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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018 12:11 am

Woe is meow

PHOTO COURTESY AMY ALKON
Amy Alkon
I lost more than 100 pounds. I’m really proud of myself and my new body, so I post pix on Instagram. Disturbingly, I’ve got a few haters -- all women! -- who come at me saying I’m narcissistic, slutty, a showoff, etc. I thought women are supposed to support one another. How should I respond? Should I post fewer selfies? -- So Much for Sisterhood
 
Nothing lasts forever -- except middle school, which never ever ends. You’ll be 85, and some biddy will be all “Look at that slut with the pink walker.”

    There actually seem to be sex differences in the content of social media meanness, according to research by psychology doctoral student Joy Wyckoff and her colleagues. In keeping with previous studies, they found that women online get comments knocking their physical appearance more often than men, whereas men more often get comments “derogating their status” and skills. (Additionally, in their study, it was women alone who got “derogated” for “promiscuity” -- a trigger for men’s evolved fear of providing for a kid with some other dude’s genes.)

    These differences in who gets bashed for what -- appearance in women versus status and skills in men -- are right in line with the differences I often cite in male and female mating priorities. These evolved out of the differing potential costs from having sex. Because women can get pregnant and stuck with kids to feed, mate-seeking women are drawn to high-status men -- “men with the ability ... to provide resources,” as the researchers put it.

    They note that men, on the other hand, are “unconstrained” by any sort of “minimum obligatory parental investment” (that is, beyond the initial teaspoonful of sperm). This allows men to prioritize hotitude in prospective female partners -- which is to say, men’s eyes make a beeline for boobs and butts, and never mind whether they’re attached to the barista or the senior VP.

    As for the ugliness you’ve been experiencing on social media, it’s best understood as female-on-female psychological warfare. Chances are, these “haters” are looking to chill your enthusiasm to post hot bod selfies -- leading you to self-relocate lower on the mate competition totem pole. (I’m guessing nobody goes meangirl on your photo studies of inanimate objects or Cujo, your teacup Yorkie.)
    
Block the Cruellas. Nobody has a right to your attention or a seat on your social media platform. On a positive note, now that you’ve been schooled in the covert ways some compete, you should be quicker to identify and fend off female underhandedness -- on Instagram and beyond. (Nothing like women celebrating other women’s achievements: “Way to go, girl! Who knew the walk of shame burnt so many calories?”)

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