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Encouraged rivalry between Taylor Swift, Beyoncé exemplifies sexism


Throughout history, women have consistently been pitted against one another. Whether society is comparing Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, Serena Williams and Venus Williams or Sabrina Carpenter and Olivia Rodrigo, promoting rivalry between successful women has been a repetitive narrative since the beginning of time.

Recently, I have noticed Taylor Swift and Beyoncé falling victim to this pattern. In recent months, comparisons of the two artists’ Grammy awards, net worth and singing abilities have consumed social media platforms. In fact, when I search the number of albums Swift has sold throughout her career, the automatically suggested question is, “Who has sold more albums, Beyoncé or Taylor Swift?”

As two of the most acclaimed female artists of the past decade, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are the epitome of success in the music industry. Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour and Swift’s Eras World Tour have overwhelmed recent pop culture, making their way into countless news articles and social media posts. As a result, the debate questioning which woman is more talented has made waves on the Internet.

This curated sense of competition is a repetitive narrative that expands beyond the comparison of Swift and Beyonce’s talent. While their rivalry may seem like a harmless comparison of two successful singers, Beyoncé and Swift are a prime example of society imposing toxic comparisons of women. By taking two of the most successful female artists of our time and continuously pitting them against each other, we encourage the idea that a woman can only succeed at the expense of another.

This ideology encourages women to constantly one-up each other, as women are discouraged from believing that we can be collectively successful. It is almost as if the more successful a woman appears to be, the more our society feels the need to tear her or surrounding women down.

Patriarchal rivalries between women manifest in many different ways. This phenomenon appears not only in the publicized lives of celebrities, such as Swift and Beyoncé, but also within the subtle interactions of women’s daily lives.

The insecurities that many women experience on a daily basis are just one of the subtle side effects of female competition. It is almost impossible for me to view advertisements without harboring a slight jealousy for the model depicted on the billboard. For many women, even as we see other women walking down the street, thoughts like “She’s prettier than me,” or “I wish my clothes looked like hers” feel instinctual.

Despite my awareness of toxic comparison culture, I cannot deny that, like many other women, I feel a subconscious instinct to compare myself to images on Instagram or TikTok.

While these comments can be construed as supportive compliments, they imply a competitive tone by comparing ourselves to the image in question. Overall, the comparison of women by both the media and the rest of society is reductive and unnecessary.

While occasional social comparison is an inevitable part of human nature, pop culture exacerbates these feelings of competition to the point of insecurity. Promoting competition between two influential women only further engrains toxic comparison culture into everyday life, so much so that it often goes unnoticed.

Ending the competition between Swift and Beyoncé, two successful and inspirational women, is critical because it establishes the precedent that this type of comparison is unacceptable. We have normalized a sense of negative coexistence so extensively that it has begun to leak into the everyday facets of women’s lives.

Therefore, it is imperative that we recognize the impact of our tendency to compare not only celebrities but women around the world. Too often, women are judged for feeling jealous and unconfident when, in reality, this behavior is a direct result of the competition our culture has normalized.

One woman’s success does not take away from the talent of another. The sooner we realize this, the closer we become to empowering and supporting all women.

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About the Contributor
Audrey Cushman, Reporter
Audrey Cushman ('26) is a Reporter for The Standard in Advanced Journalism.

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