In 2012, my 15-year-old daughter was upset about a friend who was being bullied on the popular social media site, Facebook. She shared with me the video of two “mean girls” (girl bullies) spouting offensive and ugly things about her friend on another teen’s homepage. The “mean girls” made the slanderous video difficult to remove because it was posted on another person’s Facebook wall.
My daughter wanted to jump in and support her friend. I was fearful she would become the next victim of these mean girl attacks. I too wanted her to stand up against the” mean girls” and stand for her friend. I was just unsure how to do that and still keep her safe.
As a teacher and a mentor for junior high and high school girls, I know firsthand the difference education makes and the devastation ignorance can play in any situation. This incident led me to want to protect my daughter and any other girl from being bullied in the future.
After I did some research, I was horrified to discover girl bullying is on its way to becoming an epidemic. Because it’s not easily recognized, fir bullying is hard to stop before damage has already been done. Girl bullying is all too often covert, easily overlooked as the unfortunate part of forming cliques and social groups. As young girls reach puberty, the behaviors girl use to embarrass and humiliate are viewed as “drama” and the victim is often told they are being overly emotional. “Did she really mean that or are you just being sensitive?”
Reality check: Where boys often use physical intimidation to have power over their peers, girls tend to use social power to intimidate. Relationships are used as weapons to inflict emotional pain through ostracizing, social isolation, or ruining someone’s social standing in the popularity hierarchy by way of rumors. This is nothing new, but with social media playing such an important part in everyday life, rumors spread can hit Facebook, Tumbler, Instagram and Twitter in a matter of seconds. This affects not only the victim”s own peer group, but every peer group known to man. The damage can often feel permanent.
Conversations with my daughter about girl bullying made us both realize not only was it prevalent in schools, but there really wasn’t any anti-bully resources and support specific to girl bullying. It was then we decided to start The Mean Girl Extinction Project. This project is now a CA Non-Profit organization. Our campaign is designed to provide awareness, support, and resources for victims, parents, educators, and the community. It is our hope this campaign to fight the “mean girl” phenomenon in a positive way can rid our schools, social circles, and community of “mean girl”behavior altogether.
The Mean Girl Extinction Project in the process of getting a new face lift. Look for it to provide resources to help educators, parents and students identify relational aggression among girls and ways they can work together to combat mean.
Educators will find resources to help detect relational aggression used by girls and ways to effectively handle relational aggression. There are lesson plans as well as to teach students about girl bullying.
Victims will find resources and support to help them navigate relational aggression.
The Mean Girl Extinction Project is a resource to keep you up to date by providing helpful information on relational aggression.
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