Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's Up With Girls?

Girls are sometimes the meanest creatures I know of.  I have experienced my own share of queen bees and manipulative females, and some who are incredibly clever in their methods of abuse.  I am watching these creative cruelties going on in two different arenas currently, one of them requires my intervention whenever possible.  That one is going on in my classroom where the grade five girls have been divided into two camps with the arrival of a queen bee a couple of months ago.  The other one is a grown woman trying to manipulate and take revenge on a co-worker in the office where my husband works.  Her tactics are pathetically junior high school style, yet she is not a work place anomaly.

In the workplace women who feel competitive with others are sometimes willing to sacrifice any pleasant relations for undermining their rival or chosen target.  The woman my husband works with is not able to deal with having made a mistake and owing another woman an apology.  Her denial and anger are leading her towards increasingly immature behaviour and it can only damage her credibility in the employer's eyes.  Somehow she believes that she is a victim.  I have worked with women who cannot stand to have a female supervisor and the criticisms and petty complaints they make are ridiculous.  One woman I know thinks her boss is unacceptable for not being an extrovert and greeting her enthusiastically  each morning.

In schools everywhere there are girls making the lives of other girls miserable by ostracizing them, spreading rumours and sending cruel messages through e-mail and text.  As young as eight, some girls discover that they can have have a great deal of power and influence just by announcing that a certain girl is no longer her best friend.  If you have daughters, two books you should read are Queen Bees and Wannabees, by Rosalind Wiseman and Odd Girl Out, by Rachael Simmons.  Simmons proposes that one of the problems contributing to the sly behaviour and passive aggression girls are prone to using on each other is that our culture does not allow girls to get angry or display anger.  Little girls should be sugar and spice and all things nice.  Anger goes underground and it's power grows.

This is what I like best about boys.  When they are mad at each other they fight with their fists.  It is often possible for them to friends again a short time later.  I'm not suggesting that problems should be solved this way, but I find it interesting to ponder this idea that girls are not taught how to deal with anger and aggression, the are expected to suppress it and this has caused the field for women ant work and girls at school to be fraught with land mines.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm Back and I'm shopping!

I'm in Portland for spring break, staying with  my good friend.  She is the amazing mother of two delightful and precocious five year old twin boys.  They talk non-stop, quarrel and make up, have difficult and different eating habits and are being raised with  love, patience and plenty of structure by two loving parents.  My girlfriend, like myself, is an elementary school teacher and since she teaches grade one, she is inundated with little ones who are needy and diverse in their needs.  She has twenty-five or so at school and then comes home every day to her own beloved two.  This is a woman giving constantly.  I want to buy her a lovely gift but I'm not sure what it will be yet.

She has a beautiful home in reproduction Brownstone with a modern take on arts and crafts style.  Although I am confident I get her decorating style, her home needs nothing and I always think it is risky buying someone something decorative for their home.  She recently complained that all of her bath towels were really old.  I am confident about the right colour for bath towels in her house, so I'm planning to get her some luxurious new towels and some spa like bath products.  I should get some for her husband too.  Must find out if he shaves with blade or electric.