Can I just get something off my chest please?
I am getting really upset with how certain teen US dramas are creating an incredibly bad stereotype of what female friendship is. That women are ‘frenemies’ with one another who will turn on each other in order to achieve their own aims at the drop of a hat. Yes, GOSSIP GIRL & 90210 I am talking to you. But also GLEE, VAMPIRE DIARIES and other trashy things that I don’t even bother to series record.
Who decided that this is how young women should act? And what message are we sending to teenage girls when Blair and Serena make up and break up every week, humiliating one another in public, dobbing one another in and routinely scuppering each other’s love lives? Plotting one another’s downfall is a seemingly acceptable part of female friendship and support is something that is only done if it also aligns with your own plans – even when it’s your own sister (Jen & Naomi on 90210). Surely this is not the only way that storywriters can inject dramatic tension, by making all women uber bitches and / or crazy deliusional liars (see also Jen on 90210, Lily VdW on Gossip Girl, Terri on Glee)?
I went to a girls school, and I know that a whole bunch of teenage girls are no picnic, but the backstabbing and unpleasantness is simply not my experience, especially at the age of 16 / 17 / 18, which happens to be the age of most of the characters in these dramas.
Of course people may dislike one another, but rarely did anyone go out of their way to be deliberately mean. And what typifies many of these acts of meanness on TV is that they are often perpetrated by ‘besties’. The friends I made and the friendships I solidified at in my late teens were among the most important of my life. We learnt who we were with each other, as we made decisions that would define the next decade of our lives and supported one another, regardless of how different they may have been from us.
I really hope that girls today do not think that the way that Annie, Silver, Naomi, Blair, Serena, Georgina et al carry out their friendships, full of lies and deceit, is the way to get ahead. It would be a great shame, as now in my 30’s, the friendships I have with the many amazing women I know – from school, college and work are the key to my sanity and happiness. If we teach the younger generation to distrust those who should be support whatever will happpen?
And breathe. And waves hello to mates.