Girl hate, from slut-shaming to body-policing, and why it needs to stop.

Girl hate is an epidemic. It covers the Internet, the school playgrounds and whispers after girls walk by tables of peers.

“Wow, what the hell is she wearing?”
“Heard she hooked up with another guy. Sluuuut.”
“Hmm. Does she think she needs ice-cream?”

Why? Why are girls so cruel to each other? What do we gain from being, for lack of a better word, bitches to each other?

Nothing. That’s what.

At first, I noticed girl hate in celebrity media. And, shamefully, I took part. I made fun of Kristen Stewart for never smiling and always looking miserable. I rolled my eyes and scoffed “slut” at Miley Cyrus’s risqué performance outfits. I was a rather dreadful girl, but I didn’t think anything of it. They’re celebrities! They won’t be influenced by what I say to my friends at lunch!

Then, I started to notice this girl hate everywhere. A girl getting up to leave her table of friends, and the remaining girls instantly starting to gossip about her outfit. Sly comments made about complete strangers. Even my friends and I, asking each other in judging tones about the state of some girl’s hair or clothes or makeup.

I realized that what had started as harmless complaining about celebrities had infiltrated day-to-day life.

Most guys think that we do our hair and look cute for class (well, I try to at least once a week) for them, but they’re wrong. Most of the time, it’s to avoid judge-y look from other girls. This is not the kind of world I want to live in.

I want to live in a world where girls look out for each other. Where we don’t make negative comments on other girl’s outfits, make-up or hair. Where we don’t make negative comments on other girl’s bodies. Where we don’t make negative comments on other girl’s sexual lives. Why do we think it’s any of our business, what other girls wear or who other girls hook up with? Why does that have any bearing on our own lives?

Miley Cyrus’s crop tops don’t affect me. Kristen Stewart’s lack of smiling doesn’t affect me. (While we’re on the topic: the media needs to stop picking on Kristen and telling her to smile. She’s shy and uncomfortable in front of the paparazzi. Stop asking for her to be uncomfortable so that you can have a better photo for your tabloid. Stop that right now.) Taylor Swift’s boyfriends and break-ups don’t affect me (also: can we stop calling her a slut? I’m not even her biggest fan, but that’s just 100 percent rude and unnecessary).

Girls, let’s be women about this. You don’t have to love every girl you encounter. You don’t have to be OMG BFFs 4EVAH with someone simply because you’re both women. But, you must have respect. In the wise words of Madeleine Albright, first woman United States Secretary of State, “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” I always have thought that women have a stronger connection and bond than men do. I’m not sure why, but I think we should use that to our advantage.

An feminism patch sold on Etsy.
A feminism patch sold on Etsy.

This is the essential facet of feminism: choice. Women are allowed to wearing plunging necklines, short skirts, teased hair, baggy jeans, not wear foundation or wear socks with sandals. Women are allowed to be abstinent, to hook up with every hot girl or guy she can get a hold of or stay with one partner for life. Women are allowed to do anything they want. Feminism does not succeed when women rise above men and never do anything remotely feminine. That is a misinterpretation. Feminism succeeds when every woman feels free and safe to live her life to her choosing on an equal playing field as every other member of society.

Let’s stop being bitches, y’all.

Make an effort to eliminate girl hate today. Compliment a stranger on her shoes. Use interruptive language to let your friends know that calling other girls sluts is not okay. Carry yourself with self-confidence. Stop calling celebrities sluts. Stop using the word slut. Stop thinking that a certain body type is bad, wrong or undesirable. Stop concerning yourself with the sexual lives of others. Let other women live their lives. Speak out when you must, but never from a place of jealousy, misunderstanding or bitterness. Be nice and kind and respectful.

Let’s reclaim our sisterhood.

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6 thoughts on “Girl hate, from slut-shaming to body-policing, and why it needs to stop.

  1. I was fortunate to live in that first wave of “sisterhood is powerful.” I had, and have, wonderful, supportive friends. Your post is a painful insight into the world in which young women live. You’ve given me a hard push to think about how I can be a better friend to the young women in my life and how to encourage them to be more supportive of one another. (Pointing them to your blog and posts like this will, of course, be part of that.) It makes me sad to think that it is necessary for you to write this, but I am so very glad that you did. Thank you!

  2. Love this post! You are right on point. I think we are socialized to think and behave in this archaic condemnation of women’s sexuality and it is so crucial use self-awareness for advocacy

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