Girl-On-Girl Hate

Slut. Whore. Prostitute. Strumpet. Harlot. Floozy. Hooker. Hussy. Tart. Tramp.

All of these are terms for a woman who sells sex. All of these are terms that have become pejoratives for a woman who is dressed sexy, who wears makeup, who dates more than one person, or who you hate for no particular reason. I have been called all of these at one time or another, for all of these reasons. And every time, it was another woman who said it.

There are so many examples of this in popular culture that it’s no big surprise that women subscribe to this attitude. Take the movie Mean Girls. The entire premise of the movie revolves around girls hating other girls, entirely based on their popularity or beauty. Some choice quotes: “Boo, you whore!” “And evil takes a human form in Regina George. Don’t be fooled because she may seem like your typical selfish, back-stabbing slut faced ho-bag, but in reality, she’s so much more than that.” “You know what? You’re the one who made me like this so you could use me for your 8th grade revenge!” The entire movie is practically a documentary about the way girls treat each other.

Pop-Country music star Taylor Swift’s most popular song to date is a song that is entirely girl-on-girl hate. She hates the popular girl for being athletic and pretty, and dating the boy who she likes. I’m pretty sure that the only reason Taylor Swift doesn’t call the girl any of the names listed above is because of her innocent pretty blonde girl image. Watch the video.  Guess what? It’s only in Hollywood that hating your competition will actually help you. In reality it makes you look like you are a crazy person.

This same attitude has become disturbingly prevalent in the geek/gamer girl communities as well. These are communities that traditionally pride themselves on being open and accepting of everyone. I found this picture going around Facebook recently, and it really bothered me.

Being pretty doesn't make her less of a "real" gamer than you are.

There are girls who actually make a living that is entirely based around being an attractive person who also loves to play video games (see GameCrush, Felicia Day, or the Frag Dolls), or explain science experiments (isn’t Kari Byron of the Mythbusters awesome?), or being knowledgeable about open source platforms (like my good friend, Nixie Pixel).

What makes these successful women any different than a model or an actress? Calling these women whores or sluts is just as bad as the stereotypical gamer guy who tells a girl on XBox live chat to go and make him a sandwich. In other words, calling other girls names entirely based on a limited perception of them only helps make it okay for guys to do the exact same thing.

The underlying cause of this girl-on-girl hate is jealousy that stems from insecurity and pettiness. Those are qualities that are never attractive, and will not make you prettier, or more popular, or help you to get that guy that you have a crush on. In fact, studies have shown that jealousy makes you blind to things in front of you, and are actually symptoms of aggression and low self esteem.

Let’s stop the girl-on-girl hate. Do you have any real-world examples of ways to stop dragging other women down?

Posted on March 20, 2012, in Feminism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Great blog, very insightful. However, isn’t using these words with one another more taking it back, making it hurt less, just like the other racially charged words and homosexual derogatory terms? I use these words all the time jokingly even endearingly or even matter of factly in reference to myself because I don’t feel I should be ashamed to live like a man does in a man’s world behaving in the same manner as men do. I know these words are never uttered to my face that most women are intimidated by me and wouldn’t dare! As long as they keep saying it to my back, and are too cowardiced to say them to my face, it keeps them from getting verbally assaulted right back.

    Nevermind, I think I figured it out. If we’re FRIENDS and say it to one another, that’s different than when being malicious and calling OTHER girls we don’t know or have limited knowledge of these pejoratives. Still saying these negative words to each other even in jest IS opening the door to allowing others to use it against us making it seem as if we’re ok with it.

    I was jealous of a girl in school. She seemed to have it all, a loving, supportive, and involved family, looks, great siblings, popularity, but dumb as a board skating by on her wiles to manipulate men into doing everything for her or just plain cheating. I despised her allure b/c I had to work HARD for every grade I got, nobody EVER helped me, and my family was NOT as beautiful or supportive as hers. I was usually one of the 3 kids students were TRYING to copy. We went to school for 11 years together, and I wished I had her ease of life.

    Her best friend actually fucked my Homecoming date who ditched me at the dance. I HATED them. For 8 years of private Catholic school I had endured their existences, and here I was in a public high school STILL getting slighted by their indirect actions. I had had enough, so I lashed out and passed a note to Kristi’s boyfriend Kevin during lunch break saying she was only with him because he was popular and that she was just using him and would discard him once she was done with him, I might’ve even called her a slut in the note, but I don’t think so. My recollection is a bit hazy.

    She caught me, intercepted the note, and confronted me about it. “Why did you write this?” At first, I thought that I was sneaky. I never signed my name to it. I initialed it. “I didn’t write it. Why do you think I wrote it?” We’d gone to school long enough to know damn well those were my initials, and she was pissed, “those ARE your initials, Stella, are they not?! Come on!” Finally I dropped a pair, looked her dead in the eye, and said, “because it’s TRUE.”

