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The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Girls can be aggressive? EGADS! NO! :rolleyes:
"The typical mantra is that boys are more aggressive than girls, but in the last decade we've learned that girls can be just as aggressive as boys, just in different ways."

Is anyone actually surprised with this?


Yes, I'm glad this has been noted (finally) after a few decades of "Women are nurturing and wonderful, not like those BIG E3IL MEN," but jeez... anyone who's ever lived through life as a girl could have filled in the blanks. Little girls can be cat mean, no offense to cats. There was a good line in Carrie (I kind of wonder if it was info contributed by Tabitha King) to the effect that boys tease and then forget until next time, but girls just keep it coming (at least with other girls).
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straussmonster From: straussmonster Date: May 8th, 2005 12:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Matt Groening puts it best in School is Hell: Nothing in the world is crueler than a roving pack of fifth-grade girls.

I think I'm misquoting slightly, but I don't have the book at hand, alas. Worth a read!
From: leeflower Date: May 8th, 2005 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)
yeah, we can definetely chalk this up to the 'duh' department.

That's why I've always said that if I ever have kids, they're never going to be excused for treating others badly because they "don't know any better." If they're smart enough to do it, they're smart enough to figure out it's not ok.

There's a Maryland senator who's been trying to get an anti-bullying law passed that would require all maryland public schools to dicipline teasing and harassment with as much severity as physical bullying. Some say it should even go to the extent of removing children who repeatedly bully from the classroom, that same way that children who repeatedly hit are removed, until their agression can be brought under control. I'm not sure if that'll work, but surely they ought to be doing *something.*
laureate05 From: laureate05 Date: May 8th, 2005 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
The problem with adult intervention is that it often exacerbates the problem, especially when it comes to social aggression. Because it's rare for adults to witness social aggression, the only way for them to know about it is if the victim or peers report it. And then not only is the victim guilty of whatever perceived offense caused the initial bullying, but he/she is also a snitch, a cry-baby, etc.

I'm not saying that nothing should be done, but I'm pretty sure punishment from teachers won't help. Especially if they bully's parents aren't on-board. It's a breeding-ground for lawsuits and...additional bullshit, basically.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: May 8th, 2005 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Punishment from teachers won't help unless handled absolutely right. (Just to provide a real-life example of teacher intervention that did a lot more harm than it did good: my completely ineffective sixth-grade teacher once informed my class that they were to stop picking on me because my mother had told the principal that she didn't want me getting teased anymore. No word of a lie. Sixth grade was really not my best year, in the grander scheme of things.)
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: May 8th, 2005 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, adult intervention can be tricky.

When I was 8, I was heavily dosed on prednisone and thus very fat. This one boy made fun of me and my mom spoke to the principal. Within a week, my class had a "seminar," sort of, on teasing and why we shouldn't be mean to people. They didn't use my name specifically, but the teasing stopped.

P.S. Love the icon!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: May 8th, 2005 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I think teasing is easier to deal with in younger kids... I had a problem with the class bully when I was eight and my parents suggested that I get her a small gift at Valentine's Day - I thought it was a stupid idea but I did it and she actually stopped bugging me. That tactic wouldn't have worked again in sixth grade... of course, neither did anything else.

PS: I can't take credit for the icon but I'm glad you like it! :)
sonetka From: sonetka Date: May 8th, 2005 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Try my seventh-grade teacher on for size - she sided with the bullies and told me that I should have more of a sense of humour about things like, um, getting spat on and scratched. In retrospect, I think she was in way over her head and just didn't know what the hell to do with them (she was new at middle school teaching and quit shortly after I left), plus the "girl gang" tended to hang onto her every word at lunch and recess, so if she hadn't been popular at that age she might have felt that at last she was getting vindication from the age group that once scorned her. But damn, it sure didn't help at the time. I'm pleased to report that she now has a job which involves working entirely with adults and that if I met her now I would not actually scratch her, spit on her, and tell her to have a sense of humour about it. But it would have been a near thing, once upon a time.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: May 8th, 2005 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
That's another good story. Where by "good" I mean "truly depressing", because if I had one of those teachers and you had one of those teachers, then there are probably lots more of those teachers... and so bullying is never going to be stopped. Sad.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: May 8th, 2005 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
God, I remember my second grade teacher's rule. If you tattletaled on someone (Ooh, he said shut-up!, etc.) the student who misbehaved got in trouble but so did the tattletale. So this one boy was always saying mean things, either about other people or about me, and I never said a word b/c I didn't want to get in trouble.

