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Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Female Bullies

News Books Toxic managers Recommended Links The Techniques of a Female Sociopaths Bullies Authoritarians
             
Communication with Corporate Psychopaths Fighting Corporate Psychopaths Observing and Documenting Behavior of Corporate Psychopaths Negative Politeness Diplomatic Communication  Humor Etc

Introduction

Finnish researcher Kaj Bjorkqvist  found is that girls are no less aggressive than boys; they're just aggressive in different ways. Instead of fighting on the playground like the boys, they play subtle mind games that may be even more damaging than a black eye. Mali bullying is comprised of direct behaviors such as teasing, taunting, threatening. Female bullies attacks are typically more indirect and directed at causing a target to be socially isolated through intentional exclusion. So it is little surprise that female bosses are usually more cunning and inclined towards more sophisticated bulling and prefer such methods as:

They also tend to more often combine direct threats with indirect intimidation (like ignoring you).  Again this is a kind of low-grade sadism, and most  bullies both male and female are undeniably sadistic and just enjoy to inflict pain. Female just tend to be more  malevolent, mean-spirited, and nasty. Think about the bullying magazine executive played by Meryl Streep in the film "The Devil Wears Prada".  Look at humiliating dialog it 31:00.

I think females constitute larger percentage of micromanagers, especially a special type which I call paranoid incompetent micromanager. Like one correspondent aptly formulate it: "I hate to say it but female bosses are worse than male bosses when it comes to attitude and bullying." They usually are more malevolent too. When organizational psychologist Mary Sherry wrote in a national newspaper that female managers were far more likely to bully staff than male ones it triggered a large reader response - almost all backing her view.

Tim Field believes the stereotypical view of men as aggressive and women as nurturing often prevents the female serial bully from being seen for what she is: 
 "A sociopath in a skirt."

It is important to understand that bully just want to "get" the target. The bully's criticisms and allegations, are usually based on distortion, blame and fabrication. They are fabrications for the purpose of control. Their typical tactics include:

They are depicted (and this their techniques can be studied)  several movies along with "The Devil Wears Prada", mentioned above. Female bulling is a real problem in the USA high schools and it led to several suicides by the victims (including one due to cyberbulling -- bulling using such social networks as Facebook and protocols like instant messaging).

There is no surprise that several of " high-school theme" films address this topic. Movie Mean Girls (2004) was adapted from the book "Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence" by Rosalind Wiseman.

francoabcd on January 10, 2006

Mean Girls

This was my fourth time watching Mean Girls. I really like it and think it shows the high school scene through a girl's point of view. This movie's about a young girl who enters high school for the very first time. 16-year-old Cady Heron has been home-schooled all her life. Till now that is. She befriends Janis Ian and Damian, who informs her on who is "naughty or nice" in the school. They also tell Cady about, and to stay away from, The Plastics. One day, Cady gets invited to sit with The Plastics for lunch. Regina George, the leader of The Plastics (aka "The Queen Bee") invites Cady to eat with them for the rest of the week. Cady agrees, and then afterwards tells Janis and Damian the news.

When Cady falls for Regina's ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels, Regina agrees to talk to him for Cady. At a Halloween party, as Regina is talking to Aaron, she inadvertently kisses him. Heartbroken, Cady and her two friends plan to destroy Regina (emotionally of course). They do all kinds of stuff to breakdown Regina's "image".

This is a really good movie with a great cast. Lindsay Lohan plays an outstanding role as Cady. Regina George, played by Rachel McAdams (also starred in The Notebook) is awesome at her role also. Her role was also very believable, as if she was a real life "Plastic".

P.S. When I first saw this movie, I had no idea Rachel McAdams played the part of Regina George. I was in complete shock when I heard.

Jabberwocky on March 30, 2006

"Is butter a carb?"

Recently I saw Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and thought it sucked big time. But what I found so interesting was the closeness in topic between the two movies. It made me ponder why Mean Girls succeeded while Confessions failed.

First, Mean Girls has a funny, smart, crisp script due to Tina Fey. I don't watch Saturday Night Live, so I don't know how funny she is, but she sure wrote a gem here.

Second, Lohan has a worthy adversary in Rachel McAdams (Regina). McAdams is a genuinely good actress as opposed to the broad in Confessions whose name I don't know and don't really care to know. By Rachel McAdams' roles in Red Eye, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers, and the Family Stone, she is certainly an actress to be on the watch for. I predict she will win an Oscar eventually.

Third, Lohan doesn't have to carry the movie on her own. She has legitimate talent around her. I am not expert enough to truly gauge Lohan's talent; therefore I don't know if she would have the acting chops to be a profound leading actress or if she will forever live in mediocre teenage/romantic comedy hell.

Anyway, the girl who plays Janis Ian and the guy who plays Damian are great as supporting cast to Lindsay.

Mean Girls isn't some dumb movie that aspires to mediocrity just because it's catered to teenagers. It's smart.

P.S. The guy who plays Kevin Gnapoor is hilarious! "I'd rather see you out there shaking that thang!"

For this reason, the Boston Globe's inclusion of the main character of Bad Girls Regina George into the list of of the best depictions of female bullies makes perfect sense. Regina George's dictates that her friends wear certain outfits on a given day of the week was based on a real high schooler's rules. Regina's clones manipulate the girls and keep them in her orbit every day in the halls of high schools.

The same is true for woman bulling woman at workplace. This is a real epidemics in the USA, not isolated episodes.

Woman-on-woman Bullying in the Workplace

If you've ever been shot repeated glares at work, omitted from an e-mail chain or meeting where you should have been included or received a humiliating public lecture that could have just as easily been delivered behind closed doors, then you were likely up against a workplace bully. In 2007, the Workplace Bullying Institute released a survey that showed just how common this phenomenon is; according to the survey, 37 percent of U.S. workers have been bullied on the job. As on the playground, bullies are more likely to be male than female (60 percent of perpetrators were male), and the bully is usually the boss.

What many news outlets jumped on when this story came out, however, is how frequently women pick on other women. While males in the workplace will bully other males and females at equal numbers, female bullies will go after someone of the same gender 70 percent of the time [source: Klaus]. Discussions of why this problem exists involves considering some gender stereotypes about how we expect women to behave.

For example, bullies, no matter their gender, go after those who are less likely to fight back. Because women are sometimes thought to be more docile and less combative, both men and women may exploit that perceived weakness when they pick their targets [source: WBI]. Another explanation portends that women are more sensitive to criticism, making them more likely to hold grudges and act on them later [source: Klaus]. Some argue that women, relatively new to the corporate, office environment, haven't learned the fine art of competition, or have adopted male-identified behaviors, like bullying, to get ahead [source: Meece]. Because they are new in the workplace, it's also possible that their behavior is being overanalyzed, and the slightest deviation from the stereotype of a nurturing female is considered bullying [source: Meece]. On the other hand, because women are new to positions of leadership, it's possible they don't want to help the women who may replace them [source: Klaus].

 Bullying is any form verbal or psychological forms or hostile behavior that persists for six months or longer

The NYTimes article Backlash - Women Bullying Women at Work  consider bullying to be any form verbal or psychological forms or  hostile behavior that persists for six months or longer:

Mr. Neuman and his colleague Loraleigh Keashly of Wayne State University have developed a questionnaire to identify the full range of behaviors that can constitute bullying, which could help companies uncover problems that largely go unreported.

 Their 29 questions include: Over the last 12 months, have you regularly: been glared at in a hostile manner, been given the silent treatment, been treated in a rude or disrespectful manner, or had others fail to deny false rumors about you?

... ... ...

“I’ve been sabotaged so many times in the workplace by other women, I finally left the corporate world and started my own business,” said Roxy Westphal, who runs the promotional products company Roxy Ventures Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz. She still recalls the sting of an interview she had with a woman 30 years ago that “turned into a one-person firing squad” and led her to leave the building in tears.

Jean Kondek, who recently retired after a 30-year career in advertising, recalled her anger when an administrator in a small agency called a meeting to dress her down in front of co-workers for not following agency procedure in a client emergency.

But Ms. Kondek said she had the last word. “I said, ‘Would everyone please leave?’ ” She added, “and then I told her, ‘This is not how you handle that.’ ”

Many women who are still in the work force were hesitant to speak out publicly for fear of making matters worse or of jeopardizing their careers. A private accountant in California said she recently joined a company and was immediately frozen out by two women working there. One even pushed her in the cafeteria during an argument, the accountant said. “It’s as if we’re back in high school,” she said.

A senior executive said she had “finally broken the glass ceiling” only to have another woman gun for her job by telling management, “I can’t work for her, she’s passive-aggressive.”

The strategy worked: The executive said she soon lost the job to her accuser.

Recommendations on dealing with bulling problems in the workplace

The Workplace Bullying Institute recommends several steps to deal with problems in the workplace (some good, some not so good), but here the devil is in details and please understand that HR exists to protect a manager from employee, not an employee from a manager.

Here is a modified by me list: 

  1. Keep a diary. Write in it your experiences on a daily basis. You see how much you exaggerated the problem just after two month of doing that. It also will tremendously help to uncover typical tricks that bully use on you and to resist them more effectively. You can also use audorecorder in addition, but not as a replacement of the diary. They are pretty cheap now. Do not use you cellphone as an audio recorder, but a separate unit.
  2. A favorite tactic of a famale bully  is to set people against each other. Do not fall into this trap.
  3. Read about Stoicism and Slackerism. That helps most people who report to a female manager who was a sociopath. It might help you.  Buy a couple of books (not necessary recommended on my page) on the topic and try to study them one chapter at a time, wrting summaries of your own on the computer or in the notebook.
  4. Participate in discussion forums or create your own web page (anonymous of cause).  Seeing other people suffering in a similar situation, might help more adequately access your own situation. Cost of one year subscription to an ISP is around $5 a month, so this quite affordable. That also help you to learn new valuable skills.
  5. Fight attempts to isolate you. Try to get friends outside your own department. Enroll in some company wide groups. In any case try to fight attempt of isolation with full force.
  6. Get support from family and friends. Old schoolfriends who live in other town or part of the county can be used for this purpose, as in this case chances of information leak is minimal. Regular talking about the problem eases the burden and dramatically lowers the chances of stress-related illness.  If you use friend to talk about your situation, make sure that this friends is not connected to you coworkers or, worse, in some way  connected to boss. Gossip is irrespirable temptation even for trusted friends. Sometimes that role can be delegated to simple audio recorder (which will never gossip ;-). where you can record king of your "church confession". Just listening to your own  narrative often helps to lessen the level of stress as you instantly realize that you somewhat exaggerate and nor relate properly the situation. Being honest to yourself is not an easy task. 
  7. Get more psychical exercise. If you did not do it already enroll in gym or, better, yoga class.  Put serious effort into it. It worse it -- psychical exercise is probably the most efficient stress relieve in such situation. Being in top psychical shape also gives you a boost of confident, you you badly need. running is especially healing exercise in such a situation (which might have evolutionary roots). If you wish, buy a punch bug and a pair of gloves ;-). I do not know but probably the business of creating punch bugs that resemble you abuser would be a great business :-)
  8. Enroll in local community college for a psychology class (tax deductible expense).  that helps to look at your own personality too. Bullies chose the victims that have certain weaknesses.  Being aware of your weaknesses is an important avenue of fighting the bully. Keeping a distance and never trusting any "advances" is just a small part of this "self-awareness" defense. See Negative Politeness
  9. See a doctor or a therapist, if you're having acute stress symptoms, such as sleeplessness and appetite loss.  This also gives you ability to relate your experiences; which often helps to lessen the level of the stress alone without any medication. Be careful not to use medications against depression, as they can they might have worse side effect then you condition. Some antidepressants are difficult to abandon if you start taking them, as they change your metabolism. 
  10. Update your resume. Try to get some additional certification or skills if you have time to learn at work.  Even just updating your MS Office skills (for which corporations usually have classes and funds) can be helpful.
  11. Try to keep bully at the distance. Be exceeding polite and remote with her. Never give up distance despite attempt to break it.
  12. File a complaint to HR stating bulling as a cause. It can be risky for your job, but if the previous steps didn't work, it's essential to establish a paper trail and buy you some time. Try to get witnesses to help you build a record of the bully's actions for a  complaint.

