Foote School Alternative Aggression


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Odd Girls Out. Queen Bees. Girl Bullying. When did we lose our sweet little girls? Examine the cross-section of socio-emotional development, gender bias, and adolescence in the emergence of the “Mean Girl” phenomenon. What can we do as parents, educators, and supporters to promote healthy relationship among girls?

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  • {"16":"Can’t you take a joke? Gosh you are such an over-reactor. Eye rolling. Sarcasm. Mocking. Rumors - someone else does the “dirty work” in ruining the reputation and relationships of the target.\n","5":"John Medina - Talaris Institute\nWatching boys and girls play. Boys play together through competition (Oh yeah? I bet I can toss the ball higher than you!) Girls play collaboratively (Can you toss the ball as high as me? Let’s try a little higher). Mix boys and girls (G-Wanna toss the ball? B-I bet I can toss the ball higher than you! G-You must not like me… B-What happened?)\nRachel Simmons - Odd Girl Out\nResponse to danger. Boys choose “fight or flight.” Girls choose “tend and befriend.” Males see aggression as a way to control their world, females see aggression as an end to relationships.\nMary Pipher - Reviving Ophelia\nBoys see their failure in terms of external factors and see their success in terms of their ability. Girls see their success in terms of luck and hard work and see their failure in terms of lack of ability.\nPower Dead Even - women/girls will do anything to bring down another woman/girl to their level\n","28":"Describe what’s happening \n(without judgment)\nExplain how it makes you feel \n(on the inside)\nAffirm the other person \n(be authentic)\nRequest a different course of action \n(with respect)\n","6":"Cannot attribute all to gender differences. Gender bias plays a huge role. We socialize kids into these behaviors. What happens when boys display behavior on left? “Boys will be boys…” What happens when girls display behavior on right? “Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice!” What happens when gender behaviors don’t match gender expectations? Boys are pushed into sports, fights, getting dirty, building things, scientific investigation by adults and pushed down by peers with words like “Sissy, girl, pussy, fag.” Girls are told to play nice, share, be ladylike, punished harsher for fighting,complimented on looks by adults and put down by peers with words like “butch, jock, bitch, dyke.”\nRachel Simmons - Odd Girl Out\nIdeal girl according to girls = very thin, pretty, blonde, fake, stupid, tall, blue eyes, big boobs, fit, expensive clothes, un-proportional, naked, trendy, popular, boyfriends, smiling, happy, helpless, talking on the phone, superficial conflicts, looks older, girlie, dependent, impractical clothes, manipulative, sex = power, rich, good teeth/clear skin, smart, perfect, romantically attached with someone with status.\nAnti-girl according to girls = mean, ugly, excessively cheerful, athletic, brainy, opinionated, pushy, dark features, not skinny, imperfections, promiscuous, professional, insecure, dorky, depressed/unhappy, masculine, serious, strong, independent, gay/lesbian, artsy, PMSish, unrestrained, egocentric, not social, hard to get along with, bookish.\n","34":"Final Tidbits:\n-teach first and refer to later. We have a tendency to see it happen & react with education.\n-there are times and places for interventions. What is important is that SOMETHING is done in the moment, and that there is ALWAYS follow-up\n-don’t let girls get away with a quick “sorry.” they know how to please adults. Get authentic conversation out of them.\n-practice, practice, practice. The more clever, poignant, and effective language comes out on the third try :-)\n","23":"Children experiencing bullying are more likely to have suicide ideation, experiment with drugs, participate in risky behaviors.\nBullied students experience social loneliness, social invisibility, discomfort with parents and administrators who do not validate or understand their plight. \nPsychological pain registers in same area of brain as physical pain. We’re not hypersensitive about physical bruises, we’re worried about long term psychological impact anyway. Same impact of physical bullying as indirect aggression.\nStudents experiencing bullying often experience a sharp drop of focus and grades in school. Baumeister Studies on effects of social exclusion - drop of scores on academic tests.\nBaumeister studies also show that people who even THINK they are being socially excluded become less helpful and productive members of groups and become increasingly aggressive - school shootings are NOT a mystery when you look at the kids involved.\nHundreds of grown women still carry the scars of bullying. Not a coincidence that middle school years are among the most hated memories of people’s childhood. Behavior in relationships later on very much reflective of how the woman travailed through her adolescence. Our sense of worthlessness follows us on a systemic level (leadership, abusive relationships, self-preservation). Naomi Wolf - Women face isolation of male-dominated culture. Mass women’s culture found almost exclusively in magazines. Do and don’t tone of women’s magazines unimaginable in men’s magazines\n","12":"You seek relationships. You seek acceptance. You seek stability and reassurance. You want independence from adults. You seek personal power. You seek meaning and direction in your life.