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Finally, Girl World was at peace.

This isn’t going to be funny. So, if you’re here for the funny, sorry. I’ll try to bring you some shiny funny tomorrow. Like a magpie of funny, I’ll be.

We need to discuss mean girls.

No, not the movie. Although, the movie’s awesome. I like the movie a great deal. It kind of makes me sad, because seeing Lindsay Lohan before she crashed and burned is always a sad thing for me, but it’s a great movie. It’s very funny, and it has a lot of great lines in it.

Before the movie, there was the book. Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence, by Rosalind Wiseman. Before that book, there was Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher. And there’s even Mean Girls Grown Up: Adult Women Who Are Still Queen Bees, Middle Bees, and Afraid-to-Bees by Cheryl Dellasega.

Now, if you’re a regular reader, you know I have a vested interest in cliques, and mean girls, and bullying. I keep an eye on things like this. And they upset me.

We all know about mean girls in school. Elementary, junior high, high school. The pretty, popular ones, who set out to make other’s lives a living hell, for what seems to be no reason at all. Even if you didn’t experience it, you’ve no doubt heard about it. How could you not have? It’s everywhere. It’s saturated the media.

And we tell our kids it gets better. That the world is a kinder place, once you leave school. That you find your people, and that you can choose to remove yourself from the presence of the mean girls. And that they get less mean.

And for the most part? That’s true. I’m here to attest to that. Not only is the world a better place once you’re no longer forced to be in a small, confined space with your tormentors, people are, for the most part, kinder. As we get older, it’s just not – well, cool, I guess, to mean girl others, as much as it is when you’re young.

But that’s for the most part.

Mean girls still exist. If you’re lucky, you won’t come across them much, or at all. But odds are good you will. They don’t hide much, you see. They thrive on confrontation. They feed on seeing the pain they’ve inflicted on you. So of course they’re not only out there, they’re lurking and they’re waiting and they’re pouncey. And there’s not much you can do to avoid them. Except stay completely silent, and off the internet completely, and don’t volunteer anywhere, or have a job, or have any sort of social life. So, be a Luddite hermit, then.

I don’t know about you, but that seems like a nightmare to me.

I’m writing this because some people I know were recently mean girled. For no reason whatsoever. I’ve promised not to link to the post where the mean girl spewed her hate all over the internet, because why give her more hits to justify what she’s doing?

But here, in a nutshell, is the situation. My friends write a blog that is just joyous and fun and wonderful. Like they are. The mean girl stumbled upon one of their posts, took it out of context, and wrote an entire post excoriating them, their blog, calling them names, making fun of the post, etc., etc.

For no reason. None at all. She’s not a reader of the blog. She doesn’t know my friends. They haven’t offended her in any way. She just did it because she’s mean, and people that are that mean love to hurt others. It fires them up. It jazzes them. They grow fat on it.

Now, we’ve discussed this before, my completely insane loyalty to my friends. I found out about this, and I wanted to go rip the mean girl a new one. I don’t deal well with bullies and I don’t deal well with my friends being attacked. I was asked not to. That’s good. It’s never good for me to react when I’m pissed. My rages are legendary and they always leave me embarrassed when they’re done. Yes, yes. I probably need anger management. I know. I KNOW.

I’m trying very hard to be calmer, lately. It’s a struggle, but I’m proud of my progress with it. I waited to post this because I didn’t trust myself to be all-caps screamy about it. So I’m going to be very, very calm, for the most part.

The mean girling needs to stop.

We’re grown women. There is no reason for this. We’re not in competition with one another; we’re not all fighting for one brass ring or one single available man or one kickass job or one whatever you value. If we’re mean girling each other, the reason has to be internal. We’re doing it to make ourselves feel bigger or better or more impressive. We’re doing it to build ourselves up where we’re lacking. We’re doing it out of jealousy or anger or just because we’re miserable human beings who feed on other’s pain.

What kind of a person does this? What kind of an emotional vampire feeds on someone’s else’s pain, gets off on someone else’s sorrow? And do you really want to be that person? Think about that, sincerely. Do you want to be the kind of person who is tearing others down in order to build yourself up?

Spoiler alert, darling. IT DOESN’T WORK. You can mean-girl a million other women, you still have to look at yourself in the mirror every morning. You still have to deal with whatever issues you have percolating around in your sad little brain. Issues that, maybe, you might want to work on with a therapist. Because they’re turning you into a monster. Do you want to be a monster? Do you really?