Step 12 in dangerous and somewhat unrealistic if you do not have job offer from another company. This is  "all-in" type of move. But at least it buys you some time as you will be protected from firing as now there is a paper trial that make it difficult for a bully to cut you into shreds on the next performance review. So it does buy you some time.

Step 6 is plain vanilla stupid if  do not have really trustful friend or only friends who are your co-workers, or have difficulties in your family life and no person ready to support you. In this case your diary and tape recorder (kept in secret, locked locations) is much better deal. Even with close friends there is chance of gossip and betrayals.  And stakes are high. This is not a school yard. Here manager has levers of power including HR, which wants to swipe the dirt under the carpet as soon as possible.

Please take all recommendations on this page with a grain of sand. This  is a complex, maddenly difficult situation  with high stakes, and generic recipes are what they are: pretty generic.

In any case take all recommendations on this page with a grain of sand. This situation is a complex, maddenly difficult situation with high stakes, and generic recipes are what they are: pretty generic. Good Luck !

Dr Nikolai Bezroukov


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[Jan 11, 2017] And All His Empty Promises

Notable quotes:
"... Double Indemnity ..."
"... The Baltimore Catechism ..."
"... Double Indemnity ..."
"... The Caine Mutiny ..."
"... Burlesque ..."
"... Double Indemnity ..."
"... The Ten Commandments, ..."
"... Double Indemnity ..."
"... American Legion Magazine ..."
"... The Ten Commandments ..."
Jan 11, 2017 | the-american-catholic.com
Thursday, January 5, AD 2017 Donald R. McClarey

(I first posted this in 2014. It is worthy of another posting.)

Back when I was a boy, I watched entirely too much television. Of course, who could blame me? Tempted by a luxuriant three, count them, three channels, albeit one of them fuzzy in bad weather, to choose from! However, I do not regret watching the Early Show on Channel 3. Back in those bygone days, many stations would run old movies from the thirties, forties and fifties, between 3:00 PM-5:00 PM. Thus I first experienced some of the classics of cinema, and one of my favorites was Double Indemnity , 1944, the first of the film noire genre. Adultery and murder were perhaps too mature topics for me in my initial pre-teen viewings, but I was fascinated by it because it seemed to be a playing out on screen of what I was learning at the time from The Baltimore Catechism : that sin will lead inevitably to destruction unless contrition and amendment are made. The film was fortunate to have at its center three masters of the craft of acting.

Fred MacMurray, born in Kankakee, Illinois, 37 miles from my abode, in 1907, was a good guy in real life and usually in reel life. A firm Catholic and staunch Republican, he tried to join the military after Pearl Harbor but a punctured ear drum kept him out of service. He adopted a total of four kids with his two wives: his first wife dying from cancer in 1953, and his second wife remaining his wife until his death. (Such fidelity was as rare in Hollywood then as it is now.) On screen MacMurray played to type and was almost always a good guy, but not always, and it is ironic that the two best performances of his career came when he played bad guys: weak, lustful and doomed Walter Neff in Double Indemnity and the scheming, cowardly Lieutenant Thomas Keefer in The Caine Mutiny .

Barbara Stanwyck had a Dickensian childhood from which she was lucky to emerge alive, her mother dying of a miscarriage and her father going off to work on the Panama Canal and never being heard from again. A series of foster homes followed, which Ruby Catherine Stevens, as Stanwyck was then named, constantly ran away from. Dropping out of school at 14 to begin working, she never looked back. Breaking into show business by becoming a dancer in the Ziegfield Follies at age 16, she was a star on broadway in the play Burlesque before she turned 20. Changing her name to Barbara Stanwyck, she broke into films immediately thereafter, displaying a flair for both drama and comedy, specializing in strong independent women. Her personal, as opposed to her professional, life was a mess. Married in 1928 to her Burlesque co-star Frank Fay, they adopted a son, Stanwyck having been rendered sterile by an abortion at 15. The marriage ended in divorce in 1935, Fay during the marriage often slapping Stanwyck around when he was drunk. Stanwyck got custody of their son. Stanwyck was a hovering and authoritarian mother, leading to a life long alienation from her son after he became an adult. Stanwyck married actor Robert Taylor in 1939, and, after numerous acts of infidelity on both sides, divorced in 1950. Ironically Stanwyck and Taylor did stay friends after their divorce, Stanwyck, who never remarried, referring to him as the true love of her life. In her politics Stanwyck was a staunch conservative Republican who supported the investigations of Congress into Communist infiltration into Hollywood. Remaining in demand as an actress almost until her death in 1990, she filled her last years with charitable work. Stanwyck was well equipped by her own tumultuous life to give depth to her portrayal of the murderous, scheming Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity .

Although remembered today chiefly for his gangster roles and his portrayal of the rat-like Dathan in The Ten Commandments, Edward G. Robinson was actually an actor with a very broad range of work: comedies, dramas, historical epics, you name it. By 1944 he was age 51 and realized that his days as a leading man were coming to a close. His half comedic role as the insurance claims adjuster Barton Keyes in Double Indemnity he viewed as a step in his transition to being a character actor. Always a liberal, Robinson was blacklisted in Hollywood due to his affiliation with Communist front groups. Robinson admitted as much by an article he wrote for the American Legion Magazine entitled "How the Reds Made a Sucker Out of Me". His comeback came when anti-Communist director Cecil B. DeMille, who thought that Robinson had been treated unfairly, cast him in the scene-stealing role of Dathan in The Ten Commandments .

[Oct 12, 2016] Compare Clinton accusing Trump with schene from Basic Instinct when Sharon Stone just after passing a lie detector test said to Nick in reference to his killing civilians while on cocaine: You see Nick … were both innocent.

Notable quotes:
"... I better like the reasoning in Basic Instinct when Sharon Stone just after passing a lie detector test said to Nick in reference to his killing civilians while on cocaine: "You see Nick … we're both innocent." ..."
Oct 12, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
timbers October 11, 2016 at 2:27 pm

The Trail

"The Case for a 'Two-Faced' Hillary Clinton" [The New Republic]. "In an election in which one of the nominees is promising he'll make great deals-that he'll deliver everything under the sun, without remotely explaining how any of it would be politically possible-there's something bold, even radical, in espousing such a practical philosophy for political deal-making. Maybe it's not a popular message in this populist moment, but it would have the virtue of being honest."

I better like the reasoning in Basic Instinct when Sharon Stone just after passing a lie detector test said to Nick in reference to his killing civilians while on cocaine: "You see Nick … we're both innocent."

Yikes:

"We therefore hold that the CFPB is unconstitutionally structured,' the court said" … PHH said the law creating the CFPB gave an unaccountable director too much authority."

Can we get this same judge to rule on the constitutionality of the AUMF, Patriot Act, or any case brought regarding NSA spyiny?

[Apr 13, 2016] Gone Girl

Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry Amazon Digital Services LLC
Gone Girl is best watched for two of its two and a half hours.
Notable quotes:
"... The dialogue is snappy and razor-sharp. The acting is awesome, from the main characters all the way down to minor roles. ..."
"... A movie about passion, lies, obsession, the death of love, and living with sociopaths, this is a remarkable movie. It also reinforces my belief that I never ever want to get married ..."
"... Ben Affleck, a capable actor and a fine director, knows what is to be caught in the media's unforgiving line of fire and has earned poor reviews in the past for exuding a certain bordering-on-self-parody, macho-man overconfidence and self-satisfaction, so he is an ideal choice to play the husband, an individual who is either a decent man in over his head or a chiseled sociopath who can barely hide his smile in front of the cameras. ..."
"... My favorite films of his are still Zodiac and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but this plants its flag close to the top. ..."
"... Tyler Perry plays a jovial, smirky Johnny Cochran-type lawyer, who makes huge amounts of money defending men accused of killing their wives ..."
"... The Gone Girl screenplay had plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. In fairness, it was well acted and it started off well enough, shining a light on the deterioration of a marriage, how the media picks and chooses its heroes and villains for ratings, and just how easy it is to manipulate a public that thinks appearing on The Bachelor will lead to true romance. The send up of Nancy Grace and her ilk alone is worth sitting through. ..."
"... More than that, I perceive it as a condemnation of marriage, romantic relationships, and the (alleged) fakery of them. ..."
"... It is also a blatant commentary on sensational media and public hysteria/groupthink (I.e., "sheeple" and witch hunts). There is also a strange comment on parenting, if you compare nick's mother to his father and Amy's parents. ..."
"... There's another part of the movie, much smaller than what was advertised, which was why I wanted to see the movie in the first place. The role the media plays in these kind of situations. I was led to believe that it was an examination of the subject. It's not. ..."
"... Ben Affleck does a fantastic job playing Nick Dunne, a somewhat employed writer married to the no-so-right-in-the-head Amy (Rosalund Pike). The one thing Amy can do well is mess with your life. She messes with Nick's to the point the world believes Nick has killed her and he has to hire high profile attorney Tanner Bolt, played extremely well by Tyler Perry. ..."
"... Gone Girl is best watched for two of its two and a half hours. ..."
"... Great for 1.5 hours and the rest was trash. ..."
"... Gone Girl is brilliant, for 3/4 of the movie. The rest, of the story falls off the tracks and then struggles to reach the end...struggles, because it pushes the boundaries of weakness of Nick(Affleck). ..."
"... It sparks questions in you as you watch, as to just how well do you know your spouse? How well do they know you? ..."
"... It's a cast of talent with Ben Affleck Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coone, Rosamun Pike, Tyler Perry and others that highlights every angle of this demented story. ..."
"... There were parts that dragged on somewhat. The movie has a longer running time than most. ..."
"... Gone Girl is directed by the same man who brought you Fight Club, Social Network (the Facebook movie), and Se7en. ..."
"... In many instances, the film was making a statement (an unbiased one at that) on everything wrong with modern-day media, law enforcement, marriages, and the image of gender roles in society. Tough stuff! The only complaint I can make about the film is how it is not really all that cinematic and the film's uncertain ending. But then again, the ending can be seen both ways either as a metaphor about reality's way of saying no one is either good or bad or an attack on the senses with a strange turnaround for a particular character. ..."
Amazon.com
Paul Donovan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 12, 2014 Format: Amazon Video
A twisty and twisted new classic Nine Things About the Movie "Gone Girl" (USA, 2014)

1. One of the best movies of 2014, this multi-layered, wickedly brilliant film is a great adaptation of the 2012 novel.

2. It was directed by David Fincher. He collaborated with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross again for the smoothly foreboding soundtrack. Fincher has developed a unique cinematic style, and this movie is a showcase of it.

3. The heart of the movie is a mystery - a wife disappears from her home on the morning of her anniversary. But not only do we not know who did it, we don't even really know what happened.

4. The movie flips back and forth between the husband's perspective and the wife's, slowly unfolding its secrets like a black, poisonous flower.

5. Besides the core mystery, the movie is also a commentary on media hype, along with trial by popularity. Nancy Grace probably wishes she could sue somebody for this movie.

6. Perhaps more chilling than the mystery is the depiction of what has to be the most dysfunctional marriage in cinematic history.

7. The movie is almost 3 hours long, but it doesn't feel like it. The plot is tight - no scene is wasted. The dialogue is snappy and razor-sharp. The acting is awesome, from the main characters all the way down to minor roles.

8. Part of the reason the movie works so well is that the author of the book, Gillian Flynn, also wrote the screenplay. It's set in Missouri and feels pretty authentic, probably because the author is from Kansas City.

9. A movie about passion, lies, obsession, the death of love, and living with sociopaths, this is a remarkable movie. It also reinforces my belief that I never ever want to get married. 23 Comments

CMM, December 10, 2014 Format: Blu-ray
Gone Girl is the Complete Package. Gone Girl took the world by storm. And I'm not just talking about the film. The book (I highly recommend this read) by Gillian Flynn quickly became one of the bestselling novels of 2012. Through word of mouth, people left and right were finding out about this tale of a dark and twisted marriage. It was seen almost everywhere, so I was no surprise that the rights would be snatched up (by Reese Witherspoon, nonetheless). And the stage was quickly set for David Fincher to work his dark directing magic.

