“Okay, so we’re all here ‘cause of this book, right? Well, I don’t know who wrote this book, but you all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.”
Mean Girls, the film that the above quote hails from, really hits the proverbial nail on the head in terms of exploring relationships amongst teenage girls. The film highlights cattiness and bullying, particularly through its trio of “The Plastics,” the queen bees who rule the school. But, as the quote indicates (it was uttered by Tina Fey’s character Ms. Norbury), girls call each other these horrible names due to pettiness, which in turn gives guys the authority to then use those names casually. She’s not wrong, and the chilling part is we see this in our everyday interactions with other girls.
How many times has one of your girl friends bashed another girl simply because she is with the person your friend likes? Too many times to count.
An article from Psychology Today entitled “Why Do Women Act Catty” states the following definition: “The term ‘catty’ is a sexually biased way of describing an unhealthy way women act on an otherwise healthy feeling of competitiveness.” The article goes on to discuss that women are not allowed to illustrate their competitive nature the same way in which men are, which thereby leads them to be horribly “catty” and make snide remarks about other women.
While there is nothing wrong with good-natured competition, there is something terribly wrong about tearing down your fellow women. Girls should be building each other up, not tearing each other down. That is the only way that we’re going to combat sexism in society once and for all: through solidarity amongst persons of every gender.
There are a lot of girls who make comments along the lines of, “I don’t really like being friends with girls. I prefer being friends with guys because girls are too catty.” While there is absolutely nothing wrong with friendships among girls and guys, there is something wrong when girls don’t even want to be friends with other girls. Female friendships are vitally important not only for promoting solidarity amongst girls, women, and people who identity as women, but for the sake of creating a space in which girls feel as if someone shares in their experience of being a girl.
Being a girl is hard sometimes, especially when you have society watching your every move; it is nice and wonderful to be able to talk to your female friends about your experiences, because they have gone through them too. They know the horror of being catcalled or walking alone at night. They know how you have to fight tooth and nail to prove your worth in the face of the patriarchy. Female friendships can be your safety net in a world that is too often cruel to women of all shapes, sizes, and identities.
It’s time we end the cattiness once and for all; it’s time to celebrate female friendships!
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