Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was excellent. Rachel Simmons has done an astounding job of looking at the cliques of girls and the devastating effect they have on girls…those in the clique and those who are rejected. With the rise of the phenomena of girls committing suicide because of harassment over the Internet and the number of adults who are participating, this study is extremely important. We hear so much of boys bullying, but little thought has been given to the girls who bully and why.
Rachel Simmons conducted this study by interviewing girls from both sides of the issue and recorded what they said. The root of this behavior, she believes, is hidden aggression. Girls in our society are not allowed to express their aggressions and thus turn them inward. Anger is built up and rejecting other girls helps to displace this aggression. The problem has gotten worse and worse and the consequences have been robbing individuals of their self-esteem and natural development. Interestingly, those who are in the “in group” often suffer as much as the girls who are excluded. One little “un-cool” action and they find themselves on the outside. Even if that never happens, they often find in later years that they have buried themselves and their uniqueness under the burden of being popular.
Not only has the problem been growing, but it has also begun cropping up at an increasingly early age. My granddaughter experienced it in nursery school. One of the girls would turn to a classmate and say, “You’re invited to my birthday party…not!” Granted the child had several older sisters, but this behavior would have been unheard of even 15 years ago. This book should be required reading for anyone who is involved with girls and at the expense of adding more non academic tasks on over burdened schools, there must be an attempt to address this issue.
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