11/07/2013 16:15 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Mean Girls: Why Are We STILL Bitching About Each Other?

We've seen celebs slag each other viciously in public but let's be honest, we're all guilty of bitching. So why do we do it? Emily Cater investigates

Katie Price and Kelly Brook are two of the UK's most famous female celebrities, with all the fame, fortune and success they probably ever wanted. So, why did Jordan recently brand Kelly a "heifer" in her Sun column? And why did Kelly retaliate by referring to Pricey as "Magda from There's Something About Mary" aka Mary's older friend with skin as supple as a 400-year-old tortoise?

katie price

Successful women slagging and insulting each other in public does them and us no favours. Considering the issues facing women (latest: male graduates get paid loads more than their female counterparts) we need to support our fellow sisters more than ever. And sadly it isn't just Kelly and Katie mud-slinging like Mean Girls – if we're honest, we've all been guilty of female on female crime.

Personally, I've been on the giving and receiving end of bitchiness and neither was a particularly happy-making experience. So why do we do it? Insecurity? Competition? Both?

According to Dr Pat Frankish – a Consultant Clinical Psychologist – low self-esteem is at the root of this type of behaviour. "Having to claim to be 'top dog' shows insecurity," she says. "The ones who know they are top never say anything about it."

kelly brook

Dr Frankish adds this playground-style approach to relationships with our fellow girl is in part survival of the fittest mentality. She says: "To some extent bitching is basic biological competing for the best mate, but in our more civilized world it has more to do with context. People in the pop and fashion use the constructs of appearance and popularity as measures of success and value."

Occupational Psychologist Sue Firth agrees adding that programmes like Big Brother and I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here have encouraged people to criticise the minutiae because the viewer sees such a warts-and-all version of their stars.

mean girls

"Gone are the days when bitching was considered too personal, now it's let it all out and say it all," she says.

Sadly, the effects of this behaviour can be extremely psychologically damaging both to those that bitch and the victims of bitching.

Dr Frankish says: "Bitching confirms poor self-esteem, leading to anxiety and a fear of not being good enough. This can then become anger or depression which can lead to angry outbursts, excessive drinking and drugs, or suicide attempts (and deaths) when the individual really believes they are not 'good-enough'."

It's a dog eat dog world out there, so isn't it time we supported one another and left the childishness in the playground? As Tina Fey as Ms Norbury in Mean Girls wisely states: "You have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores - it just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores."

Right on, sister.

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