As the mother of a five-going-on-fifteen-year-old girl, I am acutely sensitive to the world that my daughter is inheriting and what that world wants to tell her about being a girl. To put this in some context, I should probably mention that I’m currently co-writing a book about the power of belief and our mindsets. The gist of it is that what we tell our subconscious about ourselves dictates our experiences in life. What are we telling our daughters about being girls and women?
The other day my daughter told me that her friend’s mom said that girls can do boy things and boys can do girl things and did I think that was true? I told her I did not think it was true because I didn’t think there were girl things or boy things. I told her there are just things, and that if a girl plays hockey, or dolls, or likes science, or cooking, or wants to be an astronaut then if a girl is the one doing them they are girl things and if a boy is the one doing them then they are boy things. She’s too young to really understand this, but I told her that the people who want there to be labels on what is a girl thing and what is a boy thing end up getting themselves and everyone else very confused about boys, girls, boy things, and girl things.
I believe this, and most of the people I associate with believe this with one significant exception…girl drama.
When I say girl drama, you all know what it means, don’t you? It means teaming up and then turning on one another. It means not sharing friends. It means making fun of people who are different. It means being ultra-competitive with other girls. It means hurting other people’s souls with our words. It means having a best friend to the exclusion of anyone else, and then suddenly being enemies with that same person. We even have a term for it – frenemies, and we laugh about it when we see our daughters as young as three and four having ‘renemies. We see all this and we nod and say ‘that’s just a girl thing’.
We are all so convinced that girl drama is a thing that I think it doesn’t even show up on our radar if boys do it, and if we ever do notice it we probably chalk it up to a one-off. Those of us who were more often the victims than the perpetrators may work to instill kindness and resiliency in our own daughters, but it’s still understood that this IS JUST HOW GIRLS ARE.
By accepting girl drama, we are planting in our daughters’ subconscious two malignant thoughts. First, that there really ARE ‘girl things’ and ‘boy things’ and second that this sociopathic behavior is acceptable…or at least unavoidable. Why? Why do we do this?
I have a lot of theories but who knows? And I don’t know that it matters. I will not successfully convince the whole world to change any more than I can convince people not to drive like jerks or walk slowly in front of me. I can try to teach my daughter that strong girls don’t take sides or be mean, and I can hope she’s not bullied or, worse, is a bully. Unfortunately, as long as we all tacitly agree that girl drama is a thing, it will be. I used to say, and know a lot of women who still say that they don’t like women, or would rather be friends with men because of girl drama.
Which is too bad. My most supportive relationships today are with other women. I’ve got friends in my life now who have saved my ass when it was falling off. They are loving, and tough, and don’t take crap from anyone. These women tell the truth, and want the truth in return. They have my back and I have theirs and if my whole world fell apart, I would call them and they’d be there for me, and vice versa. This is what strong women do. Yet we are all raised to think this is the exception, and the norm is that women are a bunch of self-obsessed narcissists intent on stealing each others’ clothes, jobs, and men. We grow up thinking other women are bitchy, catty, controlling, back-stabbing witches. Why? Because we’re told from kindergarten that’s how girls are and we don’t find out until we’re all grown up and able to think for ourselves that it’s not that way. If we ever do.
I wouldn’t do without my women friends today for anything, but I would have had these relationships in my life a lot sooner if I wouldn’t have been groomed to believe in girl drama.
What about you? How does ‘girl drama’ affect you?
PS I’ve written, 10 tips on dealing with multiple (conflicting) priorities. If you’d like a free copy, just click here!