Girl Grit

(for growing girls and grown women)

This page is about girls and women because I did my
masters thesis research about girls and women.

People of any gender can face stereotypes and glass ceilings.
People of all genders are welcome to use my strategies in their own lives.

Girl Grit is the courage to create equality for all girls and women,
including girls and women who create inequality for you.

Girl Gumption is the wisdom to admit that men deny equality
women who see men as inferior.

Girl Grit Observation From Shailene Woodley

“I don’t know how we as women expect men to respect us,
because we don’t even seem to respect one another.”

Girl Grit Observation From Jen Oyama Murphy

“Female rivalry is also fueled by our own insecurities. When we
lack a belief in our own unique gifts, when we don’t have confidence
in our innate talent, and when we doubt the calling on our lives,
we can become competitive.”

Girl Goodwill Attitude From Michelle Obama

“And it’s time that we all stepped back, took a deep breath and
started really listening to one another rather than viewing one
another through the layers of our own judgment, insecurity
and anxiety.”

Girl Goodwill Attitude From Madonna

“As women, we have to start appreciating our worth —  an each other’s worth.”

Girl Goodwill Attitude From Audre Lorde

“I am not free while any woman is unfree,
even when her shackles are very different from my own.”


4 Cultural Themes Of Betrayal
Between Women

Each general theme of betrayal has several judgments that girls and women can use to betray each other. Note that under the Women as Deviants theme, girls and women at times judge other girls and women as deviant just because they are female. This judgment is useful to boys and men who want to keep girls and women unequal, especially when it comes to holding positions of power. If girls and women think other girls and women are too deviant to hold power, why should boys and men share power with girls and women?


1.  Women as Mothers

Ignoring their true vocation as mothers

Failing to properly fulfill their roles as mothers

Being dangerous mothers


2.  Women and Their Appearance

Wrong body size

Wrong clothing

Wrong hair

Wrong age

Wrong behavior

Wrong color


3.  Women as Deviants

Being female

Stepping out of approved roles

Being responsible for any problem men have trouble explaining

Being responsible for men’s thoughts and actions

Being a victim of men’s criminal actions

Being more deviant than deviant men

Moving into male space

Threatening male power or not supporting male power

Expecting equality with higher status women

Expressing confidence in themselves, in their work, in their worth

Expecting other women to live up to and perform up to high standards

Failing to provide what other women feel you owe them, regardless of what that would mean in your life


4.  Teenage Girls as Threats to Society

Needing preparation for roles as proper (male-pleasing) women

Endangering adult males whether proper or not

Arousing inappropriate sexual feelings in men


Real World Examples Illustrating
The Cultural Themes Of Betrayal

Women as Mothers
Women and their Appearance
Women as Deviants

“31 Worst Celeb Mom-Shaming Moments”

Women as Mothers

“Instead of directing their anger where it belongs – say at corporate America’s stingy, unpaid maternity leave and refusal to countenance flex-time – working and nonworking moms are dividing into opposing camps and unleashing their resentment and suspicion on one another.”

Mom Vs. Mom
Ralph Gardner, Jr.
New York Magazine
October 21, 2002

Every mother is a working mother. Mothers can be employed, self-employed, or unemployed, but they are all doing family work.

Women and their Appearance

Comedian Michelle Wolf talked about White House press secretary Sarah Sanders at the 2018 White House correspondents dinner. Wolf said this:

“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. Like she burns facts,
and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like maybe she’s born
with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

The reaction to Wolf’s speech focused on the statement about Sanders’ “smokey eye”. It was a perfect illustration of what happens when anyone talks about a woman’s appearance. The focus becomes her appearance, not her actions or achievements or skills.

Women who insist on betraying other women will do whatever it takes to justify their betrayal.  I tweeted to Michelle Wolf about the women and their appearance cultural theme of betrayal. I received this response from a different woman:

“She mentioned her eye shadow, not her eyes!”

How is eye shadow not about appearance? This tweeter’s girl growl backfire is a reputation for stupidity. This tweeter insists on building glass ceilings for all women, including herself.

I am keeping this tweeter’s identity anonymous because I benefit only when women have reputations for intelligence and competence. I refuse to hurt myself by making this tweeter look bad. I’ve already lost too much because of my own girl growl backfires.