    She crumpled my note tossed it in the trash and walked off in a huff. I’m sure she trashed me to her popular friends who of course tried to stir up drama. Some kid told me Holly wanted to “talk” to me. Rumors flew around that she wanted to fight me. She had a reputation after all. I was intimidated at first, but then I said, fuck it. I’ll confront her. I’ll see what she’s got to say and have my guard up ready to swing if I had to!

    She didn’t think I would. Everyone thought I fell outta the sky a sissy, nerdy, Tongan girl, whose mother dressed her too old for her age, with no popular friends, or close family ties. She looked nervously around and then RAN saying she was going to be late for class. Their intimidation tactics didn’t work on me like they did others. They mistook me for a victim!

    That’s when I realized fear was the killer. Found out later if she got caught fighting ONE more time she’d be expelled. It was all a bluff, and I called it. Also she DIDN’T want my cousins to catch wind that she challenged me to fight all by myself and then get jumped later even if we aren’t close to one another my uncles and cousins would’ve FUCKED her up, and she knew it cuz they were also on academic probation, and they didn’t give a DAMN about juvy.

  2. I think you might have misunderstood the point of that picture. First of all, it’s a dumb picture because it perpetuates the stereotype it is poking fun at. In the bottom pannel, the girl is playing Zelda with an xbox360 controller. I don’t think I need to say anything more about that. But, legitimately, the issue being brought to light by this comic was not some statement on how being pretty makes you less of a gamer.

    It is, rather, that girls in the gaming community already deal with a lot of annoying stigmas. Now, I personally couldn’t care less. I’m fine with being treated as “one of the guys” when the people I’m playing with don’t know I’m female, and I’m also fine with ignoring the “tits or GTFO” comments that trickle in when people find out. I completely understand why there are a lot of girls who are bothered by it, though. Whether in jest or otherwise, the internet and multiplayer gaming spheres tend to have some of the larger contingents of vocal sexists. It’s like the online bullying thing. It’s easier to make fun of somebody or say crude and mean things when you’re not face to face. Even when guys are just kidding, sometimes it’s unfortunate to be more insecure about playing a game you just bought because the guys are going to assume you’re bad because you’re female, not because you’re new. This is the atmosphere that bothers girls that play games.

    Then, you see the girls who post pictures all over the place with various controllers wrapped around their nearly-nude selves, gratuitous cleavage and some excuse for being a “hardcore gamer if you check out the mic I’ve got here,” etc. This does NOTHING to help the previously mentioned issues faced by girls that love to play. Go find a couple comments on pictures like that, and you’ll see things that range from “How dumb, she’s licking a wavebird and sitting next to an N64” to “Look at those tits.” Nothing about how it’s cool she likes to play games or anything like that. I’ve found that male gamers tend to be totally okay with playing with me when they realize that I’m not playing for attention, or that the reason I’m bad at a game, if I happen to be bad at that game, is on account of me being new to it. What they do look down on is the girls trying to sexualize something they love in a bid for attention. It mocks a hobby they love, that is already pigeon-holed as dorky (in a bad way), by society. That view on gamers, in general, has still not been completely changed.

    A cute gamer girl is a girl that is passionate about her games and happens to be cute. Not a girl that pretends to like games in hopes of looking cute. That picture surfaced because girls that really like to play games feel like they are being belittled by this sort of image. That sort of picture perpetuates the stereotype girls that play games are trying to break. We are not all socially awkward shut ins, but we also don’t sit around and pose nude with our DAS keyboards. We play games with them. The comic was poking at girls trying to be sexy with gaming paraphernalia, not sexy girls that play games.

    • Trust me, I understand the hilarity of the girl using an Xbox controller to “play” Zelda. I’m a gamer too. I’ve heard “tits or GTFO” and “go make me a sandwich” on Vent or Live Chat more times than I care to count, and I generally just go ahead and gank their asses.

      My issue was specifically using the word slut to describe the girl on the top panel. So there’s a picture of her doing something suggestive with a controller, so what? Does that actually say something about her sexuality or her promiscuity?

      I took a similarly suggestive picture while I was making cupcakes, does that make me a slut? Does it somehow turn me into someone who actually doesn’t bake, but pretends to do so for the attention?

      This comic does nothing but further those annoying stigmas that you referenced above. It perpetuates that the “hot” girls pretend to be gamers because they need attention, and that the “real” gamer girls have hygiene issues.

      I’m glad that there are gamer girls who make money by being attractive badasses, and I know quite a few ladies who do. Both you and I know that these particular girls aren’t the representative population of female gamers; most are just regular girls. But there’s no reason to for such a vicious word to describe them for doing so.

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