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

With 2014 Tumblr core on the rise, iconic things from that era such as Lana Del Rey, the coquette aesthetic, and overall maneater qualities have reappeared on all of our feeds. With characters such as Fleabag and the phrase “Girlboss, Gaslight, Gatekeep”, the term “Female Manipulator” has now reached superstardom in contrast of its niche beginnings. 

The term “Female Manipulator” was coined back when Tumblr dominated all of our social media networks and was single-handedly creating every trend of that time. At the time it was associated with the “toxic girl” aesthetic which turned the table on men and their mannerisms toward women. The female manipulator aesthetic also came back in contrast to the “that girl” trend that came about in 2020 which was a very healthy clean girl aesthetic. Now with the rise of TikTok, the term has arisen from the dead and brings a new twist to what we used to know. 

The female manipulator now can now be an Amy Dunne apologist. Amy Dunne was the main character of David Fincher’s 2014 “Gone Girl” and is known for her manipulation and elaborate schemes against her husband. It can also be from reading Ottessa Moshfegh’s 2018 novel “My Year of Rest and Relaxation” and relating to the unnamed narrator. Sometimes it can be from playlists titled “female manipulator anthems” or “Maneater” and artists in said playlists can range from Mitski to Melanie Martinez to Marina and the Diamonds. 

The point of being a female manipulator is to essentially seek revenge on whoever was doing you wrong. Many idols to the female manipulator are Carrie, or Jennifer Check from “Jennifer’s Body”. These women are women scorned and are interpretations of female rage. 

In my opinion, the female manipulator trope in pop culture today signifies a rise in women taking back their power and being angry. As women, they are doing it in the most elegant way possible. The layers to the female manipulator go deep and its rise in mainstream pop culture has created different subsections of what was once a tiny corner on Tumblr.

pre-law | writer | lover of the finer things