Carry on My Wayward Girl: Teach Girls Bullying Isn’t an Option

Bullying in ProvoBullying is a hot topic nowadays. The fact that it’s the second leading cause of suicide for people between the ages of 10 and 34 is setting off alarm bells in everyone. The complexities of bullying, however, make policing it difficult: cases among boys are easier to spot, as it’s often physical, but bullying among girls takes on different forms, such as verbal abuse, social alienation, and cyberbullying.

So, while the creation of movements geared towards educating the public about the epidemic and speaking in support of bullying survivors are a step in the right direction, there’s still much to be done about the source of the problem.

Why Do Girls Bully Each Other?

Bullying and cruelty aren’t qualities that are innate. These are learned traits. Parents, teachers, and guardians then have a responsibility to teach the children how to be accountable for their actions. Often, when they don’t expose children to social circles that reinforce positive, responsible behavior, like the healthy relationships girls experience in boarding schools, they lash out.

Jealousy, greed, possessiveness, ignorance, vengeance — these are only some of the negative emotions that can manifest into cruel bullying among girls.

The “Mean Girls” Model

Although boys are just as susceptible of being bullies and getting bullied as much as girls, the media’s depiction of female teenage, high school life, such as in the movie “Mean Girls” (2004), which depicts deceit, shaming, and segregation through “cool cliques” as the norm, is troubling.

When these are the only kinds of representation that kids see, it almost turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy. As this is what kids expect high school to be like, this is the behavior they adopt and normalize. Uproot the negative behavior from the start and teach girls that this kind of cruelty just isn’t something civilized people do. Don’t make excuses for it; help fight it.

Parents and school authorities should make an effort to explore the causes of non-traditional bullying and how they can manifest. In doing so, they could help alleviate the problem of bullying-related teenage suicide by nipping the problem in the bud.