I started thinking about this recently because of some of my daughter’s friends/former friends and the difficulties involved in being of the female sex and dealing with other females. Thinking I might be able to help my daughter in some way, I started reading this book called ‘Odd Girl Out – The Hidden Aggression in Girls’ by Rachel Simmons. Rachel interviewed various aged girls/women all over the country learning about the silent bullying females partake in against each other. Anyone who has read ‘Reviving Ophelia‘ will appreciate this book as well. I haven’t finished it yet, but I will let you know when I do if there are any solutions offered. So far, there have been MANY stories of girls hurting other girls by excluding them, talking about them behind their backs, playing cruel practical jokes, gossiping and ruining reputations, the stares and looks of devious plans obvious only by the victim and the victimizers. It’s actually depressing and frustratingly sad to read and it puts me in a bad mood after having read it. The interviews detail points of bullying/abuse while the girls are in elementary, junior & high schools. After all that misery, you would think grown women would know better than to re-enact those years.
Alas, that is not the case. Which depresses me. Every female I’ve ever known has agreed how hard it is to find a good female friend. We learn in our youth that females (in general) cannot be trusted – because of unkept secrets, lies, the talking-behind-the-back-thing, phoniness and fake fronts, oh the list goes on and on. The majority of women in the world will fully admit that it is easier to be friends with a guy because we always know where we stand with a male. When it comes to women, most men complain that they can’t figure us out. Guess what? Women can’t figure women out.
Every female knows what it is like to be betrayed by a friend. Whether it is a broken promise to keep a secret or a boyfriend stolen or a sudden dropped friendship. And every girl has done one or all to a friend. Some girls learn early that they do not enjoy doing wrong to a friend so they grow up to become women who are trustworthy, caring friends. Some girls never learn. Because of the hurts during our informative years, when we become women out in the world we are less likely to trust each other and world-weary of female drama. Yet, it doesn’t stop. I’m lucky to have found a few good women friends and some lifelong ones that I feel comfortable enough to be myself with and trust them – and I truly cherish these friendships because the fact of the matter is – females must remain weary of their female counter parts – for the rest of their lives (check out what goes on in the Nursing Homes if you don’t believe that last part.) Why do we do this to each other?
I had hoped that when I grew up the female games would be over. That was back when I was young and idealistic.
I’ve worked in many different places. In every place that involved more than two females, you can bet there was drama, angst, lying, gossiping, back-stabbing and general female catty-ness going on. Like trying to make it through ‘Survivor’ you have to learn quickly all the stories and decide which group you will become part of – because one group will be staying while the others slowing disappear unable to take the game. (Just like in the television show, Outcomes vary.) (I am therefore ever so grateful to be a mostly stay-at-home-mom now, wink :-).
Another example of adult females acting juvenile happened to me when my children were in elementary school and I was nominated to be involved a particular school organization whose main goal was to raise money for the school so the children could have a better education. Seems like a respectable volunteer organization right? (Not). I was new to it but learned immediately of the inner turmoil going on. The VP and the Pres were talking behind each others backs but being ‘oh so nice‘ to each other’s face. Other members were lobbying behind their backs to take over their positions the next year. The gossip flowed about each different person in the group only when they weren’t around. I quickly wondered what was being said about me when I wasn’t around. (I made a special point to never say anything critical about anyone because I saw how quick they were to spread gossip. I did listen to them though. (I never took a stand and stood up to defend anyone – maybe that was my mistake?) The back-stabbing that went on – for what? This was supposed to be a do-good group. Why would anyone want to turn it into the equivalent of a high-school popularity contest or ‘Mean Girls‘ episode? I never spoke bad about anyone, maintained my rule of following the Golden Rule, listened and learned, and when my time was up I refused to re-join. I’ve stayed back from any other kind of group activity at the schools because of that experience. It’s a shame that the parents can’t be grown-ups ya know? What happened to handling things in a mature fashion?
Why do so many females turn against each other?
If this book gives me some answers I’ll let ya know, but I haven’t seen any yet…