The story tells of a married couple, Nick and Amy Dunne, on their fifth wedding anniversary. That morning, Amy mysteriously vanishes, leaving behind a rather suspicious trail of evidence.The authorities and the media quickly swoop down on Nick, who seems nice enough, but is oddly evasive and may not be telling the whole truth. As events unfold, you will be left wondering how well you truly know the person you love.

With jaw-dropping performances from Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris, and Patrick Fugit, you will be in for a treat. These actors portray their respective roles with such power and perfection, and I was pleasantly surprised. I think you will be as well. I expect to see award nominations for these players within the coming weeks. If not, I will riot.

Not only is the acting fantastic, but the score paints a beautiful picture as well. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (who scored Fincher's last two films--The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) have returned to deliver an astounding and haunting score that perfectly suits the story. Equally peaceful and disturbing, it mirrors the characters' behaviours as their secrets are unveiled.

Gone Girl is the complete package. Creepy, witty, breathtaking, you will finish this movie with your jaw open. I guarantee it. Truly beautiful, Fincher has outdone himself. I recommend purchasing this at your earliest opportunity.

D. H., October 4, 2014 Format: Amazon Video

I have not read the Gillian Flynn novel Gone Girl. Not out of any particular aversion. I just never found my way around to it. So I entered this film adaptation by premiere stylist and suspense conjurer David Fincher quote-unquote blind beyond a general knowledge of the story involving a suburban Missouri man who becomes a suspect in his wife's mysterious vanishing. And beat by beat, scene by scene, twist by twist, the film blew me away. It is an airtight and atmospheric blend of the hilarious, the macabre, and the romantic. It satisfies first as a crime mystery. With a perverse, yet playful hand, it transforms the essential and inevitable questions of the genre (who is who? who is where? who has done what? who is alive? who is dead?) into delightful webs of opaque morality and disturbing brutality. There are other concerns and components, too, and this joins such films as Sweet Smell of Success and To Die For among the best indictments of media sensationalism and the way it can bastardize humanity. It achieves this via acidic and vivid (and therefore highly enjoyable) illustration of its points rather than didactic condemnation.

The film is buoyed by spot-on casting decisions. In a strange way which pays enormous dividends, many of the stars seem to be chosen based on their undesirable traits. Ben Affleck, a capable actor and a fine director, knows what is to be caught in the media's unforgiving line of fire and has earned poor reviews in the past for exuding a certain bordering-on-self-parody, macho-man overconfidence and self-satisfaction, so he is an ideal choice to play the husband, an individual who is either a decent man in over his head or a chiseled sociopath who can barely hide his smile in front of the cameras.

And the beautiful Rosamund Pike can seem distant on screen, a type of icy English rose to be admired and never touched, and she is therefore ideal as a so-picture-perfect-as-to-be-unknowable wife pushed to unusual and dangerous places. Hers is a particularly alarming and inspired turn (the actress' best since the undervalued Barney's Version), and it would be a shame if she were not recognized by the Academy with her first nomination early next year.

This line of casting thought extends to other plays in the substantial ensemble. Why not, for example, hire Tyler Perry, who has turned himself in a household name with outsize charisma and a self-forged aura of spiritual authority, to play a showboating A-list lawyer? Throughout Gone Girl, the roles fit so very snugly.

And behind the camera, Fincher is in as fine a form as ever. My favorite films of his are still Zodiac and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but this plants its flag close to the top. His antiseptic, meticulous, and perfectionist shot compositions turn the banal suburban environments into under-lit and malevolence-infused spaces, and every scene (whether overtly suspenseful and violent or of a quieter domestic variety) has an incisive and taut quality. This is a long film at 148 minutes, but never an overweight or ponderous one. It holds viewers' heads and hearts with vice-grip intensity from frame one onward and leaves us (or me, at least) at once amused, energized, and despairing.

David R. Eastwood, March 29, 2015 Format: DVD

THOROUGHLY NASTY, REPULSIVE, & SMARMY ... BUT WITH A VERY CUTE LITTLE ORANGE KITTY

The plot of David Fincher's film GONE GIRL (2014) is one more variation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's old Sherlock Holmes story "The Problem of Thor Bridge." One among many ... and perhaps the nastiest.

As all the blurbs reveal, Ben Affleck plays a husband named Nick Dunne, who is suspected of killing his wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike, when she mysteriously disappears under highly suspicious circumstances.

Although the cast is uniformly talented, nearly all of the characters are unlikeable ... and several of them are downright repulsive. Tyler Perry plays a jovial, smirky Johnny Cochran-type lawyer, who makes huge amounts of money defending men accused of killing their wives

... the shark-like, frenzied TV scandal-mongers are totally disgusting ... and the couple who are the parents of Amy (the missing wife) are blood-sucking horrors who have used their daughter for their own financial benefit for years.

Only two of the main characters are "normal" and basically "neutral" in their presentation: Margo Dunne, the sister of Ben Affleck's character, played by Carrie Coon, and Rhonda Boney (!?), the female detective who is in charge of the investigation, played by Kim Dickens. The only wholly likeable character is the little orange cat of Nick and Amy, which only has about 5 minutes of on-screen time.

The solution to Amy Dunne's disappearance gradually comes to light over the next TWO AND A HALF HOURS, and without giving any spoilers here, I will assert that it is a repulsive conclusion to the film.

I viewed the film with a small group of adults (approximately 55 people), and especially during the final 45 minutes some parts of the film caused nearly the whole audience to laugh at the preposterous events and new revelations. The scenes with Neil Patrick Harris seemed to get the highest number of unintended laughs.

In my judgment, this film is quite smarmy and a huge waste of one's time. Not even the sweetness of the little orange cat can compensate for the general nastiness of the characters and their actions.

KTFaye, February 14, 2015 Format: Amazon Video

Like the marriage in the movie, it starts well, then completely falls apart

The Gone Girl screenplay had plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. In fairness, it was well acted and it started off well enough, shining a light on the deterioration of a marriage, how the media picks and chooses its heroes and villains for ratings, and just how easy it is to manipulate a public that thinks appearing on The Bachelor will lead to true romance. The send up of Nancy Grace and her ilk alone is worth sitting through.

But then it all falls apart. I won't spoil it for those who haven't yet seen it, but the complete unraveling of film after the "twist" actually became laughable with such huge gaps in common sense, implausible occurrences, security camera footage that not a single cop decided to look at, and just plain linear storytelling of getting from A to B that it's actually boggling. It wasn't the twist itself, that was actually pretty clever, it was all the lapses that came after.

Even in a work of fiction there logic rules that need to be followed, and therein lies my issue with Gone Girl. It's difficult to elaborate on everything that's wrong with the last third without revealing what happens after the so-called big twist. (Just google Gone Girl plot holes and you'll find plenty of examples). But the film ends with an eye roll instead of a bang. There's suspending disbelief, which I'm happy to do if there is other convincing evidence, and then there's beating disbelief to death with a tire iron--which is what Gone Girl gives you in the end.

I understand that Gillian Flynn translated her book to screen and reworked the whole last third, which is exactly where it all falls apart. Perhaps being a staff writer at Entertainment Weekly for 20 years -- where the emphasis is clearly on get it out fast rather than get it out right -- dulled her logic and skills! Either way, while some Oscar snubs are occasionally puzzling, I'm not in the least surprised that there were none for this screenplay.

Ripley7700 on March 5, 2015 Format: Amazon Video | Verified Purchase

Split on this one...

At the end of this movie, I found myself very confused. Not about the mystery but whether I liked the movie. It wasn't because the characters were so complex or multi-layered that they pushed my perceptions of "good" and "evil." In fact, I found Amy and Nick strangely two-dimensional.

I was so mystified by my mystification that I did a first: I read a bunch of professional reviews to see if that would help me put my finger on it. I was further surprised to see a common theme among them: is this movie misogynist, misandrist, or misanthropic? If it is any of these, I think it is the latter.

More than that, I perceive it as a condemnation of marriage, romantic relationships, and the (alleged) fakery of them. In that vein, I found it spiteful rather than satiric. It is also a blatant commentary on sensational media and public hysteria/groupthink (I.e., "sheeple" and witch hunts). There is also a strange comment on parenting, if you compare nick's mother to his father and Amy's parents. That one was a bit lost on me, and perphaps it is clearer in the book where there is more detail on that (note: I haven't read the book).

At this point, I'm still baffled by my reaction to this movie, and the best way I can rationalize it is that I think this is a solid suspense/murder mystery but I didn't buy the "psychological" part of this psychological thriller.

That part seemed forced to the point that it detracted from the good things. I admit that I liked Basic Instinct more (maybe I'm just getting old and need to rewatch that one).

Some positives: I thought the casting was superb and the directing was also very strong. I thought the actress who played the twin sister was particularly good. On a final note, I found the end rather abrupt. Don't know if this will help people who haven't watched it yet, but maybe this will help validate other viewers who wish they could have "cracked open" their own skulls at the end of this movie.

Buddhasmom, March 4, 2015 Format: Amazon Video | Verified Purchase

Don't see it alone

This movie isn't anything you'd expect. I think that's why my review is mixed. I liked that it was not what you expected, I guess. I think I was irritated at the female character. All of them really, but the wife really annoyed me. It was kind of sick and really twisted. I kept saying to myself, "okay well lets appreciate it for what it is and keep an open mind." That was really difficult. This isn't an easy movie for me to pin down for you. Especially because I don't want to give anything away and to really give you a mental picture, I almost have to give stuff away. I'm going to try to stretch my creative muscle here, though, and give you some kind of perspective.

One half of the picture is the hero and he screws up bad, but the punishment is horrific compared to the crime. I'm not crazy about those type of movies. The kind of movie where the hero just keeps getting hit with new bad stuff. Too much like my life, I guess.

The other half of the movie is a revenge thriller. You want to get behind it, because you kind of think, "well, they deserve it.' But it's not that cut and dry. You want to get behind it but it's hard because the way the revenge is executed is so sick and twisted and over-the-top. It comes so close to the edge of being completely unbelievable and so sick that the sympathy you once held is lost completely. But a part of you still wants the revenge taker to succeed and wants to be on their side, moreover, there are a lot of folks out there that didn't lose their sympathy at all, which says a lot about society in general and ones friends in particular.

There's another part of the movie, much smaller than what was advertised, which was why I wanted to see the movie in the first place. The role the media plays in these kind of situations. I was led to believe that it was an examination of the subject. It's not.

So look, I don't know that I would recommend renting it 100%. I am very much on the fence about this movie. I'm sorry. I would suggest watching it with a bunch of your friends. It's one of those movies that you go to with those friends who like to talk about movies. You'll have so much to talk about so you don't want to see it all alone.

CJs Pirate, December 7, 2015 Format: Amazon Video

Gone Girl is Best Watched for Two of its Two and a Half Hours

Wanna watch a great movie? Quit this one 2/3rds of the way through. Wanna watch something turn from very good to stupid? Watch this all the way.

Ben Affleck does a fantastic job playing Nick Dunne, a somewhat employed writer married to the no-so-right-in-the-head Amy (Rosalund Pike). The one thing Amy can do well is mess with your life. She messes with Nick's to the point the world believes Nick has killed her and he has to hire high profile attorney Tanner Bolt, played extremely well by Tyler Perry.

The acting is quite good, with the exception of Neil Patrick Harris, who just seemed miscast as Amy's high school friend Desi Collins to whom she turns for "help". Here's the part where everything turns weird. Shortly after her time with Desi is the best time to stop the movie and enjoy what had been made. Any further, and I'm not spoiling anything here, the movie hits a wall.

Gone Girl is best watched for two of its two and a half hours.

SpaxyDaxy, January 28, 2015 Format: Amazon Video | Verified Purchase

Rosamund Pike carries it...

