Why Are Women So Hard on Themselves?

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Women are hard on themselves. A recent study has shown that the average women criticizes herself eight times a day. Needless to say, this is far higher than the figure recorded for men. Indeed, from the moment women wake up until the moment they fall asleep, they continue to find flaws and faults with themselves. We complain about the stretch marks on our thighs; we feel uneasy if we wear something unflattering; and we over-analyse our performance in social situations – did we talk about ourselves too much? Were we boring?

Now is the time to take a step back and ask ourselves: why do we do this? Why do we cause ourselves so much stress and anxiety when we could be taking it easy like the other half of the population? Delving into the reasons why women are hard on themselves is as fascinating as it is depressing. Here are some of the underlying factors that have caused this phenomenon.

The Language Choices Used For Boys and Girls

When a little boy tells someone exactly what he wants he is being assertive. This continues all the way until he is an adult. Men who know what they want and are forthcoming about it are impressive. Women, however, are not impressive if they do this. Instead, women who tell you what they want and what to do are bossy and annoying. By addressing little boys and girls in these different ways, we start to instill learned behaviour. Women must be much more careful about how they approach things and this can cause them to be extra hard on themselves as adults.

Women Constantly Need to Prove Themselves

It is a sad fact that the working world is still very much a male domain – particularly when it comes to top jobs in the corporate world. Men are expected to be better at the job and this means that women constantly have to prove that they are just as good, if not better. If a man makes a mistake he laughs it off and so does everyone else. When a woman makes that same mistake, the consequences are much more severe. No wonder women are so critical of themselves.

Gender Roles in Parenting

While there are more and more men opting to be the stay at home parent, women still make up the vast majority of people in this position. This means women have the challenging task of raising and disciplining their children, allowing dad to become the “fun” parent. As the children gravitate towards the care-free attitude of their father, they become more and more resentful of the mother who is making sure they finish their dinner and tidy their rooms. This can be incredibly hurtful to a woman and make her question whether she is doing a good job or not.

Women Have a Lot of Ways to Look Better

Women have a million different ways to improve their image. They have endless different types of make-up, push up bras, spanx, fake lashes, hair extensions – the list goes on. The most men can get is a nice shave. This means that the pressure on women to use all of these things at their disposal is enormous. In fact, some women are so talented at using these items to change their look that they can end up looking like someone completely different. And, if we don’t spruce up our look, we look plain and boring compared to everyone else and that makes us feel rubbish.