Are women bad at friendship?

One article bemoans a glut of quarrels and BFF-advice books. But maybe catfights just sell.


Annsley Chapman
May 6, 2008 8:35PM (UTC)

The Los Angeles Times is deeply concerned about the nationwide trend of superficially amicable (but secretly toxic) friendships between women.

"Nowadays, the notion of link-armed Laverne and Shirley has been replaced by Paris glaring at Nicole. Or Heidi Montag refusing to be photographed within spitting distance of ex-BFF Lauren Conrad. Lindsay Lohan reportedly snapped at Ashley Olsen with the ferocity of a lioness last week in New York, when the starlet approached Lohan's new BFF, Samantha Ronson. But perhaps it's all for the better. Maybe these feuding and fiercely protective friends make more accurate role models than those musty, bygone tokens of sisterhood."

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Wait, my bad. The L.A. Times is concerned about Lindsay and Paris! We could debate the blithe correlation between relationships among regular women and the overblown, overchoreographed spats between spoiled Hollywood celebrities -- but first, where did I put my coke pants?

The article goes on to point out the increasing number of books about spiteful girly friendships (last year's "The Friend Who Got Away," for instance). But it misses the point: Bitchiness isn't necessarily more prevalent (is there a catfight census we should know about?), bitchiness just sells. Meanwhile, young girls who could once identify with the female camaraderie in "The Baby-Sitters Club" and on "Friends" are now glued to prime-time soaps devoted to fickle vacillations between vapid rich girls on "The Hills" and "Gossip Girl." Even shows like "Grey's Anatomy," which praises the bond between Meredith Grey and Christina Yang, still peddle plenty of husband and boyfriend swiping.

For every Tina Fey vehicle that champions mutual respect and admiration among women, there are a hundred trumped-up examples of an ongoing catfight between famous women. Leighton Meester, one of the two actresses on the famously bitchy "Gossip Girl," recently rebuffed rumors that she was engaged in a cold war with fellow costar (and on-screen frenemy) Blake Lively:

"I was just reading something about, like, how Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson didn't get along [on the set of "The Other Boleyn Girl"]," says Leighton. "Why don't they say that George Clooney and Brad Pitt don't get along? It's always the girls."

Remind me to invite Leighton over when "Baby Mama" comes out on DVD.


Annsley Chapman

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