\nYou experience conflict (as anyone is wont to do).\nYou know girls who fight are supposed to be catty bitches. You know that good, nice, pretty girls are supposed to have friends. You know that friends are supposed to like you. You know that your value lies in your “niceness.”\nYou also know that nice girls become girlfriends. Loud girls become friends who are girls. You are supposed to be attractive and desirable as a girlfriend.\nWhat do you do?\n","1":"Introduction - \nWho Am I?\nWhy This Workshop?\nGoals and Outcomes?\n","29":"Affirm the relationship\nI statement that explains what’s going on and how it makes you feel\nMy contribution to this conflict was…\nSolutions you can contribute to resolve the conflict, seeking solutions from your partner\n","24":"Stats from The Ophelia Project\n","13":"Alternative aggression defines any behavior that expresses anger in ways other than direct words or physical aggression. It has been happening for years among girls, but only recently has the literature come more into the mainstream with books like Odd Girl Out and Queen Bees and Wannabes and movies like Mean Girls.\n","30":"Utilize those bystanders - they make up nearly 70% of the population - rally them to set a positive tone for the entire school (they’re like the ants in A Bug’s Life!). In diversity work, they are the allies who can really make some changes in the world, those who can carve a new path away from the “path of least resistance.”\n","25":"Source: Ophelia Project Relational Aggression Booklet\n","14":"Rachel Simmons - Girls don’t want to express anger directly to the person that caused it for fear of losing that relationship. There are problems when direct confrontation happens. Because so many girls lack facility with everyday conflict expression of anger makes listeners skittish and defensive. The sound of someone upset feels like the first sign of impending isolation, a kind of social thunder echoing in the distance.\nResult: relational aggression - silent treatment. Not inviting someone. Stares and glares. I won’t be friends with you if…” Pretending the person isn’t there. Sabotaging a relationship.\n","20":"Rachel Simmons\nCultural confusion. You tell me to be nice, but my mom says don’t stay hit. You tell me ambition, independence, and individual achievement, but my culture says interconnectivity and collectivism.\nI don’t even want to fight you, but I have my reputation to keep.\nHitting rock bottom is sometimes the only place you can see the route to up and out.\nPhysical aggression is summarily and swiftly punished, especially with girls. This reaction is a subliminal message of condoning the hidden stuff.\nIf you know your kid WILL face degradation and devaluing, what would you say to them?\nWomen and girls who speak their minds are often labeled “bitch” and “loudmouth” – a common terminology for black, latino, and lower-income women who are socialized to speak their minds and defend themselves.\nJoAnn Deak - 20 percenters information\n","9":"Transitory Years - Baskin Robbins: taste every flavor in order to discover which ones you like and which ones you don’t like.\nFriendship Clusters - likes flavors with nuts in them - pistachio, maple walnut, butter pecan, almond mocha. Not that she doesn’t like other flavors or doesn’t appreciate differences - she just likes these better. Different than cliques - these are more accepting and more fluid. This cluster doesn’t freak if bubble gum ice cream approaches them in the mall. Beginnings of real friendships and relationships.\nBest Friends - butter pecan is far away the best. Some come close, but nothing compares. 24/7 - spend all day at school together, come home and call friend right away. Practice time for choosing a mate or partner later in life. Learns to act in an intimate relationship. Generalists never need this intimacy. They are wired to appreciate all flavors and keep social nets wide open.\nCliques - Girls replace the stability offered by the anchor of adults with cliques. Surrounding oneself with others that look alike, talk alike, and act alike makes the world feel safer and allows this movement away from the influence of significant adults more comfortable. The more impermeable and wielding of power the clique is, the more insecure the members are. The clique cocoon helps stabilize its occupants until they are strong enough and independent enough to stand outside of the group, or somewhat alone. The task of adults in the sphere of influence of cliques is, first, to accept its important function, and second, to draw the line when a clique’s influence moves from the unpleasant to downright unhealthy. ****girls produce the most testasterone in middle school years (hormone of aggression and risk taking)\nInterest-Based Friendship Groups - based on shared interests, passions, or philosophies. Friends are now boys and girls. Nonexclusive: some interest cross-over. Benefits of clusters and cliques without the downside: acceptance, activity, and social creativity, without insecurity, narrowness, and meanness.