Sabrina Carpenter’s new song is a classic case of toxic femininity

Another addition to Sabrina Carpenter's upcoming album,

Island [Fair Use]

Another addition to Sabrina Carpenter’s upcoming album, “Skin” is suspected to be a response to Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license.”

Gracie Rowland, Managing Editor

Sabrina Carpenter’s new song “Skin” illustrates the toxic femininity that women are taught from birth and fails to be aware of its harmful nature towards young girls everywhere.

Although Carpenter has denied these claims after receiving significant backlash, many allusions and references indicate that Carpenter’s song comes as a response to Olivia Rodrigo’s song, “Driver’s License,” an emotional and poetic song about a breakup that has received critical acclaim and broken records across the globe. The song has Taylor Swift-like lyrics and Lorde-like tempo. It was written by Rodrigo, an actress who was previously involved with Carpenter’s current boyfriend, actor Joshua Bassett.

Rodrigo’s song references Carpenter in the lines, “And you’re probably with that blonde girl / Who always made me doubt / She’s so much older than me / She’s everything I’m insecure about.” Rodrigo clearly idolizes Carpenter and places her on a pedestal rather than viewing her as competition.

Carpenter’s lyrics, on the other hand, display common characteristics of toxic femininity by both demeaning Rodrigo and placing the value in her relationship on corporeal pleasure. Carpenter’s immature and pernicious response to “Driver’s License” comes as a shock, as Carpenter is four years older than Rodrigo and a self-declared feminist on social media.

The lines “Maybe we could’ve been friends / If I met you in another life” infer that women who have been involved with the same man cannot find friendship or civility. Carpenter’s stance not only unjustly villainizes Rodrigo, but it also perpetuates the idea that all women must abide in constant competition with each other. Women are pitted against each other from the day they are born, and Carpenter seems unaware that her lyrics feed right into patriarchal values. Toxic femininity is a complex and multi-faceted sociological pattern of behavior, but at its core is nothing more than internalized misogyny.

The pre-chorus assumes that Rodrigo also views Carpenter as competition through the lines, “Want my heart to be breakin’, breakin’, no / I’m happy and you hate it, hate it, oh,” when Rodrigo’s song contains none of the same toxic and misogynistic lyrics that “Skin” does. While Rodrigo’s song paints Carpenter as a beautiful blonde whom she admires, Carpenter projects her own flawed views about other women by attempting to slander and defame the younger Rodrigo through her song.

The chorus also presents multiple problems. She sings,“You can try / To get under my, under my, under my skin / While hе’s on mine / Yeah, all on my, all on my, all on my skin.” By flaunting to Rodrigo that her and Bassett have been intimate, Carpenter plays into two stereotypes: that women must derive their worth in relationships from their ability to be a sexual object and that relationships are primarily based upon sex. It directly defies the feminist ideals that Carpenter claims to uphold.

I hope that young girls do not accept the themes in “Skin,” and rather lift up their fellow female peers instead of putting them down. I am both disappointed in Sabrina Carpenter and fear the effect that this song will create among young female listeners across the nation.