Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton are two entirely different people, but that hasn't stopped the internet from pitting them against each other since Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement in November.
Social media has the women squared off on exhaustive matters of fashion, career, etiquette, hairstyles, and net worth. There have been debates over who had the better wedding announcement, engagement ring, and impact on the economy. People have dissected their alliance to the queen, taken polls to determine who like they "like more," and speculated on whose wedding was fancier, even though Markle's nuptials won't take place until 2018.
The internet frenzy has caused a rift between those glorifying the so-called competition and people who want it to stop.
"Research shows that women from a young age are objectified and not only in a sexual way," Christia Brown, a professor of developmental psychology and author of Parenting Beyond Pink & Blue, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. "We often break down women to their base components to compare and observe, whereas men are viewed as whole human beings."
Take William and Harry, who are largely viewed as two individuals - William is a loyal family man and future king and Harry is fun-loving and adventuresome.
According to Brown, women in the media also get less visibility than men, so if there's one fascinating woman on our radar there's less appreciation for another. "We cling to one narrative - in this case, we already have the duchess of Cambridge - and acknowledging Markle as an individual would force us to reconsider the complexity of women."
That's partly why articles such as "How Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, & Meghan Markle's style compare" and "13 Times Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Totally Twinned With Their Outfits" are irresistibly clicky - they're easy, digestible ways to internalize women. "We're fine with Meghan Markle," says Brown, "as long as she's just like Kate Middleton."