Monday, June 10, 2013

MEAN GIRLS STEREOTYPE



Sorta glad 5th grade is behind us.

My 11-year old daughter has faced her fair share of drama at school this past year. And I have found myself excusing this behavior – along with fellow mommy friends, we warn our daughters about “mean girls” and that it unfortunately gets worse between now and the end of high school. But that’s a lie. It exists everywhere. Even in the world of blogging and social media. I’ve heard horror stories from bloggers verbally beaten down by their competitors, and I quiver with fear that that might someday happen to me.

There’s a collective understanding that girls and women “are mean.” That’s there’s some rite of passage about having to console our daughters who fall victim to the sting of hurtful words. And I want to stand upon a podium and yell “enough!” because I know so many women who prove this stereotype untrue. I’ve met them. I continue to meet them. We support each other, we learn from one another, and we celebrate each other’s strengths and accomplishments.

I’m so over the whole femiNAZI mentality some of us have. What’s wrong with being humble and gracious and possessing a serving heart? God made us all equal – we are amazing from the start – equipped with greatness and abilities. Why shouldn’t we be on the same team?!

I didn’t think much about my behavior before having babies. And then I began having babies, and those babies started growing up. And during these years, what I believe starts to matter and now I have a responsibility to pass on valuable morals and beliefs.

I guess the only way to teach this is to model it. So, my hope for my daughter is that she sees me embrace women with love and support and encouragement. Talk about them with kindness. And applaud their successes. That she sees me emanate love and kindness and acceptance for those around us and for our less than perfect selves.

Be honest. What are your thoughts on this topic?





20 comments:

  1. Girlfriend. Let me tell you a little, long story short....

    My 10 year old is going into the 5th grade. She was sucked into that drama as well. I heard more complaints this year than I did last year. I am surprised I am not bald.

    As for me? I have been verbally abused and STALKED and harassed all over social networks AND my phone number was given to one of them. They threaten me with lawsuits. Call me a liar and say I steal graphic designs. When I made my own. I had to change my phone number!!!! You should see the crap they say to me! They even commented on my blog saying they knew I changed my number. But after the amount of times I told them to STOP texting and emailing me, they continue to do it. So, I know exactly where you come from!

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    1. It hurts my heart to hear this, Natalie -- I don't understand why people want to be so mean. Especially fellow bloggers. I love to see other people succeed...I love to lift them up in their endeavors. Jealousy gets the best of people when other's out-succeed them, and it's sad.

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  2. My granddaughter is a spokesperson for an anti bullying campaign. You can see it by clicking the anti bullying image on my sidebar. I was a victim of bullying and even brutality. I am so sorry for your daughters experience and for what nudged this blog post. Your positive example if the best things possible. I believe most people are good, we must focus on that xo

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    1. Aw, Katherine, I'm sure this is a tender topic for you. Hugs to you! I will most definitely look into your granddaughter's campaign -- I wholeheartedly hope it's something I can contribute to.

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  3. We have had the HARDEST year yet. Not so much with bullying but with adjusting to intermediate school and understanding that so many people don't have the same values that we have. Our daughters will be what we are, so I try to be the best example that I can. I feel like that's the best approach for now. Treat people with respect. Speak out for those that can't and try to teach our girls who they are and where they came from. When they walk in the light- the dark isn't so damaging. As we walk in the light- we show that to others and hopefully we move our corner of the world closer in that direction.

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    1. That was so enlightening, Erin -- thanks for sharing those words. Best wishes to you and your sweet daughters going forward. xoxo

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  4. I LOVE THIS! I hate it when girls say "I hate hanging out with other girls... there's too much drama!" and stuff like that... my female friendships are things that I will treasure forever. They're empowering and wonderful and beautiful and it is sad and discouraging that some of us still insist on tearing each other down.

    I'm sorry for what's happening to your daughter, but I'm glad she has you to set a good example!! Hope things get better for you guys with the next school year. Lots of hugs.

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    1. You're so kind, Alyssa -- so very appreciated! It's all about finding your niche, and all too often, I think these junior high girls try too hard to be a part of the popular crowd, and sometimes popularity isn't achieved with positive attention.

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  5. We have to step up and say it is it NOT ok to get your kicks by belittling others. Just because "this is a free country" where you CAN say anything - doesn't mean you SHOULD.

    It's not just women against women either. I have such a huge problem with females who would have an absolute FIT if someone said "girls are gross" or "girls are stupid" but have no problem with the same phrases when you use "boys" instead of girls! There is a whole mindset of many women out there that in order to build up females - we have to bash the opposite gender. It makes me sad - and yes: angry!

    Power and self awareness shouldn't come from hurting others. Or from putting your body on display or acting in a promiscuous way. There is so much to be said for giving others - and yourself - respect.

