Sun | Jun 13, 2021

Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock | Women, ‘bad-mind’ and bad-mouth

Published:Monday | July 8, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock

For years, I have noted a very disturbing trend among women. Many of them spend an extraordinary amount of time badmouthing each other.

I hear it on the bus. I hear it in the hair salon. I hear it on the streets.

The absolute contempt for each other is also evident in many women’s scornful glances, hissing teeth, ‘skin-up’ faces, and ‘throw-word’ comments.

Just weeks ago, a woman I know very well made the following comments about a number of different women:

“She nuh look good. She crawny like!”

“Some a dem a live dem best life pon social media. Fake!”

“Better she never do surgery. Caah do surgery and look so! She stay bad!”

She seemed immensely gratified by her caustic commentary. Other women around laughed, and somewhat encouraged her. I said nothing at the time as I was too angry to speak kindly to her.

Sadly, she is not the only woman who is like this. Numerous other women are just as guilty.

One morning, for an entire 40-minute bus ride, two women harshly criticised the supervisor at their workplace.

“Yuh nuh see seh nobody nuh like she. Caah stan har!”

“Yuh nuh see she not even look good. From when she have on that deh hair deh.”

“It look like nuh man nuh want har. She nuh happy, missis.”

Nasty personal attacks

Now, I do not now the supervisor in this instance, but the comments sounded more like personal attacks. They were certainly not constructive evaluations of the supervisor’s work ethics or treatment of lower-ranked employees.

Just last week, again, I overheard one woman lauding a prominent dancehall artiste for seemingly spending quality time with her children despite her demanding work schedule. Within seconds, another woman countered her very positive remark with an unbelievably negative outburst!

“So you think! A so she mek it look pon social media,” she said with a wild eye-roll.

Bear in mind, this woman, the negative commenter, is not friends with the artiste, nor is she the artiste’s helper. How can you judge and bad-mouth women you barely know? Do you know their struggles? Do you know their pain, their sacrifices?


Ladies, let us start building up each other. I am not suggesting that you be dishonest in your comments about other women. However, you must speak your truth in such a way that builds, not breaks.

There are theories suggesting that women who bad-mouth other women have low self-esteem, and so by criticising others, they claim a false and warped sense of self-validation and ‘better-than-ness’. This does seem plausible. Some women, in fact, seem to ‘thrive’ by spewing utter vitriol on other women! Unbelievable!

Let us vow to find positive things about other women and applaud them for same. You can affirm their mothering, diligence, intelligence, or strength. Whatever it is, give other women ‘ratings’.

Walk away from conversations that denigrate or criticise other women. Let us rise above the gossip and bad-mouthing and be bold enough to tell all participants to stop their tearing down.

Change the narrative. Redirect the conversation by focusing on what is positive about the woman being derided and end the verbal slaughter. You are better than that. Real women empower other women, not criticise them, hate on their success or search for reasons to vilify them.


NB: Last week, my article ‘Jamaican men are too damn disrespectful!’ created quite a stir. Let me clarify that I did not mean ALL Jamaican men are disrespectful. I do know some chivalrous ones. I’m married to one.

However, given the gravity of the issue, I had to focus exclusively on those who disrespect and sexually objectify women. Kudos to the real gentlemen out there! I see you, too!

Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock is an educator. Email feedback to and