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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

Perhaps the most frequently quoted cult-comedy of the noughties, ‘Mean Girls’ ultimately summarised the damaging influence of internalised sexism:

 “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores”.

–      Ms. Norbury

A decade since its release, one cannot help but question whether we have really learned from the Tina Fey production. After all, “Slut” and “whore” are just two of the tamer words that have been used to describe Kim Kardashian recently. Following the publication of her infamous ‘Paper’ magazine cover – featuring the reality TV queen naked and smothered in baby oil – social media imploded. Indeed, while the voluptuous brunette may have failed in her desire to “Break The Internet”, she certainly gave it a lot to talk about. Shockingly, her greatest critics were women, once again proving internalised sexism remains as truly prevalent today as it was in 2004 hit, ‘Mean Girls’.

Firstly, it must be made explicitly clear that Kim Kardashian deserves no praise or glorification for her highly exposed shoot. Much like the majority of the Twittersphere, I do not condone her transparent craving for attention, nor do I believe it to be an act of sexual empowerment. In fact, on many levels, I found the whole debacle rather repulsive. What was more repulsive, however, was the reaction of the female population.

A Facebook friend of mine – a highly educated girl with outspoken feminist values – shared a status, labelling girls who respected Kim Kardashian “pathetic”. Surely, labelling any female “pathetic” for their chosen belief will essentially hinder any efforts made towards gender equality? Furthermore, had Kim Kardashian been a male celebrity, would it have attracted such negative publicity? Most likely not. The media circus surrounding one photo shoot begs the question; is the naked female form really so shocking?

The issue of internalised sexism transcends reality TV stars. Notably, how often do we hear female adolescents repeat the words “I’m not like other girls”? Not only does this perpetuate the idea that all girls are the same, but it suggests that being associated with them is a negative thing. This need to detach ourselves from femininity is increasingly common and exceptionally dangerous.

Additionally, there is an increasing pressure upon women to behave in a certain manner. Logging on to Twitter, we can expect to constantly see statements from girls critiquing their peers for going out and partying. However, girls who stay in and study are also slated. Similarly, several scathing attacks are made towards females who do not dress conservatively. Contrastingly, girls are attacked if they dress too conservatively. Keira Knightley’s topless photos have been hailed as “art” yet Kim Kardashian’s naked shots are simply “trashy”.

To be a girl in 2014 is to conform to a strict code of conduct that is both confusing and frustrating. If we reject this code, transgressing slightly from the rules, we are brutally savaged by those who should be supporting us. 10 years has passed since ‘Mean Girls’ was produced. Now, it really is time for us to stop calling each other sluts and whores.  


Edited by Mackenzie Orrock


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Harriet Dunlea is Campus Correspondent and Co-Editor in Chief of Her Campus Nottingham. She is a final year English student at the University of Nottingham. Her passion for student journalism derives from her too-nosey-for-her-own-good nature.