Bullying has many forms and shapes. Sometimes it’s the nasty, violent kind and other times it’s subtle and painful like slow poison. The former style of bullying is more common among teenage boys, while the latter is associated with group of teenage girls, who would pick a target and in passive aggressive way hurt them till they break down emotionally and psychologically. This phenomenon is called ‘Mean Girls Syndrome’, which is derived from the famous teen movie, ‘Mean Girls’ that highlighted the complex nature of teenage girls’ friendships, the manipulative behavior of group’s leader and passive aggressive techniques of a popular group of girls towards a vulnerable and defenseless target.
Escapes the eye
Unlike bullying behavior of teenage boys, girls tend to be more covert and indirect with their aggression towards their victim. Girls are more secretive in their vengeful ways – you would hardly find a girl raising her voice or involved in physical fight; rather she would rely on psychological bullying tactics, which escapes the vigilant eye of parents. Psychological bullying affects the self-esteem of the victim. She loses her confidence, becomes socially withdrawn, gets clinically depressed and in severe cases commits suicide.
Girls bullying girls is not a well-researched domain. However, few researches conducted have shown girls prefer to inflict damage on their victim through emotional violence. Some of the tactics they readily use are:
- Gossiping, spreading rumors about the victim
- Standing in a group, staring, sniggering, giving nasty looks to the victim
- Pushing the victim to corner by stealing friends or boyfriend
- Alienating the victim through complete social boycott
- Sending mean, hurtful emails
- Circulating nasty text messages or MMS about the victim
- Posting hurtful comments about the victim on school’s Facebook page
- Encourage or force submissive girls to pick on the victim
Is your daughter a bully?
Dr. Charisse Nixon, psychologist and associate professor at Penn State Erie explained that there are variable factors which make a teenage girl turn into a vicious bully. Once parents find out that the damage has been done, the only best option available to get professional counseling and therapy for their daughters. Her behavior could only be altered by helping to resolve the conflicts in her mind which are the result of a trauma, family disputes, and financial disparity and any other mishap. Parents are advised to see that their daughters’ basic necessities are met; like sense of belongingness and security at home. This will enable them to develop as sensitive and empathetic human beings.
- Source: Susan O’Neil, “Bullying by Tween and Teen Girls: A Literature, Policy, Resource Review”, Kookaburra Consulting Inc.