\n","26":"Source: Ophelia Project Relational Aggression Booklet and Odd Girl Out\n","15":"Rachel Simmons - Plague of the “sorry”: perfunctory like “bless you.” Really means, I don’t want to lose you so let’s call truce. But incident is recorded in memory to bring up at a later fight. Plague of the “I’m just kidding.” “Can’t you take a joke?” Girl making comment is really taking a jab to release aggression but keeps the “nice girl” thing by saying she was kidding. The girl on receiving end is hurt but won’t say because she doesn’t want to be “hypersensitive girl,” someone no one likes. For boys who have other outlets for anger, one-up teasing each other is actually a joke. For girls who have no other outlets, joking takes on another meaning altogether.\n","4":"Keep in Mind - material speaks in generalities and norms. Girls, their social development, etc. can fall outside of the information given, and they are completely normal. Making blanket assumptions are dangerous, and norms do not define normal or good. Gender norms can easily become Sexism. Adolescent norms can easily become adultism.\n","32":"Policy - When schools don’t have an explicit policy, teachers have no legs to stand on in dealing with these matters. Kids know it’s happening, teachers know it’s happening, but there is no real response when parents or students say “it’s just what happens at this age,” or “what’s the big deal?”\nProgramming - As Gary Howard always said, “You can’t teach what you don’t know.” Give teachers support in learning about alternative aggression, how to recognize it, and what to do about it. Teachers and staff also need to stop repeating the cycle of gender bias unwittingly and punishing girls more harshly for acts of aggression or acting out in general. Students need support, too. If girls don’t know how to deal with conflict, they will resort to what they know and what is safer.\nPractice - Adults jump on kids “don’t say” “don’t do” but don’t always follow through with meaningful follow-up. These same things then get driven underground to be used when adults aren’t around. They become the very weapons of bullying, which occurs in spaces where there is less adult supervision. Swift and clear consequences must follow acts of alternative aggression, and further explanation and training must reinforce the policy and programming. Adults also need to commit to being more visible in unsupervised spaces like bathrooms, hallways, lunch rooms, etc. to increase safety for all kids from all forms of bullying. \n","10":"You must be this to be accepted, but you cannot be too much so, because that is not acceptable. No one knows where the boundaries are, so girls walk very tentatively along this knife’s edge.\nNaomi Wolf (Promiscuities) - Common and natural sexual curiosity, infatuation, admiration, and intimacy found among adolescent girls – the building anticipation of those feelings transferring to boys. Simultaneous excitement and sadness about the loss of intimacy among girls, which is inevitable./Continuum of women’s sexuality. Beyond a certain point of sexual power and liberation, she is deserving of violence and dehumanization. She can be cast out and killed both physically and emotionally./The acceptable promiscuity of white middle class sub-urban sexuality – it happens, but it happens quietly, out of sight, and outside of mainstream public face, which is pristine, neat, and “nice.” Those who fall outside of these norms are called “sluts.”\nMagic, Supernatural Power - obsession with Ouija Boards, witchcraft, cults. Perhaps meaning of the universe can be found in these magical charms, spells, and spirits. Tolkien novels, Lloyd Alexander novels, Harry Potter series. These all deal with young people, common people, discovering the existence of ACTUAL power and learning to wield it wisely through trials and tribulations. Kids sense that they are living mundane lives without personal power, but they have a sneaking suspicion that they are unique in the universe and have great power, if only “life” would happen. Adoptees become obsessed with learning about “real” parents.\nPrincipal - dress code - kids these age need something to resist. I’d rather give them this simple thing to resist than open up the resistence to bigger, more serious matters. A whole lot of “why”s” - why do I have to do this, why do you always, why not, etc… Joanne Deak - “I think that the only reason we teenagers rely so much on what our friends say is because we are testing what our parents taught us, to make sure it was right.” – Elizabeth, 17.\nResiliency and Vibrancy - Stuck between not supporting our girls through emotional and/or social landmines and treating them so tenderly a la Nation of Wimps. Very few girls retain resiliency and vibrancy. You can tell who has retained vs regained her vibrancy.\n"}
  • Foote School Alternative Aggression

