Why Do We Pit Cool, Powerful Women Against Each Other?
So maybe you’ve heard the latest celebrity rumor (you’d be forgiven if you hadn’t, it’s hard to keep up, there’s a new one every 2.14 seconds), that Katy Perry and Taylor Swift are on the outs. In Rolling Stone‘s new profile of Swift, her royal Tayness reveals that she is (in her own words) “straight-up enemies” with another A-list female pop star whose name she will not reveal. Apparently the track “Bad Blood” off her new album 1989, her “angriest” track on the record (according to Rolling Stone) is all about this other female singer.
Once the tabloids found out about this mystery feud, they all collectively screamed “Field day!” and immediately began getting chatty re: who this “straight-up enemy” could POSSIBLY be! Most of the tabs are agreeing that Katy Perry is the shadowy nemesis that Swift whispers of in interviews. Gawker has an intense timeline full of word-by-word analysis of the singers’ tweets to one another and rampant speculation as to what could have caused the rumored “bad blood” between the two (Katy Perry had some back up dancers who went to do a Taylor Swift tour and then left that tour early to come back and do Katy’s new tour! Both girls dated John Mayer! Katy didn’t respond to Tay’s tweet THAT ONE TIME!).
Maybe Katy IS the “straight-up enemy” Taylor was talking about in her interview. Or maybe it’s some other famous pop lady. Or maybe it’s just an imaginary rivalry Taylor fabricated to get people talking about something OTHER than all her famous ex-boyfriends making appearances in the lyrics of her songs. I’m dead serious, if I were Swift, I’d be like “Shut UP about my ex-boyfriends, talk about my music, or my friendship with Lena Dunham, or how the paps always catch me looking fashion FIERCE on my way out of the gym, or basically anything other than my stupid ex-boyfriends! No. Fine, whatever, if it’s drama you want, I’ll make up an imaginary arch-nemesis to freak out about just so you all will stop talking about my boring ex-boyfriends already. I’ve moved on, dudes, I mean, have you HEARD ‘Shake It Off?’”
The thing is, neither lady is dropping the other one’s name. Respect for not naming names, Taylor Swift and Taylor’s Secret Mystery Enemy That May Or May Not Be Completely Made Up. But still, the world is freaking out about a story that isn’t even really a story. Why, world, why are you doing that? Because the world loves a good “cat fight.” Because it’s not enough for a woman to be awesome and successful, the world is always looking for a way to tear women down for their achievements, and the world is always SUPER excited when women tear each other down and do all the dirty work for it. I know I sound paranoid times infinity, like I live in a nuclear bomb shelter and basically never take off my tinfoil hat. I wish I was being paranoid. But I’m not. I’m just being honest.
Famous, talented, powerful women are constantly pitted against each other in the media. From directors Jane Campion and Kathryn Bigelow to Queen Bey and every female in the music industry, embellished disagreements based on speculation are commonplace and it’s bad news. Rumors are just that, and it’s disconcerting that so many rumors giddily hover around women in conflict with each other.
The thing is, conflict isn’t a situation exclusive to women, You think men in competitive fields don’t knock heads? You don’t think there are male actors who are frenemies, male comedians who are straight-up enemies, male pop stars who would totally chew through each other’s necks if that was a thing human teeth were capable of? Men fight with other men ALL the time in the entertainment industry, but we don’t really talk about it, we CERTAINLY don’t write ginormous Internet pieces speculating which one of Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriends hates which other one of Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriends. We don’t report male feuds because we don’t care about male feuds. The cat-fight-watch is a sexist watch, and it’s depressing to watch the world celebrate women hating one another.
So let’s just. . .not do it? Let’s celebrate powerful female friendships. Let’s make that news.