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

When I was a kid, my mom would always buy one of those trashy magazines when we would travel. My favorite section was the “Who Wore it Better?” section. It would show two or more pictures of women wearing the same outfit along with a fan-voted poll selecting who wore it better. I loved this game. I saw no problem with it as a child, but looking back, it makes me a little sad. That was the beginning of the concept of “comparison” being ingrained into my brain. 

It is natural for people to compare themselves to others. Social Comparison Theory, a theory developed by psychologist Leon Festinger, is the idea that individuals determine their own social and personal worth based on how they stack up against others. However, the media proves that we also have an urge to pit people, commonly women, against each other.

Publications and blogs have been comparing women for so long. For example, in 2002 there was the Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera debate, and in 2005 people were either Team Jennifer Anniston or Team Angelina Jolie.

A more recent example is between Gen-Z musicians Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter. In January of 2021, Rodrigo released her debut song “Drivers License.” In the song, she sings, “And you’re probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt / She’s so much older than me / She’s everything I’m insecure about.” People began speculating that the “blonde girl” she sings about is Sabrina Carpenter due to Carpenter being seen with Joshua Bassett, Rodrigo’s alleged ex, whom the song is presumably about. A week later, Carpenter released “Skin” where she sings, “Maybe we could’ve been friends / If I met you in another life / Maybe then we could pretend / There’s no gravity in the words we write / Maybe you didn’t mean it / Maybe blonde was the only rhyme,” seemingly in response to “Drivers License.” This resulted in so many theories flying around online about what happened as well as an abundance of hate being sent to both Rodrigo, who was 17 at the time, and Carpenter, who was 21 at the time. 

This isn’t the only “beef” people have stuck Olivia Rodrigo in. At the start of her career, Rodrigo was very vocal about her love for Taylor Swift. In a 2021 interview, she claimed, “I truly would not be the songwriter I am today if I had not grown up being so inspired by everything she does.” The pair later became friends and Rodrigo even promoted Swift’s first re-recorded album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), in April of 2021. However, after getting accused of copying Swift’s “Cruel Summer” in Rodrigo’s “Deja Vu” by fans, Rodrigo stopped speaking about Swift. Furthermore, despite later being at the same events, they no longer interacted. This led to loads of speculation about the two no longer being on good terms.


you ok? no. fearless (taylor’s version) comes out tonight. here’s a sneak peek of one of our favorites ;) #taylorswift @livbedumb

♬ original sound – conangray

Two and a half years later, people are still speculating about a supposed “beef” between the two singers. In June of this year, Taylor Swift announced her Latin American leg of The Eras Tour and revealed that Sabrina Carpenter would be opening for her on those dates. This sparked further discourse about a rumored fall-out between Swift and Rodrigo. People were claiming this was proof that Swift took Carpenter’s side.

Recently, following the release of Rodrigo’s sophomore album GUTS, the singer did an interview with Rolling Stone where she denied any beef with Swift stating, “I don’t have beef with anyone. I’m very chill. I keep to myself. I have my four friends and my mom, and that’s really the only people I talk to, ever. There’s nothing to say. There’s so many Twitter conspiracy theories. I only look at alien-conspiracy theories.” 

People leaning into rumors of celebrity drama is, unfortunately, a given. However, people will also create drama out of thin air. For example, I have seen so many people arguing over Taylor Swift and Beyoncé this summer. The online debates have been over which one of those A-list musicians is the better performer as well as which of them has the better tour, as both The Eras Tour and the Renaissance Tour are happening right now. Rather than acknowledging that the two record-breaking artists are incredibly talented in their own right, people would prefer to put them against each other and viciously argue online.

I wish I knew why this is happening. Is it because we as a society dehumanize celebrities and think that their personal lives are for our entertainment? Or is it the opposite and instead because we form parasocial relationships with these entertainers and view them as our friends, whom we need to defend? Perhaps it is a little bit of both. All I know for sure is that I am so over it.

Lily Morris is a third-year student at the University of Georgia majoring in Communication Studies. She loves all things pop-culture, especially music and movies. She enjoys listening to meticulously crafted Spotify playlists, writing funny reviews on Letterboxd, and talking about Taylor Swift to anyone who will listen.