We all know them. We’ve all been cut by some scathing remark. We’ve all heard women putting each other down; the slut-shaming, the jealousy, the snide comments, and the whispers. We are our own worst enemy.
It’s been my experience that men don’t judge each other as harshly, if at all.
Swimming in the hotel pool last night, my daughter had her first “Mean Girl Experience.”
Now, she’s only 5, so she didn’t really understand that she was being snubbed and she wasn’t upset. But it got me to thinking. Is the Mean Girl trait something we’re born with? Is it some kind of evolutionary left-over and we just can’t help it? Do we learn to be bitchy to one another, or is it innate?
The two little girls who were so rude to my daughter were only a little older than she is. It wasn’t a big deal; Thing 3 was being her usual gregarious self and there were eye rolls and conspiratorial looks and then the, “We GET it, OKAY?” and they swam away laughing. She was just confused, if anything, and soon found another playmate.
But I was thinking, if it had been two little boys and one of my boys, the situation would have played out differently. They probably wouldn’t have even introduced themselves; they would’ve just started playing, or they wouldn’t. There wouldn’t have been any scoffing, any eye rolling, any mean looks, or a hateful tone of voice.
Those two little girls, maybe 6 years old, snubbed my daughter openly and cruelly for no reason other than that they could. It breaks my heart that Thing 3 is going to have to learn to armor her tender little heart against such coldness. That she is going to learn to hesitate before walking up to a group of women. That she is going to second guess her clothing, her hair, her makeup, and herself, because of Mean Girls. I hope that she will keep the confidence she has and that she will not buckle or change for anyone, but being a woman myself…I know that some of that is inevitable.
I wonder why we demand respect so forthrightly from men, but fail to give it to each other?