Mean Girls: Sexist Stereotype or Reality?

My gals live in a drama-free zone!

We’ve all heard the term “mean girls.” It refers to the notion that tween and teen girls are exclusively and irrationally mean to one another. A notion so popular that it was made into a movie, which was so popular they followed it up the sequel, Mean girls 2. Personally, I find the term bothersome – though any generalization, particularly when it targets young women, makes me twitchy.

Sure, I’ve heard some girl bullying stories and I know that friendship, emotions, social lives and defining one’s place in the world are all complicated issues for young people. As they develop into tweens, then teens, it’s no longer about making friendship bracelets for one another and fawning over their pop idol. Sometimes along the journey, kids find themselves acting in a way that might not reflect the kind of person they will be once they mature.

Honestly, with three girls ages 9, 12 and 13, I have had no personal experience with “mean girl” situations. None have them have had any friendship drama, issues with exclusivity, cyber bullying, or experienced general “mean girl” attitudes from their friends and peers about a girls clothing or status.

I tried to reflect on why maybe we’ve been able to avoid this drama that we hear and read so much about.

 

  • Role modeling. My girls don’t see me act petty or gossip about people. I don’t speak badly of my friends or other women. I try to role model good behavior.
  • Resilience. I find that if my girls have a problem with a kid, they tell that kid and move on without holding a grudge. Perhaps that is a result of being a part of a big family. We HAVE to deal with our issues and move on in our family or we couldn’t function otherwise. With so many people in one household and so many personalities there is too much room for conflict. Perhaps my girls have generalized that skill with their social groups outside of the home. I’ve also noticed that if a kid is being a goof, my daughters are not desperate to gain that kid’s acceptance or approval. They simply move on to their other friends. They don’t try to hang out with kids who don’t want to hang out with them.
  • If my girls do tell me about a child at school who is not acting kindly to others, I remind them that something is likely going on with that kid or their parents, at home or otherwise, that is making them feel vulnerable and insecure. Their behaviour may be reflecting that. We need to be patient, but also speak out and self-advocate.

I’m pretty sure there are many mothers out there doing these same things, yet have kids who seem to attract drama and conflict in their social situations. Is the mean girl phenomenon one of many stereotypes or has this been a real issue in your family? What has been your experience and what lessons do you have for how to deal with mean people?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.

Tears, tantrums, and traffic. And that’s just the adults…

Ah we made it through September! This month is always a bit of an adjustment with the change of seasons, back to school and increased traffic, but hopefully everyone has made it through relatively unscathed. Now that we’re nearing the end of the month, kids and parents alike are settling into the routine of being back to school, and fall has truly begun.

Bathing suit season is officially over…boo…and yay…

As a perfect ending to the official last week of summer Julie Cole hosted an amazing staff & family BBQ last week. The weather was a bit chilly but it didn’t faze the kids who gave summer the proper farewell by having fun in the pool.

3-legged-race at the Mabelhood Family Picnic!

And just in case you don’t have yours yet…

If you don’t have your labels or you need more don’t forget that the Ultimate Back to School Combo & Stylish Scholars Combo are only available until September 30!

 

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