Bullying Begins With Us: When Mean Girls Become Mean Moms

“Those are fake. Wonder how much she paid?”

“That’s nasty, she needs to put some clothes on.”

“Can you believe her? Barely divorced for two months, and already hooking up with some other guy!”

I’ll bet money you’ve made a comment like one of those above (or worse) in front of your kids. I know I have. Don’t think that’s true? Listen to yourself the next time you’re watching TV, listening to the radio, or scanning Facebook.

In this modern world, snark (making a snide remark) is king (or queen). After all, snark makes us sound clever. Who doesn’t want to sound clever? I can’t help but wonder, though, if our “snark society” isn’t only adding fuel to the bullying fire that’s ravaging our children. And moms, I think we’re more to blame than anyone.

Women are natural gossipers. Whether good-intentioned or not, we’re highly skilled at pointing out perceived flaws in others. We often do this in front of our children without realizing they’re listening. (They’re always listening.)

It’s no wonder children mimic this behavior in their peer groups.

And why is it that once someone reaches a magical number (18?) it’s ok to harass, belittle and degrade them? Imagine if a website like peopleofwalmart.com existed for our youth to post pics of each other for the sole purpose of mockery? We’d be up in arms! But we participate in and promote this form of “bullying” every day. According to peopleofwalmart.com’s terms of use “any picture submitted must have the full consent of the person(s) in the picture and the person(s) must be over the age of 18.” Bull! You really think most of those people gave their consent? And why is it ok just because they’re over the age of 18?

Trust me, I enjoy laughing at the insanity of life as much as anyone else, but I’m going to be much more careful at doing so at the expense of others (especially unwilling participants). Besides, if you saw the way I look during my Walmart ventures, you may feel inclined to post my pic as “crazy mom with mismatched socks who can’t control screaming toddler.” I, for one, will not give consent for you to post that pic (at least not until I put on some matching socks).

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5 thoughts on “Bullying Begins With Us: When Mean Girls Become Mean Moms

  1. Gossip/being judgmental is certainly not nature, but it is a prevalent problem with many women. I agree with Cat that most women I know struggle with these issues. I think that gossip and snark are often by-products of passive aggressiveness. Passive aggressiveness is the by-product of a society that even in 2012 tells women that to express our opinions or to be assertive is to be “bitchy”. And for whatever reason, women are often our own worst enemies. You can’t turn on a television without seeing “frenemies” in action and women busily tearing one another down for sport or gain. I’m not sure whether “art” imitates life or life imitates art, but it does seem that women in society are becoming more judgmental of one another. But I am sure that mean mothers create mean girls. No doubt.

    • Andrea, you’re so right! Personally speaking, I’m most likely to gossip when I have unresolved conflict with someone. I’m terrible at addressing conflict! Again, I’m reminded why I’m so lucky to have a crazy smart friend like you. :-)

  2. Women are natural gossipers? That makes me sad and has no place in this otherwise female-positive post. Gossiping/snark is nurture, not nature. That kind of behavior is taught. So are misogynistic stereotypes such as claiming women are naturally mean and petty and two-faced.

    • You’re right, I’ve certainly been in groups of supportive, positive women who don’t get caught up in gossip or snark. However, in these same groups of supportive women, most (though not all) have admitted that gossiping is something they really have to fight. And it’s not always what you might consider traditional gossip. Often, it’s labeled “concern” when we’re really not helping the situation. This post was based on personal experiences and not any scientific studies. And I was even told today that men gossip just as much (or more) than women. I just don’t hang out with groups of men very often. :-) Thank you for reading and for your feedback!

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