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The Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture Of Aggression In Girls

1662 words - 7 pages

Rachel Simmons was amazed there were so many books regarding aggression in boys, but was unable to find any books on the subject of girls’ aggression. The experiments that were conducted regarding aggression were also only performed using males. Many psychologists considered aggression to be behavior such as hitting, punching, name calling and threatening others as a male issue. Simmons discovered from the many interviews she conducted on women that aggression is just as much a female issue. In her book, “The Odd Girl Out: The hidden culture of aggression in girls”, Simmons interviews many women and girls who were victims of bullying, were the actual bully, and also people who witnessed the abuse. Simmons’ purpose for writing this book was to make everyone aware of the secretive way girls bully each other, and to show how they hide their aggression, which many times is the result of their own struggle for acceptance. This book was effective because Simmons also gives the reader suggestions to help everyone involved in some form of aggressive behavior know how to deal with this behavior, and the lifelong consequences it has on everyone involved.
In 1992, a group of Norwegian researchers conducted a study of girls. “They found girls participate in aggression, but they express their anger in unconventional nonphysical ways” (Simmons 20). Another group of experts from the University of Minnesota continued with these findings and found the girl’s aggressive behavior should be classified into three subcategories; relational, indirect, and social aggression” (Simmons 21). An example of relational aggression would be ignoring someone or giving them the “silent treatment” which can be very traumatic for the victim. They wonder what they did wrong and what the girls are saying about them. This is another way for girls to avoid confronting their victim. Many get away with this form of aggression because it is not what is typically viewed as bullying. Demanding that a victim does something or they will no longer be their friend is also an example of relational aggression. Nonverbal communication is also the perfect example of this form. One girl who was interviewed commented, “Girls can look at you and you know they are mad, they roll their eyes, point, give you dirty looks, talk behind your back and laugh” (45). Any teenage girl can relate to this behavior because chances are it has happened to them. Relational aggression is said to be more prevalent in girls than boys. After the age of three years old, boys will begin to show their aggression physically (41). Many girls participate in indirect aggression by spreading a rumor and telling someone else to start it. This allows the perpetrator to pretend they did not have a part in the aggressive behavior and claim later they did not hurt anyone. Many get away with this behavior because it is the hardest to prove. Some girls are mean so often it is difficult to tell the difference when they are just teasing...

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