I really like David Fincher movies. They always have a lot of action, a little suspense, and a sense of humor. And this one is no different. I was confused by some parts of the movie, and displease with other parts, mainly the ending. It was a book before it was a movie, so that's no ones fault who were involved in the production of the movie. But I can see how in a novel the ending would've been handled in a better way. In a novel there's more character development, so you get to see the motivation behind each decision that a character makes. Any movie you only really see what the director wants you to see, and what the actors are capable of portraying. Ben Affleck was out of his league with that powerhouse of a actress Rosamund Pike. If she doesn't get at least a nomination, the whole system is flawed. Had the movie been handled with a bit more care, it probably would have been one of the greatest movies I've ever seen... that's saying a lot because I really don't like Ben Affleck and he's on screen 80% of the movie. He does add a snarky lightness that's needed in such a heavy movie. It's a solid 3.5 stars. Definitely must see for originality.

Amazon Customer, March 6, 2015 Format: Amazon Video | Verified Purchase

Great for 1.5 hours and the rest was trash.

Ok you want an honest review. Here goes. Well acted, excellent plot...up to a point, then it falls apart. The twists no longer are logical, they are just dark and twisted, taking you on a journey that has lost its way, but determined to land you at the end, an end already prepared. So it gets there, but by the time you get there, you wonder, what happened? That's because you are waiting for it to take a right, on to the road of plausibility. Gone Girl is brilliant, for 3/4 of the movie. The rest, of the story falls off the tracks and then struggles to reach the end...struggles, because it pushes the boundaries of weakness of Nick(Affleck).

So my rating is 3 stars. I walk away feeling like I wasted the last 45 mins on junk. Prior to that, it was fascinating. The high rating is what's wrong with people today...everyone runs in packs and no one, no one dares to be honest, less they are an outcast. Go see it for yourself and then dare to put an honest review here.

TeaRose, March 9, 2015 Format: Amazon Video | Verified Purchase

Review form Book Reader

As someone who has read the book prior to seeing this film, I may have a slightly different take on the movie then others. I found it difficult to decide how many stars it deserved. The first act and most of the second act are well edited from the book. The changes that are made make sense in order to condense a complicated story into a film. But somewhere in 2nd and totally the 3rd act the motivations for the characters gets muddled. The book spends a lot of time letting you read what Nick and Amy are thinking. The movie. though it tries at first, seems to give up on that element. But it is a crucial element in understanding the ending at the very least. Nick is self-centered and deeply flawed in the book. Amy is, a sociopath. The depth of her manipulation, cruelty and insane notion of punishment and justice is not explored near enough in the film. Her crazy and expert manipulation is intense in the book. Nick never really worries what happened to her when she vanishes and hates her. I wish the movie was able to flesh out more of these massive personality flaws. Without this the movie in the end falls flat. However, I don't have a good idea as to how the movie might have done this given the time restrictions.

Julee M on May 16, 2015 Format: Amazon Video | Verified Purchase

Intense, Dark, Cast of Talent...Must See

My husband and I heard so much about this movie. I am very fond of true crime and we both like drama movies. We gave it a go.

It is dark. It is twisted.

A marriage of hope, happiness and on the fifth wedding anniversary it all vanishes. Hope, sorrow, and mystery. Amy Dunne is missing the trail of evidence leads to suspicions of her husband Nick Dunne.

It sparks questions in you as you watch, as to just how well do you know your spouse? How well do they know you?

It's a cast of talent with Ben Affleck Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coone, Rosamun Pike, Tyler Perry and others that highlights every angle of this demented story.

There were parts that dragged on somewhat. The movie has a longer running time than most. My husband wasn't impressed--until the ending. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time saying, "you've got to be kidding!"....it was intense. it was well executed. It was dark. It was great!

Visual Bureau, October 24, 2014 Format: Amazon Video

Although feels like a TV movie, its performances, look into media and the law, and unbiased analysis on a marriage is sharp!

"Did he or not kill his wife? Is this all a set-up? More questions can be unraveled in one of the most surprisingly complex yet straightforward mystery-thrillers of the year. Bear in mind, I was never anticipating to see this film just by chance after some friends brought me.

Gone Girl is directed by the same man who brought you Fight Club, Social Network (the Facebook movie), and Se7en. A purveyor for dark, brooding films, Gone Girl is no stranger to this with a knack for complexity and disturbing emotions channeling through the central performances by Ben Affleck (whose career escalated to much more respectable degrees after State of Play and Argo) and Rosamund Pike (an up-and-coming British actress) playing two conflicted souls frustrated over their relationship only to then, days on end, leave a field of investigation and suspicion into the lives of Affleck's character whether he or not had any part into the disappearance of his wife?

While the premise sounds absurdly ordinary and entirely like something from Lifetime but unlike some of Lifetime's corny products, this film feels more uncertain and depressing in tone and is more graphic in content. However, any comparisons to Lifetime can be set aside with the film's surprisingly self-aware nature and persistent dark humour, which albeit odd for a film of this calibre, works in some ways to break the tension and melodrama.

Using Neil Patrick Harris from "How I Met Your Mother", the model from the Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines" music video, and Tyler Perry from the "Madea" films maybe the most bizarre choices for a high-stakes drama but it works in a surreal way.

In many instances, the film was making a statement (an unbiased one at that) on everything wrong with modern-day media, law enforcement, marriages, and the image of gender roles in society. Tough stuff! The only complaint I can make about the film is how it is not really all that cinematic and the film's uncertain ending. But then again, the ending can be seen both ways either as a metaphor about reality's way of saying no one is either good or bad or an attack on the senses with a strange turnaround for a particular character.

Without giving much away, Gone Girl is aimed at the more ambitious viewer and for anyone who likes their Lifetime or Investigation Discovery TV shows with a bit more class, acting skill, and raw spirit. It sure knows how to be pessimistic and insightful without remorse. And the message is relevant and important too with a nice look into how marriage and relationships just aren't a realistic goal in today's society which I wholeheartedly promote."

[Mar 24, 2016] DL Minors review of The Devil Wears Prada

www.amazon.com

Amazon.com

No Issues With The Killer Title, But..., March 19, 2010 By DL Minor This review is from: The Devil Wears Prada (Widescreen Edition) (DVD) Well, I'm all over the map about this movie, I really am, finding something to agree with in almost every review here, including the least positive.

The positives are these: I adore the look and pace of the film, the to-die-for clothes of course, and the performances (first and foremost) of the great Meryl Streep as the towering, terrifying Miranda, the winning Anne Hathaway as the perpetually harassed Andrea, the dependable Stanley Tucci as Miranda's long-suffering, witty-wise second-in-command Nigel, and the wonderful Emily Blunt as the bitchy, put-upon first assistant...uh, Emily. All of them--especially Streep, Tucci and Blunt--bring both bite and (mostly hidden) heart to what could have been a collective phone-in of annoying caricatures. And though we really only get glimpses of him here and there, I also enjoyed Rich Sommers's endearing turn as Doug, the sweetest of Andy's circle.

I am seriously ambivalent however, about what the message of this movie is supposed to be, especially to women, and the alarm bells really go off when--SPOILER ALERT--Andy reconciles with her boyfriend, Nate, telling him he was "right about everything."

What? What exactly was he so "right" about??

I don't know about you, but I found Nate, the boyfriend character, absolutely insufferable through almost the whole of the movie. I'm pretty sure he was supposed to be the voice of reason that tries hard to keep Andy grounded and remind her what's truly important. Instead he came off as a sulky brat who could not accept his girlfriend's growing pains as she struggled to cope with an impossibly demanding, first ever grown-up job that nothing in her easy-going schoolgirl existence had prepared her for. Were there no demands being placed on Nate in HIS choice of career? Was his job supposed to be the more important one?

Ditto Andy's best friend, Lily, who seemed to me increasingly more jealous of Andy rather than supportive of her. Lily too was pursuing Bright Lights-Big City dreams that demanded a lot from a young newcomer, after all, so how is it that she had such a hard time with Andrea's chaotic ups and downs? Where did Lily get off being so judgmental and disapproving? This is friendship? I watch these performances and can't decide whether actors Adrian Grenier and Tracie Thoms made poor choices in their playing of difficult characters or if the characters as written were simply impossible to like. Either way, both were a whiny pain in the rear, especially Nate, and Andy's mea culpas to him near the film's conclusion were tough to take.

No one disputes that Miranda Priestley was a Boss From Hell who routinely wiped her feet on her young assistants, particularly Andrea. But we also see that ultimately Miranda was as human as anyone else; a glamorous workhorse whose alley-fighter smarts hid real pain. And it should be said that Andy--who was in the beginning quite smug in her disdain of all the fashionista "shallowness" that surrounded her--had a knocking down or two coming. (I loved the way Nigel simultaneously comforted Andy and took her to task after an especially bad morning.) If Miranda put Andy through the wringer--and she did--well, she also taught her some important things (sometimes unwittingly) about hard work, hanging tough, and the choices we make in life to get to where we want to go or need to stay. Andy could have quit at the end of her first week (I think I would have) but no matter how bad or insanely silly things got, she didn't, at least not immediately. On some level she became aware that she was getting an education she wouldn't get anywhere else from anyone else, and there was value in that. I think she knew that; I hope she knew that. I hope the audience does, too.>

[Mar 23, 2016] The Proposal

This movie came in 2009 and was definitely heavily influenced it the first part by 2006 ground breaking (for female sociopaths) movie The Devil Wears Prada .
Notable quotes:
"... The setup of the first 25 minutes clearly apes the set-up of David Frankel's The Devil Wears Prada but has some notable scenes (firing episode; bulling her assistant to marry her) that has some educational value. ..."
"... The scene when she blackmails Andrew into pretending that he's her fiancé is probably the best in the movie. One of the few that deserve watching it several times. ..."
www.amazon.com

Sandra Bullock definitely knows her audience. The type of character she plays here - an abusive female bully hiding a very vulnerable, lonely interior - is played to perfection. This is the type of character she is known-for: her "brand." Only first 25 minutes of the film make sense. After the the plot disintegrates in third rate melodrama.

The setup of the first 25 minutes clearly apes the set-up of David Frankel's The Devil Wears Prada but has some notable scenes (firing episode; bulling her assistant to marry her) that has some educational value.

Sandra Bullock project the character of a cold and often cruel personality of a female bully pretty well. She's also mean-spirited, pointing out personal faults that she generally has no business to reveal.

But she is less stereotypical boss from Hell, then the main character of The Devil Wears Prada or Office space. But may be beacuse for those monents we saw her there was no downsizing efforts of the floor ;-)

Bullock is playing female bully who is book editor (Margaret Tate), a workaholic careerist who instills fear into her entire office. Her bullied assistant Andrew Paxton, Reynolds caters to her every whim in the hopes that she eventually will help boost his publishing career. The scene when she blackmails Andrew into pretending that he's her fiancé is probably the best in the movie. One of the few that deserve watching it several times.

[Mar 23, 2016] Hating Tami A Look at Female Bullying (Maple Ave Series) Leah Pressman, Devon Jordan, Amanda Dickinson, Marge Tri

[Mar 22, 2016] Girl Wars 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying by Cheryl Dellasega Ph.D.

"... Relational aggression (RA), also called female bullying, is the use of relationships, rather than fists, to hurt another. Rumors, name calling, cliques, shunning, and a variety of other behaviors are the weapons girls use against one another on an everyday basis in schools, sports, recreational activities, and even houses of worship. The increasing incidence of physical confrontations between girls, like Erika and Shantal's are often preceded by escalating relational aggression. ..."
August 5, 2003 | amazon.com

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Touchstone; Original ed. edition (August 5, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0743249879

Intoduction

Anna's thirteenth birthday is only a day away when her two best friends inform her with mock sadness that they won't be coming to her sleepover party.

"Tina asked us to go to the movies with her. That's way more fun than watching videos at your house and playing those stupid games your mom comes up with," they snicker, linking arms and walking away.

An older girl begins to make fun of newcomer Monica's scrawny build whenever they pass each other in the halls of their small rural high school. Even though fifteen-year-old Monica switches from wearing her favorite skirts and dresses to jeans, soon everyone is calling her "chicken legs" and cackling when she passes.

At ten, Lucy hates playground. Every day when the teacher is distracted, a boy will swoop up and snap the back of Lucy's new bra, which barely contains her B-cup breasts. Worse yet is the betrayal of girls, who cluster together and laugh when that happens. Even Lucy's former friends have started sticking out their chests mockingly and strutting behind her.