Here’s another thing. If we spent less time mean-girling each other, tearing each other down, making each other feel small and worthless and less-than, think of the unified force we could be. Think of the force to be reckoned with we could be. Women are the majority, population-wise, yet we’re still second-class citizens, in a lot of ways. But if we stood together and we didn’t fight one another? We would be unstoppable. We would be unbeatable.

But we keep tearing each other down in a million little ways. Telling each other we’re not good enough if we’re stay-at-home moms, or if we’re not married, or if we have kids, or if we don’t have kids, or if we don’t have enough kids, or if we have too many kids, or if we’re geeky, or if we’re not geeky enough, or if we’re geeky but about the wrong THINGS, or we’re not pretty enough, or we’re too thin, or we’re too heavy, or we’re just NOT LIKE YOU and therefore WRONG.

I can’t make you stop. I can’t stop each and every one of you from doing this. Of course I can’t.

Here’s the thing. I know I’ve mean girled before. And I can almost guarantee that some, if not all of you, reading this, have mean girled before. Now, there’s a difference between standing up for yourself or those you love and mean girling; there’s a difference between not being friendly and mean girling; there’s a difference between ignoring someone and mean girling (although those who feel you’ve wronged them may erroneously label it as such.) Mean girling is, very simply, tearing someone else down, publicly. Your reasons may vary – personal gain, general meanness, anger over one thing or another, general insanity, making yourself feel better, who knows what drives you.

So I’m just asking – please think before you act. Are you about to blast someone online? Is it a celebrity who’s done something hateful? Fine. Is it someone who wrote an article, and you’re rebutting that article (in an ADULT WAY, please?) Again, fine. Is it someone you don’t know, that you’ve never met, and they didn’t do anything other than ACT IN A WAY YOU WOULDN’T? And they’re NOT HARMING ANYONE? And are your words going to hurt them?

Back away from the computer. You have officially passed over into mean girl territory. The only thing that down that path is madness and hurtfulness and do you really want to do this? Do you really want to put more evil out there into the world? There’s already so much out there. Do you really want to add to it?

Or, how about this. You could switch it up and do the exact opposite. You could NICE girl someone. You could tell someone how much you love them, or admire them, or how much the most recent thing they wrote/drew/created touched you. You could tell someone how much they mean to you. How much you love having them in your life. You could support them through a hard time. You could celebrate a joyous time with them. You could live your life in the most positive, joyous way you know how. It might be hard? But try it for a little while. Here’s a tip: it starts getting easier. It turns out it’s a muscle you have to build up. And once you exercise it enough? Being kind and supportive and loving becomes second nature. And people respond in kind. People mirror your behavior. People are less likely to mean girl others when you’re modeling this behavior.

I promise it’s true. I know it is. I’ve seen it happen.

Women, we are amazing, in all of our differences. We are beautiful and we are strong and we are intelligent and we are funny and we are MILLIONS. And if we collectively spent our energy positively? Oh, that’s a world I want to live in. That’s a world I want to see.

Just stop and think? Please? Think of it as a personal favor to me, if you need to. I won’t ruin the ending by telling you that it’s really a personal favor to yourself.

Remember I mentioned Mean Girls? And the good quotes? How about “Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter…All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”

(Mandy at Borkadventures and Wine Librarian at Homance Diaries blogged recently about this topic, and I want to give them both some love. Both of their posts have been read and are highly approved by yours truly. Give them a click, you’ll be glad you did.)

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

19 responses to “Finally, Girl World was at peace.

  • sj

    Back away from the computer. You have officially passed over into mean girl territory. The only thing that down that path is madness and hurtfulness and do you really want to do this? Do you really want to put more evil out there into the world? There’s already so much out there. Do you really want to add to it?

    This. I’m not perfect, Amy. I have pretty much always been a sarcastic bitch. And maybe this isn’t the best way to go about it, but I’m a firm believer in keeping the bitchiness in check in public. If I see something on another blog that I JUST CAN’T NOT MOCK, I will usually send a link or a screenshot to Meg and we mock in private. Because, really, if I do it publicly – how am I any better than the Mean Girls?

    [sigh] I don’t know, I’m probably not making myself sound any better with this. I don’t know, I just don’t get it. There’s little that I take seriously anymore, because if I did, I’d be a depressed wreck all the time.

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    • lucysfootball

      AGREED. I am not an angel. I totally make fun in private. In private – well, that’s private, isn’t it? That’s no one’s business but mine and the other person/people in the conversation.

