Though it may be an unusual place to look for academic support, the answer to this Quora question is a good starting point to set the mood of this project. Written by self-proclaimed gay man, Jorge da Silva, the answer he gives to the question, "Why does society pit women against each other?" is simple and well thought out. Citing internalized prejudice as the main reason behind this issue, the author uses his own experiences within the LGBT community as examples to explain his reasoning, "Other gay men who wish not to be associated with the minority group, so they adopt the mindset of the majority group, this also means adopting stereotypes and propagating prejudice," states Silva. Additionally, "the desire to belong is one of the strongest desires one can feel," he quotes Maslow, which is a statement with which everyone can undoubtedly relate. It is with this idea that someone coming from a place with no knowledge of this specific social issue can easily come away from this page with plenty of new information and food for thought without being overwhelmed or confused.
Emily Gordon puts forward two main theories as to why women compete with one another in indirectly aggressive ways. 1. Evolutionary psychology urges us to wipe out any competition for good genes and 2. Feminist psychology "chalks it up to internalizing the patriarchy." After using her own childhood and teen years experiences and pulling numerous examples from her own life, Gordon puts forth her own theory on female competition: "We aren’t competing with other women, ultimately, but with ourselves — with how we think of ourselves." After sharing her realization that the women she thought she was competing against were "magnanimous, charming creatures, but also kind and obsessive and weird," she started to understand that "[her] negative view of them had nothing to do with them at all. It was just a warped mirror."
Written by Lisa Wade, PhD, this brief article packs a punch. The idea that women must compete with each other is explained as a need for male attention since "women’s opinions of [themselves] have less value and can’t substitute for men’s, so women can’t hold each other up; they must all turn to men for self-esteem." Citing the media as "actively[trying] to pit women against one another," Wade includes several examples of advertisements and magazine covers, including the one pictured above, that illustrate her point exactly.
Hollywood is far from reality but the people within it are just as human as those without. The focus of this article is on the fake drama between actresses the media produces that, intentionally or not, draws people's attention away from the real issues. Women in Hollywood have notoriously had a tough time being respected and taken seriously in comparison to their male counterparts. Jessica Chastain, one of the main subjects of this piece speaks about how frustrating it is when the "more important subjects" are overlooked by the media in favor of false drama. She states, "The gender wage gap, the way some women in Hollywood are treated by male executives, the lack of women working behind-the-scenes; if you're spending all your time telling magazines that no, you're not fighting with your female co-star, are those issues going to come up?"
Author Danielle Prager makes a bold statement that encapsulates one of the largest issues in the fight against sexism. She states, "after spending numerous hours thinking and talking about this subject, I have come to a very simple conclusion: It doesn’t matter whether this behavior is learned or inherent to our biology because, regardless, we have a choice." She makes a point of placing responsibility of our actions in our own hands. The media may pressure women into competition against one another, our society may try to normalize women vying for men's attention, Mean Girls may be a hit movie but these facts do not shift the the blame from our shoulders. As grown women, we must act in favor of our sex, not just ourselves.