    1. 1. Sugar and Spice but Not Always Nice: Gender, Bias, and Aggression in Girls The Foote School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    2. 2. About Seattle Girls’ School Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    3. 3. Agenda • Gender Differences • Gender Bias • Alternative Aggression • What Can We Do? • Discussions • Resources Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    4. 4. Disclaimers and Other Food for Thought Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    5. 5. Gender Differences Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    6. 6. Gender Bias Brash Troublemaker Strong Competitive Physical Silent Clever Mistake-Prone Belligerent Intuitive Well-Behaved Delicate Cooperative Emotional Verbal Pretty Perfect Nice Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    7. 7. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    8. 8. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    9. 9. Social Development Joanne Deak, Girls Will Be Girls • • • • • • • • • Self Awareness (0-2) Parallel Play (2-3) Interactive Play (3-6) Transitory Friendships (6-8) Friendship Clusters (8-10) Best Friends or Generalists (10-12) Cliques (12-14) Interest-Based Friendship Groups (14+) (Almost) Universal Acceptance (Seniors) Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    10. 10. Special Considerations Smart --- Bookish Athletic --- Jocky Close to Friends --- Lesbian Sexy --- Slutty Cheerful --- Uncool Confident --- “All That” Powerful --- Bitchy Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    11. 11. Process Break Where are your students in the landscape of social development and gender norms/expectations? What have you noticed? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    12. 12. At the Crossroads Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    13. 13. Alternative Aggression • Relational Aggression • Indirect Aggression • Social Aggression Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    14. 14. Relational Aggression Relational Aggression includes acts that “harm others through damage (or the threat of damage) to relationships or feelings of acceptance, friendship, or group inclusion.” Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    15. 15. Indirect Aggression Indirect Aggression allows the perpetrator to avoid confronting the target directly, making it seem as though there is no intent to harm. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    16. 16. Social Aggression Social Aggression is intended to damage self esteem or social status within a group. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    17. 17. Friends and Frienemies Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    18. 18. When It’s Conflict • A clash between two individuals or groups • A disagreement or argument about something important • Etc. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    19. 19. When It’s Bullying • Power is uneven • Intent to harm • Repeated and sustained • Efforts to hide from adults • Advocacy not changing behaviors Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    20. 20. Outliers of Alternative Aggression Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    21. 21. Process Break How have you seen alternative aggression play out in your students’ lives? Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    22. 22. It’s Too Big… Why Even Try? • • • • • • It’s doesn’t affect everyone… How bad could it be… It’s not that big a deal… What about their studies… It couldn’t get any worse… They’ll get over it… Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    23. 23. It’s Too Big… To Ignore • Bullying 15-15-70 • Health and Safety • Psychological Pain • Academic Risk • Explosive Release • Long-Term Scars Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    24. 24. Alternative Aggression: Where Does it Happen? Students report that alternative aggression happens in the following areas: 55% during recess or break time 52% in the cafeteria 42% in the hallways 37% on the way home 36% in the restrooms 36% in the classroom 29% in gym class 25% in after school sports 17% in after school activities Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    25. 25. Alternative Aggression: Signs That She Might Be Aggressive • Her friends do what she wants to do. • She isn’t intimidated by the other girls. • Her complaints about other girls are limited to the lame things they did or said. • She is charming to adults. • She won’t (or is very reluctant to) take responsibility when she hurts someone’s feelings. • If she thinks she’s been wronged, she feels she has the right to seek revenge. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    26. 26. Alternative Aggression: Signs That She Might Be Victimized • She is more sensitive, unhappy, cautious, anxious, quiet and withdrawn than other youth. • She is generally insecure and non-assertive, and react by withdrawing when targeted by other students (rather than retaliating or asserting). • She exhibits sudden change in behaviors: showing signs of depression, not eating, cutting herself, letting herself go, losing interest in favorite things, quitting teams, etc. • She may be embarrassed to admit that she is being bullied. She may blame herself or feel guilty. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    27. 27. Advice for Girls • Know when it is conflict and when it is bullying • Engage in healthy conflict • Stand up for yourself • Seek healthy support when it is bullying • Tell an adult (tattling vs. reporting) Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    28. 28. D.E.A.R. Conflict Resolution Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    29. 29. AIMS Conflict Problem Solving Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    30. 30. Empowering the Bystander Many bullying approaches centers around agents and targets. Why not address the 70% who are bystanders? • Empowering bystanders keeps the focus away from blaming the targets or agents. • Empowering bystanders gives you a chance at creating a new “cool.” • Empowered bystanders can cover “backstage spaces.” • A mass of empowered allies shift the balance of power. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    31. 31. Ally Skills • Don’t bully • Speak up when someone else is being bullied • Assume positive intentions, but don’t let that assumption make you silent • Ask questions to clarify and to educate • Don’t make the person who is bullying into someone who is getting targeted • Actively include those who are easily left out • If you know someone is getting bullied, tell an adult at school or at home • Keep the climate healthy Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    32. 32. Advice for Schools The Four Ps • Policy - A comprehensive anti-bullying policy that includes alternative aggression. • Programming - Training for teachers and staff on alternative aggression and gender bias. Support for teachers and staff in acting to combat bullying and bias. Self-esteem, conflict management, and allyship programs for students. • Practice - Consistent and meaningful follow-through in dealing with acts of bullying. Coverage of unsupervised spaces where bullying occurs most. • PEOPLE - Critical mass of people who are supportive AND active on all levels. EMPOWER THE BYSTANDERS! Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    33. 33. Undoing Gender Bias Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    34. 34. Questions and Answers Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    35. 35. Presenter Information Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee 6th Faculty and Professional Outreach Seattle Girls’ School 2706 S Jackson Street Seattle WA 98144 (206) 805-6562 Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    36. 36. Resources • • • • • • • • • Joshua M. Aronson, Ph.D., “Improving Achievement & Narrowing the Gap,” Learning and the Brain Conference, Cambridge, MA, November 2003 Roy Baumeister, Case Western Reserve University, Various Social Psychology Experiments on the Effects of Social Exclusion Beatbullying Toolkit for Teachers, “Cycle of Bullying,” North Central Educational Service District, Kevin Jennings, GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Allan G. Johnson, Privilege, Power, and Difference. Tara Kuther, “Understanding Bullying,”, John Medina, Talaris Research Institute, various studies on theory of mind and power. Michael Thompson & Kathy Schultz, “The Psychological Experiences of Students of Color,” Independent School Magazine, Itemnumber=144307&sn.ItemNumber=145956&tn.ItemNumber=145958 Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    37. 37. Resources • • • • • • • • Roy Baumeister, Case Western Reserve University, Various Social Psychology Experiments on the Effects of Social Exclusion Beatbullying Toolkit for Teachers, “Cycle of Bullying,” North Central Educational Service District, Kevin Jennings, GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Allan G. Johnson, Privilege, Power, and Difference. Tara Kuther, “Understanding Bullying,”, John Medina, Talaris Research Institute, various studies on theory of mind and power. Michael Thompson & Kathy Schultz, “The Psychological Experiences of Students of Color,” Independent School Magazine, Itemnumber=144307&sn.ItemNumber=145956&tn.ItemNumber=145958 Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (
    38. 38. Gender Specific Resources • • • • • • • • • • JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters, How Girls Thrive Pooja Makhijani, Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America. John Medina, Talaris Research Institute, various studies on early gender differences in competition and play and “Love Lab.” Northwest Girls Coalition, Protective Factors for Middle School Girls What can Parents Do? Mary Pipher, Ph.D., Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls Rachel Simmons, Odd Girl Out, Odd Girl Speaks Out, Curse of the Good Girl Harriet R. Tenenbaum, “Gender Achievement Motivation,” Learning and the Brain Conference, Cambridge, MA, November 2003. Rosalind Wiseman, Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence, Queen Bee Moms and Kingpin Dads Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth. Naomi Wolf, Promiscuities. Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee (