We know the movies get it wrong a lot – total player miraculously stops shagging around after meeting one sassy girl? Puh-lease.
But sadly there’s one film that frankly nails it for me. Mean Girls.
One of the things that scares me the most about having two girls is that little girls are, well, mean.
The bitchiness, the pressure to look and dress a certain way, the pack mentality that seems to make teasing spiral out of control into outright bullying.
Boys handle disputes with each other with a few punches, a bit of a wrestle and then get over it. Girls hold on to shit for a long, long time. They remember perceived slights, grudges and feelings of jealousy and they do not just let it go.
While boys will generally go for the physical when it comes to sorting out their differences, girls go for psychological warfare.
I remember being at school and a particular girl taking a dislike to me. Nothing specific had happened, there was no confrontation that set it off. We didn’t even run in the same circles, but she hated me.
It started with the odd comment as I walked by. Stuff like “nice shoes” or simply whispers followed by giggles. It made me uncomfortable whenever I was around her.
Finally it escalated to total exclusion. I wasn’t invited to parties that nearly the entire class attended, included members of my own friendship group. Other people started snubbing me because they had sided with her, the popular girl.
It was awful. When I look back on it now, it’s a minor chapter in my life. But at the time it was virtually all I thought about.
I know I can’t protect my girls from this, but how do I explain to them that some girls are just total bitches for no good reason at all?
The saddest thing of all is that some mean girls just never grow up. I’m in my 30s and still witnessing Lindsey Lohan-style drama when all I want is a bit of a giggle and to relax.
All of this has been on my mind recently due to a downright nasty online forum where women gather to bully, abuse and tear down other women.
They do it under the veil of that wonderful get-out-of-jail-free card that is free speech.
Their targets are bloggers and vloggers. Women who put their lives online to share their story, connect with others and, for some, to make money.
These bullies say they are being “sold” to and so are well within their rights to reject, publicly, and criticise the content.
I’m not going to name the site, because I don’t want to drive any more traffic to it. But when people are criticising someone’s looks, weight and the state of their home, speculating about the stability of their marriage and whether they look after their children properly, I would say that’s more than just a commentary on that blogger’s content. You’re making it personal.
Sure, you can argue that bloggers sell themselves as a brand, so they are in the firing line for personal criticism. I disagree. This isn’t a film or a TV series or a book, this is someone’s actual life. These people have actual feelings! They exist beyond just that little screen.
Bloggers need a thick skin of course. We all get nasty comments that take us aback every now and then. The other day someone messaged me via my Facebook page with just a gif indicating she would like to punch me. No other message, just the gif. I blocked her. You don’t like me, you don’t need to see me!
But ultimately, bloggers are of course people! When a gang of bullies repeatedly tells someone their hair looks terrible and they have a dreadful personality, it’s going to hurt, even if you have a thick skin.
A public and personal attack is not constructive criticism on that person’s content. Nor is it covered because you were criticising an ad.
It’s very easy to sit in the comfort of your own home and get swept away in a group chat room. Everyone else is doing it, and it’s free speech, so why the hell not?
I’ll tell you why not:
Because it’s such a waste of time. Can we not channel our energies into something more positive?
We’re all women. If we spent more time elevating each other then imagine what the world could be. Imagine how much more confident we would all feel if we could just be supportive and nice to each other.
And if there’s someone who you really don’t like or get along with, then just don’t see/watch/interact with/talk to that person. It’s very simple.
And do you know what none of these mean girls seem to be able to figure out, which for the life of me I cannot get my head around? That little X in the top left hand corner of every single window that enables you to stop watching the shit you find so offensive.
That little unfollow button that appears next to the name of the person you can’t stand.
If you just have to indulge in a little bitch session, do it in the privacy of a WhatsApp chat or when you go out into the real world and meet fellow human beings face to face.
For womankind’s sake, I truly hope that all of the mean girls out there will just grow up.