Friday, June 23, 2017

Are "Mean Girls" Empowered?

We are often warned by society about looking out for guys who don't have our best intentions at heart. Until recently, however, we weren't really warned about the girls who don't have our best intentions at heart. And with this new trend of mean girls, they seem to get meaner and meaner; With more backstabbing and manipulation than previous generations. Mean Girls used to "get what was coming to them" or turn over a new leaf and become a better person. Today, they are more likely to be considered the ones "we love to hate". Today, the Mean Girls are often the fan-favorites or even the lead characters.

But wait! What happened to Girl Code and Best Friends Forever (B.F.F.) and Girl Power and Female Unity and Feminism?

One rarely-mentioned side effect of the sexual, feminist revolution, is that women have become more competitive with each other than ever before. Before feminism, most women wanted to get married, expected to be married and got married. Ever since feminism, however, most women still want to get married today (as much as 80%) yet the share of American adults who have never been married is at an historic high and many women have begun to look at marriage in a bitter way, deeming it an "unrealistic fairy tale". Furthermore, "almost 47% of U.S. workers are women" and "more than 39% of women work in occupations where women make up at least 3/4 of the workforce." So whether in love or work, women have much more competition with each other today than ever before.

Add the fact that women are encouraged to "go after what they want" to be more empowered - using their "talents" to their advantage, yet not always taught how to control their emotions in a mature manner, and you have a recipe for disaster.

The sad part, is that in many cases, being the "mean girl" is encouraged and/or glamorized. Some women think the idea of being a "nasty woman" is empowering, not really caring about how their actions affect other people. They say "if you have it, flaunt it", not seeing the connection of how they make other women jealous and insecure about their own bodies/beauty. The fact of the matter is, just as a man can have a powerful effect on a woman, so can another woman.

Let's leave the men out of this as much as possible for a minute to focus on female-female dynamics: Even if a woman does completely trust her man and he does not do anything to make her jealous or suspicious or uncomfortable; Should we not hold the woman accountable for her actions? She sees the wedding rings, sees that the man is taken by another woman. Where is Girl Code and Best Friends Forever (B.F.F.) and Girl Power and Female Unity and Feminism in these situations?

Feminists are often quick to blame the man in this hypothetical scenario, claiming that "any man who can be baited away by Jolene isn't worth your time". What feminists tend to ignore about this song, is how inherently pro-female it is. Not only is the song written by a woman about women, but Dolly Parton says the woman has the ultimate power and tells the story of a woman choosing to trust in another woman. Men have different weaknesses than women, and Parton's song is asking women not to take advantage of their own strength, nor men's weaknesses, when they know it hurts other women.
Example of A Woman's Strength
Example of A Woman's Power
Women understand other women's strengths and advantages even better than men. This is why, sometimes, women are more suspicious of other women than men are. This is also why women partake in "slut-shaming" just as much as men, if not more. Women know how to use what they have to get what they want. Some women choose to go about this in a mature and respectful way, while other women choose to go about this in an immature and self-centered way.

This isn't limited to relationships with men, either. This female competitiveness can be seen in the workplace and even in schools for popularity and/or success. 

Mean Girls are very real and very hurtful. They can ruin your night, your job, your relationship, your career opportunities or even ruin your life. They do not care about "empowering women", they only care about themselves and getting ahead at anyone else's expense - male or female. Some of them will even pretend to be your friend, pretending to care about you, only to later use that friendship to their advantage and/or your disadvantage. Sometimes they are straightforward about their views, other times they call themselves "feminists" and pretend to care about things like true Gender Equality and/or Female Unity etc.

So how can you tell if you are dealing with a "Mean Girl"? You can't always tell. The most important thing you can do, is to remember that just as there are some males out there who will only use you to get what they want, so there are also some females out there who will only use you to get what they want. 

To undermine the impact that a female can have simply because of her gender would be a significant mistake.

Women are just as capable of hurting people, as men are capable of hurting people - it's just usually in different ways.

We wouldn't hail up "Mean Guys" as empowering, so why should we hail up "Mean Girls" as empowering?

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