By Ada Zhang
Last week I wrote about men behaving misogynistic toward women. This week I’m looking in the mirror to observe ways in which women are cruel to one another.
Instead of reading my article, you could just watch the cinematic masterpiece titled Mean Girls. In fact, if you have nothing better to do right now, stop reading and go watch it. The movie perfectly sums up how awful “girl world” can be. It’s exaggerated (only slightly), but still, it gets the point across that we are oftentimes just outright mean to one another—which sends a message to men that it’s okay for them to be mean to us, too.
Here is a list of things NOT to do in order to avoid being a modern-day Regina George. (Means Girls reference. Seriously, watch the movie.)
1. Don’t Body-Shame
It used to be that women with fuller, curvier bodies were shamed by their lack of representation in the media and fashion industry. Now, as curvy women begin to redefine beauty in their own terms, thin girls are the ones being shamed. In reaction to the oppressive culture of thinness that has long governed women and the way we perceive our bodies, phrases like “Real men love curves” and “Real women have curves” are being welcomed into the dialogue.
It’s certainly inspiring that curvy women are taking back their rightful claim to beauty, but it shouldn’t be done at the expense of thin women (who are also “real women,” by the way.)
We were all born with different bodies. Some of us are naturally thin; some of us are naturally curvy. Let us celebrate all body types.
2. Don’t Celebrity-Shame
I’m totally guilty of this one. Celebrity-shaming is so easy to do and there are no obvious repercussions for doing it. If I don’t like Miley Cyrus’s performance on Good Morning America, I can complain about it for hours on end. I can hate on her disco shorts, her stupid crop top, her ugly hair, her voice, her dance moves… and what’s great is that she’ll never know all the horribly mean things I’ve said about her! So I can still go about my life feeling like I’m a perfectly nice person.
Modern-day celebrities have become punching bags for the rest of the world—and women, I’m sad to say, are the worst in these situations. We make fun of female celebrities to feel better about ourselves, to distract us momentarily from our own insecurities.
Just because famous people are in the public’s eye doesn’t mean you can abuse them. They do have feelings (shocking!). You’re entitled to your own opinions about Miley Cyrus’s vocal talents and Taylor Swift’s dating preferences, but please keep them to yourself. If you want, you can be petty and tweet about how so-and-so sucks and you hate her, but frankly no one cares. You’re only making yourself look bad.
It would appear that part of being a woman is living a life dictated by shame. Shame for being too sexual or not sexual enough; shame for being in the spotlight; shame for fitting into a certain size of jeans. It might be awhile before we’re done with shame for good, but in the meantime, let’s try to not chastise one another simply because our ideas about womanhood differ.