Note that Michelle Wolf was left reminding people that most of her routine was not about Sarah Sanders’ appearance. Wolf took attention away from her own comments by drawing attention to Sanders’ eye shadow. Michelle Wolf still needs to develop girl grit in the way she talks about other women. Wolf invited the backlash.


Fashion magazine Grazia U.K. edited Lupita Nyong’o’s natural hair out of her cover of the magazine.

“Lupita Nyong’o Says Her Natural Hair Is Still ‘Shunned'”
Erica Smith
The Cut
August 7 , 2018


“High school swimmer disqualified over fit of school-issued swimsuit”
Jill Burke
September 10, 2019


“Women At Ernst & Young Instructed On How To Dress, Act Nicely Around Men”
Emily Peck
The Huffington Post
October 21, 2019


The day the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, I posted a link to Leading For Change Through Choices on Facebook and LinkedIn. A woman responded to my post with these comments:

“Well goody for you. What are you doing to help women besides gloating “I told you so”?

Me: Visit my web page to see these pages:

Speaking Equality
Girl Grit
Girl Goodwill
4 Girl Mindsets

Me: These are my Facebook pages

Advocates For Equality
Girl Goodwill
Women Speaking Equality
Wonder Women Breaking Glass Ceilings

Me: What are you doing to help women?

“Okay Boomer Lady”

See this woman’s last comment to me in Women as Deviants *

Women as Deviants

“A Survivor’s Story”
Bob Meadows, Maureen Harrington
People Magazine
October 4, 2004, pages 109-110

“Sexual harassment used to cost women their careers. That may be changing.”
Jessica Guynn
December 4, 2017

“The Shocking Reason a Top Medical School in Japan Lowered Women’s Exam Scores for Years”
Daniele Selby
Global Citizen
August 3, 2018

* Roe v Wade Facebook comment:

“Imagine using the tragic reversal of Roe as a reason to spam these pages with your
self promotion drivel. No wonder old yt women get a bad reputation.”
(I don’t know what the ‘yt’ means.)

This woman defined me as deviant for answering her question. Imagine using the tragic
reversal of Roe as a reason to think up ways to insult another woman.

She also never told me what she’s doing to help woman. Thinking up ways to insult other
women seems to require too much of her time.


Domestic violence survivors as threats to taxpayers

From a Facebook discussion about guns:

“Domestic violence survivors need to pay attention and understand that
they are expected to know how to be their own watchman and quit asking
the tax payers to babysit them.”

Debra Heathman
February 12, 2023


Older women as threats to younger, attractive women

From a LinkedIn discussion about marriage not being the aim of a woman’s life:

Female VP:

Marriage is a sacred thing between two people who
love and respect each other enough to commit for life.
Finding the right job is wonderful, but dying alone
with cats eating your face off is not lol. I hope you find
a partner who adores you more than life itself and
commits his life to you forever.


I just read a thread in a group of older women
about marriage. Most of them had been married
and do not want to get married again. They see
themselves as happier staying single for the rest
of their lives. You are using stereotypes.

Female VP:

God intended for us to be connected for a reason.
Each of those women have different reasons for
getting divorced that are personal, and individual.
As a whole to say that marriage is wrong, goes against
creation in itself. Marriage is a beautiful thing, if both
people treat each other correctly. If not, then they are
both guilty of destroying something sacred, if abus
and violence are not the issue.


Point out where I said that marriage is wrong.

YOU are wrong to assume that every woman in
the thread was divorced.

Your beliefs are for your life, not mine or for any
of the older women who feel happier single.

Female VP:

Everyone has their own story. Some are easier
to tell than others. RUDE, OLDER women are
often the easiest because they attack anyone
younger who disagrees with them, normally
males, or attractive women.


Wow! I’m a RUDE, OLDER woman because I pointed
out your mistake in assuming that all of the woman in
the thread are divorced?

I’m a RUDE, OLDER woman because I refuse to let
you control my life with your religious beliefs?

Calling me a RUDE, OLDER woman deflects from your
failure to prove your claim that I said “marriage is wrong.”

I’m going to quote you on my Girl Grit page.

When do you start obeying the second greatest
Christian commandment?


Female VP:

I rest my case.


When are you going to prove your claim that I said this?

“Marriage is wrong.”

She never responded to prove her case.

