I recently watched the show Feud: Bette and Joan. It was the story of the real life feud between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in Hollywood. I gotta say I was shocked. You think I would stop being shocked at how cruel women can be after all these years of working with women but I haven’t hit that insensitive point yet.
If the show was accurate, the reason they hated one another was because back in their heyday Joan was the prettier one and Bette was the more talented one. That’s why they took turns doing nasty, terrible things to one another for years. Here is a quote from Bette Davis about Joan Crawford on the day she died, “You should never say bad things about the dead, you should only say good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”
Here’s my question: Did the cruel things they did change the fact that one was prettier and the other was a better actress?? After an evil revenge deed, did the executer of the deed go home and feel good and peaceful about the pain and humiliation she caused?? I guess I don’t understand the point. I’m the type of person that if I did something cruel and clever (because it would be very clever) I would go home after I was done and feel guilty and horrible about it. Hate myself. And try to fix it the next day.
How many others would feel the same?? Being a belly dancer, teacher, event planner, etc. I can say with all honesty that in my experience there is no shortage of women who have that mean streak inside them. When they want something they can’t have or don’t want someone else to have something, they can do and say some unkind things. I’ve seen it more than I would have thought back when I was a young hopeful.
I also read a book recently called Behind the Burly-Q by Leslie Zemeckis. In it there was a chapter devoted to the mean things burlesque dancers would do to one another backstage during shows. The thing that stuck out in my mind was itching power being put in costumes. Then the dancer would go on stage and be in agony while trying to perform. And why would someone do that to a fellow performer?? Well, said performer got more applause and made others JEALOUS!! Jealousy is often the culprit. Once in awhile it’s power. I have had a few problems with the “I do what I want” crowd myself. Still jealousy is a rampant problem in the arts.
So what do we do?? Easy answer: you can’t do anything. Bette and Joan were decades ago and the Burly-Q was a different time as well. This is just how it was, is, and will be. And if you were like me before I read the book and saw the show, you might still be hoping people will chill out and be nice. Allow this to be part of the research that helps you to realize they won’t.
But it’s ok!! The positives outweigh the negatives in the arts. Throw it into your creativity and maybe bank some good comebacks to put the nasty girls in their place. That’s my recommendation. I’m not telling you what to do though. 😉