In this day and age, and by that I mean, this day and our age, we should know how to treat people properly. We should know better than to bully people. You would think that once the knee high socks and bunches are gone, once the playground politics are behind us and the Mean Girls membership cards are well and truly burned, that we would, as grown women, understand that being a bitch gets you nowhere.
If we’ve learned anything during this shitty year, it’s that people can be taken away from us at the drop of a hat and that, as women, we need to stick together more than ever. That’s why, when I heard a friend of mine recount a story about a group of bitchy mamas making her miserable at the school gates, my fury blazed fiercely because frankly, it’s not fucking ok.
There’s two things going on here. First there’s the innate, bitchy, mean girls mentality that it seems we all as women, to varying degrees have. Except that I don’t believe it’s innate. I don’t believe it’s a natural characteristic of the female species. I believe it’s learned behaviour. I believe we’ve been so indoctrinated into this ‘mean girls’ stereotype that we’ve forgotten that it was a stereotype to begin with.
Women, listen up: you don’t have to be a cunt to other women. I know that, once the men have finished keeping us in line, somewhere just below the glass ceiling, it’s hard to know who to be angry at and how to express that anger. But, trust me when I tell you, taking it out on a fellow woman who’s also raising small humans and turning up at the school gate at a ghastly hour before she’s had time for a coffee and a shower is not ok.
You may well feel threatened and insecure as she dazzles you with her ‘I just got out of bed’ look (she really did just get out of bed), but you know the best way to deal with that? Go up and say hi. Be nice to her. Get her number. Have her on your team. What the fuck are you going to gain by being mean to her? Nothing except that deepest, darkest, ickiest of feelings in your tummy that you can acknowledge, very privately and very alone, as shame. In public, of course, you mask it with pithy comments and hilarious (read: downright mean) banter at her expense. Yet, surely we’re better than this?
The second thing that’s going on here is bullying to the power of ten. This isn’t the same as being 14 and spreading a rumour about a girl who’s got a vagina that smells of Monster Munch. You’re not 14 and you should know better. That aside, it puts the person who you are being nasty to in a really difficult situation. As my friend said to me, “How stupid do I feel? Nearly 40 and crying at home because a bunch of women are picking on me.” And you know that don’t you? You know that she’s got no one to tell; there isn’t going to be a head teacher taking you to task over this, a parent grounding you. Nope…you grown women can get away with it scott-free and no one is holding you to task.
Well, you know what? I am. I’m calling bullshit on it. There is absolutely no need whatsoever for grown women to go around making other grown women cry and then, to add insult to injury, to make them feel shit and stupid for letting it get to them. It’s the double-whammy of bullying and it needs to stop. With the Trumps of this world groping us and laughing about it, the citizens in Aleppo fighting for basic, human rights of freedom and safety and fresh fucking water, people living in fear of ebola, earthquakes, droughts and famine…do we not have enough to worry about? Do we not have enough to worry about to put all this playground shit into some perspective?