Just some of the damaging storylines that came out of Gossip Girl.

Okay, I can feel anger radiating from many of you just by reading that headline. Before you all whip out your Chinese throwing stars, and demand that I ‘JUST LEAVE GOSSIP GIRL ALONE’, let me make one thing absolutely clear:

I loved Gossip Girl. Loved. The stories of Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Dan Humphrey, Nate Archibald, and yes, Chuck Bass, glitter-bombed my teens with “the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite”.

Gossip Girl was ludicrous and enthralling… mostly because of the school uniforms the costume team insisted on putting Blake Lively and Leighton Meester in.

Ha ha ha ha ha. Good joke.

But. There's a but.

Looking back, Gossip Girl was also littered with bullshit story lines that ingrained backwards attitudes in the show's young audience (ahem, that's you and me).

Let's revisit some of them, shall we?

1. Chuck Bass tried to rape two women... in the first episode

Eerie similarities to the three sexual assault allegations actor Ed Westwick now faces aside, this plotline was downright damaging.

In the show's premiere episode, Chuck Bass tried to rape his drunk 16-year-old friend, Serena, before trying to rape vulnerable 14-year-old Jenny Humphrey against a wall a whole two scenes later.

Of course, immediately after the attempted rapes, both girls are visibly distressed. The next day, though? It's never really mentioned. They go about their lives as normal, because that totally aligns with the very real trauma sexual assault victims experience in real life.

Actually, Serena went on to be good friends with the man who violently attacked her. As for Jenny? The scriptwriters went even further, and thought her having sex with Chuck in a following season would be GREAT. How poetic and sensitive of them. What a lovely message for teenage girls everywhere.


This was the first of many times the Gossip Girl producers would conflate sexual violence with a "bad boy" mystique.

Hell, characters even discussed Chuck's "victims" like they were discussing what iced latte mochaccino they were going to buy at recess.

Because Chuck's just a guarded, brooding teen boy, you guys! All bad boys try to rape girls! It makes girls want to sleep with them! That's normal! He's so alluring with all his money and glossy cars and penchant for forcing his genitals into unconsenting women! What a dreamboat.

2. Sex with your school teacher is sexy - not sexual assault

According to Gossip Girl - and many teen dramas, actually - a grown woman procuring a teenager is, like, completely hot. 

Except that it's actually statutory rape of a minor and punishable by prison time, but let's not get bogged down in semantics, okay?

The tryst between Dan Humphrey and his high school teacher Rachel Carr was depicted as something secret and titillating (remember when they had sex in the costume closet in the middle of the school play?) more than it ever was problematic; something other dramas like Pretty Little Liars and Riverdale have since failed to correct.

Cmon, guys, don't let a little thing called "this is absolutely sexual assault" get in the way of a saucy story line now...

After the "relationship" - if you can call it that - ended, there was no illustration of how grooming affects victims of both genders, no discussion of power dynamics in a teacher-student affair, and there was no discussion of punishment or illegalities.

Instead, Rachel disappeared to Iowa and the entire ordeal was forever pencilled down as sex... not sexual assault.


We didn't expect a thesis from the Gossip Girl producers and screenwriters, but it's fair to say we should have demanded better than this.

3. Female friendships are built on bitching and backstabbing

Ah, yes.

According to what was basically our teen bible, young women established friendships on a foundation of bitching, betrayal and Balmain... and not much else.

In the best friendship between Serena and Blair, along with any other female friendship in the show, every sentence was punctuated with men. Backstabbing to sleep with each other's exes, or current boyfriends, was the norm - as was exacting revenge in the most public and petty way.

Ovaries release the "backstab" hormone. True fact. Look it up.

Serena slept with Nate, Blair slept with Dan. We collectively vomited in our mouths.

According to Gossip Girl, women are basically incapable of forming loyal friendships with each other; those pesky fallopian tube owners will always choose their lust for bad men over the love for their girlfriends.

"Those hos ain't loyal" would have been the perfect tagline for this show.

Which is, you know, total bullshit.

Listen: Is Dynasty the new Gossip Girl? We discuss on The Binge. (Post continues...)

4. Filming your friend having sex is PERFECT if you want sweet, sweet revenge

I don't think I need to really say much here, do I?

Georgina. Serena. Hotel room. Covert camera. Sex tape. Successful blackmail. No consequences. No mention of how any of this is - oh yeah - MORALLY CORRUPT AND TOTALLY ILLEGAL.


What do you think, were some of the storylines in Gossip Girl really problematic?