A recent U.K. survey of Twitter misogyny by the think tank Demos came to a surprising conclusion. "Women are almost as likely to use 'slut', 'whore' and 'rape', both casually and offensively, as men," group research director Carl Miller reported in Wired, aghast. His findings were less surprising for those familiar with the genre of study that finds women are behind their gender's misery often for evolutionary-based reasons beyond their control. I've come to think of these as "Mean Girls" studies, because they remind me of what Tina Fey's character tells her female students at the end of the movie: By calling each other sluts, they give guys permission to call them that. The implication, here, is that women are in part responsible for the perpetuation of sexism. Never mind that it's still only women who get called sluts. Maybe those sluts will get ahead once they stop being so catty to one another.
I'm wary of any sexism fix that is so quick to let men off the hook for a power dynamic that largely benefits them. But Taylor Swift, of all people, makes a very good case for the power of sisterhood in the face of slut-shaming.