What Motivates Mean Girl Behavior

Samantha Parent Walravens gets to the heart of the “Mean Girl” culture, so that we can effectively address it. Instead of merely demonizing the behavior, understanding the motivations can be a first step to stopping it.

OUR CULTURE IS FASCINATED WITH THE IMAGE OF THE MEAN GIRL.

Reality TV shows like The Real Housewives of New York, The Jersey Shore, and The Hills feature real-life mean girls in action — publicly humiliating and spreading nasty rumors about each other, pitting friend against friend, excluding or rejecting former friends, and even engaging in physical aggression.

While watching these on-screen antics may be a guilty pleasure for some, most of us resent the mean girl’s unwieldy power and long to see her fall from grace. Think of the movies Heathers, Sixteen Candles, and Mean Girls, all of which feature the demise of the queen bee and the triumph of the downtrodden. Ah, how sweet revenge can be…

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