A small incidence at school today made me think of something a male friend once said to me, “Wow, you girls are so mean”. We were watching a reality show on TV, where some of the female participants were freezing out one of the girls. One person in particular would twist everything she said, or comment it negatively, or use inaccurate terms to describe this person. This was sometimes done in front of other participants forcing the other girl to try and defend herself.
The correct term for that type of behavior is called relational aggression, and exists among people (girls in particular) at different levels. Simply freezing somebody out, or ignoring a person is one way to go about it. Humiliating, manipulation of how others view that person or ‘verbal attacks’, and/or spreading lies, rumors. I haven’t experienced the more severe version since I was very young, but I have noticed a small degree of relational aggression even at university level. It is often more subtle as: uncalled for comments, refusing to work in groups with certain people, ignoring others, and criticizing somebody in front of others. The “victim” has no way to challenge or refute the accusations, and just has to “take it”, if not wanting to fight (verbal fight). The behavior is used to show superiority, and distinctly marking the other person as inferior.
I think it is important for other people to know that this does happen, and most people experience this in one way or another – at some point in their life. I think I am just going to laugh it off next time it happens to me as it is quite silly really. The show I was watching was paradise hotel by the way, an excellent show to study human behavior, pack mentality and dominance. It’s on tonight, and I can’t wait to see what is happening next 🙂