      But in public? That’s just spreading the negativity. There’s no reason for that. Not when we have it in us to be a force for good.

      Don’t be depressed! YOU ARE THE AWESOME.

      Like

  • ProfMomEsq

    This post is so spot on and actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The Mean Girls are learning the Mean so much younger now. When my son was in third grade, i volunteered in his classroom. Already the cliques started forming, and little girls who had just quit picking their own noses, like, the week before, mastered the eye-rolling, tongue-clucking, finger-pointing bullshit about so-and-so who didn’t dress right, look right, act right. These new Mean Girls are the offspring of the old Mean Girls, and I’ve decided that the best revenge any Mean Girl victim can have against the Meanness is to raise her child(ren)/niece(s)/nephew(s), etc. to be better, stronger, confident, loving, grateful young women who can look at the Mean and see what it really is: Fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of alone. And, to remember that even though we outnumber the Mean Girls, and eye-for-an-eye here only ends with the blind leading the blind. Which is my long-winded way of saying, Amy, that you did the right thing checking your desire to rip the Mean Girl’s face off. You’re good people, Ms. Amy. :-)

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    • lucysfootball

      Thank you – and you’re completely right, about the fear, and about them learning it at home. I don’t know what the fix is, if indeed there is one. I guess we can all just keep trying our best, and refusing to either put up with it or participate in it.

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    Two things come to mind.

    Firstly, regarding tearing each other down: You can keep a large number of live crabs in a bucket without any risk of any of them ever escaping, because as soon as a crab start to reach towards the edge of the bucket the other crabs will try to climb that one crab to get there too, pulling it down in the process. No crab will ever reach the edge of the bucket. Crabs act like this out of instinct; they’re all trying to escape. Human beings don’t need to; we can think things through and predict the outcome. That’s the whole point of our fancy big brains.

    Secondly, regarding what kind of person would feed on pain and fear: It brings to mind a quote from Hjalmar Söderberg’s novel Doctor Glas: “One wants to be loved, in lack thereof admired, in lack thereof feared, in lack thereof loathed and despised. One wants to instill some sort of emotion in people. The soul trembles before emptiness and desires contact at any price.” This, I believe, is the root of bullying. It’s better to be feared, loathed and despised than ignored.

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    • Kris Rudin (@krisrudin)

      Andreas – great quote. And so very, very true. Thanks for sharing that.
      Amy – nice post. I think you rose above the pettiness of ‘mean girling’ quite admirably! Well done, well done.

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    • lucysfootball

      That’s the second time I’ve heard that crab story this week, and I’d never heard it before! How funny is that? And I LOVE it. So apt.

      That’s a wonderful quote. And very true, sadly enough. I mentioned that in my comment on Ken’s “Death of a Salesman” post the other day. We all just want attention to be paid, in some form. To be told we matter, somehow.

      Like

  • blogginglily

    ugh. . . bullying. . . my biggest fear for my kiddos’ futures. Well. . . one of the top fears. Nearly.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Honestly, one of the reasons I don’t want kids. I have NO IDEA how I would deal with it if they were bullied. Or – what if they were bullies themselves? Seriously, I made a list of “reasons to not have children.” And that’s on there.

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      • blogginglily

        There will never be a time when i’m not worried about them. It’s not like when they go off to college or whatever that it changes anything.

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    • davidjfuller

      Mine too. I have two girls. I’m sometimes pre-worried about the rest of their lives, no matter how much I try not to.

      Like

  • Samantha

    Well said. Ultimately, mean-girling is pointless. Just like you quoted that calling someone dumb won’t make you smarter, etc. It’s just so pointless and in the end you’ll be alone just like you feared you would be. Great post…and good for not lashing out at that person. Probably exactly what they wanted to happen, anyway.

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  • Domestic Goddess in Training

    Great post! You are so right! I hate it when others think that they will feel better if they tear down someone else. I used to think you could escape it when you left high school, but I have found that bullies get older too.
    Your friends are lucky to have your support and the support of other friends.

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    • lucysfootball

      Thank you! I know, I’m glad I didn’t know the bullies just grow up when I was little. I think the only thing that got me through high school was believing the bullies would disappear as I graduated. I guess as we get older, we’re better able to deal with it. Or, hopefully we are.

      Like

  • MEAN GIRLS BY ANY OTHER NAME ARE JUST AS MEAN « curvyelviesays

    […] Finally, Girl World was at peace. (lucysfootball.com) […]

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