    Sorry - I didn't mean to write an entire blog post in your comments. You touched a little bit of a nerve there.

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  6. I absolutely agree! I hate the "FemiNazi" thing too. I wish we would all be the sweet women from past decades. Smiles, kindness, manners, respect.

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  7. I agree with everything you said. I wish we could stop the chain of snarkiness that exists among girls and women. I hope I can be a model to my daughter to be accepting of herself and others always. It starts with us, I suppose. Hopefully we can build our children up enough to withstand the social distress of junior high. lord, im in no rush for that mess!

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  8. There are some women who will never grow out of putting others down and it's sad. I was really lucky to have completely stayed out of that during school and the girls that I was friends with were actually incredibly great friends. Unfortunately it's not like that for everyone. :(

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  9. Beautifully said!

    I completely agree with you. I had ridiculous immature drama all my life because I was "bigger" or an "outsider." It wore me down and my mom would always say that unfortunately it never gets better and the sooner I learn to not let it get me too stressed, the sooner I will be better able to handle it. Well, I'm still not to great at handling drama, dress, and immaturity, but I definitely am a stronger person for going through what I've been through.

    What I would do with my daughters? Probably beat the crap out of those who hurt her..... oh, wait? I can't do that?...xo

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  10. Oh yes, I completely understand this topic. I dealt with it throughout elementary school and junior high, by high school, I just pretty much had pushed everybody out and I didn't care anymore. I knew I wasn't sticking around after I graduated, so I just counted down the days til graduation and I don't really speak to anyone from that time. I have great friends in my workplace and through my college years, but few from high school. & I'm okay with that. Praying for your daughter *hugs*

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  11. This is great! Your daughter will grow to appreciate the great example that you are for her! There will always be drama, but knowing she has a few "true" friends will get her through these hard days. It's all in how you respond to them!

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  12. I just went through the same thing with my daughter who is also the same age as your daughter. We have decided to do virtual public school at home because we have Christian values and everything we teach her gets tarnished when these "bad choice kids" from broken homes are not taught rules or accountability. Thank you for sharing your story. I am also a blogger(newbie) and love your page!

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  13. Thank you for sharing this. I am also a blogger on TMB and reading your story made me feel better that of course , we are all not alone in this. My daughter is also 11. We decided to pull her out of public school for next year(6th) and do a virtual public school academy at home. She will still have dances and prom and graduation ect when the time comes. We gave her values, Christian ones and when she gets to school, these "bad choice kids" from broken homes tarnish the good kids even though our children can make their own decisions, peer pressure is terrible nowadays! I am 42 years old and we never had such a group of mean children, bringing guns to school ect. I love your blog and I am also a blogger on TMB. Thank you again for your story. Shenanigans of a Domesticated Diva.-Christi

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  14. I feel so apprehensive about my daughter getting to the age where she has to deal with this. I did when I was a kid/teen and I don't want her to have to. I don't think it's a "rite of passage," we should never have to deal with bullying at any age. And if I have to send my kids to private school or homeschool them myself, I will in order to protect them from it. Right now, my oldest is in preschool, and so far so good. She gets along with everyone, but of course she is only 4, so we shall see what the future holds...

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  15. You are so right, you want to exhibit the behavior you would like your children to exhibit; I think Dr. Phil says this all of the time. It is most important for women and their daughters and men and their sons.

    It is interesting you talk about this mean girl thing; when just recently I quit our Girl Scout troop because of someone with this mentality. The troop leader tried to get me to stay saying that part of being a girl scout is to resolve conflict; and while I have no issue with this I ultimately chose to show my daughter how to 'pick her battles' and to move on when necessary :-)I just prefer her to be around women of grace, I figure that is a better example.

    Melanie
    My Imperfect...

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  16. I really don't think it's a gender thing. I hate the mean girl stereotype not only because it perpetuates itself but because it positions women against each other - either you're a big bad mean girl or you're a loser. And that's not a real dichotomy; that's an act.

    I also always feel really disheartened when people excuse their meanness and negativity by saying it's part of being human. No, it's not. It's largely something you learn from society, especially the ways to hurt other people. Society puts weak spots in women and urges other women to tear them down for not conforming to a perfect ideal that's meant to appeal to men - like we should give a damn - and which doesn't exist.

    I'm mostly thinking out loud here. There are many many angles of this stereotype we could talk about. But I think the main one for me is the one in my first paragraph - that dichotomy between popular and not, mean and not, pretty and not, fashionable and not, interested in this or that and not. There is room for every type of woman in this world, there is no right way to be a woman, and I think many people think feminism means being the best woman, the only woman in your field, the woman who stands out - above other women. I absolutely loathe that mentality. I'm not here for that.

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