Sunday, 1 November 2015

On Mean Girls - With a Review of Keeping The Moon by Sarah Dessen

Mean girls can be women, grown women can be mean girls and rarely—yes, rarely—is a group of females a good thing.
I realize I’m throwing my own gender under the bus by saying this, and I’m aware that legions of feminists might now hunt down my birth certificate, smack a big ol’ REJECTED stamp atop the spot that says SEX: FEMALE.
But still.
Women have a shocking tendency to emotionally cut each others’ throats. Find a group of women and you can be certain you’ll overhear a verbal eviscerating of some other woman who’s not present to defend herself. Oh, and if she happens to show up? Then it will be all huggy-hugs and kissy-kisses and hypocritical syrup spilling from the mouths that speak from both sides: “Where have you BEEN? Oh, how we’ve MISSED you!”
C’mon. I know you’ve seen this crap happen.
Or try this scenario: the eye contact swapped between two of these people-turned-piranha; malevolent intent in one gaze and eager encouragement glittering in the other—all while their target sits within the crosshairs of their cattiness, bitchiness, and sometimes out-and-out cuntery, holding her breath because she knows an assault is coming.
We’ve all seen the assault coming.
Mean Girls have been abusing their so-called ‘sisters’ for hundreds of years and this dynamic—a Queen Bee with her snarling, snapping Underlings—has been around for so long one’s got to wonder if women like this were not even (at least partially) behind bloodbaths like the Salem Witch Trials, cackling in satisfied glee as ladies they disliked were humiliated, isolated, then burned.
Ummm….who was the witch again?
 I recently finished a thoroughly excellent book—Keeping The Moon—a piece of chick-lit, expertly crafted, about a young woman who goes from fat to fabulous yet is still unable to shake the cruel labels assigned to her by a group of peers (whose sovereign is a Mean Queen, natch). The theme of Keeping The Moon isn’t new (Cinderella, her wicked stepsisters, and variations thereof have been rewritten scores of times) but I think that’s because this issue—women hurting women—Just. Won’t. Die.  
What, the hell, are these females’ problems?
And please don’t—do not—espouse some convoluted Female-Lacking-Empowerment theory and blame men for all this: ‘Oh men have pitted women against each other, and men have objectified women—so now we feel we have to compete and feel we have to emotionally malign one another in order to rise to feel worthy of men.
That’s crap.
Cruelty is a choice, viciousness is learned, and somewhere along the way, ladies have elected to reward themselves—and each other—for attacks on other women that are hateful and for which they should be ashamed, not proud.
And why do they do it? A million reasons, I suppose. Maybe they do feel powerless, and so crapping on someone elevates them somehow, appeases their desperate hunger to feel superior. Envy, too, has a recurring role in Mean Theatre; nothing awakens the claws quite like the Green Eyed Monster. Then of course there’s judgment. Perpetrators of cruelty often justify their assaults by wagging their Moral Finger (because they are a divine spokesperson, dontcha know, and they’re here to tell everyone what is Right versus what is Wrong).
But…Keeping The Moon doesn’t waste time explaining why the Mean Girls do the things they do, and maybe we shouldn’t waste ours either. Analyzing, after all, offers these bitches a breadth of understanding—and I’m not sure women who actively and gleefully look for ways to hurt other women deserve that. They are not, after all, the victims here, so I for one really don’t care whether they are crying themselves to sleep at night because their lives are loveless and empty. I don’t give a whit about how guilty and shabby they feel for all the horrid things they do and say just because, in the moment they were done and said, they desperately needed the self-esteem boost superiority could give them. I do not, especially do not, give a damn about the too-oft repeated social media meme ‘Hurt People hurt people’.
Enough already. Let me repeat: cruelty is a CHOICE, so whatever demons these bitches are battling are not the burden of the rest of us. We owe their victims more than that. We owe society more than that.
Here’s a start: Negativity needs airtime to both thrive and survive, so stop giving this garbage a stage. Do not listen to it, do not invite it into conversation, and for God’s sake don’t engage in it when it comes up (not even to argue). Shut it down. Change the subject. Walk away. Be direct and say the words: “That’s mean and I want no part of it.” Yes, you’ll be met with chagrin. A curled lip. You might even end up then becoming a target.
I’m here to tell you, it’s worth it.
And, speaking of being a target, if you are one already? Get OUT of that circumstance RIGHT NOW. Leave the group of ‘friends’ within which you experience this. Never accept another invite again. Because here is a fact that is truer than true: being lonely is better than the way these people have made you feel. A lack of a social life is infinitesimally preferable to spending even one second with women who verbally gut you then dance in your entrails. They are not worthy of a second glance much less any of your precious moments. And, if you find yourself bored once you cut them out of your life? Do not change your mind and return to their fray. Find a hobby. Volunteer somewhere. Maybe even pick up a part time job to fill the hours you now feel are empty. Do anything to avoid these wretches because here is a fact: keeping them in your life is the equivalent of drinking Drano—they are corrosive, and poison, and not one single good thing will come from maintaining a relationship with these human spots of cancer. Cut your losses. Cut them OUT.
And don’t look back.
For you others, you non-victims, you who are the witnesses to some of the behavioral garbage I referred to above, here is your charge: Speak up. Call these bitches out on their bullshit. Make them aware that you find their behavior abhorrent. Give them no clemency and offer no quarter. You want to make a difference? Then be the big mouth. Be the conscience. BE THE CHANGE.
Be a hero.  
’Cause you are above this vile bullshit.
PS: Following is the link to my goodreads review of Keeping The Moon by the sensational Sarah Dessen. If you've never read it, I encourage you to pick it up today. A feel-good, sweet story where the good gals win and the Mean Girls....don't matter. Not a whit.


  1. Well said....To the point, gives excellent direction and a great reminder to cut the cord on witchy bitches. Enjoyed the blog.

    1. Thank you. I see absolutely no point in cultivating - or maintaining - relationships with anyone other than positive, upbeat, loving individuals. Let the meanies be lonely for a change - the rest of us are too busy lifting each other up. Cheers!