Yaaaaas! We achieved female solidarity by patronizing each other to death!


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Yaaaaas! We achieved female solidarity by patronizing each other to death!

#Kween #Slay #Yaaas #GirlBoss #KillinIt

We're living in an era of Yaaaassss!-ification. Everything in media, no matter how serious or trivial, is doused in "YOU GO GIRL!", designed to make everything even remotely related to millennial women and our gel-mani'd fingers hyper-clickable and positive.

Presenting a case for a pay raise is now a verb: girlbossing. A movie star firing back at critiques of her latest film is clapping back at the haters. And now, according to BuzzFeed, narrowly avoiding death in the Holocaust is a sassy, oh-no-she-didn't move that is Amazing And Badass!

This is hardly the first time a woman doing something noteworthy has been dumbed down and packaged in these stupid-ass faux-empowering slang words. Yes, it's especially egregious that the Yaaas Kween Industrial Complex has managed to drip down the fucking Holocaust, but this infantilization of our accomplishments (slaying the haters, you know?!) isn't new. It's impossible for a woman of note to take a piss without it spun into two dozen-article narrative about clapping back at body shamers by daring, against all odds, to stand proud against the patriarchy.

Companies have just now figured out that we don't all hate each other, and think they can sell us products and articles and lifestyle brands with this weird bumper sticker "you go girl!" version of feminism. Tampons, newsletters, body wash, jeans, iPhones: it's now incredibly easy for corporations to make commercials and campaigns about women accomplishing things (it's usually just like, a girl raising her hand in class or playing soccer on her period) set to some emo song's crescendo to get a wave of circle-jerk positive PR praising the company's feminist ideals.

The other side of this Elle Woods Effect is found in things ostensibly by women, for women. Scroll through your Twitter feed and look at headlines: female world leaders are ballers, Selena Gomez posting pictures on Instagram is an epic clapback, drone strikes are what, #MotivationMonday? Just look at The Skimm, the infamous daily newsletter for women which tries to package world events into tiny bites so our little peanut brains can understand, regularly reducing incredibly horrific things to…this:

Messy, sisters! Don't you hate it when your Becca Opal highlight smashes in your makeup bag? That's basically what happened when one of the biggest ecological disasters of the century unfolded in South Dakota, ruining thousands of lives instantly! #SMH!

To be clear, there's no issue using the cute, affection terms with our friends — I've commented some form of YAAAS OMG on virtually every Instagram I've ever seen. But in media, it's just not sincere. In fact, it's cynical as hell to take something nice and turn it into a movement to sell things. I guess I just don't understand why things can't be regular. We can't get regular coverage of people, places or things without some kind of candy-coated slant for our stupid Girl Brains.

I think this weird, sugary way of talking about women and the things we do has contributed to another trend: the increasingly popular idea that everything women do is great and criticizing them is therefore bad and unsisterly. As an editor, it's virtually impossible for me to publish something negative about a woman, however valid the criticism and however famous and powerful the woman, without eliciting this reaction.

Babe gets it all the time: we've debunked beauty influencers' dangerous claims about dietary supplements, gave feedback on assorted celebrities' job performances, and told a YouTuber to stop being a pedophile. And what did each story's social media comments have in common? Accusations of tearing women down for calling them any less than a Kween. Women who point out the obvious flaws in other women are trapped in a revolving door of internalized misogyny, traitors to our own gender.

It goes the other way, too. Remember at the Olympics when Kim Jong Un's sister was called a sassy queen of shade?! That bitch literally runs gulags and people acted like she just lit up Kim K via an Insta Story.

Hillary Clinton obviously faced countless obstacles because she's a woman — but instead of focusing on dismantling actual gendered attacks (pantsuits, makeup, how much she fucking smiles), rabid girlbosses claim every criticism wouldn't exist had she been a man. No male politician's appearance would ever be mocked and scrutinized like Clinton's, we were told, while on Twitter everyone was cracking jokes about Trump's spray-tanned fat ass and assorted wig accoutrement.

The problem is, if everything's a slay, nothing's a slay. If everything a semi-famous woman does on Twitter when faced with valid criticism of their TV show or under-fire company is afforded the adulation due to a girl who stood up to the Taliban or a woman who spent 20 years fighting human traffickers on the Mexican border or survived the Holocaust, aren't we all just patronizing each other?

We can still turn the tide on this before we all completely slip down the Girl Boss slope. The next time Facebook pushes you "67 Times Nancy Pelosi Slayed ICE Live On Air, As Told By NeNe Leaks Quotes", think about whether you are being told a legitimate story about a brilliant woman, or being talked down to. If it's the first one, congratulate said woman in a normal, non-patronizing way. You know, just like we would a man.