I hated that teacher.
daisan From: daisan Date: May 9th, 2005 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a fucking stupid rule, pardon my language. Basically she's saying that your problem wasn't worth her attention or investigation. Can you imagine if the police did that? "No one likes a tattletale, Mr. Hooper. We'll catch the thief, but you have to pay a fine for accusing him of stealing."

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 9th, 2005 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I second the sentiment on that. Duh.

Probably a case of a teacher who had spent too much time listening to, "TEEEECHER! Joey made a FAAAYAACE!" But still an inexcusable rule.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: May 8th, 2005 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Ohhh boy...do I remember the pack of girls who made my life hell during grades 6 through 8. (Something about the junior high age - once I got to high school it was much better). They were worse than the boys, definitely; the boys weren't in the habit of throwing things at you that happened five years ago ("Remember when she threw up on my shoes back in second grade?"). The boys tended to pummel each other and then be OK the next day; growing up with a lot of brothers, I was much happier with this method, especially since I had learned how to hold my own in a fistfight.

And I say with you, "This is news?" Next up: "River Thames Found To Be Historic, Wet."
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: May 8th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Let's see. My "friend" Aimee in K-5 and 1st grade would come to my house and say "I'm the guest, I get to decide what we do," but at her house, "It's my house, I get to decide what we do." If we didn't do what she wanted, she would just sit and refuse to play with me. In K-5, my friends and I didn't like this other girl (I can't recall why, but it was strong enough to keep me from joining Daisy Scouts). Our playground had this rule for sharing swings and we would always pick her off first. So, no, it doesn't surprise me in the least that girls are aggressive at a young age, b/c I had friends who were and I was too (at times).
absurdwords From: absurdwords Date: May 8th, 2005 09:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh noes, girls are meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!1

Did they really need to waste money on that study? Anyone who's been at a all girls school could confirm that girls aren't all sweet.
akashasheiress From: akashasheiress Date: May 8th, 2005 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've always been one of those kids who ''flew beneath the radar.''
anna_fredricka From: anna_fredricka Date: May 8th, 2005 09:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mother of three quite verbal girls here to add her opinion. Yes, the conclusion is a Duh! but it's a necessary addition to the research base. It's got to be in the base to have any effect on the scientific community.

I know all about how evil my girls can be. They practice that nastiness on each other at home. I work tirelessly to help them understand the "Golden Rule" and other kind principles living with others. There's NO cause to be cruel. AAAaaahhhhhrg! The amount of energy I spend weeding any inkling of that type of behavior out of myself (so as not to model rudeness or cruelty)and trying to surgically remove it from their psyches is staggering. It could power a small town almost endlessly. Really.

Trying to end bullying through school or legislative efforts will NEVER work. It has to come from home attitudes. It HAS to come from the parents. Oh, don't get me started. I'll rant on this some time in my LJ. Politely, of course.
daisan From: daisan Date: May 9th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm coming in late to this disucssion: I wasn't on the computer much this weekend.

I don't know if physical aggression is better or worse than verbal. If you have a weakness and it is exploited by others, you still feel that inferiority and powerlessness. I wouldn't want my son to be beat up any more than I'd want my daughter to be teased.

And I disagree with the notion that men and women are equally agressive. Isn't aggression linked to testosterone? Men naturally have more of that than women. Men are (and of course this is a statistical generalization, with plenty of individual exceptions to the rule) more competetive and more agressive. Women are better communicators and work better in groups.

You're right though. It's stupid and misleading to claim women have no tendencies at all towards agression. And pointing out how girls DO hurt each other will help target problem children (both those who are often teased and those who do too much of the teasing.)

I remember having a very rough time in middle school. I was teased by both boys and girls (an equal opportunity dork, that's me!) Kids in general are mean, and I think it's important to recognize ALL forms of aggression.

My parents told me to "ignore it," which probably exacerbated the problem. My classmates wanted to get a rise out of me, and my pretending they didn't exist just made them try harder. I remember sitting with my head bowed inside a tire tunnel while three girls reached in and hit me to get me to respond. Were they exhibiting "typical boy" behavior or were they just doing what they needed to do to make themselves acknowledged?

Anyway, teasing isn't all bad. It did help me develop a really strong sense of self. I knew who I was, and I didn't want to be like them, so in the end I didn't care if they weren't friends with me. I'd rather my son stand up for himself than go along with idiotic behavior, even if he gets beat up because of it.
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