Day after day, fifteen-year-old Shantal and her crowd of friends face off against fourteen-year-old Erika and her group. In the cafeteria of their inner-city school, Shantal calls Erika a "slut" because she is dating Reese, a good-looking seventeen-year-old. In return, Erika shoves past Shantal and mutters "bitch" just loud enough to be heard. The confrontations grow more and more heated until one day between classes Erika punches Shantal in the face, an encounter that escalates into a brawl requiring police intervention.

What do these young women and their friends have in common? All are caught up in the whirlwind of relational aggression, wounded by the words and actions of another girl. Even Erika and Shantal, who work to maintain "tough girl" stances at all costs, are scared, hurt, and insecure underneath.

Relational aggression (RA), also called female bullying, is the use of relationships, rather than fists, to hurt another. Rumors, name calling, cliques, shunning, and a variety of other behaviors are the weapons girls use against one another on an everyday basis in schools, sports, recreational activities, and even houses of worship. The increasing incidence of physical confrontations between girls, like Erika and Shantal's are often preceded by escalating relational aggression.

Most women can recall an incident of RA in their own past, but the seriousness of these behaviors is reaching new proportions, resulting in criminal charges, school shootings, and suicides. Why are today's girls so willing to be this cruel to one another?

When psychologist Mary Pipher wrote her bestselling book Reviving Ophelia in the mid-1990s, she suggested we need to "work together to build a culture that is less complicated and more nurturing, less violent and sexualized, and more growth producing." If anything, the world of adolescent girls is now more complicated, violent, and sexualized as well as less nurturing than when Dr. Pipher first proposed her agenda for change.

Today's young women are subtly influenced to interact in ways that reduce rather than enhance their underlying power to connect with one another. Bombarded with messages about their physical appearance at an early age, they are expected to dress provocatively while maintaining straight "A" averages and excelling at sports. They are labeled as mean "Queen Bees" but given no alternatives for more positive behaviors. Their bodies are reaching physical maturity earlier and earlier, yet their cognitive skills remain anchored in adolescence. Role models for today's teens are not powerful women who have succeeded because of their persistence and kindness to others, but rather superstar singers acting like sexy schoolgirls and movie stars firing machine guns or using martial arts on opponents while wearing skintight jumpsuits. No wonder young women find themselves in a state of extreme confusion, unsure of how to relate to either themselves or others.

The good news is that all across the country, mothers, girls, and others are finding ways to help adolescents feel more secure about their own abilities and safe in their relationships with others. Slowly, their efforts are changing the "girl poisoning" culture Mary Pipher first lamented nearly a decade ago, transforming behavior from cruel to kind.

Do all girls have the capacity to be kind? We believe girls are not inherently cruel, and that although behaviors such as jealousy, gossiping, and joining cliques may be normal in terms of what we expect, they are not what we have to accept. Based on our work with hundreds of young women in both our professional and personal lives, as well as extensive research, evaluation, and input from other experts on the subject, Charisse and I know that not only can girls be kind, they feel better about themselves when they are. We call this behavior confident kindness, because the ability to be caring and supportive of others is only meaningful if it comes from an inner sense of security and self-esteem.

It is our role as adults to guide young women to form more positive self-identities, which will in turn lead to more supportive relationships with others. That's what this book is all about. How can mothers, young girls, or any other concerned party overcome RA? In this book, input from four important sources is used to identify twelve key strategies that both girls and adults can use.

First, girls who have been involved in RA share their stories, either in their own words or via interviews. These young women offer advice on how to deal with RA and share ways in which they turned their lives around -- either on their own or with help from others.

A second source is the wisdom of mothers and other adults who have helped young women deal with RA. These include fathers, coaches, teachers, dance instructors, and religious education counselors. Again, the situations these adults faced with adolescent girls are shared, in their own words, along with the specific actions they took, which illustrate the strategies described.

A third source of information is experts, including Dr. Charisse Nixon and myself. Efforts are under way to develop and evaluate programs that specifically address individual, school, family, and community aspects of RA. In addition, many researchers and clinicians are actively studying and identifying key interventions that can put an end to female bullying.

Finally, several organizations that focus on improving the self-esteem of girls and helping them learn more positive ways of interacting are described. These include GENAustin, a "GirlPower" program in one high school; the Boys and Girls Clubs of America; ClubOphelia.com and its premier program, Camp Ophelia; and the Ophelia Project and one of its sister chapters in Warren, Pennsylvania.

Of course, the experiences that feel most relevant to both Charisse and myself are the ones we have had as mothers of girls who are immersed in this culture of female aggression. We have seen our daughters caught up in the tumult of RA behaviors at various ages, but in keeping with the original message of Reviving Ophelia, we believe change is possible. Negative messages about "mean teens," which make for great press, end up stereotyping girls and creating an expectation that such behaviors are normal. The latter is particularly damaging because it perpetuates the notion that nothing can be done, because, after all, "girls will be girls."

It is our goal to focus on the strength and resiliency of young women rather than on their deficiencies. Girls have enormous relational abilities but need guidance to build those abilities into constructive assets. In this book, we will show that girls can -- and must -- be taught to capitalize on the strong, resourceful, positive, and powerful side that lives inside them. Anyone -- male, female, young, old, individual, or group -- can use these strategies to transform the culture of female aggression to one of confident kindness.

The twelve strategies are listed step-by-step for you to follow. The first, and perhaps most important, is to inform yourself and others. Although this may sound easy enough, there are many nuances of RA that affect today's girls. The four chapters devoted to this strategy will describe special situations such as the use of computers for aggression (cyber-RA) and socioeconomic differences and similarities in RA. This content is elaborated on by vignettes by girls and parents.

Strategies 2 and 3 are preventive actions you can use to develop a girl's anti-RA skills at a young age, grow her self-esteem, and equip her with positive relationship skills. Again, the real experiences of adults and girls will be shared to illustrate these principles.

The longest section of the book deals with what to do when RA occurs (Strategies 4 through 10). We begin with relatively mild incidents and progress to serious, sustained types of harassment and aggression. These strategies will help you intervene to end the aggression and hurt all girls experience when RA occurs. Not surprisingly, girls themselves have a lot to say about what helps and what doesn't; their suggestions are summarized in Strategy 10: Give Her a Tool Kit of Options.

Strategy 11 deals with changing the larger culture through individual and community programs targeted at RA. Profiles of key organizations are provided so you can replicate similar efforts in your own home and community. Finally, you will be guided through the steps needed to develop your own action plan.

The book ends with appendices, which are by no means comprehensive but which provide further information on resources, along with a self-assessment quiz on your RA quotient. Sources for further help are also identified.

We frequently mention middle school as the context for working with girls since this is a time when gender differences emerge in RA, but in reality the strategies apply to preschool through young adulthood. While our focus is girl vs. girl aggression, we acknowledge that boys can and do engage in RA, just in different contexts and less often.

Throughout the book, we have taken the liberty of changing names and details where we feel it is appropriate. Where girls specifically requested their names be used with their stories we did so, but all participants can be contacted through Cheryl Dellasega at opheliasmother@aol.com.

In the coming years, there will be increasing pressure to create environments that help young women feel safe. Strategies such as the ones we offer are an important first step in changing the culture to make it better for both adolescent girls and ourselves.

In a farewell letter to me, one thirteen-year-old summarized her feelings after attending a week-long camp specifically for middle-school girls: "I know now that there are other ways to act. For me, this means walking away when I'm upset or politely asking for more information about why the aggressor feels the way she does. Just knowing about relational aggression will help me be a different person in the next school year." It is our hope that every girl -- and adult -- can learn a better way to relate to others, to be confident and kind, and to feel better about herself in the process. This book is a how-to for accomplishing these goals.

-- Cheryl Dellasega, Ph.D.

Copyright ©2003 by Cheryl Dellasega, Ph.D., and Charisse Nixon, Ph.D.

Laura D on May 15, 2012

Cut me a break!

When are psychologists going to wake up and stop stupidly believing that bullies are sad, insecure, doubtful people with low self-esteem? It's utter nonsense. Any of us who had been bullied as schoolgirls know that the top echelon clique of the most powerful, popular, and attractive people are the bullies. They don't have a problem with their self-esteem.

They aren't worried about anyone picking on them. Rather, it is their arrogant sense of entitlement, encouraged by fawning teachers and admiring parents, which permits them to conduct bullying, manipulate entire populations of a community, and rule social hierarchies with iron fists. These are not disenfranchised, bitter, unhappy kids. They grow into pompous adults who conveniently "don't remember" being bullies, or dismiss it as "that's just a part of growing up."

Just out of curiosity, lately I've been reading up on books concerning the staggering bullying problem at schools and in workplaces. The reason my husband and I chose NOT to have children was to spare them the sort of misery which obviously cannot be rectified, as long as these quack psychologists continue to boo-hoo about the poor miserable bullies who feel so badly about themselves, as well as teachers -- and I have a lot of schoolteacher friends -- who to a woman insist "they don't see any bullying," or "it's all done under the rader; faculty can't catch it." (and funny, my male teacher friends HAVE sometimes admitted to witnessing and intervening on instances of bullying.)

Get off the stupid merry-go-round of feeling sorry for some little snot who drives another child or teenager to suicide. Perhaps if those kids in New England who had driven the little Irish girl to suicide had been sent to jail where they belonged, or at least had gotten some mandatory mental help, instead of being let off with suspended sentences, there might be a stronger message that bullying is not something to pity, but something to be punished for and to eradicate.

victoria baardsen on October 13, 2010

If only I had this when I was a teenager .. it would have made things so much easier

I am a Senior Account Manager, and I have worked for Staples Contract Inc, for three years. The first year was simplistic without much complication other than it was a long drive to and from work. I then transferred to the Retail Account Management program to work with Rewards customers with another team. I was introduced to Marlo Lathan who was to become my tormentor on the job for the next two years. She is clever, beautiful and controls the team with her emotional abuse.

I did not understand what was happening to me until I saw the news about girls bullying girls and they were filming it! They were sent to jail for beating a classmate. They filmed the beating and uploaded it on YouTube. I could not understand how, or why they would do such a thing to another child. I wondered to myself "does this stop?" Do we graduate from High School and does it end?

I concluded from work experience with Marlo that it does not end. I reported her to my supervisor, and to human resources without success. I talked with her directly, and again, it merely got worse. What is one to do? This book teaches you the tools to deal with the bully in your class at school, and the co-worker who just will not stop. I simply wish I had this tool when I was a kid so I could have better identified and managed the problem long before I as an adult and thinking... I'm crazy... now, that I've read this book I would recommend it to anyone.

Queen Bees and Wannabes Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World Rosali

Groovy Vegan

Former Target explains why this book is a MUST-READ

Two paragraphs of disclosure will make my review more meaningful. I was a happy, well-adjusted 5th and 6th grader. New to my elementary school in the 5th grade, I quickly and easily found a best friend + nice group of friends. Then the following year in junior high, two "queen bees" came along and decided they wanted the same group of friends, best friend and all--without me in it. They invited the other girls to a sleepover party right in front of me, and suddenly I was friendless. Devastated, I came home that day sobbing, to parents who had no idea what to do except to send me to a psychiatrist, which did no good at all.

My "lunch tray moments" consisted of going from table to table, trying to sit down, and kids telling me I wasn't welcome to sit with them, and then eating by myself in the detention room, the only place that would have me. My "gym class moments" consisted of being the girl left over when the last team captain chose the second-to-last girl, and then the other team captain declaring she never picked me and that I was not on her team. I adapted first making friends with the neighborhood dogs who all accepted me with love and dignity, and then by getting involved with out-of-school activities and making lots of friends outside of school. By 10th grade, I had friends at school again.

It is with this background that I read "Queen Bees and Wanna Bees"--the book I wish had been around in the 1970s when I suffered the trauma of being a target. I am appalled that these dynamics continue to this day, and that targets have it WORSE than I did. When I got home, the bullying stopped, and I was free to do my homework, not to be bullied until bright and early the next day. Now the bullying of targets is CONSTANT, via Facebook, email, text message, etc. Mothers and Dads, PLEASE take the plight of the targets seriously--it's not just a bit of girl drama--it's BRUTAL to experience.

