After reading sections of Natalie Angier’s Woman: An Intimate Geography, I was reminded of recent news broadcasts and articles depicting girl-on-girl fighting. Girl fights make headline news. It is not considered normal for girls to be fighting physically. Girls still do not often engage in physical fights, according to Angier. The accessibility of video cameras has caused high school girl fights to go viral through internet forums such as You Tube, MySpace and Facebook. Female aggression is usually seen through passive aggressive behaviors that, unlike most male arguments, are unusually cruel and can last for years. Girls are tormented mentally and emotionally rather than physically by means of profanity and facial expressions. “If looks could kill,” is a phrase used to describe the evil glares of many women. Moreover, victims are not only teased relentlessly at school but on the internet as well through cyber bullying.

Female aggression is ordinarily indirect. Girls use verbal aggression against the undesirable by calling them nasty names to their face, yelling and mocking to try to make the despised one look stupid, as said by Angier. Perhaps it is because girls “know how powerful the words are, how significant the other is.” Girls are often snubbed by one another through backbiting, gossiping, and spreading vicious rumors. This is most commonly due to jealousy or betrayal. The aggressor often rallies others against the despised. Girls frequently attack in gangs as well. This indirect aggression is, at times, a sign of sophistication because the more socially intelligent are cleverer with their “dorsal blade.” However, research has revealed that men and women are equally aggressive verbally. Both gossip and covertly undermine their opponent. Unfortunately, adulthood does not mean the end of “high school” maliciousness and passive aggressive bullying.

When words are no longer enough, many girls resort to fighting. A CBS News article reports on “a growing problem of teenage girls letting disputes with one another turn violent.” They are highly encouraged to physically fight by viewers (male and female), both physically and virtually. Girls teasing one another have led to psychological trauma as well as physical. Girls are taking an “extra step” and “fighting dirty.” In some extreme cases, many suicides have been a direct result of female bullying. The article suggests that society is becoming “numb to violence.” I sincerely hope that is not the case. Evidentially, it is no longer safe to say that females are any less aggressive than males. Females have “caught up.”

It is sickening to see the viciousness of many high school girls today. I am appalled that the fights are posted on the internet. This allows the torment to be seen and commented on by millions; undoubtedly, increasing the damage done because it can be replayed over and over again. It is unfortunate that situations escalate to physical aggression in both males and females. It is also unfortunate that even words can have physical affects. Thankfully, direct and indirect aggression is condemned.

In addition to Angier’s book, the following link was referenced: www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/02/earlyshow/main6165570.shtml.

Melissa Brake

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