I’m a RUDE, OLDER woman for publicly holding her accountable for her public statements.


Teenage Girls as Threats to Society

“Teenage girl forced to leave school prom after ‘ogling’ dads complained her dress and dancing would give their sons ‘impure thoughts'”
Jessica Jerreat
Daily Mail
May 13, 2014

“She reported her sexual assault. Her high school suspended her for ‘sexual impropriety.'”
Caroline Kitchener
The Lily
August 26, 2019

“Parents, students angered after 80 female students’ yearbook photos are altered to mask cleavage”
Christina Zanowicz
May 25, 2021

“Video shows officer repeatedly discussed charging 11-year-old victim with child sexual abuse offense”
Associated Press
Samantha Hendrickson
September 20, 2023


Journalist Elizabeth Vargas investigated child brides in the United States for her show, The Untold Story. A 15 or 16 year old married girl wanted to divorce her abusive husband, but…

“…she’s told she’s too young to get divorced. A girl is too young to hire
a lawyer but not too young to get married.”

“The Untold Story”
TV Guide
April 15-28, 2019, page 61


 America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks to a contestant on her show:

“Do you really think you can have a CoverGirl contract with a gap in your mouth?” Banks says in the clip, referencing one of the prizes for the season’s winner. “It’s not marketable.”

“Banks has yet to comment on any of the backlash; it’s likely that she will not. But on Wednesday, contestant Danielle Evans, who now goes by Dani, posted a video on her Instagram in which she responded to the conversation surrounding the clip of Tyra confronting her about her gap. In the seven-minute clip, Evans explained that the girls were taken to a dentist, where she was initially asked if she wanted her gap closed and she declined. Later, during the elimination ceremony, Tyra asked her why her gap wasn’t closed.

“I’m like, huh? She’s like, ‘I told you to get your gap closed.’ I’m like, ‘No you didn’t.’ She looks offstage to production … In that moment, I knew what was happening. I knew that I was basically set up and not being told that Tyra wants me to get my gap closed so that it’s good for TV,” Evans explains in the video.”

“How Did We Not Realize What A Nightmare ‘ANTM’ Was?
Zeba Blay
The Huffington Post
May 5, 2020

This 17 year old girl betrayed herself, probably because of all the societal messages around her.

“The message that all of this sends to young girls is that womanhood is a state that consists largely of receiving unsolicited male attention, much of it benign but much of it threatening, exploitative or hostile, and that their ownership over their own bodies, their ability to peacefully occupy public space, and their right to be perceived as the children that they are can all be abridged by the whims of a man’s desire. When the Florida politician Joel Greenberg discovered that one of the women he and Gaetz were allegedly paying for sex was not a woman but a girl at 17 years old, Greenberg, according to reporting by the Daily Beast, told the girl that she was at fault. “She apologized and recognized that by lying about her age, she endangered many people,” Greenberg wrote. This, too, is one of the surest signs that a girl is becoming a woman: suddenly, she finds herself being held responsible for men’s actions.”

“For too many girls, teenage years are a time of unwanted attention from older men”
Moira Donegan
The Guardian
May 9, 2021


Real World Examples
Illustrating Girl Grit

Women as Mother

“How to NOT mom-shame (a handy tutorial)”
Kristina Kuzmic

Women and Their Appearance

“You’ve done it again! In four of your seven profiles of new mothers, you make a point of telling us how much they weigh–or how much weight they gained, or how much they have lost. When you begin to treat women with respect for who they are and their achievements, and not for what they weigh or what size they wear, I’ll consider purchasing your magazine again.”
Joan Radell
People Magazine Mail
December 1, 1997: page 6

“The pressure is on to look good. …after Titanic I thought, I’m not going to
not eat, I’m going to say, ‘Listen, I was in the highest-grossing movie ever
made and I’m not a stick.'”
Kate Winslet
Us Magazine
March 27, 2006, page 14.

