Just last week, there were reports about model Kate Upton being bullied by a blogger who was identified only by her online moniker, “Skinny Gurl.” The said blogger—who has preferred to remain anonymous—appeared to be the owner-editor of a website called, Skinny Gossip. Needless to say, the anonymous blogger got a lot of flak for calling Upton—a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition cover girl who measures 36”-25”-34”—“fat.” The controversy has since simmered down and the blogger has somewhat apologized for what was perceived by many as her bullying (albeit in a passive-aggressive manner) of Upton, writing in an announcement: “What I write on the site is intentionally outrageous and intended to provoke controversy.” She then revealed that she was adding some “changes” to her website.
FEMALE BULLYING DISSECTED
There are women who need to knock others down so they can feel good. Rachel Giese—in “Female Bullying,” an article published in the September 2010 issue of Flare magazine—cited New York University professor of psychiatry Irene Levine’s explanation for women’s mean-spirited attitude towards other women. Levine, who is the author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, explained: “Bullying isn’t uniquely female. But there are always women who need to build themselves up by knocking others down. They may exclude, gossip, or do other things to demean one individual—particularly someone who seems vulnerable. Making someone feel alone, rejected, and treating her as an outcast can be as vicious as a physical assault.”
Apparently, mean girls deal with envy and their insecurity by launching “sneak attacks” on other girls whom they deem as threats. Giese pointed out: “The female bully doesn’t use her fists; instead, she denies other women a social connection by mocking or shunning them.”
Woman-on-woman bullying is common because women are often predisposed to compete against each other by way of their looks and the things they have. Levine, in her Psychology Today article, said, “Unfortunately, some mean girls never grow up, continuing similar behaviors as adults. So the insidious practice of woman-on-woman bullying—often used to dominate and control subordinates or colleagues—is common in the workplace. Similarly, stay-at-home moms are still victimized by frenemies and neighbors. They and their kids become the subject of gossip, and are systematically excluded from play dates, playgroups and birthday parties. This is a particularly pernicious form of bullying because it attacks not only a grown woman but also her child.”DIGITAL ATTACKS
In any case, female bullying has gone digital. These days, women can do their bullying in so many other ways. Some do it via Twitter or Facebook. There are, in fact, women who engage in a competition with their Facebook friends by constantly posting "show-off" status messages or photos that make their lives seem perfect all the time. Some resort to sending hurtful text messages. Consider the case of celebrity sisters Cristine Reyes and Ara Mina, where the former allegedly called the latter many nasty names via SMS.
Sadly, we took note that a number of female commenters in our Kate Upton-“Skinny Gurl” story also took potshots at the model, criticizing her for not being thin enough or saying that she needed to go to the gym some more. Some even went as far as to call her “chubby.” More male commenters were kind and expressed outright support for Upton, saying her body was just right. It’s worth noting that Upton is not the only woman who has experienced such nastiness online. In the local scene, celebrities KC Concepcion (who appeared in Rogue’s January-February 2012 issue cover) and Bianca Gonzalez (who appeared on the cover of Esquire Philippines’ April 2012 issue) also got criticized by a lot of women for either being “fat” or “too skinny.” There were also women who tagged the two as “loose” for appearing in such daring states on the magazine covers.
A woman’s appearance, by the way, is often the first subject of mean girls’ attacks. It’s the first thing they see, after all.
HOPE FOR SISTERHOOD
So, is it really true that women are nastier to other women? Yes, there are women out there who champion female camaraderie and sisterhood—but there are also those who won’t hesitate to spew out their nastiness. Often, it’s the mean girls who are more vocal. Isn’t it about time that we make a stand and put a stop to female bullying and bullying in general?
Yahoo! Philippines SHE asks Pinays: "Do you think women enjoy being nasty to other women?" Why do you think there are women who judge other women so harshly and sometimes without any sort of logic when it comes to their appearance?
Yahoo! Philippines SHE encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.