Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mean Girls

When I finished obligatory schooling, I thought I'd finished dealing with "mean girls" forever.  I breezed through university and most of adult life without coming face to face with those vile beasts.   I focused on feminism and the ever-present enemy of misogyny and inequality rather than railing against girls taking down other girls for no good reason.

And then I had children.  Two girls with gentle hearts and naive ideas. Not angels, no.  But NICE. Then I put these two in school with other kids.  And low and behold...those base creatures called mean girls were there -- claws out, teeth bared, sniffing for prey.  Right now, they're making a meal of my eldest.

Forget feminism.  Forget female empowerment.  Forget girl power. We're back in the dark ages.  A part of me wants to see these kids burned at the stake for ruining my own daughter's love of life.  Another part of me wants shake their eyes open so they can see they aren't helping anyone.  Not even themselves.

But most of me doesn't understand why being mean is just so... prevalent.

It's a question that pops up in my writing -- whether it be Untethered or The Mask Between Us (that will hopefully be published soon).  What makes us act evil?  Does it come from our own fears and weaknesses, or does it run deeper?

Why are there so many people out there who take pleasure in hurting others?  I'm talking from small emotional barbs to bigger issues of abuse all the way to taking a life.  My mother, a devout Catholic, would say it's the devil.  My good friend, an atheist, would say it's a degree of mental illness.  I don't know what I believe, but either way, it scares me. 

Yes, the mean girls are only a minute drop in the bucket.  Among the horrors in the world, calling someone "stupid" or "fat" or throwing things at her may be insubstantial by comparison. It's a nearly invisible fissure in the dam that holds back evil.  But enough fissures weaken the dam and evil dribbles in through the cracks.

Girls taking down other girls for no good reason cripples feminism.  Girls taking down other girls for no good reason cripples our sense of worth.  Mean girls cripple their victims socially and they even cripple themselves when it comes to learning how to love. 

Unfortunately, I now have to arm my daughters against the mean girl attacks.  I have to train them for a warfare of words and hope their emotional defenses hold off any lasting damage.  Thing is, I'm not very skilled at that.

So my goal will be this:  Get them through alive.  And get them through knowing not all girls are mean girls. 

There are plenty who are kick-ass awesome.  My girls are two of them.




10 comments:

  1. *hugs* More power to you and your Little Women. We rock and the mean girls *will* get their own in the long run. I still am unsure of the way that I handled my own battle against the mean girls and my daughter. But one thing is sure, We, the Awesome Women, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters - We who are creative and smart, sexy and sassy (in a good way) - We are the ones who *will* prevail. All the mean girls I know who were mean to me? They have rotten lives right now. I have not heard of a single one with a happy marriage, or happy kids, or even nice kids...I am sure some of them went on to be successful and are power hungry mean girls now...but our girls will never have to work for *them* because they will follow their dreams with the fullest power and support behind them!
    :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, thank you. From one awesome-kick-ass mom to another! Hugs.

      Delete
  2. That is so heartbreaking - I really don't know why that was and remains the case, why girls in particular are so good at decimating their own. Luckily, I was a little bit 'out of it all' (in my own little world, with my own interests) in high school, so I didn't worry too much, let the mean remarks roll off my back like water. I would hardly presume to advise therefore, but perhaps that's the best defence: a few good friends and some passions to keep you busy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're right. I've just gotten my eldest into a couple new activities I hope will take the edge off.

      Delete
  3. Fantastic piece Katie, so true and I cannot imagine what you are E are going through; it sounds awful. As long as she knows she is loved and valued and is loveable and valuable, she will have good tools. BTW, The Mask Between Us? Utterly perfect title. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks...it's changed a bunch since you've read it. But I think the title still fits! :)

      Delete
  4. Really feel for you and E.
    Sher

    ReplyDelete
  5. my daughter was bullie but we didn't recognize it back then. A change of schools helped.Often the bully's parents are no help at all. Lucky Emma has you. Did you think of having her make a voodoo doll and twist its little arms and legs. probably won't hurt the bully but it might make her feel she has some control.

    She doesn't know me, but give her an extra hug.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A voodoo doll might be perfect. Luckily, her teacher has been fantastic through all this and it's calmed down. But I could use the doll because I tend to hold grudges...

      Delete