I saw this interview on Marie Claire with Emily Bazelon, author of the bullying book Sticks And Stones. She says, “70 percent of the time, women target other women,” which doesn’t surprise me.
That’s why movies like Mean Girls exist. But what’s the difference between being bitchy and being a bully?
(For the record, I hate the word “bitch.” It’s sexist, mean and I just find it gross. But, it was used in the Marie Claire article and made a good point. So, I used it here. For the record, “bitch” here just means a girl who’s not that nice. More on my thoughts about “bitch” in the near future, I promise.)
I personally don’t think that being less than nice makes you a bully. I know a lot of girls that just aren’t very nice, but they don’t set out to hurt anyone. They never upset anybody on purpose or with some mean vendetta, they just aren’t nice.
Bullying is defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.”
So if a girl doesn’t have a warm, fuzzy personality, she’s not necessarily a bully. Every girl has the capability to be mean, but it doesn’t make her a bully. There’s one girl I know that I find very cold and mean. She invites people out with her and says hello, but she’s pretty snarky and just says off-handed comments that make me cringe.
She’s not a bully. She’s just doesn’t have a sparkly persona. I think because bullying is so prevalent, we’re very quick to slap it on as a label to anyone who hurts are feelings. We really need to be able to recognize what’s bullying and what isn’t, otherwise we run into the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” situation.
What qualifies as bullying? Stop Bullying has a pretty solid list:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
If a girl is “being mean” but her actions don’t fall into these categories, she’s probably not a bully. She might just be a not so nice girl, and y’all just don’t get along. The best thing you can do to not so nice girls is be nice to them. Sometimes they need a little love, but they don’t know it.
Do you know any mean girls? Would you call them bullies? Tell me in the comments!