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From the golden age of Hollywood to the days of Instagram bashing, rivalries are definitely not a new phenomenon in the entertainment industry. Whether it’s Britney Spears versus Christina Aguilera splashed across the tabloids or Katy Perry “throwing shade” towards Taylor Swift on Twitter, the so-called “girl fight” is one of the most established and demeaning practices in Hollywood.

This type of media coverage can be traced back to the 1930s with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford’s feud. The rivalry was generated by an industry that loved nothing more than to see women tearing each other apart. In the following years, celebrity conflicts, mainly among female stars, would become an inherent part of our culture, particularly in the realm of pop music. Madonna versus Cher, Nicki Minaj versus Cardi B, Jesy Nelson versus Little Mix, the list goes on.

Although much progress has been made recently regarding gender equality, the misogynistic practice of targeting women in the media has prevailed. The music industry succeeds in selling the audience an image in which women are applauded for their youth. In Taylor Swift’s documentary, “Miss Americana”, she says female artists need to reinvent themselves much more than male artists “or else you’re out of a job”. As Swift reaches the age of 30 she contemplates “this is probably one of my last opportunities as an artist to grasp on to that kind of success”, “I want to work really hard while society is still tolerating me being successful”. This extreme pressure put on female artists causes them to see fellow stars as their competition, and thus their enemies. This toxic culture allows the media to easily provoke and fuel rivalries.

This horrible, seemingly endless cycle is extremely damaging to artists’ mental health. In the same documentary, Taylor Swift remarks on her own mental state after a feud with Kim Kardashian West turned Swift’s reputation south. She was very vulnerable to the criticism, “we’re people who got into this life because we wanted people to like us, because we were intrinsically insecure”, “most days I’m ok, it just gets loud sometimes”. A lot of other women in the entertainment industry have been taught to heavily rely on other people’s approval. It is worrying that they are subjected to such unnecessary scrutiny through industry fuelled arguments. This culture has a trickle-down effect on young people, especially young girls. These “catfights” do not support a feminist image and may result in young women believing that this is the way they need to behave. 

It has been shown time and again that female pop stars can be successful without being pitted against one another. Just look at Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, good friends who have collaborated on many songs together. They are a perfect example of the power that women possess when brought together rather than torn apart. Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift have also supported one another for years. Although they haven’t released a collaboration yet, maybe one day? With a new generation of talent emerging in Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish, I really hope that we see a more balanced approach from the media and a lot more friends than enemies!

My name is Abigail. I am a 19 year old communications student. This year I am the first year rep for HerCampus DCU. My interests range from fashion and beauty to important issues such as mental health.
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