In our present world where the hashtag #womensupportingwomen seems to be one of the most engaging hashtags, it is necessary to check that the ‘Mean Girl Culture’ has not creeped in. Currently it is desired more than ever that a woman’s best friend is a woman. Stemming from the clamour for gender equality and equal pay, it is expedient that we keep the ‘Mean Girl Culture’ at bay.
Are you lost in all this? The ‘Mean Girl Culture’ is a situation where girls or women tend to act unruly towards other girls or women in a bid to spite them. It could take the form of calling derogatory names to being left out of social events or put down in front of others to just a condescending tone. It often arises in a web of unnecessary competition. Having attended a co-educational and a segregated school – (an all girl’s school), It is easy to observe an environment and spot out the outplay of this culture. As a girl , I figured out that it existed only within the confinement of school walls but as time passed, I cannot say the same.
With experience and through the conversation of working class women, I have come to observe this ugly culture vividly. Often times, the perpetrators of this act are people who feel a little insecure, inferior or scared of competitions. The recipients of their actions in turn sometimes might get forced to retaliate and from what seems like a dream, World War 3 erupts in a work place.
Sometimes, these woman tend to pick sides in cat fights just to spite the co-worker who they are not on friendly terms with, spread malicious gossip or undermine their fellow employees. Competition when played out healthy is a good force of motivation for yourself and as well as for others but when played out dirty, it ends up leaving us in a state of hurt on the long run.
What if we decide to play the ‘It does not matter card?’ It will lead to breeding unhealthy relationships in schools, workplaces and the society. Women ought to support one another. The ‘mean culture’ is not sexist per se. After all, men also act mean to other men.
Why do women indulge more in this? Through empirical reasoning there is a suggestion that women are more prone to evaluating their success based on how it measures up to others, but really, I think it’s more of threat of limited opportunities. We’ve traditionally seen very few women in leadership positions and just overall positions of power, and those numbers are still very low.
This self-created competition is fueled by fear of being left out and leads to animosity among women in their work place towards other women who are dominant and take charge in the workplace. An effective way of taming this culture is creating work-friendly environments and sensitising women to be more open to seeing their co-employees as friends than as threats.