Girl vs. Girl Crime

Bryn Schwartz

The movie Mean Girls is notorious for its portrayal of the classic high school girl clique. The movie is somewhat dramatized and is believed by some to create a sexist stigma against young girls: petty, gossiping, and always starting drama. The movie, however, is essentially a humorized,  hyperbolized idea of the high school experience. 

Despite the cliches, many Centennial High School girls are able to relate to the portrayal of cliques, and mean girl behavior. Throughout their high school experience, countless students have lived their own “Mean Girls” story.

While the thought of girl-on-girl crime can seem a tad misogynistic, there is actually “Psychological research on relational aggression explains the phenomenon of mean girls,” as noted in a [Aug 20th 2020] issue of Evie Magazine. Young women tend to “hit their victims where it hurts the most through emotional abuse and exploiting each other’s insecurities,” opposed to “threats and physical violence,” which males tend to lean towards. Unfortunately, the Centennial community is not exempt from these cases of mean behavior.

“As girls, we’re subject to a lot of high standards and pressures to conform to beauty standards and to meet status quos, and you think as girls we would all band together and bond over feeling insecure and pressured but I feel like we do the exact opposite. Girls can be so petty and malicious and know where to hit you where it hurts. We’re smart and we can sometimes use that to others disadvantage to put them down,” stated an anonymous Centennial student. “I think that the movie Mean Girls [is] somewhat similar to our school dynamic. People can be so stingy about where people sit and where they go which is so annoying.”

This same student went on to explain a phenomenon quite similar to the “burn book” in Mean Girls, a diary made for slandering girls at school. 

“Girls also write things on bathroom stall walls which I can imagine being very painful to see,” another anonymous Centennial student noted. Many know to avoid a certain girls’ bathroom in the school because stalls are covered in hateful messages written in Sharpie, with some going as far as calling out specific students. 

Another student, a victim of cruel messages on the wall, explained, “Something I’ll always remember is walking out of second period early in the morning to use the bathroom just to find a whole stall with all different kinds of things said about me. I was called names; my personal business was out on display, lies etc.” The malicious messages continued after this. 

“I obviously felt uncomfortable, but there was nothing I could do. Someone scribbled it out next period just for the same person to come in and rewrite exactly what was there before. I eventually just gave up on it and eventually it stopped. Not only did this make me feel so embarrassed, but it made me feel just uncomfortable not knowing who agreed with it, who didn’t, who added to it, who laughed, and I would never know.”

Another student had a similar negative experience with the walls as well. “I think that this was out of jealousy and pettiness. This person wanted to hurt my feelings or humiliate me.” 

It calls into question the culture at Centennial High School and why other students feel the need to behave towards others in this way. “This is normal at our school, and that it is overlooked. I am not the only girl who this has happened to, and other girls have gotten so much worse,” mentioned one of the girls written about on the wall. This bathroom stall is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Other female students were interviewed and asked about their high school experience as a whole regarding “Mean Girl” behavior. 

One girl noted, she “will always remember the comments made about [her] body. As a girl [she] thinks[s] a lot of other girls can relate with body image issues and that’s what [she] feel[s] [they] are targeted the most by.” She was told that she was “too fat” to wear something freshman year. “That will probably stick with me for a very long time.”

“One girl I didn’t know that well was going around talking about something really embarrassing I did at a party and I was mortified. I barely knew the girl and even had a conversation with her which was why it was so awful that she felt the need to embarrass me and talk about me that way,” explained another student. 

 Yet another student related her experience, saying, “I dealt with my fair share of mean girls and dealing with people talking behind my back in high school. I think it was hard at first since I came from a private school to find good friends. I feel like people kind of took advantage of my kindness freshman year because I tried my best to make friends and people used that against me.” 

There are so many stories that will never be told and are unknown to the Centennial community. However, even from the stories represented in this article, it can be inferred that these issues have affected many. 

“We all have issues at school but what young women have to go through isn’t fair. We need to spread the message that it’s not okay: the inappropriate name calling, the jealousy, laughing instead of saying something or stopping it, publicly humiliating people on the bathroom stalls. It’s all not okay,” one of the girls noted. 

The girls who were interviewed gave their input on how our school can come together to stop this toxic culture. “Everyone has to put in the effort and think about how their actions and words can affect others around them,” one of the girls stated. 

Another suggested that “sending positive messages to one another is a way to overrule the negative hurtful messages written. [she has] seen sticky notes that say ‘You look beautiful’ and other very nice things.”

Students and other members of the Centennial community are encouraged to take a step back, reflect on their behavior in high school, and think about what can be done in order to alter this mean girl narrative and create positive change.


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