Thursday, August 11, 2005

Girls Are Evil

I’ve been dreading this, having to deal with the real fact that girls are mean, spiteful, hateful creatures.

And by this, I mean little girls. The wee ones.

I’ve been told for some time by other moms, ladies that I respect, that little girls have more loathing than any other creature on earth. They’re catty and callous. They’re jealous and shallow. They stab their friends in the back and then pretend to care.

What? My own kind? My gender? No…uh-uh…no way.

And yesterday I had to swallow hard and accept the fact that from now on, I will have to calm and sooth the evil-girl-byproducts of my daughter’s peers.

Girl-child’s class (pre-kindergarteners, all 5 years old) was supposed to go on a field trip yesterday, to some lovely gardens. I dropped her off at preschool with her sack lunch, her tennis shoes for walking, her sunscreen, and a big kiss and hug and “Have a good time!” They would get on the bus at 8:45 a.m. and return late in the afternoon.

I got a call at work at 9 a.m.

The childcare coordinator of the preschool.

Saying, “I have a little girl in my office who didn’t get to go on the field trip today.”

Oh. Fuck. What, did she beat someone up?

The coordinator couldn’t tell me much, other than as they were getting ready to get on the bus for the field trip, Girl-child threw some sort of fit that her teacher couldn’t deal with, and the snap decision was made to leave her behind. But no one knew EXACTLY what had transpired.

So she let me talk to Girl-child. Who said this:

“We were in standing in line to get on the bus. And they put two kids in each seat. And they said Patricia and Girl-child would sit on one seat together. Then Patricia (Girl-child's voice broke at this point and she started crying)…then Patricia said to me in a mean voice, “I hate you.” And it hurt my feelings. So I said “I hate you too!” But I didn’t, really, I just wanted her to feel as bad as me. Then she told a teacher what I said, and no one would listen to me, and I ran in the corner and cried. And then The Coordinator came and brought me to the office.”

Now Patricia is a friend of Girl-child, they play together every day. What in the world would possess her to say to her friend, “I hate you”? Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but in my day, saying that to anyone would have gotten me a spanked bottom and a bar of Ivory soap in my mouth.

I talked Girl-child down a bit. I was honest. I said, if a friend of mine said that to me, I probably would have done the same thing, or at least wanted to. BUT, next time, tell a teacher right away, you don’t have to be mean just because your friend was mean. Use your words next time, okay? Even though it’s hard, even if it hurts. Girl-child was afraid I’d be mad at her, and I think it surprised her to hear me sympathetic to her plight.

So I spoke with The Coordinator and filled her in on the story. We’re both grown women, both rational, and agreed that, yeah, actually, we’d probably feel the same way Girl-child did. But talking about it to a teacher first would have been a better choice, albeit one that would have jumped over the instinct of self-preservation. Tough decision there. And because this happened as they were getting on the bus, there was no time to take Girl-child aside and ascertain what happened, talk with Patricia, give a hug. A decision had to be made. I was okay with that. As it turned out, Girl-child hung out with The Coordinator most of the morning, did errands with her, played on her computer. Then Girl-child hung out in the toddler room for the rest of the day. I picked her up just as the bus was returning from the field trip, and ushered her out before she could catch sight of Patricia. I figured, hey, let’s give it overnight and see how tomorrow goes. I couldn’t deal with a face-to-face.

This isn’t the first time little girls have shown this colour. Apparently the girls in her class are apt to say, after an altercation, “Well, you’re NOT invited to my birthday party!” Exclusionary tactics, ah yes, and it makes the recipient of the news always, always cry. One girl went so far as to tell Girl-child, “You were on the list to come to my birthday party, then we crossed you off.” Oh, joy, then we had to have the talk about, “You won’t be invited to every party”, even though in MY day, you wouldn’t discuss parties in public so as not to hurt feelings of the uninvited.

