Girls gone vicious

Girls gone vicious

There are 33 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Jul 25, 2008, titled Girls gone vicious. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

I 'll have a large Earl Grey tea, an almond biscotto and a vicious display of female teenage cruelty, please.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Since: Jun 08

Warrenville, IL

#1 Jul 25, 2008
I was bullied by an older mean girl in high school for no reason whatsoever. I was very introverted and socially awkward back then, which must have made me an ideal target. She made my life miserable and there was no one to complain to at school. The nuns thought she was wonderful. A couple of years later, I found out that she got pregnant and had to get married in a hurry; this was not unusual in the sixties. My mom and I had a good laugh over it. She was later divorced, and my life, on the other hand, has turned out very well. I've had a long and happy marriage and wonderful children. I believe in retribution. What goes around comes around.
Abbie

AOL

#2 Jul 25, 2008
I teach in a high school, and I have raised daughters. I grew up with only sisters. It's all so true. But I have to say, not for all girls. My experience is that this kind of attitude and behaviors are born early on, and it's the mothers of these girls who either pave the way for it all (on both sides) or even encourage it or do nothing when it happens .... thinking what, that their daughters will outgrow this? It only gets worse. This starts in the play groups and in Brownies. Women need a backbone to raise daughters so they won't be victims of the Female Terminators or actually become one. I could tell you story after story where the mothers instigated such despicable instances, or sat back and let it roll. I am printing this out to use the first week of school.
BAW

Charleston, WV

#3 Jul 25, 2008
"Oh the sadness of a woman when she's sad.
Oh the gladness of a woman when she's glad.
But the sadness of her sadness,
And the gladness of her gladness,
Are as nothing to her badness when she's bad."

What happens to these mean girls? They grow up to be mean women.
another voice

Woodridge, IL

#4 Jul 25, 2008
As these mean girls grow up and rear children, what do they teach their kids? It has been my experience that mean women have mean children. Too bad for everyone involved.
MMS

Bartlett, IL

#5 Jul 25, 2008
I wish Barbara had said something to these girls. Perhaps we need to hold that mirror up to their faces and call out this despicable mean girl behavior when we see it.If we continue to sit idly by , it reenforces that this is socially acceptable.
Curtis

United States

#6 Jul 25, 2008
I saw a study of this on TV once, recorded by hidden cameras in the park. They had 4 younger teenage girl actors: 3 tormenting one who was sitting at a bench trying to read and ignore them. The producers wanted to see who would intervene.
Most watched but ignored it. A few women (mainly older ones) intervened and stood up for the loner, trying to shoo away or shame the others. The men who were later interviewed said they felt awkward approaching young girls unless it perhaps got violent --I'd be worried about them screaming sexual harassment or something.
Emily

Chicago, IL

#7 Jul 25, 2008
Once...I was a mean girl until my mother discovered my cruel intentions and swiftly kicked my *&*. I'm so lucky that my own mother recognized the signs and quickly set me on the right path. As I watch my own daughter grow I fear she'll fall into the 'mean girl' pattern but all I can do is teach her compassion and emphasize how social status will never determine your success but moral practice will. Will she listen, maybe, maybe not. I'll be there either way to make sure her feet stay firmly planted on the path that will take her to the place where she can look into the mirror and truly be proud of the person staring back.

I have to think that somewhere, somehow, those mean girls' parents have failed. Maybe not on purpose...maybe just by the inability to look close enough, to listen intently enough at the children they have raised.
Dad

Cary, IL

#8 Jul 25, 2008
From the description of the incident, I don't see a problem.

There was a conflict. Girl 1 had done something (which she admits) nasty and girls 2 and 3 were angry. You can't insulate people from conflict. They need to learn how to deal with conflict and move on.

Either they address their grievances and patch up their friendship or they determine that the slight is too grievous, that the rift is insurmountable and they move on.

In either event, the two sides learn life lessons. 1 may learn not to mistreat others as the consequences can be unpleasant. 2 and 3 may learn not to trust blindly as misplaced trust can be result in betrayal.

If we insulate our children from LIVING then they'll be stunted adults, unable to function completely.

I'm not defending bullying or "mean girls," but the incident, as described, seems to me to resemble LIFE more than bullying.

Am I missing something?
40 something

AOL

#9 Jul 25, 2008
You can see similar behavior everyday. Work retail.
CJ Evans

Chicago, IL

#10 Jul 25, 2008
Great column. Can't tell you how many times I've wanted to intervene in the same way. When I see things like this my heart aches for my own little daughter, in fear that one day she might endure such cruelty. I don't know what would be worse, if she was the giver or receiver.
Elliott

Newington, CT

#11 Jul 25, 2008
women are mean people...they are their own worst enemy. I work with two women. The older one is very cruel and mean. she ignores/doesn't talk to the other woman for no reason, tries to get other people to hate the younger prettier woman because she hates her. This woman is in her 50's...she has probably been this way her whole life.
Cyberist

Stamford, CT

#12 Jul 25, 2008
Dad wrote:
Am I missing something?
It's hard to say with certainty without the true background of the story, but yes, you probably are.
Dick

Oak Brook, IL

#13 Jul 25, 2008
This behavior is glorified, and encouraged on TV, and in the movies. All you have to do is watch any of the pop culture junk that kids are exposed to, and think is what they have to be like will tell you where this behavior comes from. But girls get away with it because it is 'cute', and they are just being girls. As long as they have a never ending source of negative role models, and no one dares question there behavior, what makes you think they will change?
jjrg7

