Why Envy is toxic

Posted on April 25, 2014 by Ros Coward0 Comments


A very wise friend who was also a psychotherapist had just listened to my litany of complaints about a female colleague.  I was bothered by how little interest she took in things I had done, how little acknowledgement of my  work, and most of all by her constant put downs and snide remarks  about activities I was involved with. ‘Envy’ said my friend.  ‘Classic envious behaviour.  She doesn’t want you to have anything and what you have got she wants to spoil .’

It was obvious that  the two of us might be competitive.   We were in the same area of work, both trying to publish in the same outlets with children roughly the same age who had taken remarkably similar pathways. And while competitiveness is nothing to be proud of in such a situation – after all we could just become best friends with similar interests – nor is it that unusual, especially in an unsupportive work environment. But as my psychotherapist friend pointed out, envy is  different from competitiveness .Competitiveness, at its worse, might entail  flaunting your latest news and achievements, showing off, or trying to have or be the best.  But envy is  destructive. Envy isn’t just about trying to go one better. Envy is a grudge-bearing emotion, arising from wanting to spoil what the other person has or enjoys,  including any good feelings they might have about their achievements. .

Read the full article on the new website: welldoing.org


Fashioned against feminism

In the past, it was cool for young men to support women’s equality: now a dangerously cliched gender picture dominates

In all the recent accounts of teenage shootings, stabbings and fights, it’s hard not to be struck by just how much testosterone-fuelled anger there is around.

Whenever these cases come to court, what we hear about is young boys taking offence or warding off “disrespect” or insults, always trying to trying to prove their hardness and masculinity. Time and time again what comes over is a picture of boys trying to be cool, where cool is hard.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/jun/11/women.women?gusrc=rss&feed=global

Top-off fees

Are these cat-walking, pole-dancing Cambridge undergraduates the new (pretty) face of feminism?

Tabloid newspapers are relishing a new discovery: “undiegraduates”. These are highly qualified female students who are prepared to strip off and flaunt what they’ve got. Cambridge is currently the chief supplier.

Last week the university was found to have a pole-dancing club, whose members include theology and oriental studies students. This week, 37 high-flying students, including trainee neurosurgeons, went down the catwalk in an event sponsored by Storm modelling agency. The agency is now considering employing four of them.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2004/mar/05/highereducation.uk1

The beauty myth

As contestants flee and Nigeria counts its dead, it is now impossible to argue that Miss World is harmless fun

What an irony that fundamentalist Muslims managed to do what feminism ultimately failed to do: make Miss World a global political issue. As contestants flee to London, and Nigeria counts its dead, it is almost impossible to retain the idea that an annual parade of female flesh is just an innocent quest for universal beauty acceptable to all reasonable people.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/nov/25/gender.comment

The evil women do

Goran Ivanisevic thinks women bring bad luck – because his mother told him. Why, asks Ros Coward , do such superstitions live on?

For those who followed the whole of the Wimbledon tournament, the absence of Goran Ivanisevic’s girlfriend was a puzzle. While the other players’ wives were scrutinised for their fashion sense and set against one another in the beauty stakes, Goran’s beautiful partner remained notable for her absence even during the spectacular final. Yesterday, however, it emerged Goran had banned her from attending not because he wanted his freedom (as the tabloids unkindly concluded) but because of his superstitions. “I do not watch him play,” said Tatjiana Dragovic, “because he thinks women will bring him bad luck.”

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/jul/12/gender.uk2

A revolt against the male

Ros Coward looks at why the WI’s forces of decency unleashed ‘crone power’ against a decent man

Most commentators have overlooked the fact that what happened between Tony Blair and the Women’s Institute last week had a deeply personal element.

They have downplayed what happened as a spin-doctor fiasco or a confrontation between Left and Right. The Daily Mirror has managed to present the WI as ‘Blue Rinse Tories’, more evil than the November 17 group.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2000/jun/11/labour.labour1997to991

Woman of the Millennium: who was nominated ?

This article is about The Guardian’s search for Woman of the Millenium.

” Few issues have aroused such passion on these pages as the quest for Women of the Millennium. We have been bombarded with suggestions, indignant letters and even the odd poem, since it emerged that on Radio 4′s Today programme, the top 100 British personalities of the millennium included only six women, none of whom was shortlisted.

Today’s editor said he’d hoped for more female nominations; well, we’ve got them aplenty. Over a thousand votes were cast and 400 names suggested. With the notable exception of Tracey Teresa (‘illegitimate daughter of Mother’), these were mainly sensible suggestions – women who have made a significant contribution to the history of this millennium.”

So why is it that when the public are asked to nominate ‘great’ people, they overlook women? Is it because, by virtue of biology, women can never aspire to those categories of courage, vision, statesmanship and genius by which greatness is usually assessed?

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Men on the verge of feminist debate

Is Susan Faludi right to conclude in her new book – Stiffed, serialised this week in the Guardian – that men are lost souls in search of an identity? Ros Coward argues that the Pulitzer prizewinner’s research will spark fresh discussion about masculinity

Is worrying about men the next stage of feminism? It certainly looks that way, now that Susan Faludi has waded in on the subject, joining a growing number of other feminists pondering “the crisis of masculinity”. In the UK, Fay Weldon lost friends by suggesting sex roles had inverted, while Adrienne Burgess argued against the exclusion of fatherhood from the feminist agenda. In my new book, Sacred Cows, I argue against demonising men when many women have made great gains and some men are experiencing significant losses.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/sep/09/gender.uk2

The Company she keeps

The company she chooses / Female friendship


There can be little doubt that men and women have qualitatively different kinds of friendships. Men will discuss the state of the world, their work, their pockets, anything but their emotions. Women, on the contrary, rapidly move to personal matters. Historically, it seems, women have always wanted to be intimate. We share our lives with close schoolfriends, colleagues and neighbours. We look for women with similar experiences, and women formed a primitive therapeutic community long before therapy was ever thought of. No surprise, then, that both women and men find women’s friendships far more supportive.

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