“I don’t care. I liked my Golden Globes dress! The funniest thing is, I don’t
look that stuff up afterward—and then I got an e-mail from [30 Rock’s]
Judah Friedlander saying, “I can’t believe you were the worst dressed!”
“Funny Mama: Tina Fey Answers Your Questions”
Alexis Chiu
People Magazine
April 19, 2010

“7 Times Jennifer Lawrence Was the Queen of Shutting Down the Body-Shamers”
Shaunna Murphy
MTV News
July 27, 2015

“What To Wear To Look Hot!”
Kristina Kuzmic

“Camila Cabello Pushes Back On Body-Shamers, Tells Fans ‘Cellulite Is Normal'”
Jenna Amatulli
The Huffington Post
August 5, 2019

“Women need to stop comparing their bodies and understand how unique
and amazing we are instead of focusing on what’s wrong with us—too narrow,
too curvy, et cetera—we should focus on what we love about ourselves.”
UpFront: The A List
Brooke Shields’ 5 Tips for Living Your Best Life”
AARP Magazine
October / November 2021

Women as Deviants (More deviant than deviant men)

“Vlogger Nails Why It’s OK To Expose Men Who Harass Women Online”
Christina Marafice
January 22, 2019, pages 105-106


“American’s Real Favorite Pastime”

Paula M. Kramer is not the only woman trying to end betrayal between women. For the July/August 2011 issue of More magazine, Deborah Copaken Kogan wrote the article, “America’s Real Favorite Pastime? Judging Women.” In her article, Kogan used the phrases, “verbal assaults” and “the endless game of Judge That Woman”. This is a game that all women lose. Kogan laments that abuse of any kind of power turns “a strong woman weak”. Strong women can become weak under the trauma of judgmental assaults from other women. How does making other women weak advance any issue of equality or rights for all women?

Unfortunately, More magazine no longer exists.

“America’s Real Favorite Pastime? Judging Women.”
Deborah Copaken Kogan
More Magazine
July/August 2011


Refusing to Betray and Sabotage Women
Who Betray and Sabotage You

Paula worked with one woman for two and a half years. This coworker was a project manager. Close to two  years in, a third woman began working with Paula and the project manager. The three women had schedules that meant they never worked together, but the project manager worked with both Paula and the new employee.

The new employee began telling lies about a number of women in the company, including Paula. Paula did not know about the lies until it was too late. The project manager ignored all the evidence proving that the lies were false. The lies apparently made Paula look like she was out to get the project manager. So the project manager decided to sabotage Paula. She created a situation that made Paula look like she had done something damaging to one of the company’s clients. The project manager’s supervisor ignored all the evidence that the project manager’s lies were physically impossible. The company fired Paula.

Paula wrote a letter to the project manager. Paula told the project manager that she had been trying to think of a way to say thank you for something meaningful the project manager had done for Paula just through conversation. Meaningful as in life changing.

Paula also gave the project manager information that could be useful for two health problems the project manager had. The project manager could look the evidence up on the Internet to discover it was true. One of the health problems was insomnia. Paula had learned that magnesium improves sleep. In one Internet comment about magnesium, a man wrote that his doctor called magnesium a sleeping pill. (See the Serendipitous Success Seeds page for a PDF download about sleeping better.)

Instead of betraying and sabotaging the woman who had betrayed and sabotaged her, Paula  gave the project manager information that could improve her life, including sleeping better for the rest of her life. The ability to sleep well would improve the project manager’s life in other ways. The success of any woman depends on the success of all women. The ability to sleep is an important success that will make the project manager more effective in her life. She just needs to learn that girl goodwill creates more success than girl growls.

* Visit smilessparksuccess.comfor more information about guiding values.


Girl Growls, Girl Gems, & Men’s Ears

Girl Growls are negative words judging other girls and women according to the cultural themes of betrayal.

Girl Gems are positive words supporting other girls and women by putting shine on their skills and accomplishments.

Your words go into other people’s ears and can come out of their mouths.

Your girl growls about other girls and women go into boys’ and men’s ears and can come out of their mouths about you.

Your girl gems about other girls and women go into boys’ and men’s ears and can come out of their mouths about you.


When girls and women take harmful actions, speaking about the harmful action is not a girl growl.

Women who abuse their children are bad mothers.

Women who act bitchy to subordinates are behaving badly.

Women who commit crimes are deviant.

Teenage girls who lie about sexual assault are threats to society.

If you have evidence of harmful actions, present the evidence when you speak about the harmful actions.


Examples Of Girl Growls Going Into Boys’ and Men’s Ears

Women speaking about other women on social media:

“Keep helping people —. Some entities are still of the lower dimensions.”

