Catfights galor(ified)

The media needs to stop pitting women against each other

Women’s representation in the media is much like a boxing ring. Imagine Taylor Swift in one corner and Katy Perry in the other. The media is both the referee and commentator, egging them on.           

Repeated instances such as the feud between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry represent a larger issue: the media continuously pits women against one another. 

Instances of celebrity catfights aren’t the only way we see this common narrative play out. 

Female politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin show that even in the realm of politics, women disagreeing provides entertainment for onlookers. 

In the famous Saturday Night Live skit starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as Palin and Clinton, their conflict was satirized in a way that made Clinton and Palin seem petty and childish. In an article by The Daily Wire, Michelle Obama was reported to hate Clinton, however, Michelle Obama has done nothing but advocate for Clinton in the 2016 election.  

These examples perpetuate the notion that girls fighting amongst themselves is something to be glorified, watched and encouraged. While it may seem harmless to some, this norm affects how we view ourselves and one another and how men view women in general. 

It’s instances like these that further enforce the idea that women need to compete with each other, or that women are more emotional and therefore unsuitable for powerful positions. 

A woman is currently running for President of the United States, that’s clearly not the case. Yet we still indulge in a media that thrives off belittling women.

The first time I remember being personally exposed to this notion of women being pitted against one another, was growing up at summer camp. Someone said to me, “I don’t know how you live with all girls at camp. Girls are so catty.” 

In university, I’ve heard, while choosing housemates, that girls didn’t want to be in a house with only females because they believed things would quickly take a turn for the worse.

These instances made me question why we were insulting our own gender, like we were ashamed to even be associated with other girls because of their alleged cattiness. 

I’m now left to wonder why we’re still constantly competing with one another and how this perception of women as fundamentally petty beings came to be in the first place.

In my understanding, it comes from the reoccurrence of these themes when powerful women — namely figures we see in politics and entertainment — are discussed in the media in a way that reduces female problems to laughable ones. 

It has come to a point where it is seemingly unnatural for us to simply celebrate a woman without tearing down another in the process through comparisons.           

This isn’t to be misunderstood as me saying that only women engage in any sort of argument. All people find themselves in altercations, as they’re very human things.  

However, the media’s glorification of female drama is unnecessary and paints females in a stereotypical and unflattering light. It further imposes the idea that women should derive happiness from another woman’s pain. We see this in how Jennifer Aniston was used across the Internet to poke fun at Angelina Jolie’s divorce. 

While its easy to think of countless examples of female “feuds,” it’s harder to do the same for men. 

Despite the fact that we’ve been making great strides against misogyny, the media’s pitting women against other women doesn’t help improve misogynistic attitudes. Instead, it reinforces a system of not taking women seriously that has harmful effects for all of us. 

Alternatively, popular female figures should challenge the media when they’re actions are being blown out of proportion. Taking action would not only help how women are seen in the media but would also help how women are treated in daily life.           

The media teaches me that, because I’m a female, I should tread on the girl next to me to achieve validation, but I’d rather highlight how much females have the ability to inspire one another and not tear each other down.   

Cassandra Littlewood is a second-year English and Global Development Studies medial.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.