24 thoughts on “Mean Girls

  1. Stories like this fly in the face of what gets preached by a certain strain of feminism that tells you women are by nature nurturing and loving (versus men, who are by nature only aggressive and competitive), a line of BS I recognized as such the first time I heard it. It’s related to the notion that women don’t think rationally or in a linear fashion. A real aberration in feminism. One of the most breathtakinglly cruel incidents I’ve ever observed involved a group of mean girls I overheard talking about one of their classmates at the Gap.

    • The phenomenon of the High School Bitch Queen is so consistently part of just about everyone’s experience of high school (unless, I suppose, you are the High School Bitch Queen yourself) that one would think it has been studied up the wazoo by sociologists. But I don’t know if it has. IMO the difference between the HSBQ and the High School Male Thug Bully is more one of style than of intensity. Ultimately it’s all just bullying, regardless of gender.

  2. After having taught in high schools for twenty years I can tell you this does not happen without the knowledge and passive acquiescence of the teaching staff and administration.

  3. I’ve found that bullying is sometimes, but infrequently, caused by insecurity. Instead it usually comes from a power and control instinct unchecked. A combination of factors (social emotion genetics + fearlessness + impulsivness + parenting + social conditions…) can add up to create a sociopathic monster who will attract sycophants and wannabes to do their evil bidding. Their need to control trumps any ability to feel for any victims. Physical advantage only impacts the directness of the bullying attacks.

    What’s always bothered me about bullying, is that so few can terrorize or silence the many. I was subtly bullied by a mob at work once, without provocation. I did my homework, and found the mob’s strings were being pulled by a machiavellian manager who saw me as a threat to their own political progress. For months I fought back but gained tepid support even though I was in the right. It was only after I made a power play of my own that I gained majority support and the bully lost. Apparently, most people prefer to side with might rather than right.

    It looks like there was a sizeable candlelight vigil for the victim. I hope the perpetrators become well known – infamous.

  4. Mocking someone until they kill themselves is horrible enough.
    Mocking their death is far, far worse.
    What kind of a souless young adult (these were NOT children, or were they? Not in MY minda-eye) does that?
    Where are the parents who raised these monsters to ask, “What kind of a child did I raise? What did I do to help create this situation (if anything). And what can I do to correct this horror?” I’d be interested in hearing from the parents of these monsters.
    I remember some nasty crap over 30 years ago. But, nothing like this. At least nothing that I can remember.
    Evil, appartently, knows no age barrier…

  5. There seems to be a culture of sociopaths that is on the rise. So many people I have worked with are more reptillian than the reptiles I encounter in the wild. I don’t know what is the driving factor, but I’d be inclined to think pop culture, including the ultra violent computer games and movies gloryifing violence and gore have a big part. Mean people may suck, but they generally get what they want, if only for the short time. I’m currently dealing with a sociopathic sister and her husband regarding my decesed brother’s estate, the heartburn and insomnia are overwhelming to deal with.

  6. buckyblue said –

    “After having taught in high schools for twenty years I can tell you this does not happen without the knowledge and passive acquiescence of the teaching staff and administration.”

    Assume that’s true in this case. The ‘mean girls’ seemed confident that nothing would/will happen to them. Is it a quantum leap to think that parents have been enabling the behavour for years? And how does a parent do this? First, by never accepting that Sarah is ever wrong – and throwing their money and weight around with the teacher/principal/school board any time Sarah is brought up for discipline. Teachers can learn – when your job becomes hell for messing with a ‘mean girl’ you develop the attitude of the 3 monkeys.

    A sad microcosm of so many problems infecting society- it’s not what you do – it’s who you know. Some parents teach it early.

  7. I shudder to think what those Mean Girls’ parents must be like.
    The parents, or one of them typically, are absolutely no different. They probably laughed at the girls death along with their daughters. Many of today’s parents protect their children endlessly. It’s not about raising a decent, hardworking individual but about giving them everything they want.

  8. I found this extremely sad. On a plus note, some schools are starting to implement anti-bullying programs. I don’t know how widespread this is, but it’s obviously badly needed. In the case of the girl who killed herself, it shouldn’t have had to come to this, in order for the school officials to finally see that there’s a problem.

  9. Moonbat siad –

    “In the case of the girl who killed herself, it shouldn’t have had to come to this, in order for the school officials to finally see that there’s a problem.”

    I think there’s a typo. It should read:

    “In the case of the girl who killed herself, it shouldn’t have had to come to this, in order for the school officials to finally see that they’re the problem.”

