"God, she's so fake."

"Fake?" I ask, "what do you mean? How is she fake?"

"Oh, you know...she's just...not real."

Why thank you, my astute friend. You have really painted a mental picture for me.
Unfortunately, this seems to be the only response I ever get when I ask what a girl means by "fake." It's an all-too-common insult; I hear it tossed around all the time when girls gossip about each other. To me, it sounds like a substitute for the word "bitch," except seemingly more...condescending. As if a girl might only use such an insult if she believed herself to be more "real." Which, quite frankly, I can't quite wrap my head around.

Do they mean it in the physical sense? I know that girls who tend to wear more makeup than others are labeled as "fake." Well, let's take a look at the Real Girl Checklist:
Does she identify as a female? Check.

Is she a human? Check.

Is she alive? Check.

Hmm, she seems pretty real to me. Is it because she has had plastic surgery? No, that can't be it, I don't know anyone in high school who has had plastic surgery. Besides, if breast implants count as "fake," then so do tattoos, piercings, dyed hair, painted nails, wearing perfume/lotion, having braces, wearing glasses, and shaving your legs.

Does it mean that she is pretending to be something that she's not? Perhaps your best friend has started wearing dark clothes lately, and listening to heavy metal. Is she being fake? If you answered yes, is it your job to force her out of this "stage," and make her more like yourself? If you answered yes, what kind of best friend are you?

Has this word been infused into the teenage vocabulary as a means to further objectify women? No, surely that's not it. What kind of society would do something like that to half of its population?