The rumor spreading, shunning and backstabbing of “mean girls” may be a relatively accurate picture of women’s social interactions, one researcher says.
Though both men and women use such indirect aggression in relationships, women use backbiting to demoralize competition and take sexual rivals out of the picture, one researcher argues in a review article detailed today (Oct. 27) in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.
“Women do compete, and they can compete quite fiercely with one another,” said Tracy Vaillancourt, the paper’s author and a psychology professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada. “The form it typically takes is indirect aggression, because it has a low cost: The person [making the attack] doesn’t get injured. Oftentimes, the person’s motives aren’t detected, and yet it still inflicts harm against the person they’re aggressing against.”
Women often punish perceived sexual transgressions, Vaillancourt said. Studies in dozens of countries have found that women use indirect aggression against other women for being “too sexually available,” Vaillancourt said.
“It’s women who suppress other women’s sexuality,” because if sex is a resource, then more sexually promiscuous women lower the price of it, Vaillancourt told LiveScience.
One way to avoid the most destructive effects of girls’ indirect aggression is to make sexual policing less powerful, Campbell said.
“We want to achieve a situation where that accusation [of promiscuity] had no power, where we don’t have that double sexual standard,” Campbell said. “But how we get there, I don’t know.”
And women don’t compete over things they don’t value, Vaillancourt said. So women who put less emphasis on dating, or women who are past their sexual peak, are less likely to engage in mean girl behavior (at least over men).
” women who are past their sexual peak, are less likely to engage in mean girl behavior (at least over men).” Completely wrong of course. The nature of the ‘mean girl behaviour’ simply changes from ‘slut shaming’ to victim labelling (via feminist ‘protection’). Furthermore, the declining sexual market value of older women makes it even more imperative to sexually police her younger rivals and the men who prefer and pursue them.
However, the paper does suggest an interesting idea – that girls should be educated as to the evils and social harm caused by female sexual jealousy and competition. Perhaps one day all young girls will be taught the evils of the feminist sexual trade union in the same way that German youngsters are made to learn the lesson of the history of Nazism.