...but apparently girls are capable of performing psychological headgames so complex in nature that they leave their victim lying prone in front of her locker wondering if life—or even fourth period—is worth the trouble of having to walk by the bitches that are forever rolling their eyes at her for no reason.
Or something like that.
I went to a lecture last night by Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls. I'd read the first 30 or so pages of the book in preparation, but I still wasn't sure what to expect. When I got past the minor (and at some points truly bloody major) irritation of having a grown woman shriek in Middle-Schoolese (this involved multiple uses of the words "dude," "like," "so," "whatever," "word," etc., all performed in Upspeak which, as you may know, is the tendency to speak every sentence as a question regardless of whether or not you're asking one. It's kind of like this? And I'm so happy? That it wasn't prevalent? When I was younger?) as she drove her points home with anecdotes of her field work amongst girls, this is what I heard:
(1) the pressure we put on girls to "be nice" no matter what is what leads to their obsession with perfection
(2) part of this obsession with perfection manifests in the inability to resolve conflicts via verbal communication
(3) lacking the ability to voice their emotions, they turn to those non-verbal gestures ("aggression") we all know and love: eye-rolling, back-turning, pointing, whispering, and the mysterious ability to make everyone hate the victim without really knowing why
(4) a girl's world is all about her relationships, so when this ganging up bullshit happens to her, everything gets all effed up
(5) this behavior often goes unchecked because girls know how to perform these stealthy feats of aggression without teachers noticing
(6) if girls enter young adulthood without having learned the lifeskills necessary to resolve conficts sans rolling their eyes and emitting small, disgusted sighs, they will never be CEOs
Or something like that.
Sitting there in the audience, I began to shrink lower and lower in my seat. All the heinous crimes I committed against other girls (and vice versa) beginning in fifth grade or so flitted through my little brain. And I awoke this morning thinking that maybe it would have been easier, after all, to deal with the relative simplicity of boys punching each other in the face.