The culture of implicit aggression among girls

  Compared with “solving problems with fists” between boys, attacks between girls seem to be more secretive and complicated. Yet most people, from parents to teachers, see it as a girl’s nature rather than a serious problem to be solved.
  The Linden School of America, located behind a stadium, seems to be a thousand miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
  I had discussions with eight groups of ninth-grade girls at my school, and each time I started with the same question: “What’s the difference between being mean in a boy and being mean in a girl?” Heard the same answer. “Girls will turn your back on you for various reasons,” a child said. “Girls will whisper,” another said, “and they’ll stare at you.” They burst out the answers with increasing certainty.
  These girls were brave enough to tell the truth, describing to me their infidelity, unreliability, and cunning. They say girls use intimacy control to suppress others. They say girls are hypocritical and use each other to get to the top of the social hierarchy. They described the girl as persevering, scheming, waiting for revenge, waiting for the other party to relax her vigilance, with a tit-for-tat mentality like a savage, “let her have a taste of my feelings”.
  The girls talk casually about their conflicts, occasionally showing signs of self-loathing. In almost every group discussion, a girl told me she wanted to be a boy because a boy could “get it right in a fight.”
  They tell stories of their outrage, which American culture is reluctant to see as attacks. As a result, their own narratives are also riddled with a pernicious fallacy that women are inherently duplicitous. As the poet and essayist Adriana Ricci said: “Most of the descriptions of women say that we are capricious, cunning, subtle, and wobbly.”
  From primitive society, adult women and girls were thought to be jealous, Insidious and cunning, they think they are prone to betrayal, refusal to obey, and secretiveness. There is no universal definition or way of describing girls’ non-physical aggression, so they are collectively referred to as “insidious”, “artificial”, “evil” and “cunning”. Rarely the subject of research or critical thinking, this behavior has always been seen as a natural stage in a girl’s upbringing.
  What does it mean to determine the nature of a girl’s aggressive behavior? Why have we been able to settle for these fallacies and stereotypes for so long?
  How you view attacks is a powerful barometer of social values. Sociologist Anne Campbell argues that attitudes to aggression can reflect different gender roles, or different expectations about the division of labor between men and women.
  Despite the emergence of Riot Grrrl (a primitive and highly provocative genre of feminist punk) and women’s soccer teams, Western societies still expect boys to be the pillars and protectors of the family, and girls to be caregivers and mothers character of.
  Aggression is a sign of masculinity, giving men the ability to control their environment and make a living. In any case, adults don’t mind the boys wrestling into a ball at all.
  The connection is made early: boys’ popularity is largely determined by their ability to show a tough side, through athleticism, defiance of authority, rough behavior, trouble-making, domineering, and being cool and self-confidence to earn the respect of peers.
  And people’s expectation of women is to gradually cultivate the characteristics of caregivers in the process of growth, and this role is incompatible with aggression. Imagine what an ideal “good mother” is: one who gives selfless care to her family, making her family’s health and daily chores her number one priority. Everyone expects the daughters of good mothers to be “sweet, sweet and gentle”.
  ”Good girls” have friends, and many friends. As 9-year-old Nora told psychologists Lynne Michael Brown and Carol Gilligan: The perfect girl has the “perfect relationship”. These girls will take care of the family in the future, and will be in internships until they reach adulthood. They “never fight…are always in groups…like never get into a debate and hear everything saying: ‘Yeah, I’m all for what you’re saying'”.
  In “School Girls”, reporter Peggy Orens described the “perfect girl” as follows:
  No terrible thoughts, no anger, everyone wants to be friends with her…
  (She is) the kind of girl who can speak softly, calmly and talkatively, always pleasant, never mean or domineering… This kind of image always reminds young women that silence is golden, don’t tell their true feelings, over time, they will Believing your true feelings are “stupid,” “selfish,” “disrespectful,” or simply irrelevant.
  In this way, acknowledging girls’ anger out loud is tantamount to challenging our basic assumptions about “good girls” and exposing how culture disempowers girls by defining “kindness”: no aggressiveness, no anger, no head-to-head conflict .
  Research confirms that from an early age, parents and teachers prevent girls from engaging in physical or outright aggression, while adults either encourage or disdain to intervene in boyish skirmishes.
  In this culture, girls’ aggressive behavior is derided as “not like a girl”. A girl who is firm and confident may be insultingly called “slut”, “lesbian”, “man woman”, and the contempt is much more than that. Every abusive designation pointed to how the girl violated the woman’s established role as caregiver.
  At the same time, girls are sensitive to society’s double standards. They are not deceived, they don’t believe that the so-called post-feminist era has arrived, that “girl power” has triumphed. Girls know that the rules governing boys are different. If girls publicly behave aggressively, they are punished and socially scorned.
  However, earlier research on aggression turned the myth that “good girls” are not aggressive into reality.
  Few of the original experiments that looked at aggression included women, and since men tended to show direct aggression, the researchers concluded that this was the only way to attack. In their observational studies, other types of attacks were understood to deviate from the norm or simply ignored.
  Research on bullying also inherits the loopholes of earlier attack research. Most psychologists focus on direct aggression, such as punching, threats, or provocation. Scientists measure aggression also in settings where indirect aggression is barely observable.
  Looking at the girl’s social life through the eyes of a scientist, it seems that everything is peaceful and calm.
  In 1992, someone finally began to question what lies beneath the surface. That year, a Norwegian research team published an unprecedented study of girls. They found that girls were not insulated from aggression, but used unconventional ways to express anger. “If, for various reasons, attackers can’t directly attack the target (both physically or verbally), they’ll have to find another way,” the team speculates. In
  the study, scientists uncharacteristically began to question the sweetness of young women image, calling their social lives “ruthless”, “aggressive” and “brutal”.
  Since then, a psychology research team at the University of Minnesota in the United States has classified three types of aggressive behaviors: relational aggression, indirect aggression and social aggression.
  ”Relational aggression” includes behavior that “harms another person by impairing (or threatening to impair) relationships or feelings that arise from interpersonal acceptance, friendship, or group integration.” Relational aggression includes ignoring others to punish others or to satisfy one’s own wishes , using social exclusion to achieve revenge, using negative body language or facial expressions, deliberately destroying relationships with others, threatening the other party to agree to certain demands by breaking up relations, etc.
  Similar to indirect aggression and social aggression. One of the ways of “indirect attack” is to use other people as a tool to make the target suffer, such as spreading rumors. “Social aggression” is designed to damage the target’s self-esteem or social standing in a certain circle, and includes some relational aggression, indirect aggression such as spreading rumors or social exclusion.
  Hidden aggression isn’t just used to avoid punishment, it’s mostly because it doesn’t look like bullying in and of itself. Girls know how powerful a gentle and sweet image can be. While adults are otherwise vigilant, the sweet image can confuse the detection radar of teachers and parents.