If you have ever worked or lived with teenage girls the above story will sound familiar. The movie Mean Girls drew attention, in a slightly overstated way, to a reality that appears to be played out in school yards every where. Is it true? Are girls really mean to each other?
The research tends to suggest that yes they are. Social or relational aggression as it is known is definitely more common amongst adolescent girls than boys. Behaviour such as social exclusion, spreading rumours or lies, dirty looks, or critical words are much more likely, though not exclusively, to occur within girl-to-girl relationships, than amongst relationships between or with guys. The research has also found that this type of indirect bullying gets less attention from teachers and adults tend to have less sympathy for victims of this type of treatment. Guys can be mean too, but their agression is often more overt and observable. So why are girls like this? (Let me say upfront I realise not all girls are like this, but it does happen.) A rather obvious question, which ironically would take a long time to answer properly. Suffice to say that when considering the differences between male and female we are taking into account two different sets of factors, internal factors and external factors. By internal factors I mean our biology. There is an obvious genetic difference between males and females that are there from birth. Hence our bodies look different and we have different bits. It is our biology that determines our sex, makes us male or female. Besides having different bits, and girls being generally prettier and boys generally taller, the other significant difference between the sexes is the brain. While there is still much we don’t know about the brain, we are learning somethings about how male and female brain differ. Research has shown that different regions of the brain develop in a different sequence in girls compared with boys. Some research suggests Girls are hardwired...
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