Some mom friends with elementary school daughters have related stories of girls saying to their “friends”, “You smell, I don’t want to sit by you”, “You’re ugly, go away”, “You’re not my friend any more, and I never liked you”. Can you imagine if a friend of yours treated you this way? I’d be incensed. Livid and pissed off.

Maybe it’s just that little girls have not the correct words for what they really want to say, the emotion they want to express, or the desire to be polite. Perhaps what Patricia really wanted to say to Girl-child was, “I’ve been playing with Sofia all morning, I’d really like to sit by her on the trip, if you don’t mind.” That’s a pretty grown-up statement, and somehow we expect children to have the grace of politeness and respect, when really their vocabulary is limited to the feeling of “No”, and then ‘hate’ gets thrown in there.

I read a study years ago that said little boys have more friends, but the relationships aren’t as deep, whereas little girls have fewer friends but with deeper relationships. If this is true, then girls will be subject to greater hurt when a supposed ‘friend’ turns on them. And it doesn’t take much…just a few words said unkindly can throw an emotional curve ball in the mix, and the recipient can either duck or get hit with it. And ducking is almost impossible. Even for big girls.

Maybe I’m making too much of this. I know I have to let Girl-child stand on her own feet. And I was, in all honesty, proud of her for how she handled herself. She turned the ‘hate’ back on the girl. Unfortunately, the timing was off, no one could hear her side of the story, and she missed a field trip. And it didn’t stop her from feeling bad. But she did what she felt was best for her.

I’m astonished that little girls can be so cruel.

Hope to god they change before they become big girls, and I have to deal with them as adults.

14 Comments:

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Orange said...

Have you seen the movie, "Mean Girls"? Based on the nonfiction book about the queen bees and alpha girls. Scary shit. Makes me less sad to not have a daughter.

Little boys and their punching—so much more direct! But would we rather the little girl-beeyotches started hitting instead of wounding with words and exclusion? Both methods suck.

At the park, it's typically a girl, age 5+, who tries to exclude Ben from group play. For no reason! With no preexisting relationship! With no established power structure! Just for the hell of it: "You can't play with us."

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger annush said...

My mother says "small children small problems, big kids big problems".
All you can hope is that you are teaching girl-child the tools she needs to continue to stick up for herself in life, and that in the future she trusts you enough to keep you up to date with her life.

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger Beltane said...

This is a good subject. I think every single girl who isn't a 'queen bee' can understand what your daughter felt like today.

Honestly, at this point in life, I can spot the queen bees 40 miles off. I now laugh at them behind my hand - and the best part of it all, is they know I know - they know I'm above their manipulations.

Did I mention I had this whole neighborhood Bunko experiment?

I deliciously love being the one who doesn't have to abide by any of the rules.

All I can hope for is that my daughter will be the same. Maybe looked upon with hatred by the 'mob'- for being different - but also desperate envy - for not being ruled by other girls' appetites and slants.

In my opinion, it's the only way to survive with any sense of self.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger bitchphd said...

I think it's that this is girl's way of playing with power. Boys will hit (and when they hit, it's more accepted); girls will be, well, bitchy.

I read something somewhere about a kindergarten teacher who decided to have the "rule" in her classroom that "no one can say they won't play with anyone else." In other words, she explicitly forbade kids from doing that shunning behavior. She said it felt weird, b/c on some level it felt like "forcing" people to not voluntarily choose their friends. But otoh, school is a social environment. Kids *don't* get to voluntarily choose the other people in school, any more than we get to voluntarily choose who we work with. And the result of the experiment was really interesting: she said that some of the kids argued it wasn't fair, but that she also had them come up to her a few years later, still elementary school kids, and say that they were still trying really hard to remember that rule about not being mean. So it made an impression.

I wish more teachers would do that in the early grades.

 
At 3:18 PM, Anonymous melanie said...