“I bet you could ask most of them what they are marching for with few
having a factual answer.”

“That culture that needs undoing is the crap ——- and her ilk have become.
Shame on you moronic, epic fails of sub-human whatevers.”

“She doesn’t even look human in this picture but she sure didn’t act it.”

Would you like any of these negative words coming out of men’s mouths about you?


Example Of Girl Gems Going Into Boys’ and Men’s Ears

Women in President Obama’s administration during his first term felt the way women often feel in organizations, excluded and ignored. They created a meeting strategy they called ‘amplification.’

“When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author.
This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance
to claim the idea as their own.”

“We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing,” said one
former Obama aide who requested anonymity to speak frankly. Obama noticed, she and
others said, and began calling more often on women and junior aides.”

“White House women want to be in the room where it happens”
Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post
September 13, 2016

Ideas for Girl Gems about other women:

“I would really love ———— to do this.”

“Make sure —————– has what she needs to move forward.”

“It’s important to include —————– in this discussion.”

“Did you hear about ————–‘s big award / bestselling book / new idea / new business?”

Would you like any of these positive words coming out of men’s mouths about you?


Girl Gem Guidelines

Be sincere. Insincerity makes you look bad.

Speak girl gems that are true for other women, even if they are not true for you.

One girl gem at a time creates a full shine for each gem. Multiple girl gems at one time can decrease the shine for each gem.


Girl Growl Backfires

Read Paula M. Kramer’s Girl Growl Backfire blog posts to help you understand how betraying and sabotaging other women can backfire. Paula even writes about her own girl growl backfire.

For 25 years in the corporate world, Bernadette Boas did what she thought she had to do to be successful. After her corporate career suddenly crashed, Bernadette faced the mortifying truth — she had been a bitch for most of her adult life. To set her life right again, Bernadette acknowledged the ugliness of her behavior and the pain she caused, both to other people and herself. Now Bernadette works to help other women avoid the girl growl backfire of bitchiness. Unfortunately, most corporate bitches do not understand the backfires they are creating for themselves.

“Today, large and small businesses engage me to help them find a solution
to breaking the glass ceiling for the women in their organization. On one
particular call, a man who headed up a large medical practice explained to
me how the two women on his Board of Directors, both eligible to replace the
CEO, were going to be overlooked, because, he stated, “They’re bitches.”
The women were qualified and deserving of the position, but no one would
vote them in because of their attitudes.I  knew exactly what he was talking about.”

Shedding the Corporate Bitch: Shifting Your Bitches to Riches in Life and Business
Bernadette Boas
Page 216

Shedding the Bitch Radio Show

Ball of Fire Leadership


What Do Men Want to Hear?

The evidence is clear that many men deny women equality. But there is evidence that other men want to hear girl gems.

You are the answer. You are the future. Because I’m talking to women here, right?
I mean what’s interesting is that the most people that share my podcast are men,
but it is 100% geared toward and presented to women. It’s all about women’s leadership.
But one of the things I say in there is, you are role models for the future generations.”

Being an optimist means being positive. Men are sharing positive podcasts meant to help women become leaders. Which women do you think these men want to work with as leaders? The women who put girl growls into their ears, or the women who put girl gems into their ears? The quote from Bernadette Boas above is one example of men not wanting to hear girl growls.

Paula M. Kramer’s online courses include information about the importance of paying attention to bystanders. Andrea Johnson’s quote is an excellent example if you want to advance your career. Bystander men are listening to the words you put into their ears.

“Being an Intentional Optimist: Unconventional Leader | Andrea Johnson” 
Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey
Michelle St Jane
December 22, 2021

The Intentional Optimist Page

The Intentional Optimists Group


Quote Sources

“6 Powerful Quotes From Madonna on Facing—and Surviving—Sexism”
Katie Maguire
Well + Good
December 12, 2016

“Ally or Adversary?
Jen Oyama Murphy
Christianity Today
September 14, 2017

“Dare to be Powerful: Audre Lorde
Books That Matter
April 20, 2021

Shailene Woodley, Star’s Starlet”
Eliana Dockterman
May 29, 2014

“What women owe one another”
Michelle Obama
More Magazine
July/August 2015, page 144

More Magazine no longer exists.


© Paula M. Kramer, 2012 to the present
All rights reserved.
Updated December 6, 2023.