It’s time to stop creating rivalries between women for the sake of clicks.
Over the last 25 years of new media, countless magazines, tabloids, and blog posts have continuously and appallingly pitted women against each other, creating disturbing and dreadful toxic competitions.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years I saw hundreds of magazines and tabloids composing elaborate hoaxes about rivalries between women in the hope of catching societies eyes. In doing so, women’s bodies were objectified and compared, identities and characteristics were fabricated, and achievements were heavily juxtaposed. This calamitous behavior not only affected the psyche of these women in the press, it also painfully reinforced disastrous expectations, harmful stereotypes, and insurmountable insecurities within the general public. There is an endless list of digital media comparisons, such as rivalries between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber, Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter, and numerous more. Through this endless and scathing cycle of pitting influential women against each other, young girls are subconsciously taught that they need to compare every minute aspect of themselves to others, in turn creating harmful competitions. This crumbling cycle destroys one’s self confidence and creates toxic behavior.
It became clear this year that social media romanticizes rivalries and competitions between women as there were millions of posts and articles portraying a disastrous feud between Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber. For instance, an article by Hello Magazine that does not shy away from their toxic marketing tactics: “Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber: A timeline of their feud”. This article dissects every tiny action and compares photographs of both women, which inherently compares their looks. Additionally, the title immediately indicates that there is toxic history between these women, and endorses this ‘feud’ with strong and confirming statements such as, “Their feud kicked off in January…”.1 These kinds of articles continue to confuse me as I wonder how digital media has not yet understood all of its devastating consequences when pitting women against each other? How have they not learned that all they portray are harmful behavior, detrimental expectations, and catastrophic stereotypes? How have they not acknowledged that their manipulation of language and images have caused such terrible consequences to a woman’s identity and confidence?
Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, Responsible Social Media Usage, photograph, NARA & DVIDS Public Domain Archive, April 2, 2021, https://nara.getarchive.net/media/responsible-social-media-usage-447e3a.
The effects of these rivalries and competitions became abundantly clear when the #GirlsGirl trend of Tik Tok started trending. For instance, this Tik Tok by Destineewrayy or another by d4lnq that discuss some of the behavior women portray when they have been subconsciously taught to constantly compare and pit themselves against others. This new trend, that continues to grow each day, appears to clearly discuss the effect of female celebrity rivalries and how these affect the way the general public think of themselves. Furthermore, these new trends on social media may showcase to society that by removing the media’s habit of comparing and instead uplifting each other, these toxic expectations and stereotypes will lose their position in communities.
Digital Media moves in a fast cycle; trends spike interests one week and instantly lose its spotlight the next. I hope that we will soon be able to look at social media and news sites without instantly finding posts filled with comparisons. I hope that the next cycle in Digital Media will choose to uplift women, and stop comparing the bodies, actions, and achievements of popular celebrities.
Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. Responsible Social Media Usage. Photograph. NARA & DVIDS Public Domain Archive. April 2, 2021. https://nara.getarchive.net/media/responsible-social-media-usage-447e3a.
Tatham, Phoebe. “Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber: A Timeline of Their Feud.” Hello! Last modified June 1, 2023. https://www.hellomagazine.com/celebrities/494440/selena-gomez-hailey-bieber-feud-timeline/.
- Phoebe Tatham, “Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber: A Timeline of Their Feud,” Hello!, last modified June 1, 2023, https://www.hellomagazine.com/celebrities/494440/selena-gomez-hailey-bieber-feud-timeline/.