First off, I never saw the movie, so I’m not going to even pretend to know anything about it or quote it. But sadly, I do know a thing or two about mean girls.
Having grown up female (and still remaining female to this day LOL), I have lived through, and still live through mean girls. Not much rattles my chain like someone being unkind just for the pure sake of being unkind. To publicly make someone the butt of a joke, to point out physical flaws as a punch line to the latest stinger, to tear someone down just for who they are or what they look like; these things make me physically sick.
Meanness isn’t often forgotten either. Anyone who has been subject to ridicule or cruel embarrassment can most likely recount the scene as if it just happened. I can remember moments from elementary school, junior high school and beyond. Each stinging memory can replay like a well preserved mixed tape stored in air conditioning so as not to melt and destroy its contents forever. (Said in homage to this crushing heat wave that we are enduring.)
I was raised never to make fun of someone for how they looked. The best thing that my mother ever taught me was that everyone is someone’s baby. That someone loves “that person” more than anything in the whole world and therefore, that person is deserving of love, and respect, and kindness.
Of course I have survived the verbal assaults of mean girls from the past, but now I’m having to watch my daughter live through them and that breaks my heart. And this $h!t started young…first grade???
It’s a terribly hard lesson to learn. I’m certain we’ve all endured it. And I mean that. We have endured. And I will hold my daughter’s hand through this walk and we will come up with strategies for what to say and how to act in the event that Miss Mean Girl du Jour comes sniffing around (and we all know she will). And I know that these moments are building character and maybe even strengthening bonds between my daughter and me, but these mean girls have got to stop.
I don’t believe that we are born knowing how to hate or be unkind. I believe these are learned behaviors. Are these girls being mistreated or ignored at home? Why is their own self esteem so fragmented that they feel the need to attack? What are they gaining? What are they really gaining? Animosity.
I find myself feeling sorry for them. We’ve all heard the adage that they are unkind to make themselves feel bigger or better. This history must stop repeating itself. I think that we are taught to attack back to defend ourselves. Meet blow with another blow. Match insult with insult. I recognize it sometimes in myself and I pray, and work, and practice to stop. This crap has got to stop.
In the era of women empowerment, we must stop being each other’s worst enemy. In the wake of countless suicides as a response to bullying, we must teach our children and each other that it’s not ok. Even when my own kids are teasing each other and fighting amongst themselves, I remind them that we should not be tearing each other down. We should be building each other up. Girls, we need to do this for each other. To get kindness, be kind. In the face of a little jerk who’s going after you, be kind or at the very least be silent and get the heck out of there.
I’m not saying we have to like everyone and be sickly and unnaturally sweet. I am saying to keep your disparaging comments to yourself. Stick with your friends. Give your energy in positive ways to your circle. Make yourself stronger by making the people in your life stronger and leave those that you don’t connect with alone. Friendship and kindness can be mutually exclusive.
There is always hope that the mean girls will outgrow whatever is fueling their unkind nature and will find kinder ways to feel better about themselves. I’m grateful that my daughter talks to me and shares these moments with me. I’m grateful that I can comfort her and reassure her that she is perfect just the way that she is. Sadly, I know these verbal abuses will be remembered. I hope for reformation for the mean girls out there, but in the mean time, just do us all a favor and leave us alone. We have no time for the unkind.