It is hard to believe that mean girls are still around after high school. Don’t be too quick to breathe a sigh of relief that female middle-age brings with it an end to the days of dodging the mean girls. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the gym or the locker room, you are apt to encounter that iconic mean girl who will dare to go down into the abyss of old age, spitting the same old venom just to make sure she never loses that poisonous touch. She will grab the exercise equipment you just gathered for yourself. She will bark at you when a simple apology for her intrusiveness would have served just as well. She will name-call you. She will snub you and walk in the opposite direction when you enter the room. She will cover her restylane-filled lips with her hand and whisper evil nothings about you. All this at a Health Club that, for an enormous monthly fee, touts a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy.
As if that weren’t enough of a bitter pill to swallow, there are the “enablers of mean girl”; who surround, buffer and prohibit mean girl-enlightenment. Here is the drill: Mean girl attacks, enablers of mean girls surround her like a blanket and talk trash about their victim. Mean girl quickly becomes unreachable and therefore, never experiences the necessary conversation where she is expected to take accountability for her nasty, attacking behavior and all the damage it causes to others.
And how about those bystanders of mean girl? You know, the ones who say, “Just ignore it” or “You’re not letting yourself be bothered by her, are you?” or worse yet…they say nothing at all, which suggests acceptance. This phenomenon of bullying can take place at any time, any place, any age. It is an awful experience to be bullied…it is at best, emotionally violent; it is isolating; and, it is full of despair. It represents an apathetic and pathetic society that doesn’t even stand for the core value of human kindness.
Women bullying other women is one variation that I find to be especially tortuous. Don’t we, as a gender, have enough challenges in being treated respectfully? Isn’t it counter-intuitive to turn on our own Sisters? How are we ever going to embrace equality when we can’t trust each other? Maybe female bullies should be forced to wear the Scarlet B?
Pity we cannot treat the transgression of bullying like we treat a DUI. If only they could make you spit into a cup and test your saliva for “bully venom”. Then if you test positive, you would be ticketed for bullying, and you could be assured that you will spend at least a night in jail. If it is a second or third offense, expect the book to be thrown at you. If you are an accessory to bullying, you will also have to pay the price.
Surely, there has to be some way to more effectively criminalize this heinous behavior. Its continued stronghold threatens the very fabric of our society. If we can deal with a drunk, then we can certainly find some way to bust a bully…of any variety.