech are all the stronger because each is a little victory, a sweet reward for battling those feelings. United through the trauma of liking each other.