Raleigh, NC

#14 Jul 25, 2008
Abbie wrote:
I teach in a high school, and I have raised daughters. I grew up with only sisters. It's all so true. But I have to say, not for all girls. My experience is that this kind of attitude and behaviors are born early on, and it's the mothers of these girls who either pave the way for it all (on both sides) or even encourage it or do nothing when it happens .... thinking what, that their daughters will outgrow this? It only gets worse. This starts in the play groups and in Brownies. Women need a backbone to raise daughters so they won't be victims of the Female Terminators or actually become one. I could tell you story after story where the mothers instigated such despicable instances, or sat back and let it roll. I am printing this out to use the first week of school.
I have daughters and I agree with your observations.
rlw

Saint Paul, MN

#16 Jul 25, 2008
Call me Ms. Nosy, but I would've told the girls that their conversation was not meant for an audience. I'm Old School, and don't tolerate such nonsense.
Sharon

United States

#17 Jul 25, 2008
I have a reality check for you. Mean girls never mature. They only age and turn into B----'s. They're the mom's who visciously protect their young - even when their child is the one doing wrong. In the workplace they turn into catty women, creating clicks. And they don't get any better when they become the boss. They have their favorites and play to them. And if you don't join-in on all the catty trash talk of your co-workers, you become the outsider. And don't get invited to their events. Yes - mean girls don't mature, they only morph.
Teen Angst

Saint Petersburg, FL

#19 Jul 25, 2008
I think this is just a very sad part of coming of age as a girl. I look back in horror at some of the mean things I did to other girls when I was a teenager. Being a teenager is extremely difficult, and the desire to be accepted is overwhelming. Much of the meanness teenage girls inflict on one another is borne of insecurity. Teenagers feel awkward in there own skin, and putting other girls down is a way to help alleviate that (subconsciously). I was sometimes mean to other girls when I was a teenager. I'm not proud of it, but I can't change it. And I got my payback. I spent the entire summer between 8th grade and high school friendless and fielding horribly mean prank phone calls from the girls that had once been my friends and who had turned on me (why I can't recall)...just as I had done to others. And it's always a gang up...one poor girl against two or more girls, just like in the situation the writer witnessed. It's a heard mentality...if one person is being mean, you had better be mean, too, or you'll look stupid. From an adult perspective, this just seems crazy, but remember, your conscious isn't fully developed until you are 18 or even older. So, a teenager does not have the capacity to fully grasp the weight of her actions. All she knows is that she desperately wants to be accepted and will do anything to get that acceptance.

If I could take it all back today, I would in a heartbeat. I am still in touch with and/or have run into many of the girls I grew up with over the years, including some who I was mean to and some who were mean to me (I am now 31), and we talk about how mean we were to one another and how awful it was, but we've all gotten over it and grown up to be nice/productive adults. Don't get me wrong, there are still those few woman who were mean then and are mean now, but I just feel sorry for them. These are people who are clearly unhappy in their own lives. If you feel the need to put others down and treat them poorly, it is the direct result of not feeling good about yourself in some way.

Being mean as a teenager does not necessarily translate into being a mean adult. And I certainly don't think it is always the result of poor parenting. I think my mom took me getting bullied harder than I did. She is not a mean woman, and she certainly didn't teach me to be mean. Itís just a hard part of growing up. The good part is that most all girls learn from it and grow out of it.
Joyce Krupa

United States

#20 Jul 25, 2008
This was right on. It's happened for generations, including my own. I was the girl number one. As a high school freshman I was going to sit down at lunch with my "friends" only to be told "the seat's taken" even though there were plenty of seats. I was so embarrassed I left and sat at another table. I ended up making new friends. By the time I graduated I was number one in my class with plenty of friends. It took courage (I had no self confidence) to "get over it". But I don't think I got over it as much as I got through it. I also learned I never wanted to be one of the "twosome", putting someone else through that experience.

Since: Jun 08

Glen Ellyn, IL

#21 Jul 25, 2008
This is another example why we need to arm our children to the teeth. Imagine how much better this would have turned out if everyone involved had a handgun.
Mother of Mean Girl

Iowa City, IA

#22 Jul 25, 2008
We all have to stop our girls from falling victim to the cruelty of the culture they are faced with every day. From exposure to the TV gossip shows, mySpace, and trashy magazines, most or many young women think this bad behavior is acceptable and expected.

Dating has become totally self-centered. Friends compete for attention of the same boy. Dating is no longer about the liking someone. It's about proving that the boy likes you better than someone else.

The Trib piece mentioned the movie "Mean Girls" as an elixir against mean. That how adults are able to interpret the meaning. For the girls, the movie supplies them with "how to" instructions. The see the mean girls as role models. Why - because the girls are blinded by trendy clothes and cell phones. They equate flashy possessions with personal worth. When they see girls dressed like prostitutes, they call them "fancy."

The girls growing up in today's culture need to be corrected. We don't want mean girls growing up to raise more mean kids. These girls will be our caretakers as we age. They won't be nice to us either.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Chicago Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News Barack Obama, our next President (Nov '08) 1 min Grumpy 1,522,052
News BARACK OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE: Suit contesting... (Jan '09) 2 hr Buster Steinbeizer 240,358
News Chicago Restaurants Rally Against Trump Immigra... 4 hr Truth 8
I think she is pissed. From a few years ago. 4 hr SENIORS READ-THIS 6
Topix Chitown Regulars (Aug '09) 4 hr RACE 105,131
Look at Minn. Maine & Michigan. 4 hr OUTLAW-HALAL-FOODS 13
{keep A word drop A word} (Oct '11) 4 hr RACE 10,582

Chicago Jobs

More from around the web

Personal Finance

Chicago Mortgages