I Hate Girls.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Last year, when my daughter was in kindergarten, everything was great. It was a new school, where she didn’t know anyone except for one boy from preschool, who wasn’t even in her class. But she’s likeable, and sweet, and she made friends easily. Nice friends. Whew, I thought. No mean girls. We dodged a bullet. But the wise moms with older daughters told me not to start celebrating just yet. Just wait, they cautioned. It all goes downhill from here.

 

Of course, they were right. This year, the classes mixed, some new girls came, and suddenly, in first grade, there’s a whole new dynamic. Instead of stories about how all the girls played together at recess, my daughter is coming home with stories about the girls who wouldn’t play with her at recess. Instead of looking forward to having a new job partner each week, my daughter worries each week about who her partner is going to be. Some of the girls, she tells me, just aren’t that nice. Taunts of “I don’t want to sit with you,” or “I only want to play with so and so,” cloud her mind, and some days, my happy, joyful little girl steps off the bus looking positively crushed. I won’t say that we’re quite at “mean girls” yet, but I can tell, it’s a comin’.

 

At the same time, however, I look at the boys, who all seem to get along just fine, as long as there’s a ball involved. And it makes me realize how lucky boys are, to have the kinds of common denominators that distract them from the petty nonsense with which girls become so consumed. My own son is a perfect example. He just turned four, and he hasn’t gotten sucked into the whole sports thing yet. But still, he can make friends with anyone if they’re wearing a Star Wars shirt, or carrying a Power Rangers lunch box. Just last week, we saw a boy at his school wearing a tee shirt with Darth Vader on it, and my son walked right up to him, and without saying a word, pointed at his own Darth Vader tee shirt. They had never even seen each other before, but within minutes they were having a pretend light saber battle, and chatting about who their favorite characters are. When we left to go my son’s classroom, he asked me if we could have a playdate with that boy. What’s his name? I asked him. I don’t know, he said. But he likes playing Star Wars.

 

It’s the same way for grown men. My husband has made all kinds of friends at Dodger Games, or at restaurants where a football game is playing on the tv above the bar. All it takes is a nod of the head and a grunt of what’s the score, and suddenly, they’re hanging out, speaking a sports language that few women understand. Obviously, these aren’t real, close friendships. But there’s no question that in playing sports, watching sports, or even battling with pretend light sabers, boys are able to bond with each other in profound, positive ways. I’ve wracked my brain trying to think of equivalent ways in which girls can connect with each other, but every time, I come up short. Shopping? I don’t think so. Dolls? Not past the age of six or seven. Sports? Maybe for some girls, but then they usually end up playing with the boys at recess. Unfortunately, for girls, it seems that their “sport” is, a lot of the time, just being mean to other girls.

 

neuromum
10.28.08

Is this problem getting worse over time? Or staying the same? My oldest is a boy and still in the "Star wars t-shirt" phase, so I have no idea.

KateHood
10.28.08

Oh...I remember grade school... It was hard. Girls weren't always as nice as they should be... But I think that it was also a good learning experience. It taught me how to navigate through a world where everything isn't set up to make me feel comfortable. I found good friends and when other girls would make me feel left out or inadequate - it didn't bother me too much. I had enough fun with my real friends to make the unpleasantness seem like just one of the every day obstacles to avoid. My family made me feel good about myself, and my friends made me feel accepted, and somewhere along the way, I gained enough self confidence to become one of the popular girls when it really mattered: middle school. And then I used my powers for good, knowing how hard it was to be on the outside or not on the invitation list.

It may be all of this early trail by fire hazing that makes women more community focused when they are older. I'm not saying that the cattiness goes away. But in my experience, women are often kinder to each other when it counts. We may make unkind jokes about each other over silly things, but when an acquintance is visibly upset or hurting - then the wagons are circled.

It's not an easy life - being a woman... And for the most part, we have only ourselves to blame. But in the end, I think that we seek out deeper relationships with each other and ultimately place value on that. It would be easier to sit shoulder to shoulder watching "the game" - but that's just not who we are.

That said - I feel for your daughter. I've been there. It's complicated - being a girl.

moonfever0
10.27.08

It's just as hard from the other side. I have a nearly 5-year-old daughter who only wants to play with her best friend and refuses to play with other girls. Her friend has since moved to another school but my daughter still doesn't want to play with the other girls, some of whom adore her. We try to encourage her to play with other girls, and she says things like "they're not pretty" to our horror! I'm afraid that if she continues with this attitude, she'll be the one left all alone. It is very hard to teach her to empathize and see things from the other side. And again, we have an older son who can make friends as easily as can be.