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Love, etc.: Shaming

I will shamelessly admit that I cannot go more than a month (tops) without watching “Mean Girls.” Not only is it pure comedic genius, but it also holds a lot of truth about how girls handle their relationships with other girls. Every time I watch it, I feel inspired to question my own inner “plastic.”

From an early age, women begin forming ideas of how relationships work. Watching our mothers interact with their mother, sisters, and girlfriends gives us a perspective about how inter-female relations come into play. Many women will play the role of the bully and the bullied, the b*tch and the victim. This doesn’t stop after high school and with three (going on four) years of college life under my belt, I can personally attest to the fact that girl-on-girl hate thrives in a campus setting. In an age where more women are participating in casual sex and relationships, girl crime is at an all-time high.

In her best-selling book “Queen Bees and Wannabees” (the book that everyone’s favorite movie “Mean Girls” is based off of), author Rosalind Wiseman takes a moment to thank two of her classmates who let her sit at their lunch table in middle school. The book is intended to be a guide for parents who are trying to teach their pre-teen or teenage daughter how to “survive” her booming social life: cliques, competition between girls, early relationships and self-esteem.

Wiseman proposes a question that seems all too relevant on any college campus: “The most complicated question of all that’s confused women forever: How in the world is a girl supposed to be sexy enough that she gets boys’ attention but not so sexy that other girls turn against her?”

Many girls have turned to “Slut-shaming” when the sexual escapades of another woman become a topic of discussion. Instead of holding guys accountable for hooking up, we create scenarios in which the subject of discussion is reduced to someone who uses seduction and witchcraft to trap a man and keep him away from other women.

Slut-shaming isn’t the only crime we commit. We accuse women who aren’t sexually active of being “prudes” and holding a holier-than-thou attitude. This is damaging because it opens up the thought that women “owe” men sex.

We’re guilty of this not only with strangers, but within our own cliques. Countless times I have heard girls accuse their own friends of “going too far” or being a total prude.

It’s one thing to be jealous of another girl, or even be devastated when you see your crush walk away with her. It’s another thing to build a grudge against her instead of holding the man accountable. Whether nothing or everything happens behind closed doors, this double-edged sword hurts everyone involved and it leaves the female sex open to scrutiny. It is unproductive. Why have we made it nearly impossible to have any kind of pride or sense of self-worth in one’s own sex life? When girls disgrace other girls for their choices, they are proactive in taking away the ability to defend their own.

What we need to accept is that sexual and emotional agendas will vary widely from woman to woman. Stop shaming and start defending. If we want to be empowered, we cannot call another girl a slut or prude with the same tone we use when we make fun of her outfit. In a 2012 article from PsychologyToday.com, author David J Ley, Ph. D. claims that “The ‘double standard,’ that some sexual activities are okay for males, but not females, is far more supported by women than men.” He also mentions that “Gossip by other women, and the reputation one holds among other women, are often cited as the most powerful influences on women to ‘hold back sexually.’”

Although SUNY Oswego doesn’t have its own Ms. Norbury, the witty advocate of female empowerment in “Mean Girls,” we can take the fictional character’s wise words to heart: “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores.”

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