The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be part of the solution to end relationship violence

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Sep 29, 2015

“The Myth of the Mean Girls”

Mean Girls. I reject this idea. I reject the idea that girls and women are naturally inclined to fight and be in competition with one another. This is just a myth.



The media loves to pounce on “catfights” between female actors and singers, and it seems like every month the media is pitting a new batch of women against each other. The Taylor Swift/Nikki Minaj/Miley Cyrus debacle is the latest public display of the mean girls myth. That is not to say that there are very real issues of race and gender underlying the argument between the three entertainers because there certainly are, but the deeper, more important underlying issues of racial inequality in the music industry have become lost in the midst of the media and the public clamoring for the spectacle of seeing women have a public catfight.

Before you say that these public fights prove the “mean girls” myth, consider the possibility that media disportionately reports girl on girl fights compared to other celebrity fights. Little was said last year about Iggy Azalea’s Twitter challenge to Eminem for his rape lyrics directed at Azalea herself. And not much was said about Chris Brown’s vulgar Twitter fight with comedian Jenny Johnson a couple years ago. Why is it so easy to report on and relish in the fights among women but take so little heed to other conflicts that reflect a larger societal problem of male violence against women?

While it is true that girls and women do not always treat each other with respect, the same is true for how many men treat each other and other women for that matter. We’ve been told for so long that girls and women are jealous of each other, that they constantly compete for male attention, and that they just cannot get along with each other. So, when we see instances in the media of girl-on-girl violence, we believe this to be evidence of the myth while any evidence to the contrary is pushed to the side or forgotten.

I see examples in my own life that deny the reality of the mean girl myth. I have two incredible female mentors that encourage me to pursue my goals. I have many deep and meaningful friendships with women who support and love me. In my professional life, I have female co-workers and supervisors who I admire and who inspire me to be the best version of myself. At Be Project and The Family Place, women make up most of the staff, and if it was true that women really can’t get along with each other, then our agency would fall apart at the seams and nothing would get done. We are made up a network of passionate, smart, and dedicated women, and the only way any of us succeed at our jobs as individuals is by lifting each other up and supporting one another.

Ladies, the next time you find yourself buying into the mean girls myth, remember that it is, in fact, just a myth. Don’t deny yourself meaningful relationships with other girls and women because our culture tells us that we are own worst enemy. And remember what the wise Mrs. Norbury says in the movie Mean Girls: “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.”

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