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How The 'Why Girls Hate Me' TikTok Trend Perpetuates Internalized Misogyny

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group of girlfriends looking at phone

Growing up as one of three daughters with primarily female friends, I’ve heard many stereotypes about groups of girls in my lifetime.

But the one that seems to follow me the most— or maybe just irks me the most — is that “girls are so mean to other girls.” 

So imagine my frustration when I see viral TikTok videos perpetuating this idea by making a trend out of pitting women against one another. 

How the "Why Girls Hate Me" TikTok trend highlights internalized misogyny:

The “Why Other Girls Hate Me” trend shows women, usually in their teens, introducing themselves as the reason why other women dislike them. 

Some users go with “I’m pretty,” others say “I’m skinny,” and some tell us it’s because “I’m one of the boys.”

The responses are varied, but the result is the same. Women are portrayed as spiteful, jealous, and mean — a portrayal that is all the more damaging when it is created by other women. 

But there is another implicit bias in this trend that is equally as insulting. The videos all seem to suggest that the reason other girls “hate” these seemingly inoffensive attributes is because boys like them.

Why else would girls put each other down? 

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The videos seem to support the notion that women will step over one another for a man’s validation and seek only to tear down other women who might be more desirable. 

In doing so, the TikToks and the girls making them become entrenched in a cycle of internalized misogyny. In an attempt to highlight the backlash women receive from other women, they’re contributing to it.

Making these kinds of disparaging remarks about women sabotages the potential of other women and themselves. It’s like cutting off the stem of a weed without getting to the root. 

Instead, shouldn’t we be calling out the patriarchal system that creates this kind of thought process in the first place? 

This isn’t the first TikTok trend to highlight internalized misogyny.

The “Why Girls Hate Me” trend, while frustrating, was not surprising. After all, we’re talking about an app that made a trend out of showing off why you’re “not like other girls” and explaining why you have only male friends. 

Thankfully, TikTok users were quick to call out the internalized sexism laced into the “I’m not like other girls” memes but these trends are still an uncomfortable glance into the kinds of stereotypes young girls grow up seeing. 

This obsession with being “not like other girls” or being validated by men enough to be “one of the boys” inherently suggests that being a “regular” woman is something to be avoided.

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What is so wrong with being like other girls? Where is the fault in having female friends? This kind of culture is preventing girls from achieving self-love without the approval of men. 

Then there is the problem of young men seeing this kind of content. More than 40% of TikTok users are aged between 16-24 and the male to female ratio is almost 50/50. 

This age range is the years where many of our opinions and biases are starting to trickle into how interact in society. 

If girls are learning that their self-worth comes from men and boys are learning that stereotypes associated with women are something to mock, what hope do we have for winding back the clock on misogyny?

TikTok should focus on girls supporting girls.

We’ve seen how TikTok and Gen Z can impact elections and drive a racial justice movement, so now it’s time for them to do the same with some of the biases and prejudices within the app. 

I’m sure many of the girls participating in this trend have no intention of undermining the feminist movement, but it’s impossible not to struggle with how this trend represents women. 

I can’t help but wonder who these girls are hanging out with to have received such unfounded backlash. 

I’ve received more compliments from the women in my life than any man has ever given me. My female friends don’t envy me for also having male friends. My body type has never caused girls to shun me.

Do these girls actually exist? Does any girl hate another girl because they’re pretty or do they just hate them because they’ve been taught to? And doesn’t blaming other women for this hatred make you part of the problem?  

Maybe I’ve been lucky in this life and have never encountered these spiteful women the TikToks speak of. Or maybe I’ve learned to see that even the girls who put me down are my allies in a system that is trying to oppress us both. 

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Alice Kelly is a writer who covers lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics. Catch her writing about everything from viral TikTok trends to global social justice issues.