Believe me, when I say that I love me a good Sunday in my pyjamas, watching ‘Mean Girls‘ and laughing at just about every iconic line in that movie. But when I think about it, I wonder why female friendships are portrayed as that of competition and not empowerment, which goes against just about every single thing I believe in.
Let’s start with the movie ‘The DUFF‘. This whole movie was based on how guys ask the ‘designated ugly, fat friend‘ in every girls’ group to help them get to know the more attractive looking girls in the group. The girl doesn’t even have to be fat or ugly; just the least attractive one in a group. This whole culture is extremely toxic, no matter how much the movie tried to gloss over this with messages of self-love.
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I think what bothered me, and a lot of other girls, I’m sure, is that this is a movie that pits women against each other solely based on what they look like. Maybe it wasn’t intended to be this way, but ‘The DUFF‘ seemed to suggest that no matter how much people come to accept themselves for how they look, there will always be some sort of hierarchy among the attractive and plain girls in a group.
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And as much as I love re-watching ‘Mean Girls‘, I really want to point it out to you guys that this whole movie is about tackling female bullying by pretending to be friends with a group of girls and pitting them all against each other. In the end, almost all the girls in the school are fighting over the mean things written about them.
And if you’ve ever watched shows like ‘Gossip Girl‘, ‘Riverdale‘, ‘Hannah Montana‘ or ‘The Princess Diaries‘, you’ll notice the recurring theme of the Queen-Bee— usually the most popular girl who will do anything and everything in her power to make other girls feel inferior about themselves. I’ll run out of space to write, but not out of examples here! Bullying, dumping milkshakes on another girl’s head, humiliating her in front of the whole school; everything is fair game.
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And I hate to be playing this card, but 90% of these female friendships in pop culture are written by men— who probably don’t do their research, and choose to portray us as rivals. Women usually have little to no say in how female friendships can be super powerful and they’re not about competition in the slightest. You might think that this doesn’t affect the way people look at the world, but let me clear that right up for you.
About a month or so back, when I tweeted something about female friendships being strong, a guy tried to mansplain it to me that female friendships are always ‘fake‘ and about intra-sexual competition over guys and clothes. And where do you think he sourced his ‘facts’ from? POP. CULTURE!
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It’s 2019, for crying out loud! Women do not steal other girls’ boyfriends or clothes. We don’t botch some other girl’s make-up so that she gets an allergic reaction just because we don’t like her. We don’t humiliate each other in public over some mean-girl power struggle just because we want to be the HBIC. There is no hierarchy based on looks.
We don’t find excuses to grab a guy’s attention. Nor do we try to get a guy to cheat on his girlfriend who we can have him all to ourselves. Pillow fights in cute lingerie only happen in movies. And we definitely do not throw Nair-tinis at another girl’s hair so that it all falls off. That’s not at all what we’re about.
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Female friendships are pretty awesome and immensely sacred and I really wish that this is represented in a much better manner in pop culture, instead of cat-fights over wearing the same dress.
Hello? Yes. Can we have some ‘Empower, not compete‘ in pop culture, please?
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