Recently, my 13-year-old daughter came to me upset about a friend who was being bullied on the popular social media site, Facebook. She shared with me the video of two “mean girls” (girl bullies) spouting offensive and ugly things about her friend on another teen’s homepage. I was shocked to realize the friend who was being bullied by a couple of “mean girls” had no way of removing the slanderous video because it was on someone else’s Facebook page.
My daughter wanted to jump in and support her friend, but I was fearful she would become the next victim of their vile attacks. I too wanted her to stand up against the” mean girls” and stand for her friend. I was just unsure how to do that and still keep her safe.
As a teacher and a mentor for junior high and high school girls, I know firsthand the difference education makes and the devastation ignorance can play in any situation. This incident led me to want to protect my daughter and any other girl from being bullied in the future.
After some research about bullying, I was horrified to discover girl bullying is on its way to becoming an epidemic. It is not easily recognized, so it is hard to stop the bully before they inflict damage. Girl bullying is all too often covert. It can easily be overlooked as the unfortunate part of forming cliques and social groups. As young girls reach puberty, the behaviors girl bullies use to embarrass and humiliate a victim are viewed as the victim just being over emotional. “Did she really mean that or are you just over exaggerating?”
Reality check: Where boys often use physical intimidation to have power over their peers, girls tend to use social power to intimidate. Relationships are used as weapons to inflict emotional pain through ostracizing, social isolation, or ruining someone’s social standing in the popularity hierarchy by way of rumors. This is nothing new, but with social media playing such an important part in everyday life, rumors spread can hit Facebook, Tumbler, Instagram and Twitter in a matter of seconds. Not just reaching a victim”s own peer group, but every peer group known to mankind. The damage can often feel permanent.
Conversations with Jordan (my daughter) about girl bullying made us both realize not only was it prevalent in her school, but there really wasn’t any anti-bully resources and support specific to girl bullying. It was then Jordan and I decided to start The Mean Girl Extinction Project. This project is a campaign designed to provide awareness, support, and resources for victims, parents, educators, and the community. It is our hope that this campaign to fight the “mean girl” or girl bully in a positive way can rid our schools, social circles, and community of “mean girls” altogether.
- The Mean Girl Extinction Project (alanamunroauthor.com)
- 7 great ways to make National Bullying Prevention Month count (smartsign.com)
- Are mean girls getting meaner? Teens open up about bullying (today.com)
- After son’s death, father wants to do something about bullying (jacksonville.com)
- 2 charged in Fla. after bullied girl’s suicide (bigstory.ap.org)
- Bullied Fla. girl would have turned 13 Saturday (miamiherald.com)
- Preventing bullying (newsherald.com)
- Study: Anti-Bullying Programs Backfire in Schools (blackmailersdontshoot.com)