I am relieved an adult finally took notice of these dynamics, understands them, and not only explains them to parents, she them what to do about it and how to PREVENT it. Wiseman advises parents to create a code of family behavior where family members treat people with dignity, outside the family as well as with. An example is the first chapter on technology, new to this revised edition. Parents are advised when they allow adolescents and teens to have email accounts, Facebook accounts, cell phones, etc. that they sign a family contract which explains they will not use these technologies to embarrass people, humiliate them, spread lies, disseminate naked- or half-naked photos, etc. And the contract specifies punishments for first, second, and third offenses. I think this entire chapter shows brilliance, and is worth the price of the book alone.

It's not just the parents of the target who need this book, but the parents of the queen bee bullies and people users, and the bystanders who stand there silently, not taking a stand on behalf of the targets, and rewarding the queen bees with their allegiance and friendship. For example, there's an example in the book of how to talk to your daughter after she paid a popular boy $5.00 to ask out a target and then dump her the next day. The hypothetical mom marches her daughter over to apologize to the target, and tells her daughter, "If you apologize with a fake or mean tone in your voice or the content of your words comes across as giving a fake apology, then I will apologize on your behalf. And since you did it at school, you are also going to apologize to your teacher and principal for going against the school's rules of treating people with dignity."

Another important concept of the book is to realize that girls within cliques deal with the straightjacket of conformity--hair, clothes, hobbies, behavior, etc, and often put up with verbal abuse from the queen bees. These girls internalize that it's better to put up with abuse than be ostracized from the group. This sets the stage for them to become women who put up with abusive relationships rather than leave.

As much as I don't like to deduct a star from this must-read book, the presentation is uneven. Parts of the book are totally brilliant, while other parts appear scant and hastily written. For example, Wiseman describes different types of parents. Some of these types just have a few sentences written about them and no concrete examples. Plus she misses a lot of types. Or there will be teasers, "If She Says `You Don't Trust Me!'" but no follow up on how to handle this comment.

My main grievance with the book is that I think Wiseman is way too overpermissive in letting a girl wear whatever she wants. I can understand Wiseman's arguments for letting a girl wear green hair, or be Goth if she wants to be. But going out of the house looking too sexy at too young an age? Wiseman says to discuss it with her, but then let her do what she wants. No way! Wiseman wants parents to put their foot down when it comes to the appropriate use of technology, but she becomes meek and overpermissive when it comes to inappropriate wardrobe. Also, when your daughter says she "needs" the latest greatest expensive shoes or purse, parents are supposed to understand how crucial this is for her and to not always say no to these request. IMO, when parents give into this high fashion nonsense, they're training their daughters to be materialistic, manipulative, and spendy. So many parents are afraid to say "no" to their child beginning at age 2, they create these entitled fashion snobs we see today.

If more parents had and enforced a code of behavior, not only how to treat people in the household, but out of the house, our schools and our world would be a better place. Likewise, I'd like to see school teachers and administrators read this book, and come up with codes of anti-bullying behavior where everyone at the school treats everyone else with dignity. If and when more adults get on board with anti-bullying, school will not only be physically and emotionally a safer place, but students more able to learn and compete academically with students from other nations.

P.S. My personal story has a happy ending. In addition to being happily married to the best husband in the world and having lots of friends, I've reconnected with my former best friend, and am now friends with one of the queen bees. It doesn't pay to hold grudges. :-)

belleTX on October 3, 2012

Unrealistic and Gives Terrible Advice

The roles within the clique were interesting, and somewhat accurate, but the book assumes that every girl fits neatly into one of them, when this is often not the case. Some girls are not in the clique, but not a target, either. Others may be friends with multiple groups and play different roles in each one. The teenage social scene is just not as clearcut as the book makes it out to be.

The first issue that I had with this book was with the "quotes" from teenaged girls. I'll just come out and say that I don't buy that they're authentic. Teenage girls don't talk this way. I got the impression that a lot of the quotes were either heavily edited to fit the points Wiseman wanted to make or fabricated altogether.

The next problem I had was with the shockingly bad advice given. Wiseman advises that girls being shut out or bullied should handle the teasing like mature adults by directly addressing it, telling the mean girl it hurts their feelings and they want it to stop, and then "affirming" the teaser and their relationship. Like someone else said, the mean girls would have a field day with this. They'd think it was hilarious and it would just lead to more humiliation for the target. For example, she encourages the target to approach the mean girl and say, "Hi, there's something I really need to talk to you about. Can you meet me during study hall in the library at 11:00?" In her scenario, the mean girl actually agrees, and the target proceeds to have a private meeting where she tells the girl she wants her to stop teasing her, saying things like, "[Teasing] really hurts me. I wanted it stopped. I don't know why you don't like me. I would like us to be civil to each other and respect each other."

She fails to take into account the fact that in real life, the mean girl would laugh in the target's face when she requested the meeting and then relentlessly mock and ridicule her to the rest of the clique, especially if the meeting actually happened (it probably wouldn't) and the target delivered that speech. Advising your child to do this is just setting her up for more ridicule and humiliation. It exacerbates the problem instead of resolving it.

That's just the thing Wiseman doesn't seem to get. Teens aren't mature adults, and what works for an adult isn't going to work for a 13 year old "target" who is being ostracized by the school bitch. She's also too quick to encourage parents not to get involved unless it's a last resort. In some of these situations, the best possible thing, and only thing that will be effective, is for the parent to get involved and put a stop to it immediately. Not wait until the abuse from the mean girl has become so unbearable that it's your last resort.

I came away from the book feeling that Wiseman doesn't understand teen girls or the middle and high school social scene nearly as well as she seems to think she does.

L. Bailey on June 26, 2012
review of a teenager

I first read this book as a younger teen and now am reading it again at the age of 19 to see if my opinions have changed.

After watching Mean Girls and hearing about this book that was the basis for the movie I was immediately interested simply because the movie was hilarious and quite dramatic.

At the time i had no idea that it was a guide for parents. Upon buying the book and finding this out, I felt like I was getting the inside scoop on what parents are thinking when they communicate and deal with their adolescents. I must say, the book is shocking. As a girl who has been living in Jamaica my entire life except for the two years i lived in Canada (at an age too young to compare to situations in the book), I have never really experienced any such horrid situations, and I have attended a public high school as well as a private high school. My friends and I often have conversations in which we express how baffled we are at the behaviour and thoughts of American girls. Based on images of American girls we are presented with in the media and books like these we are amazed at how mean, insecure, self destructive, lost, and/or weak these girls seem to be. This book can neither be applied to my own life nor the lives of any girl I know in Jamaica. We read about or see these situations on TV and go "What?! these girls are crazy!!".

I'm not saying this is the opinion of all Jamaican girls and I am not saying all American girls are like this, but I can definitely speak for all the girls I know who live here (excluding perhaps the girls at the American International School of Kingston because in my experience they are quite Americanized and cannot be considered as average Jamaican girls).

So the book was a good buy in the sense that it is interesting to read about these EXTREME experiences that American girls go through, in the same way that it is entertaining to watch the movie Mean Girls. However, I would never let my parents read this book, lest they should think that all the things mentioned are happening in my life and at my school, which they are not.

I also do not like how the author lumps teenage girls into specific stereotypes and characters. It annoys me in the same way I am annoyed when adults say "teenagers these days" followed by something negative that 99% of the time does not apply to me and does not apply to most of my friends. Also the section where she talks about Black girls and she speaks in a 'did you know' style is quite disturbing. She says that the long beautiful braids that Black girls/women wear are hair extensions which cost hundreds of dollars and take hours to put in. Firstly, not all braids are hair extensions. As a matter of fact, in Jamaica, most adolescents' braids are natural because most schools here do not allow hair extensions. And hardly anyone pays that much for hair extensions. I have never worn hair extensions in my entire life and I never will.

Anyway, the point is that the book does not apply to all teenagers and it is dangerous in the hands of any parent whose teen or adolescent is not actually doing these things and having these experiences.

[Sep 05, 2012] Women Bullies Often Target Other Women by ANNA WILD and JONANN BRADY

"... the film "The Devil Wears Prada" is played for laughs, but women bullying other female employees in the real world is no laughing matter. ..."
"... Frye said her boss undermined her in front of employees, isolated her from senior management, gave her impossible deadlines and humiliated her. She dreaded going to work. ..."
"... Frye filed a lawsuit against the company. Four years later, after exhausting her savings, the case was dismissed. The court did, however, describe her old boss as "an equal opportunity oppressor," calling her management style "abrasive" and declaring that the difficult relationship contributed to "disabling problems" for Frye. ..."
Feb. 24, 2009 | ABC Mood Morning America

The bullying magazine executive played by Meryl Streep in the film "The Devil Wears Prada" is played for laughs, but women bullying other female employees in the real world is no laughing matter.

Joan Frye, who worked in a hospital in Nashville, Tenn., said she endured nearly two years of bullying at the hands of her female boss, which led her to a mental breakdown and a long court battle.

Just four months into her job, Frye, 62, said she knew there was going to be trouble with her boss.

"She had me come into her office for my 90-day review, and she started, 'We don't click. ... What are you going to do about it?' Not what are we going to do, but what are you going to do about it," Frye said. "I knew then that we were going to have a serious problem."

Frye said her boss undermined her in front of employees, isolated her from senior management, gave her impossible deadlines and humiliated her. She dreaded going to work.

"One day she would be nice, and the next day she would attack," Frye said. "She would glare at me. She would make noise like 'haaa' if I was talking to somebody. She would walk between us and turn her back on me."

After she complained to human resources and senior management, she said, she was transferred to another department. After six months in her new position, Frye said the problems with her previous boss led to a mental breakdown, forcing her to take a medical leave of absence.

Frye filed a lawsuit against the company. Four years later, after exhausting her savings, the case was dismissed. The court did, however, describe her old boss as "an equal opportunity oppressor," calling her management style "abrasive" and declaring that the difficult relationship contributed to "disabling problems" for Frye.

By ANNA WILD and JONANN BRADY Feb. 24, 2009

Backlash - Women Bullying Women at Work By MICKEY MEECE

Cleo Lepori-Costello, a vice president at a Silicon Valley software company, on communication skills. Readers' Comments "We have a workplace that rewards aggression instead of ability -- a system that promotes people who are willing to destroy anyone to get ahead themselves."
"... But a good 40 percent of bullies are women. ..."
"... Just the mention of women treating other women badly on the job seemingly shakes the women’s movement to its core. It is what Peggy Klaus, an executive coach in Berkeley, Calif., has called “the pink elephant” in the room. How can women break through the glass ceiling if they are ducking verbal blows from other women in cubicles, hallways and conference rooms?
..."May 9, 2009 | NYTimes.com

YELLING, scheming and sabotaging: all are tell-tale signs that a bully is at work, laying traps for employees at every pass.

During this downturn, as stress levels rise, workplace researchers say, bullies are likely to sharpen their elbows and ratchet up their attacks.

It’s probably no surprise that most of these bullies are men, as a survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute, an advocacy group, makes clear. But a good 40 percent of bullies are women. And at least the male bullies take an egalitarian approach, mowing down men and women pretty much in equal measure. The women appear to prefer their own kind, choosing other women as targets more than 70 percent of the time.

In the name of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, what is going on here?

Just the mention of women treating other women badly on the job seemingly shakes the women’s movement to its core. It is what Peggy Klaus, an executive coach in Berkeley, Calif., has called “the pink elephant” in the room. How can women break through the glass ceiling if they are ducking verbal blows from other women in cubicles, hallways and conference rooms?

Women don’t like to talk about it because it is “so antithetical to the way that we are supposed to behave to other women,” Ms. Klaus said. “We are supposed to be the nurturers and the supporters.”

Ask women about run-ins with other women at work and some will point out that people of both sexes can misbehave. Others will nod in instant recognition and recount examples of how women — more so than men — have mistreated them.

