Chick Literal

Why Are We Still Acting Like Mean Girls?

This month marks  10 years since Mean Girls was released, and it’s since become a modern classic. Obviously the comedic writing genius that is Tina Fey has a lot to do with this, but for me, what I loved about the movie was how relatable it was. North Shore High School felt real; it was just your regular Midwestern high school, with cliques and calculus classes that people actually went to. As someone who was in fact a Mathlete, I appreciated a movie that acknowledged our existence, even if it meant social suicide.

The one thing about the movie I didn’t relate to was the Plastics.  As someone whose high school cafeteria table would have been labeled “Girl Nerds,” I socialized with a group of girls too focused on GPAs and college applications to waste our time saying nasty things about each other or paying any attention to what the popular girls were doing.  Gossip and catty takedowns were foreign to me at that age.  I wish I could say the same about this one.

Yes, even though this movie about high school came out last decade when we were still in high school, so many of us are still acting like we’re there.  The amount of gossip and petty behavior that has occurred in my adult life is shameful, and I’ve absolutely been a part of it.  Despite having been blessed with a group of talented, successful, interesting girlfriends, too often our conversations degenerate into “Did you hear what she did?” or “Can you believe she said that about her?”  I’m actually shocked that I haven’t participated in a three way calling attack.  These conversations might pass the Bechdel test, but that doesn’t make them good.  How did we become these Mean Women?  And how do we stop?

Adulthood lacks the safeguards of high school.  There’s no Principal Duvall to drag all of us into the auditorium and ask us to start acting like young ladies instead of children.  Yet I’m pretty sure if there were someone to ask us, most of us would raise our hands that we’d said something about someone else behind their backs.  It wasn’t a good thing in high school, so why are we acting like it’s okay now?  We’re grown women with so many options for things to do; is gossip really the most interesting choice?

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  • Caroline Jeffery

    PREACH! gossip is exhausting and clouds what could otherwise be very fulfilling relationships, whether its the people you’re gossiping WITH or ABOUT. it’s one thing to need to vent to a friend about something that is happening in your life, it’s another to be irrationally bashing someone in order to make yourself feel better. my strategy for when someone starts trash talking about someone or something to me is just to be annoyingly neutral about it. responding to a screaming child by screaming back at them isn’t going to help them calm down or figure out what the real feelings behind their tantrum are. how you respond to gossip will ultimately dictate how much power it holds over you. for the people in your life who are relentless gossipers, incapable of making any other kind of meaningful conversation, start distancing yourself, cause aint nobody got time for that!

  • Dani Golightly

    And what’s worse is that these adult mean girls are having children and the children are growing up seeing this as normal behavior, thus continuing the cycle of vapid pettiness BS into the next generation.

  • Jess Bone

    I’m not a bitch but I gossip; I suppose that is being bitchy? However if someone asks what I said about them, essentially behind their back, I tell them. And then I have to make it better. My sister’s school calls it making ‘bad choices’. I like this because it puts the responsibility on your shoulders but suggests the ability to change and rectify it.
    One way that stops me from making ‘bad choices’ is to think how my behaviour would affect me if it was me on the receiving end and it helps keep my mouth shut and evaluate. My boyfriend, before we started dating, was dating someone else. I wanted to flirt with him, compete, because if you really like someone you should go for it right? But then I thought, well if I was her I would feel super threatened, paranoid and upset. So I didn’t pursue him. It actually didn’t work out with her anyway so we got together. I like to think karma was rewarding me for making a good choice :)

  • Audrey Pelsor

    Great points! Last year a goal of mine was to give up gossip. I had been speaking negatively about some friends behind their backs and when I took a step back hated how I saw I was acting. Since I stopped I’m happier and those friendships are so much stronger.

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