    My guess is that they are already circling the wagons to deflect any criticsm.

  10. I saw a show on PBS on mean girls once and the parents had no idea what their little darlings were doing (in fact, thought their daughters walked on water). I say if this is happening to your child, contact the parents first. When kids were being mean to my child in elementary school, the teachers either ignored it or (I felt at times) encouraged it. It was not until my husband called the ring leader’s dad that anything changed. Thankfully the middle school was addressing bullying so things changed greatly for the better. I believe they were much more aware and proactive for the children in middle school because they too had a child commit suicide.

  11. Of course sometimes s, that just makes bullies hit harder. No parent wants to believe their child is being cruel.

    Still it’s hard to understand for me. I was never interested in being popular but I was smart and sarcastic and because I wasn’t interested in being part of the “cool” group at all, no one ever bullied me. Maybe they talked bad about me behind my back, but it was a small HS (300) and I never heard so much as rumor.

  12. MN it may, but I think my husband said if anything else happens, I will go to the police, not the school. My son had said he didn’t want to go to school because one of the bullies had told him if he came to school the next day he would kill him.

  13. This is just messed up. Teachers need to be given some power to report this kind of conduct and penalties need to be paid before something like this happens. The teachers spend a lot of time with students, and see these types of activities, give them some legal framework to put an end to it, working with parents and even law enforcement. Let the schools suspend the students.

    And, no, I am not blaming teachers. Right now, if they tried to get involved, parents would probably sue them.

    Very sad story.

  14. I have lived long enough to be in complete agreement with William Teach. Somebody check the weather in hell – must be froze solid. Who knows, and I’m being serious, not mean, if we find one topic where billy & I agree completely – maybe we will be able to find some common ground on a second issue. It could happen. I am ever the optomist.

  15. It’s very sad, and I wonder what the parents must be like. In addition, the girls are mirroring what they see in adult behavior all around them. We see the wealthy bully the rest of us, people bully each other based on skin color, religion, sexual orientation, and I fear Erinyes is right, sociopathy seems to be on the increase.

  16. Could be gender differences for certain when it comes to bullying behavior. These mean girls never heard of a noogie or a wedgie. They never laid a finger on their victim.
    I wonder if there will be follow-up on this story. By now the entire high school knows exactly who the mean girls are. When national news organizations come to the school, that creates some real buzz.
    So consider what would be needed for the moral rehabilitation of the girls. If, for at least a while, they were pariahs (losing the esteem of those whose opinions matter to them), and if they felt horror for this reason alone, they could become suicidal themselves. That would be a moment of opportunity for them to break open the shells in which their souls have become encased. How do you seize that moment, if you are in a position to influence how it develops? Any ideas?

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  18. I have a friend who teaches high school and a student called her a bitch. When the students’ parent was contacted, he said that he encouraged his daughter to express herself and that the teacher should mind her own business. Teachers and administrators definitely hold some responsibility in these situations, but parents that have the belief that their kids can do no wrong is becoming more and more prevalent. How can teachers and administrators work with attitudes like that? This is a heartbreaking story. How can people be so cruel and detached?

  19. Your friend must be Superwoman if she didn’t reply, then find someone else to teach your little 8itch… since everyone is expressing themselves.

  20. I’ve followed this story closely for past couple of weeks and I must commend everyone here on their civility.

    Tonight, a crowd is expected to attend the South Hadley Council meeting to express concern about the apparent lack of action in addressing the bullying faced by Phoebe Prince. A growing number of townspeople are demanding that the building principal and district superintendent either resign or be fired for not following district policies with respect to bullying. Some are expected to question the lack of response from the police department to numerous reports of students – not just Phoebe Prince – subjected to physical attacks within the high school.

    South Hadley is not inner city. It is home to a highly regarded liberal college. Why are these white “mean girls” bullies? That is a question which needs an answer.

  21. Sauerkraut:
    I hope you were able to get to the meeting. In addition to enforcing the policy on bullying, I wonder about my original question. Namely, now that the mean girls have been exposed as such, what would have to be done to take an opportunity for their moral rehabilitation. I am assuming that they are suddenly finding themselves “not cool” in a radically new way. This seems like a moment in which they could turn themselves inside out, but there are probably conditions that need to be met for that to happen. If they do not die soon, they will be adults in a few years; what kind of adults could right now hang in the balance. “Why are they bullies? is a question that needs an answer, but largely because it leads to another question which is more urgent: How can these girls be led to change radically?

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