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Intimidatingly pretty

The most toxic female relationships of my life have been with women who were deeply unhappy with their lives, and frequently compared them to mine.Contrary to deep-seated theories of female competition, I don’t think that competition made either of us any better or happier.

In many industries, women are still perceived to be token hires — which means that other women can feel like our chief competition. ” isn’t just a trashy tabloid feature, it’s a dynamic that we apply to the sartorial choices of everyone in our similarly dressed friend group.But I confess that I was always pretty good at quashing it.Still, I didn’t actively seek out powerful women as friends until many years into my career.Rowland’s new single, “Dirty Laundry,” is about how she was resentful of Beyoncé’s success in the wake of Destiny’s Child. Few women are unlucky enough to have their successes measured against Beyoncé’s.“When my sister was onstage killin’ it like a motherfucker,” Rowland sings, “I was enraged, feelin’ it like a motherfucker.” She recently had an emotional breakdown onstage in D. But that feeling of resentment rather than joy at the personal and professional achievements of another woman is something most of us can relate to.Kelly Rowland has done okay for herself since her days with Destiny’s Child. She’s had a handful of solo hits, is embarking on a short tour this summer, and has just signed on to be a judge on The X Factor.

But all of this only looks good until you compare Rowland to her former bandmate Beyoncé — which, apparently, Rowland has been doing for quite awhile.

First, there’s the associative property of awesomeness: People know you by the company you keep.

I like knowing that my friends are so professionally supportive that when they get a promotion, it’s like a boost for my résumé, too, because we share a network and don’t compete for contacts.

Whereas with male peers we can use sexism or other factors to explain why they’ve found success in ways we haven’t, other women present a more direct comparison.

Powerful women have long held the belief, if only at a subconscious level, that there are a limited number of spaces for them at the top.

Foregoing the internal ranking system in favor of being your best self and helping your girlfriends do the same was a revelation to me. Beyoncé listened to “Dirty Laundry” and, Rowland says, “She heard how real I was and was like ‘I’m so proud of you.’” If Kelly Rowland can come around to the idea that she shines more (not less) because of her proximity to Beyoncé, there’s hope for the rest of us.