“I’ve been sabotaged so many times in the workplace by other women, I finally left the corporate world and started my own business,” said Roxy Westphal, who runs the promotional products company Roxy Ventures Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz. She still recalls the sting of an interview she had with a woman 30 years ago that “turned into a one-person firing squad” and led her to leave the building in tears.

Jean Kondek, who recently retired after a 30-year career in advertising, recalled her anger when an administrator in a small agency called a meeting to dress her down in front of co-workers for not following agency procedure in a client emergency.

But Ms. Kondek said she had the last word. “I said, ‘Would everyone please leave?’ ” She added, “and then I told her, ‘This is not how you handle that.’ ”

Many women who are still in the work force were hesitant to speak out publicly for fear of making matters worse or of jeopardizing their careers. A private accountant in California said she recently joined a company and was immediately frozen out by two women working there. One even pushed her in the cafeteria during an argument, the accountant said. “It’s as if we’re back in high school,” she said.

A senior executive said she had “finally broken the glass ceiling” only to have another woman gun for her job by telling management, “I can’t work for her, she’s passive-aggressive.”

The strategy worked: The executive said she soon lost the job to her accuser.

ONE reason women choose other women as targets “is probably some idea that they can find a less confrontative person or someone less likely to respond to aggression with aggression,” said Gary Namie, research director for the Workplace Bullying Institute, which ordered the study in 2007.

But another dynamic may be at work. After five decades of striving for equality, women make up more than 50 percent of management, professional and related occupations, says Catalyst, the nonprofit research group. And yet, its 2008 census found, only 15.7 percent of Fortune 500 officers and 15.2 percent of directors were women.

Leadership specialists wonder, are women being “overly aggressive” because there are too few opportunities for advancement? Or is it stereotyping and women are only perceived as being overly aggressive? Is there a double standard at work?

Research on gender stereotyping from Catalyst suggests that no matter how women choose to lead, they are perceived as “never just right.” What’s more, the group found, women must work twice as hard as men to achieve the same level of recognition and prove they can lead.

TLC Family Relational Aggressionn

That means that before kindergarten, girls have started practicing relational aggression, a term that's been used to describe the type of bullying that's the specialty of adolescent girls. Rather than just bullying weak kids they hardly know, as male bullies do, female bullies go after their closest relationships. The female bully is hard to catch in action and difficult to punish; there is, after all, no bloody nose to serve as proof. Instead, victims carry emotional scars resulting from the bully's habits of spreading rumors, leaking secrets, savage put-downs, backstabbing and social exclusions. Bullies may demean a person's choice of clothing or exclude a friend from the guest list for a popular party in order to gain social status within a group of girls. At the same time, they send the victim into social exile, a particularly painful place for a young girl.

Boys also tend to bully others in order to gain social status, so it seems that bullies share certain motivations -- need for attention, fear of competition, anger at the way they're treated at home. And in the long-term, female bullies suffer as much as male bullies, because eventually, those closest to them tire of the manipulations, though there's a lack of research as to whether female bullies turn to drugs and alcohol and end up in jail at the same rates that male bullies do.

There are a few key differences, though: Male bullies come in all shapes and sizes, from the popular football captain to the social outcast, while female bullies tend to be the popular girls (another factor that may help them escape punishment). And while some male bullies appear to lash out because they haven't developed empathy for others, girls seem to possess ample amounts of empathy; so much so, in fact, that they know exactly how to harm a perceived threat. Because girls tend to put so much emphasis on friendships, female bullies know how to get a fellow female to divulge a secret, and then she knows how to reveal it in a way that will maximize the embarrassment for the victim.

During middle and high school, it may be important for parents to remind their daughters that true friends aren't manipulative, negative or mean. Such a warning may seem commonsense, but few things make sense in adolescence. Unfortunately, the high school cafeteria isn't the last place where a woman will go up against a female bully.

Woman-on-woman Bullying in the Workplace

If you've ever been shot repeated glares at work, omitted from an e-mail chain or meeting where you should have been included or received a humiliating public lecture that could have just as easily been delivered behind closed doors, then you were likely up against a workplace bully. In 2007, the Workplace Bullying Institute released a survey that showed just how common this phenomenon is; according to the survey, 37 percent of U.S. workers have been bullied on the job. As on the playground, bullies are more likely to be male than female (60 percent of perpetrators were male), and the bully is usually the boss.

What many news outlets jumped on when this story came out, however, is how frequently women pick on other women. While males in the workplace will bully other males and females at equal numbers, female bullies will go after someone of the same gender 70 percent of the time [source: Klaus]. Discussions of why this problem exists involves considering some gender stereotypes about how we expect women to behave.

For example, bullies, no matter their gender, go after those who are less likely to fight back. Because women are sometimes thought to be more docile and less combative, both men and women may exploit that perceived weakness when they pick their targets [source: WBI]. Another explanation portends that women are more sensitive to criticism, making them more likely to hold grudges and act on them later [source: Klaus]. Some argue that women, relatively new to the corporate, office environment, haven't learned the fine art of competition, or have adopted male-identified behaviors, like bullying, to get ahead [source: Meece]. Because they are new in the workplace, it's also possible that their behavior is being overanalyzed, and the slightest deviation from the stereotype of a nurturing female is considered bullying [source: Meece]. On the other hand, because women are new to positions of leadership, it's possible they don't want to help the women who may replace them [source: Klaus].

Female Bullying

Bullying Statistics
There are many different types of bullying including female bullying. The classic type of bullying includes the mean boy on the playground, but now it is clear female bullying is just as prominent and severe as bullying with males. Female bullying can sometimes even be worse.

With cases of bullying on the rise, it is becoming more apparent than ever that female bullying is just as common as bullying with males. It is a common misconception that boys and teen males are the most dominant types of bullies. In fact, girls can be just as ruthless especially when it comes to the type of bullying that is not as physical. Types of bullying like cyberbullying are often spearheaded by teen girls placing an attack on their peers verbally. However, harsh words, lies and rumors can be just as devastating to a child or teen as being physically attacked. These types of female bullying may include:

Physical bullying and hazing:

In recent news headlines, there have been cases of female bullying where teen girls will physically gang up on one another and attack. This type of behavior has been happening for decades and likely even before that. However, now that bullying is becoming more and more recognized, cases of female bullying have increased. Physical bullying can also include more than just hitting, punching, kicking or otherwise injuring another person. It can also include stealing from another person or damaging their personal property. Types of hazing by forcing others to do something embarrassing or harmful to themselves or others is also another type of physical bullying. While males typically take the wrap for such behaviors, females can also have just as a devastating impact on their peers.

Cyberbullying and verbal bullying:

Females are most typically associated with these types of bullying behaviors. Verbal bullying is also a very common type of bullying that almost everyone is guilty of at some point in time or another. Simple name calling may not be considered a big deal, but it is still a type of bullying. Verbal bullying, whether it is said face-to-face, behind someone's back or over the Internet, can still be devastating to those who are targeted.

Indirect bullying and social alienation:

Although there are no hard statistics to support the number of female bullies versus male bullies, socially speaking, there are certain types of bullying females have a tendency to enact more so than males. One of these types of bullying is indirect bullying. This takes place when a person or group of people spread rumors and stories about a person behind their back. These can be false and malicious attacks. Indirect bullying accounts for about 18 percent of all cases of bullying. Cyberbullying also comes into play with this type of bullying because teens may spread lies or stories about another individual online anonymously. It is still considered bullying. Social alienation is also another type of bullying that females can be responsible for committing. A group of girls may decide to deliberately shun another girl from the group because they are mad at her or find it funny to hurt another person simply because they are different.

Female bullying can be just as common as male bullying although it may take on a different form. Parents should not assume that just because their child is female that they won't have a tendency to become a bully. Be on the lookout that your child is behaving rude and malicious manner by watching how they interact with others. If they show signs of resentment or engage in a power struggle, they might have issues with bullying. Also as a parent, be sure to talk to your child about bullying to ensure they know what bullying is so they don't abuse others in any type of bullying. Putting a stop to bullying behaviors with both female bullying as well as male bullying is the only way to cut down on the amount of children, teens and adults traumatized by bullying behaviors. Talking to your children is the best way to find out if they are having issues with bullying at school, after school or online. Keeping this line of communication open is important because it helps your child to know they can come to for help.

Some of the best ways to prevent bullying of any kind is to help build your child's self-esteem. Children and teens with higher self-esteem and more friends are less likely to become the victims of bullying. Unfortunately there are still many cases of bullycide among teens and children. Bullycide occurs when teens or children commit suicide as a result of bullying attacks. It is up to parents, teachers and other authority figures to put a stop to bullying before it begins so these unfortunate and tragic cases no longer occur.

Sources: library.thinkquest.org, thedailymail.net

Workplace Bullying in the News

BullyBusters.org

The Lawyer

Sam Samaro, a partner at the Hackensack, NJ, law firm Pashman Stein who specializes in employment law, says, "Bullying that isn't caused by the victim's membership in some protected class is not illegal." In other words, if the bully attacks men and women; Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists; blacks, whites and Asians; disabled and non-disabled people equally, he says, "It's hard to make a legal case."

Rather, he says, when a target asks for his help, he takes a crisis-counseling approach. He first tries to determine whether the issue is persistent bullying or just situational, and what triggers it. "We all have the capacity to be a bully in the right ­ or wrong ­ circumstances. Is this just a performance issue?" he asks. Unfortunately, he adds, "There's no general protection from unpleasant people."

Beware the bullying female boss

More than half of the bullies reported to a new national helpline are women - and most of the victims are other women.

In the first half of this year, nearly 700 complaints were made about women managers, according to a report from the National Workplace Bullying Advice Line.

The data from the line also reveal that white-collar bullying among professional and office workers is far more common than among shopfloor workers. Nine out of 10 calls involved office-based workers. The public sector accounts for more than half the calls, with one in five complainants working in the caring agencies, the NHS or social services. "Workplace bullying among women is increasing, partly because they are occupying more senior positions," said Tim Field, an Oxford counsellor who runs anti-bullying workshops. "Women when they are bullies tend to be more manipulative and divisive, whereas men in the same situation are more overtly hostile. Women also tend to leave less evidence about their bullying activities. "In around 10 per cent of the cases dealt with by the advice line, suicide had been contemplated. Eight cases involved actual suicide."

Blogasmic Sunday morning ramblings...

The woman at my last job, who was the reason I left, was the worst one of the lot. She was a classic workplace bully. She would whisper to your colleagues in front of you, causing you to wonder what they could possibly be talking about that couldn't be said out loud (or in a quiet conference room somewhere). She would set impossible tasks and give you very little direction and no time to do it in, then question your commitment to your job in front of the Manager. Her power-move was the one where, if you finally got up the nerve to tell her that she was asking too much of you, was to BURST INTO TEARS in front of the Manager, making him believe that you had said something unkind to her, and thus causing him to ask you to leave one week into your four weeks' notice. That woman still works there, the people above her still think she's great, her clients think she's terrific, but there are now twelve former employees of that company who have left on account of her behaviour. She gave the illusion of being a nice person, but scratch the very thin surface and you see that it's just that - an illusion. A dozen people, men and women, can't be wrong. But I'd be willing to bet her friends all think she's wonderful.

The Age Blogs Management Line

the worst manager I had was a self-obsessed childless bitch. I really hope she never procreates. The MD at the time, though, thought that her bullying and rudeness demonstrated toughness and has promoted her endlessly. She is incredibly paranoid and everynow and then lets her guard down and confesses she is a 'fraud' and that her whole bravado is an act. Beneath her she only promoted people who behaved in the same depraved manner..and having a child would have been seen as some kind of weakness.

Anyway, having a child for me has made me a much more relaxed person as you just don't have time to worry about stupid little things! I find that people in the workforce with children have a much better and balanced perspective on life and don't go to bed grinding their teeth endlessly (like aforementioned psycho bitch).

Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about bullying, mobbing and harassment

People who claim they're being bullied are just trying to hide the fact they're not very good at their job, aren't they?
In at least 95% of the cases of bullying reported to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, the person has been picked on because they are good at their job and popular with people. Bullies are driven by jealousy (of relationships) and envy (of abilities). The target just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you have an employee who is genuinely underperforming, then:
a) there will be substantive and quantifiable evidence that they are underperforming
b) there is already a problem with that person's manager for i) causing and allowing that situation to develop, ii) not taking positive action before,
c) bullying will always make a problem worse so any manager who thinks that bullying improves performance is revealing their inadequacy as a manager

How do I tell the difference between someone who is really being bullied and someone who's claiming bullying to hide their poor performance?
The person who is being bullied will have, or quickly be able to construct, a fat folder of evidence, often covering several months, maybe years. They will report a stream of bullying behaviours, especially nit-picking, fault-finding and constant criticism and allegations, all of which lack substantive and quantifiable evidence, for they are just the bully's opinion. It's the patterns, the regularity and the number of incidents which reveal bullying.
The person who is making a spurious claim might produce half a dozen sheets of paper, if that.

But you've got to bully people to get the job done, haven't you?

Bullies are weak, inadequate people who lack people skills, lack empathy, lack interpersonal skills, lack leadership skills, lack motivational skills, lack judgement, lack foresight and hindsight, lack forward thinking skills, etc. Bullies bully to hide the fact they lack these skills. Serial bullies are compulsive liars with a Jekyll and Hyde nature who use charm and mimicry to deceive peers and superiors. Bullying results in demotivation, demoralisation, disenchantment, disaffection, disloyalty, ill-health, high sickness absence, high staff turnover, an us-and-them culture, low productivity, frequent mistakes, low morale, non-existent team spirit, poor customer service, no continuity of customer care, etc. And that's just for starters.

Isn't there a fine line between admonishing people who are not performing and using strong management to get the job done?

a) Bullying is a cause of underperformance, not the solution
b) There are recognised ways of dealing with underperformance; bullying is not one of them
c) Bullying makes underperformance worse, not better
d) Bullying prevents employees from fulfilling their duties
e) "Underperforming" employees seem to follow the bully wherever s/he goes
f) It is always the bully who is weak, inadequate, and underperforming
g) Bullies are weak managers; bullying is designed to hide that weakness by giving the appearance of strength whilst diverting attention away from the bully

Surely a manager has a right to deal with the underperformance of a subordinate?
False allegations of underperformance are designed to divert attention away from the bully's own inadequacy and to create conflict between those who might share incriminating information about him/her.

Isn't it always just a case of the employee and employer fighting each other?
Almost always the employee and employer end up in an adversarial contest in which both are losers regardless of the outcome. However, the employee and employer should be on the same side fighting the bully. Bullies are adept at creating conflict between those who would otherwise pool incriminating information about them. Bullies also gain gratification (a perverse indulgence in that nice warm feeling we call satisfaction) from encouraging and then watching others engage in destructive conflict. Bullies are also adept at manipulation (especially of people's emotions), deception, and evasion of accountability.

My Human Resources department refuse to take me seriously. Instead, they are doing everything they can to support the bully whilst getting rid of me. Why is this?
From dealing with thousands of cases in which this happens - albeit a self-selecting audience which may not scale up nationally - I've identified the following reasons:
1) Human Resources (HR) people are not trained in dealing with bullying - it's not in their textbooks, not in their training, and their professional body in the UK (CIPD) has not given the issue the attention it needs.
2) The HR profession seems to attract a number of people who are not people-focused and thus not good at dealing with people problems.
3) HR is not there for employees. The role of HR is to keep the employer out of court.
4) The majority of HR people are female, and females seem particularly susceptible to charm, which is one of the bully's main weapons of deception.
5) By the time HR get to hear of the bullying they are faced with an articulate, plausible, convincing, charming "bully" and a gibbering wreck of a "target" who is traumatised and thus unconvincing, inarticulate, incoherent, obsessed, apparently paranoid, tearful, distressed and highly emotional. By this time the bully has already convinced HR that the target has a "mental health problem", is a liability to the organisation, and needs to be got rid of.
6) When it's one word against another with no witnesses, HR take the word of the senior employee (almost always the bully).
7) There's no law against bullying so there's no case to answer.
8) The employer doesn't have an anti-bullying policy so it's not a disciplinary issue.
9) The employer does have an anti-bullying policy but it's just words on paper
10) The bully is a tough dynamic manager who gets the job done and the high turnover of staff in the bully's department is because they're all wimps who can't meet the demanding standards of performance demanded by this exemplary manager. Yawn.
11) If HR recognise they have a bully, they're not going to admit it because to do so is tantamount to admitting liability for this - and previous - cases.
12) HR are not going to admit that they've made a mistake recruiting an incompetent individual who bullies to hide his or her inadequacies.
13) When push comes to shove, HR do what they are told to do by management, regardless of the rights and wrongs.
14) HR are sometimes an outsourced and contracterised profession with little influence.
15) The constant change, reorganisation, restructuring, downsizing, outsourcing, contracterisation etc mean that there is no continuity in treatment of staff and thus the bully is able to hide the fact that he or she has a history of conflict with employees.
16) Over the last few years employers have been burdened with numerous legislative changes (working time, data privacy, parental leave, etc) and have no desire, resources, time or energy to deal with issues for which there is no legal requirement.
17) Bullying cases are so long and complex (a situation the bully fosters) that most HR (and most people) don't have the time, energy or resources to unpick the case.
18) There are only a handful of people who are capable of providing HR with the training and insight to undertake a successful investigation.
19) Where HR want to investigate they are sometimes overruled.
20) HR (and management) are frightened of the serial bully too - and sometimes more frightened than the employees.
21) HR people get bullied too.

Girl power are women the worst bullies - 08-02-2005 by John Charlton

When organisational psychologist Mary Sherry wrote in a national newspaper last month that female managers were far more likely to bully staff than male ones it triggered a large reader response - almost all backing her view.

Why are some women much worse bullies than their male counterparts?

One female respondent to Shelly's article said: "Women bosses are worse bullies than men. I also agree with Sherry that usually they employ more insidious tactics such as isolating people and nit-picking in order to undermine the other person's confidence."

Another wrote: "Your article has provoked me to put down on record that the unhappiest years of my life were caused by female bosses. I was treated so badly that I lived in a state of fear for the last few years of my employment."

And a third said: "I work for a government department and have been off work since late October due to stress and anxiety exacerbated by a two-year campaign by my female line manager. Women bosses are certainly worse than men at bullying."

... ... ...

Their approach is a lot more subtle and psychological. They nitpick and undermine through constant criticism which leads to those on the receiving end losing their self-confidence and becoming risk and responsibility averse.

So who are these bully-girl bosses?

In Sherry's view they tend to be middle managers who are managing beyond their level of competence.

"For example when they are asked to perform at a certain level and don't have the managerial competence to get the best out of people they may bully. I don't think people actually decide to become bullies. It is because they don't have the competence to fulfil their management role."

And who, typically, are their victims?

According to Sherry the victim is rarely a new starter. They tend to have been employed for 18 months to 15 years. "A new female manager is brought in and undermines the person concerned by nit-picking and disempowering them."

She said that although it sounds like she is banging her own drum she does not think internal HR departments are best at dealing with serious bullying cases, especially if they involve senior staff.

"It is very difficult for internal investigators to look into bullying cases," Shelly said. "HR departments often don't have the level of delicate questioning techniques."

Stream: Girl power: are women the worst bullies?

This is an excellent article. Despite my not wanting to believe that women are the worst bullies, too much experience has taught me otherwise. Your article confirms what I have seen for the past 20 years.

Lisa Oakmonst, 21 Feb 2005

Female bullies

I totally agree with this article. As an HR manager for a charity, we have just dismissed a female manager for bullying. The investigation into her behaviour completely backs up the evidence that she was working beyond her competence, which she hid very well until the investigation took place.

Anonymous, 11 Feb 2005
Bullying - women are the worst

I can agree completely with Sherry's view of a female bully.

I was bullied in my previous workplace. The person who bullied me was my equal and was then made my line manager. I was subjected to constant criticism and nitpicking -it was mental torture. I called upon our Manager for help and was fobbed off.

I finally decided after losing all of my self confidence and being signed off sick with stress on anti-depressants that enough was enough.

Luckily I have a very supportive family who contacted our solicitor. I resigned and have claimed constructive dismissal. My case goes to tribunal in August 2005. I will have been left for two years eight months but the company in question have adjourned the case three times. Is this another game they are playing?

Lucy Lucas


L Lucas

08 Feb 2005

JCU - Female bullies by D Gray, Manager, Equal Opportunity, 2003

We hear so much of women as victims and the disadvantages women encounter in employment, that it sometimes comes as a surprise to realize that women are equally as capable of bullying behavior as men.

Women are supposed to be co-operative rather than competitive, more inclined towards empathy, and less towards seeking dominance. Women are often portrayed as caring more than men about personal experience and feelings.

It may be true that women are less inclined to indulge in vocalized rages - public swearing and shouting - and in physical violence, though I am sure that all of us could think of exceptions. Research indicates, however, that women are inclined towards

Such behavior is evidence of women's socialization: often we do not know how to elicit positive attention, or to assert ourselves so that our views and rights are recognized and respected. So we use inappropriate and ineffectual means to attract attention any way we can. We have been conditioned very early that girls do not shout and scream. No one is surprised, however, if girls go quiet or even sulk.

The problem, however, is that unless people communicate, they will not resolve their differences.

What comes as a shock to many people is just how personally and educationally damaging social and professional isolation and exclusion from networks can be.

D Gray, Manager, Equal Opportunity, 2003

May be reproduced with acknowledgement

Family bullying by a serial bully or psychopath in the family verbal abuse and emotional abuse through power, control, domination and subjugation

Whilst the focus of Bully OnLine is bullying in the workplace, the serial bully at work is a serial bully at home and in the community. All serial bullies have been through school and all have families and neighbours. An increasing number of enquiries come from people dealing with family bullying.

The violence committed by a serial bully is almost entirely psychological, for psychological violence leaves no scars and no physical evidence. Most commonly the violence takes the form of verbal abuse and emotional abuse including trivial nit-picking criticism, constant fault-finding combined with a simultaneous refusal to recognise, value, acknowledge and praise. Manipulation, isolation and exclusion are other favourite tactics, as is feigning victimhood or persecution, especially when held accountable.

The objectives of serial bullies are Power, Control, Domination and Subjugation. These are achieved by a number of means including disempowerment, the stimulation of excessive levels of fear, shame, embarrassment and guilt, manipulation (especially of emotions and perceptions), ritual humiliation and constant denial. When you live with someone who is constantly denying what they said or did a day ago, or an hour ago, or even a minute ago, it drives you crazy. When the symptoms of injury to health start to become apparent, the bully will tell others you have a "mental health problem". You may be mad, but this is not mad insane, this is mad angry.

Control is a common indicator of the serial bully at home - control of finances, control of movements, control over choice of friends, control of the right to work, control over what to think, and so on. All are designed to disempower.

A favorite tactic of the bully in the family is to set people against each other. The benefits to the bully are that:

a) the bully gains a great deal of gratification (a perverse form of satisfaction) from encouraging and provoking argument, quarrelling and hostility, and then from watching others engage in adversarial interaction and destructive conflict, and

b) the ensuing conflict ensures that people's attention is distracted and diverted away from the cause of the conflict

Bullies within the family, especially female bullies, are masters (mistresses?) of manipulation and are fond of manipulating people through their emotions (eg guilt) and through their beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. Bullies see any form of vulnerability as an opportunity for manipulation, and are especially prone to exploiting those who are most emotionally needy. Elderly relatives, those with infirmity, illness, those with the greatest vulnerability, or those who are emotionally needy or behaviorally immature family members are likely to be favorite targets for exploitation.

The family bully encourages and manipulates family members etc to lie, act dishonourably and dishonestly, withhold information, spread misinformation, and to punish the target for alleged infractions, ie the family members become the bully's unwitting (and sometimes witting) instruments of harassment.

Big, Bad Bullies

Don't overreact. As much as we want to protect our kids, remember that it is not your fight. Outward intervention in many cases may make a bad bully situation worse. Many well-meaning adults interfere in their offspring's issues. In most all cases, a grown-up should remain neutral, listen, and offer some non-emotional responses about bullies and any bully threats.

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