When I was younger, High School Musical was my favorite movie. Watching it made me think about how exciting and fun it must be to be in high school. It also had me believing that the meanest girl would be a girl who might act like Sharpay Evans, who was sassy and bitter because she wanted the lead in the school musical so badly – wow, was I was wrong about that! Nowadays, it goes so far beyond being a “mean girl” at school. There are girls in high school today that make Sharpay look like a nice girl – they can be ruthless. Rumors, talking behind one another’s backs, and mean comments on social media are all examples of what’s happening everyday in high school. Unfortunately, this type of “mean girl” behavior doesn’t just happen between “enemies” but it is also happening within friend groups. When talking with Assistant Principal, Mr. Breazeale, he verifies this. “My observation after doing this for a long time is that for girls, in particular, they feel it’s very important to have a best friend and as they enter high school they meet different people, different affiliations. You gravitate towards other activities and some of those ties become less tight. It only takes one part of the party to become offended and what we generally see is at that point things are either said, secondhand, or heard secondhand, or of course the inevitable social media disaster that sometimes happens.”
Out of the 15 girls I interviewed, they all said that they believe girls are mean to other girls because of jealousy. “They cope with being jealous by making others feel bad, hoping this will make themselves feel better,” states female 1, grade 9 (the girls I interviewed will not be named in this article). Girls need to realize that making other people feel bad is not helping themselves at all. I believe that they are attempting to improve their own self-worth by using others to project their feelings. These feelings could be rooted in anger, sadness, or even fear. I also asked 3 boys at Grandville High School why they thought girls are mean to each other, and they also explained that they feel as though mean comments between girls are due to jealousy.
A lot of girls don’t realize the effect their actions can have on other people. “I have seen many girls resort to self harm because of mean comments, rumors, and cyberbullying,” female 7, grade 11. “I have witnessed someone bawling all night, then they come to school and act like nothing’s wrong. It’s so sad,” female 13, grade 10. Another girl also explained to me about how someone she knows was cyberbullied (by her own friend group) so badly that she didn’t come to school for a few days. “Then she just went back to being “friends” with them because it was “normal” for this to happen within her friend group. Why is this normal for us?” female 5, grade 12 added.
“Social or relational aggression as it is known is definitely more common amongst adolescent girls than boys,” (Mean Girls: Why Teenage Girls can be so Cruel) It seems as though girls can be much more harsh with each other than boys are. “Girls are much more cliquey,” female 4, grade 12 shared. Female 11, grade 11 said, “Girls care so much about what other people think of them, boys don’t. That’s why it’s such an issue with girls.” Female 7 grade 9, had an interesting view on the way girls act. “I have seen girls be mean to boys too, however it always seems to root back to being jealous of a girl. For example, the girl may be jealous of the girl the guy is dating.”
It seems like it is easier to resort to social media to “hide” behind negative, mean comments than to talk to someone about a concern face-to-face. Instead of lashing out at others in hopes of making themselves feel better, girls should be supporting one another. This should include ALL girls- peers, acquaintances, and especially our fiends. Girls, spread love not hate.