These girls never change. In my experience they continue to say, "I hate you." in many different ways. Like my supposed best friend that never called me after she heard I was getting divorced, or my other supposed best friend that started seeing my husband which led to the divorce. It can come in different ways, a female boss that feels the need to call you honey or dear so that you feel inferior. Where guys speak with action, girls actually speak.

One of my friends and I, in junior high and high school decided that we would smack each other when we were mad. It worked so much better than talking shit behind the back. We'd start slapping each other and end up cracking up about how lame our fight was.

I have always prayed that if I have children I would have boys. I would hate to have a daughter and watch that little girl go through the torture of trying to make girl friends that I did.

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger Orange said...

The teacher Bitch Ph.D. is talking about is Vivian Gussin Paley, who wrote a 1993 book called "You Can't Say You Can't Play." (I haven't read it, so I can't say more about it.)

 
At 4:29 PM, Blogger Beltane said...

I think we're ultimately so evil to each other because biologically we compete for the men.

Yeah, they compete for us too, I know. But there is always this underlying jealousy.

I think perhaps it stems from the heinous misogynistic society we have created, where we are basically trained to make the female of the species feel inferior in every possible way. And yes, even the mothers perpetuate this upon their daughters.

Nothing pisses me off more than thinking about the evolution of misogyny in our world.

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

oh, the heartbreak...and good for her! I was alwyas lucky to have wonderful friends who treated me with respect, but I saw plenty of other little girls being to mean. I think you're exactly right about their lack of expressive control being the main reason for the cruelty...and think of how awful grown women can be--talking about their "friends" behind their backs, etc. bleh. I hate women like that.

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Lost said...

Oh Mona, it's just starting. Little girls are mean to each other all the time and as they get older, they are still mean. By the time they get to high school, they start to level out but nothing and no one can complete with the sheer bitchy backstabbingness of a teenage girl. Try not to let it get to you, Girl Child and Patricia will be friends again tomorrow, heck they probably would have been friends again in a couple of hours. You'll never forget but Girl Child will.

 
At 6:47 PM, Blogger wildcat9two said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 7:12 PM, Blogger Pisser said...

I will totally smack my kid if he/she ever acts like Patricia. I wish the teachers had made more of an effort to see what was going on rather than just punishing your girl. That kind of thing reeks of my grandparents' methods-! But it sounds like you handled it quite well.

"Use your words" - dig it!

When I was her age, the neighbor girl I grew up with and I were CONSTANTLY having this retarded fight about who was older - wtf?

(I was 1 yr. older - I won!) But we'd have this dumb, inarticulate "I'm bigger than you! No, *I* am!"/"I hate you!"/"I want to go home-!" exchange.

Fortunately, she just lived across the street. What a couple of arsepains we were-!

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Mona Buonanotte said...

Thank you ladies, all of you. This is tough, and I know it will get tougher, once we throw boys, sex, drugs, drinking, driving, curfews, tattoos, hormones, rebellion, and angry teenage music in there. I knew it would happen sooner or later...I just didn't realize it was NOW!

(Funny, the boys all stayed away from commenting on this post. Our estrogen was probably too powerful for them.)

 
At 11:42 PM, Blogger Ms. Sheila Whotiger said...

I agree with pisser. My little mama never would have gotten away with that Patricia behavior! I think in some ways it gets harder but in some ways its easier. My seven year old has figured who she wants to be friends with(in preschool she was always obsessed with the meanest little girls). You handled it great. Thank god for these little heart breaks now, so they can figure out the bigger things that come along. Although I feel like kickin ass whenever someone is mean to my kids. My mama lion turns on.

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

Kinda late here, but I have to tell you, that "You aren't invited to my party"/"I'm not coming to your party"? The boys do it, too, at least the ones in kindergarten with our Boy do. But I think girls, in general, seem to use hurtful words more than the boys; in my experience, the boys tend to yell at each other or be more physical. But these days, that gets them in more trouble than it used to; maybe that's why they're starting to use the verbal taunts and threats more often?

 

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