I could feel it rising in me before I'd even had the chance to process what I was thinking. 'That Chanel dress Keira's wearing is so darn odd. Disturbing...', I tweeted, without so much as a second thought. There it was again, the judgyness: the cool, dismissive female-to-female criticism that slips so easily off my tongue. What did it matter that Keira Knightley in fact looked rather lovely at the Chanel show in Paris? What did it matter that Rihanna was in fact wearing a lavender version of the same optical-illusion dress? Knightley was the one with the 23-inch waist, ergo Knightley was the one faced with all the criticism. 'How dare she flaunt her minuscule midriff?' Twitter cried. 'How dare she make us all feel even more dissatisfied with our own bodies?'
Judging other women and female judgyness has been on the rise in recent weeks. From Jennifer Lawrence and her seemingly contrived array of 'I'm so down-to-earth' handbag snacks at the Oscars to the dearth of brave, brilliant couture at the ceremony itself I've found myself at the forefront of criticising other women in 2014: fast to judge, even faster to tweet. Whether it's Rihanna in a fishnet top with no bra at Balmain in Paris or Angelina Jolie's pale, thin frame in a Saint Laurent tux at the BAFTAs I've looked at and tapped something into my iPhone Twitter homepage on them all, my tweets producing titters rather than genuine amusement - the sound of followers affirming their own critical judgyness in so reliably 'getting' what I'm on about.
Which is why I'm giving it up this Lent. Giving up the criticisms, giving up the constant underhanded opinions of other women and leaving behind the bitchy tweets. Women aren't made to be pitted against one another, just as I'm not made to be broken down and analysed every time I leave my house. Sure, Twitter's great. It's a platform for us all to express our views, it's a chance for us all to be a critic, and what it throws up is as often wonderful as it is surprising. But these women that we speak of are people. They can read and feel and perhaps be affected by what we so casually say about their outfits, weight and lives.
In December 2013 Keira Knightley joined and left Twitter within 12 hours. She's a braver woman than me.Suggest a correction