Last week I got into a catfight. And it was the proudest moment of my life.
No, not proud because I beat the crap out of anyone—because I am (sadly) physically incapable of doing that. Proud because I surprised myself by being able to act like a crazy, jealous girlfriend in a (can you believe it?) Shakespearean play. But the experience made me realize that the thrill of cat-fighting is not all that it seems. In fact, I almost felt like at traitor.
It made me wonder where all the hype about cat-fighting comes from. So naturally, I thought of “Mean Girls”—one of the few successful documentations of the secret world of girl behavior in cinematic history.
While the feminist voice currently takes the Gothic world by storm, I think it’s only appropriate to delve back into that great sociological study of teenage girl behavior in its most natural and savage habitat: high school.
So what happens when you mesh feminism with the pre-“Gossip Girl,” post-“Thelma and Louise” world of the Mean Girl?
Cady Heron: Well, when I was in Africa, I didn’t really notice a lot of feminist movements because women were in very socially-constrained roles. But here, it’s totally different. Women here are so liberated. Just yesterday I pushed someone in front of a bus—it was great! Haha, just kidding! (Laughs nervously)
Gretchen Wieners: I’m totally for feminists. I think too often girls just try to like, stab each other in the back when it’s already so hard growing up as a woman in this world. Except for Caesar. “We should all totally just stab Caesar!”
Karen Smith: On Wednesdays, we wear pink!
Janis Ian: Everyone is always talking s**t about feminists. But really, these people are just lazy a-holes who don’t know how to make their own sandwiches or wish they had as much chest hair as their moms.
Regina George: Most of them are girls that are just trying to get their 15 minutes of popularity, because, let’s be real, there’s no way they’re gonna get a guy wearing those sweatpants. It’s probably all they fit into right now.
Random Girl: I heard Regina George say that feminists were totally in right now, so I decided to become a feminist.
Coach Carr: I think feminists are great. There’s no need for any girl to ever try to be plastic, rubber’s the way to go.
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Mr. Duvall: I think the world could use more strong-willed women who have the right priorities. I know how mad I get when I have to speak to girls in my office for getting into a fight because one of them was seen canoodling with the other’s boyfriend. Almost as mad as I get when the boyfriend posts a video of the fight on the Internet.
Ms. Norbury: I think high school girls would have a lot to learn from feminists. I try to teach feminist values to my own students, but it’s not that easy. One of them still thinks her breasts have ESPN. Regina George: I mean, they’re all like men-hating freaks who wish they were less hot versions of me. They should just take their stupid picket signs and shove them up their—[gets hit by a school bus].
Cady: Sometime in high school it finally hit me: “Saying someone is stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. Saying someone is fat doesn’t make you any skinnier.” If we women want to co-exist in this world, then we have to learn to accept each others’ faults rather than talk s**t about other people. (Pauses and thinks for a second) Ya, Regina too.
Damian: Equal rights for you, and you and all you men and women! “And none for Gretchen Wieners.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking. What do they know? They don’t even go here.
But look a little deeper into the back-stabbing, gossip-filled, hate speech of this mean-girl world. It’s a jungle. It’s high school. And on some of our worse nights, it might be college, too.
We might not have a Regina George to collectively despise as the source of inner-female strife. Even so, I am sure that we all, at some point in our lives, have acted like her in one way or another without realizing what it could do to our own friends, especially those of the same sex. So women of Duke, as we think about ways to make this world a better place for equal opportunity for all genders, and particularly for women, let’s remember that one of the biggest obstacles to female empowerment may be our own selves.
Close your eyes and raise your hand if you have ever actively victimized another person by saying something negative about them behind their back. Now open your eyes, and take a good look around.
Sony Rao is a Trinity Junior. This is her final column of the semester. Follow Sony on Twitter @sony_rao