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.