Hidden Culture of Aggression in Teenage Girls

Coming from an all-boys grammar school, one of the biggest changes for me at my high school is that there are girls. Socially, girls are very much different than guys at this age. They are most notorious for constant backstabbing and talking shit about their own friends. I wasn’t prepared, and therefore was shocked, to learn that most of the girls in my class cry every other day, see shrinks, and generally have a very socially stressful experience. For the past two years I’ve watched girls break down, get in brutal fights (albeit with words, not punches), and concurrently outsmart the guys in almost every class. It was an amazing phenomenon. So I just read Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls and it confirmed every single thing I’m seeing in high school.

I didn’t learn a lot from the book, because I’m living everything the author is saying, but if you want to take a trip down memory lane and remember what being a high school girl is like, read this book. The author explains how fundamentally girls bully through words and emotions and tells terrible stories of friends emotionally killing their own best friends. Stories include a girl who started a club “Harriet the Hairy Hore” and got all of Harriet’s best friends to sign a petition that basically said “We hate Harriet.” Then there’s the girl who broke into her friend’s email account and changed her password to “slut.” There are countless stories that make you cringe but it does illuminate a very serious issue in schools. Unlike guy-bullying, where it will end up with someone on the ground and physical fights, girl fighting is very mysterious and hidden.

A lot of adults I talk to say high school was one of the worst times of their life. Having brothers in college, and spending so much time in the “real world,” I do know that life gets a lot better after high school. I’m fortunate to have that perspective, and so I try to preach an optimistic future to my friends!

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