- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 28 October 2015
- Written by KERRY BREEN | STAFF WRITER
As many women make strides for equality and feminism, there is still a noticeable pattern of young women treating one another poorly. On an almost daily basis, there is a story about a woman fighting or insulting another woman, be it someone bashing Amy Schumer for being “fat,” someone calling Kim Kardashian “trashy,” and so on.
It doesn’t just happen to celebrities, it happens everywhere; two coworkers mocking one another, or girls as young as kindergarten making fun of one another for the way that they dress.
On Sept. 13, Miss America contestant Kelley Johnson performed a monologue during the talent section of the pageant. Instead of the traditional formal dress, she wore nurses’ scrubs and spoke about her nursing career.
The next day, co-hosts on popular television show The View poked fun at her, saying that it was no surprise that she did not win and that her attempt at showing her talent was “hilarious.” While the women who made those comments later released a public apology, it seems that they only did so as a result of the social media firestorm that erupted.
Other shows, such as The Bachelor and The Real Housewives (of any city) are almost entirely focused around women tearing each other down, often for ratings and entertainment purposes. It even happens in political fields – journalists are currently intent on pitting Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton against each other and when that fails, they often stoop to mocking their hairstyles or the way that each of them dresses.
Of course, as present as it is on television and in magazines, it is also prevalent in everyday life. Girls constantly make fun of other girls for being “basic,” which means enjoying things such as yoga pants and pumpkin spice lattes, using social media apps such as Instagram or Snapchat, and watching television shows like Sex in the City and other similar titles.
These activities are often marketed towards girls, but the minute that women start to actually enjoy them, they are demeaned and made fun of for liking them. Women are also the target market for cosmetics and elective plastic surgery procedures and other things that are meant to improve their looks.
Girls also try to prove that they are better than these so-called “basic” women by saying that they’re not like other girls. This can mean anything, whether it is liking more stereotypically masculine hobbies, or pretending not to enjoy certain things because they appear to be “basic.”
However, it all has the same effect – it can make some girls feel like they are better than other girls for not liking the traditionally stereotypical feminine activities.
Women are also more likely to insult each other’s career ambitions or accomplishments, especially as they grow older. Girls are also sometimes urged towards less masculine fields, for example, becoming a nurse instead of a surgeon, or not majoring in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields.
“I’m constantly feeling self-conscious around women when I’m speaking about my goals,” said Paige Carter, a Waynesburg University junior, in an interview with USA Today. Carter, who graduated high school with a 4.0, claims that a former female mentor tried to talk her out of the pre-law professional program, suggesting instead that she major in education, as teaching is a field more commonly dominated by women.
Female students at the University also experience this kind of negative reaction in regards to their choosen majors and career paths. Sophomore student Kristina Caliendo claims that she was urged away from communication, which she wants to use to become a music producer.
“The field is very male-dominated,” she said. “My family kept trying to tell me to pick something that would be easier to break into, something that had more jobs ‘for women.’”
Whether women are insulting each other’s physical appearance or diminishing their accomplishments, this bashing is all too common and does nothing but cause harm. Women should instead focus on learning solidarity and helping each other.
“Sadly, the spectacle of women tearing down other women is offered as a kind of blood sport,” said Dr. Eleanor Novek, a professor of communication at the University.
“Such messages create waves of blame and shame that are very damaging, particularly to young women, who do not yet have the confidence to resist the onslaught of messages from today’s media that tell them how to be,” she continued.
However, not all women spend their time putting others down. Novek added, “Many women devote many hours of their time to the growth and development of other women. They ignore the chatter in popular media and apply their efforts to places where they are likely to make a real difference in women’s lives: the worlds of education, violence prevention, social support, and economic empowerment.”
Novek believes that there is only one thing to be done to stop this insulting and demeaning behavior from happening. “More women need to follow the example of their sisters,” she explained. “They instead need to pledge their time to work for the survival and empowerment of women around the world.
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