A marketing study out of England is reporting that the five most-liked celebrities are exclusively male, while the top four out of the five most hated celebrities are female (the one male who is nationally loathed, American Idol judge Simon Cowell, was also voted one of top five best liked). Professor Diane Negra of the University of East Anglia points out that much of this loathing can be blamed on sexism. But the misogyny flung at these females is not always from men — it's often hurled by other women. "[Some women] seem to be incredibly competitive with each other and find it hard to give credit to each other. With male celebrities a lot of men might aspire to be like them or may aspire to be with them," Negra tells BBC.
Public put-downs, of course, are not just directed at celebrities: Today's Wall Street Journal reports on "body snarking" and the way in which Generation Y uses Facebook and other social networks to critique frenemies' appearances. Lilly Jay, a D.C. 16-year-old, tells the Journal: "When people look weird or bad in pictures, they are often tagged with 'Hahaha'...the unflattering photos can't just be tucked away somewhere. They become the basis for publicly displayed ridicule."
It seems like it's the public part that's most damaging. Look: we've all privately snarked on others' appearances from the privacy of our own homes and our own minds, and I certainly cop to feeling secret glee when someone I hated from high school packed on the pounds in her post-college years. But these are private, shameful thoughts, and the public airing of such trash is possibly keeping women from breaking the glass ceiling — as the Journal points out, Hillary's appearance has been fair game from day one of her Presidential candidacy. Think of it this way: when we attack other women in the public sphere, we're ultimately only hurting ourselves.