The frenemy myth: Women aren't nastier towards each other, the dynamic is much harsher between men

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Illustration photo by Getty Images
Illustration photo by Getty Images

Black Swan is a disturbing thriller that centres on professional ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman), whose devotion to her starring role in Swan Lake is so intense that it threatens to destroy her. What drives her to the brink is nubile, self-assured up-and-comer Lily (Mila Kunis) - a competitor and potential usurper whose dark allure picks away at every one of Nina's insecurities.

With Black Swan's release, newspapers, magazines and the internet once more groan with perennial analyses of precarious and complicated female relationships: Why, beneath our smooth compliments and ladylike exteriors, are we scheming to bring our sisters down? Where men take one another out with blunt words or even blunter fists, why do women shred each other with a million imperceptible yet mendurable cuts? Why do we hate each other so much?

READ MORE | Why do we put up with bad friends? A friendship expert answers

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