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That’s the title of a book that my sister raved about yesterday as I told her a tale of woe. As an elementary teacher and mother, she often has a lot of insightful things to say about how children interact and the cause and effect of their behavior on others and themselves as they grow up.

When we were kids my sister, being significantly older than I am, found me to be a pest. It was my role and one that I learned to play well. We often absorb what is projected onto us, and of course all I really wanted was to be included in the inner circle of coolness, the kind that inherently shrouds an older sibling. But the more we were pitted against each other by those around us, I began to become what I heard: a pest.

We are close now and she is a wonderful sister who I couldn’t have made it to this point in my life without. Very few people are as warm and wise as my sister, except maybe our mom. But we all know the lessons of being left out, and the subsequent bullying and ridicule that comes with it.

My sister says while she notices that boys are more outwardly hostile towards each other, it rarely lasts and it’s never subversive – at least not in the stages before puberty. But even very young girls are just downright mean using “silent aggression” and subtle hostility to show their dislike – and more perversely the whole ganging up method.

That “silent aggression” is what the author speaks of in her exhaustive research to determine the causes of female bullying.

I don’t have the book yet, but I am eager to read it because I know ALL TOO WELL what those pathological forms of aggression look like from both sides of the fence.

Women are taught to be sweet, but this is based on the notion of nurturing and honestly, nurturing is not something you develop until you are forced to care for children.

Females are MANY other things besides nurturing and these traits are far stronger and more incidious than the “specialness” of nurturing.

Women are territorial with teeth, passionately protective, fiercely jealous and deeply mistrustful due to strong instinctual drives.

If you add these less than pleasant traits to a culture that teaches women to suppress their aggression and in fact never show it, you will find silent waves of deep seething and anger boiling beneath the surface.

Women like wolves, attack in packs, rarely ever confronting without some back up from their peers. Knowing the full value in the power of numbers they encircle their victim and take little chunks from all sides, whittling away at the self-esteem of the victime, and their desire to be included, a drive most women so feverishly have.

Some women are extremely adept at this “silent aggression” and derive the most perverse pleasure watching their object of ridicule squirm, cry and otherwise become unhinged. The more signs of weakness from the victim the more vicious the attack, making the alternatives for the “odd girl out” less and less apparent.

I have always been the protector of the bullied and thus found myself thrown into the middle of many a quagmire of teeth-baring, threatening behavior and senseless cruelty, but I can’t stand to see someone getting kicked over and over again.

Rarely do you see this behavior in men; a punch in the nose and next week they are having beers and completely forgotten the matter, but with women, it’s always the hidden desire to assert their power over their weaker victim, without that power they know they have nothing else.

I hate to admit it, but in some ways men really are truly more evolved than women.

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About Dawn Olsen

  • Eric Olsen

    Very powerful and interesting Dawn, though I’m not so sure men forgive and forget that easily though: I’m not sure grudge-bearing is a gender trait.

    This ties in pretty well to the SIX documentary I reviewed yesterday also.

  • Anne

    I can relate to feeling like a pest to my older sister and the girls next door she hung out with. We get along much better now. And I have many memories of being bullied by a group of girls in sixth grade, I guess because I didn’t know how to fight back. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a female tendency to be mean that way. Looking back, I think the majority of those girls (and some boys from grade school) were just badly brought up brats. But that’s many years in the past. 🙂

  • Females are MEAN sometimes.

    “Silent Agression” is a good way of putting it. I might also call it “subtle agression.”

    I forget where this comes from, but I remember one Victorian era person saying that women ruled the world from their drawing rooms, merely by arching their brow

    It can be deadly powerful.

  • Speaking from my own experience, yes, men trend to forgiving and forgetting much more easily than women do.

  • yuliya

    I could easily count all the hostile, bullying, grudge-bearing females in my life on the fingers of one hand.If anything,most girls stood up for a victim while most boys joined in bullying.Many times I have seen a group of girls step in-between the bullies and the victim and start shoving and pushing the bullies away.Once,I remembered, some boys in our apartment building found a litter of stray kittens and started throwing them into the bonfire. Girls took the kittens away and tried to nurse them back to health. As young as in grade 1 I was making comments about an obese girl. Another girl, the same age as me, said than the girl was owerweight because she was very ill and that I should never laugh at sick or otherwise unfortunate people. Then, when I was 13 a boy (intentionally) threw a snowball in my eye. While most boys in class were laughing, most of the girls were worried about me and kept asking me if my eye hurt.
    Second,boys DO NOT leave the target alone quickly.They can torment the same person for years on end. It is spoken from my personal observations.
    Third, nurturing traits do develop in females way before they start caring for children.You can notice it from the way little girls care for their toys and even for their younger,weaker sick or disabled playmates.
    Fourth,some girls are resented by other girls. The usual reason is that the resented girls bring this hostility on by being brainwashed against and prejudiced towards females. They come into a female group with this precoseived dislike and who would not alienate a hostile and con-
    temptuous, holier-than-thou person?
    To sum it up, some women are mean and hostile but it is a personality, not a
    gender issue. Time to stop unfairly ac-
    cusing women and cats of hostility and meanness.