Revisiting Mean Girls from a Grown Up Sociological Perspective

That title sounds heavy, doesn’t it? For those blog readers who never read my original “Mean Girls” blog entry, I have put it on this blog link, immediately preceding this one so you can see where I am coming from. In short, my own experience as a pre-teen with a Mean Girl scarred me for a long time, but resilient as I have always been, I eventually bounced back better than ever from that trauma.

I read a lot about the Mean Girl phenomenon, because having experienced it on my own, and then through my daughter, I am very interested in it. When I was growing up though, it was not a phenomenon with books written on the topic, talk shows addressing the issue, and we didn’t even have any counselors equipped to deal with it in those days.

In this day and age, it is a hot topic as it should be. With the internet, there is so much more opportunity to dangerously humiliate another human being, and Mean Girls thrive on humiliation and bullying. My version just dropped me like a hot potato and never spoke another word to me, so I guess I was lucky that I wasn’t bullied, although I do remember being laughed at by her and her “group.”

A conversation the other day got me interested in revisiting the topic. It’s a long way from my personal experiences as well as my daughter’s so it is not exactly on my mind these days. That is, it wasn’t until an acquaintance mentioned something shocking to me.

I have often described how NICE and warm and friendly and just absolutely lovely people are in Houston, Texas. I don’t see cattiness, sniping, or even much snobbery on the part of any adult I encounter. People around here, and that includes women, go out of their way to help friend and stranger alike based on my 30 years of experiences living here. This is not to say teens don’t fall into the Mean Girl trap here, because of course they do, as do bullies find their way here. Yet, generally speaking adults tend to be the very antithesis and opposite of a Mean Girl.

So when I recently mentioned to said acquaintance that I found a new person that I was acquainted to and spent some time with, to be an absolutely wonderful, kind and warm person, the other person responded that the woman we were talking about used to be the most feared Mean Girl in Houston where they grew up.

I was floored. Every interaction I had with this particular woman showed her character to be just the opposite of a Mean Girl.

Which brings me to the sociological or psychological perspective: Did this person grown out of being nasty and mean, or is she repenting for her previous sins by going overboard with kindness and lovingness?

It’s true that ONE of the girls I mentioned in the preceding blog about my own Mean Girl (not THE Mean Girl) who was snobby and mean, is now an acquaintance as an adult, and I think she also turned out to be a lovely person. (Although I only know her peripherally)

So I did a bit of research – okay I stalked—my own Mean Girl. She is on a popular social networking site and has an open page, and well, to be honest she seems normal, friendly and quite beloved by her group of friends.

In fact, my experience on Facebook has shown me that even rival cliques, and people who didn’t necessarily associate with you in the past, are now mostly very accepting, warm, fuzzy, and all Kumbaya.

So this is my question to you readers, and it is all for further research so PLEASE help me out. Do these Mean Girls outgrow their hatefulness? In most movies it appears that they do not, but as we know Hollywood plots don’t always reflect real life. And in the recent movie, “You Again” the Mean Girl seemed to have completely reformed as well.

What is your experience? Do the snobs stay snobby? Mean girls stay mean?  Or when becoming an adult, do bygones become bygones and everyone is on equal footing once again?

I want to hear from you. Please post to comments here, on Facebook, or email me. Whatever you are most comfortable doing. I will share the results of my research in a later blog!

4 comments

  • My current boss was definitely a mean girl/bully in high school. All the clues are there right out in the open every day at the pathetic place I call work. I didn’t know her when she went to high school (Thank G-d), but I am sure she’s been making people around her feel like crap all her life. She sneers at us, speaks in an angry tone that is palpable and scary, barks one- or two-word commands, and never says please or thank you for anything except when she’s being sarcastic. She comes to the front desk and says, “Move!” when she wants to take someone’s seat. She put me on a project with absolutely no guidance and I know that she is just loving watching me squirm. The only thing I can do is pray someday she goes on break for one cigarette too many and never comes back.

  • Joan Stonehill

    I think it depends on the individual. Some people, as they mature, see the error of their ways and others don’t. When I worked in New Jersey, there were a group of grown women there that some of us called the Mean Girls. They would congregate in one office with the door open and talk about people. They were nasty. The long and short of it is, they actually ended up turning against each other. It was ugly to watch as they chose members of their Mean Girls group to throw under the bus. I now live in Tennessee where people are much more pleasant, however, while the women in New Jersey are upfront with their mean, I think some of the women I’ve encountered in Tennessee are mean with a smile on their face. It is way less than in New Jersey and Philadelphia. Mean is mean, but I think it is handled in different ways depending on where you live. Just my thoughts!

    • Perhaps you are right Joan. Now that I think about it, there has been an unpleasant type here and there even in Houston. They were probably nasty in school too.

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