07/06/2022
The hashtag #femalemanipulator has over 70 million views.

  • Women on TikTok are using the “female manipulator” trend to praise the behavior of fictional villains.
  • They say their posts are meant to be sarcastic and that using humor helps them deal with it.
  • Critics worry that people may take them too seriously, leading to a harmful view of relationships.

On TikTok, videos recommending books and movies widely believed to feature “problematic” or “unloved” heroines are a genre in their own right, often including the hashtag #femalemanipulator, which has racked up over 77 million views.

The track to support female manipulative content often features the music of Mitsky, Lana Del Rey, and Fiona Apple – commonly referred to as “sad girls” on the Internet since the early 2000s. Characters like Amy Dunn from the 2014 movie Gone Girl – described as the most annoying villain of all time – were hailed under the label as relevant and empowering.

Other characters included in “female manipulator” content include Fleasack from the 2016 TV show of the same name and the unnamed narrator in Ottessa Moshfegh’s 2018 novel My Year of Rest and Relaxation, both considered flawed and unloved, and users encouraging their followers to imitate their behavior.

Many creators say jokes about “female manipulators” are an easy way to play on stereotypes of “female villains,” but some TikTokers and critics have expressed concerns that this type of content glorifying unhealthy relationships and emotional manipulation in the light of day could suffice.

The creators say that the direction of the tongue in the cheek is a way to regain their strength from men

Alexandra Carmona, a 22-year-old from California who posts manipulative videos, told Insider that her content was “kind of ironic.”

She defines the manipulator as “the kind of girl who is very mysterious and sweet. Imagine a crazy dream girl, but she’s not there to save the male protagonist, she’s there to make his life miserable.”

Alexandra believes that this day is not about encouraging manipulation, but “challenging ourselves and dealing with our own problems through a joke.”

Alaska Brumbo, a 16-year-old from Virginia who uses the pronouns “they” and “they,” called the feminine manipulator TikTok “a safe place for bad women who are often the problem,” in a post that garnered more than 48,000 likes. They also share the trend, Brumbaugh told Insider, “mostly tongue-in-cheek, but there’s always a little bit of truth.”

“I was drawn to it when I was a little girl when I felt pressured by men. It’s like a stupid way to take back power. It’s all fun,” they added.

Critics of this trend fear that it could lead to the normalization of harmful behavior

Jules Johnson, a 22-year-old TikTok user from South Carolina, said she often sees content from “female manipulators” on TikTok but finds the trend “nihilistic” and “empty.”

“In the realm of female manipulators, there’s a lot of focus on getting back into men when you can channel that energy into loving other women,” she told Insider.

Johnson said it’s no different when women joke about “hateful sides of their personalities,” but added, “Once you get to the point where the culture of doom and sarcasm encourages all your energies to negativity.” Focusing, rather than creating a more positive space for women to express themselves, I have a problem with that.”

Scottish psychotherapist Ruth Michalve told Insider that jokes about emotional manipulation “reduce their meaning and become an unhelpful way of coping,” which can normalize such behavior and damage our relationships.

Couples Counselor Dr. Aqua Boateng told Insider that female manipulative content can particularly affect younger viewers who are already vulnerable, leading them to see it as a viable way to approach relationships.

“Without proper education and guidance from parents and the authorities in their lives, believing that this is a fact can be detrimental to them,” she said.

Despite her concerns, Michalf does not find it helpful to criticize this content.

“Instead of inviting women to use this style of coping, I think it is very important to invite them, to encourage them to get the love and support they need to heal from the trauma and adversity they may be experiencing.” to this room.”

For more stories like this one, check out Insider’s Digital Culture team’s coverage here.

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