In the movie, Mean Girls, an intervention and teambuilding is required to control the ongoing catfights that have taken place at the High School. The movie portrays the beautiful and popular character of Regina, (played by Rachel McAdams), as a malicious and superficial tyrant who has bullied most of the high school’s population. Tina Fey plays a Teacher who asks the group of furious females to raise their hands if they “Personally have ever felt VICTIMIZED by Regina George”? Let’s just summarize the story and say that almost every student had been burned by the wrath of Regina at some point! Eventually,Regina is slightly more understanding of her tormenting ways and learns to manage her inner aggression by channeling the negative energy into athleticism in college.
Aaaand then everyone lives happily ever after… right?! Well, at least that’s how it happens in the movies.
Most of us women can remember being bullied by someone during our younger years, but what happens when we encounter this kind of cruelty far past our graduation?
Do we kill these Mean Girls with kindness? Get revenge? Or is it best to take their Lead and compete at becoming the biggest Queen Bee Bitch in the Hive?
Let us first, define the perpetual “Mean Girl” so we know how to identify her. This can be the social acquaintance that doesn’t know you well, yet makes judgments regarding your character. The so-called friend that manipulates those around her for her own selfish self-worth. The Boss that manages her Staff with intimidation and insincerity. Even the family member that may continually bring you down and points out your faults. These women are everywhere around us. Although some are easier to spot than the next, they exist in our lives regardless of the relationship.
“You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. This also translates into the act of being sweet to even the most hated of Haters. As part of my inherent peace-maker nature, I have often taken this route. I am the type of person who doesn’t understand when another individual has any ill will towards me. Although this theory of always being kind (no matter what) has rewarded me with several flourishing female friendships, I have also had to learn that not every friendship is worth the fight. This train of thought also proves true career-wise. Being pleasant alone will not guarantee women justice or succession in the workplace. If you are considering a Management position within your company, it is difficult to persuade your Boss of your Leadership abilities if you consistently show you are passive-aggressive. In most workplace scenarios, too much kindness is considered weakness. The best route to follow when dealing with a bitchy Boss is to remain professional. The balance is in confidently letting her know when too much is too much. For example, saying “No” to a new project when the quality of your current work load may be affected by it. Don’t confuse agreeability with the key to obtaining a higher level in your career.
“Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Revenge indeed satisfies a deep rooted hunger for some of us. When someone has done us wrong, especially intentionally, our first reaction is not necessarily to turn the other cheek. The problem with an act of revenge is that it can lead to a never-ending battle of who has outdone the other’s revenge tactics. If you become so caught up in the execution of a revenge plot, then you are most certainly not using your time or energy in the most productive way. If any type of constructive revenge exists, it lies in the ability to take other people’s negative perception of you and change it positively based on your own success. This is especially true when the topic on the Mean Girl’s lips is that of your area of achievement. When others expect us to fail, it is all the more empowering to prove them WRONG. The concept that is most important to grasp, is not what others believe you are capable of achieving, but what you, yourself, believe you are capable of achieving. Although revenge is temporarily rewarding… it is better to be acknowledged for your successes in life by being humble and proving your own insecurities wrong instead of the assumptions of others.
“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” I tend to surround myself with a lot of very strong women with even stronger personalities. What I have noticed with these particular types of women is that they often have a difficult time getting along with each other. It is almost as if they have conditioned themselves to believe that two independent and powerful female figures are unable to co-exist in the same place (something not quite as apparent in the “Male World”). In this circumstance, the act of becoming “like” the Mean Girl is to dismiss female friendships altogether or surround yourself with less assertive women who are willing to forever follow your Lead. What most Mean Girls fail to realize is the importance of a true support system. There is no substitute for the opportunities, advice, or partnership that another successful leading Lady can share. It is our responsibility as women to end the idea that being a “Bitch” is the only way to avoid getting hurt, used, or manipulated in our relationships with others. On a larger scale, what legacy are we leaving for women of the future if we are too busy creating an environment where we are not embracing each other’s success? Sometimes it is the very act of supporting another woman’s quest to be successful that can help us realize our own Leadership potential.
In life as well as in the movies, it may be temporarily entertaining to play the Mean Girl role or witness another woman dishing out the dirty dominance. It becomes a lot less amusing when you are on the opposite end of the Mean Girl’s joke! In some situations, you may very simply need to remove these kinds of toxic relationships out of your life. In other circumstances where you have little control of avoiding their negative presence, learn how to stand your ground without stooping to the Mean Girl’s level. Finally, don’t BE the Mean Girl. The bridges you will burn along the way will never amount to what you can build when you create an environment of empowerment! There is a reason that the act of restraining oneself from becoming vengeful or rude is called “being the BIGGER person”. It takes a more significant individual to climb a ladder of success without stepping on other people along the way.