Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Cliquey Clique Clique

Do you know women that are in their twenties and thirties and haven't stopped acting like they're in middle school? I don't know what it is about the mean girl phenom that happens when girls reach around 11 or 12, but most of us outgrow it. Or at least I hope we do. The Girl is in eighth grade, and she's pretty much already past the worst of the mean girl phenom. Last year was a killer for her, because she went to a school that did nothing to stem the bitchy behavior of a certain clique of girls. These girls weren't nice, and they weren't supervised by their parents. The worst part of it was, and I do not mean this to be or sound in any way racist, most of the meanest girls came from Russian families. Perhaps it's a cultural thing, but these kids had parents who would lie up one side and down the other, even in court, to protect their kids, but they never paid one whit of attention to them other than when they had to, usually because they were in serious trouble. Stealing, yup. Shoplifting, yup. Lying, yup. Fighting, yup. Even a stabbing. All of those things happened, and no matter what the real story was, the mean girls blamed every other kid in sight, including my daughter, for things that she didn't do.

Miraculously, a change of schools and a change of friends and voila! No more trouble. It isn't like my kid changed that dramatically, because she didn't. But she did make huge strides towards recognizing the typical mean girl behavior and she's staying far away. There is one girl that lives near us that tends to be pretty mean, and my kid has already steered way clear of her after she pulled something nasty. I'm really proud that the Girl has begun to understand the difference between being used and being liked for who she is. She's working very hard at this, and it doesn't come naturally to her because she's got a non-verbal learning disability and one of the main issues with NVLD kids is recognizing social cues. So, mean girls are falling by the wayside for my middle schooler.

However, the mean girls don't always grow up, do they? The ones that can't stand that you're not in the cool group. The ones that think they know everything because they live in cool cities in cool houses in cool neighborhoods with cool strollers and cool childcare and cool husbands that work in cool jobs so the cool moms can replay the 50's and stay home with their cool babies. We all know these people. Sometimes we see them online, sometimes we see them in the park, and lots of times we see them at Starbucks drinking the cool latte of the month listening to their cool ipods with cool music while their cool babies drink the cooled off cool hot chocolate.

These are the cool girls that drink the cool cocktails and pretend that their lives are similar to the women in Sex and the City except they don't date unless they happen to be in cool open marriages with cool spouses who welcome cool boyfriends and girlfriends, because after all, it's cool to be bi. These are the women who brag about smoking dope because they think that dope is still cool. I did mention lost in the 50's right?

The thing about these cool women is that they have no tolerance whatsover for people that are different than they are. They don't like anyone that practices any religion because that's so uncool. Belief in G-d...well that is just unacceptable to the cool moms because it's only cool to be an athiest, or a pagen. That can be cool if you're into goddesses. But mostly, religion is out. They have no tolerance for anyone that might be even the tiniest bit conservative, because leaning left is cool and anyone who doesn't must be insane. Psycho. Nuts. OK, I happen to agree that anyone who remains a Republican after this administration needs to have their head examined, but I do have friends and unfortunately family members who are (gag) Republicans. And I love them anyways.

These woman have no tolerance for bad looks. It's important to have makeup and a hairdo and cool clothes for you and even cooler clothes for baby. You ain't got Robeez, you ain't cool enough for them. They hate anyone fat, they hate anyone with an obvious flaw, and lord knows, they wouldn't spend a second being friends with someone like that because it's just not cool. But if you're in your 40's and have purple dreadlocks, well...you're cool then. You might be a murderer, but heck, that's ok because we know how cool dreds are.

What happens to these cool moms is, they end up in cliques with all the other cool moms, and they exclude anyone else. That means they exclude the old, the infirm, the conservative, the religious, and anyone else they've deemed uncool. These excluded moms would be bad mommys who put their kids in daycare, who use cribs, who bottle feed, who, G-d Forbid circumsize their sons, and who aren't into attachment parenting. The cool moms see themselves as this new phenomenon, the stay-at-home mom, the ladies that lunch, and shop, and chat online. But I grew up in the 50's and I see this as a repeat of the old, not anything new. I see these women who feel that their husbands should support them, and they're entitled to homes, and they're entitled to expensive things because they deserve it. You, know, they're cool, so they should have all this.

What happened to feminism, people? Where did we fail so miserably that we get this entitled bunch of mean girls raising the next generation. Does this scare anyone besides me? I fear for these kids. Their only hope is to rise up and throw off the yoke of 1950's parenting in the new millenium. I pray that they do.
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Anonymous Last Girl On Earth said...

It's funny. I was reading your post and thinking about my sister and her kids. I've NEVER understood my sister's life and her friends and value system. I went over to check where you were from and ironically, my sister lives outside of Boston. I don't know if there is a connection. I really don't know much at all about that life style. But I think you have made some really valid points. I couldn't agree with you more.

OH! Congrats on your nomination! I'm up for best music blog. It's pretty exciting. I'm advocating all nominees getting tiaras! What do you think? (I just like an excuse to wear a tiara!)

Have a great weekend. And Michele sent me this time!

13/1/06 12:22 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

How shallow they are. Michele sent me.

13/1/06 12:51 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

A tiara! What a great idea. And I know JUST where to get a dishy one, too. I love this idea. Let's propose this to all the finalists!

13/1/06 1:04 AM  
Blogger utenzi said...

Michele sent me, Margalit.

Let me guess, you're one of those cool moms, aren't you? Come on. You can confess!

Seriously, I've not been by much since you had surgery and I hope all is going well now. Since you posted the other day about being sick, I'm sure you don't feel good right now but I hope all is mending inside. The hearts are quite important. Take care of it! (and try out some purple dreads)

13/1/06 1:14 AM  
Anonymous Claire said...

Tell me about it. I have to send you an email about our recent rolling experience with a group of cool boys. Ugh.

13/1/06 8:34 AM  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

I'm a man raising a daughter with my wife and even I worry about this topic a lot. On the one hand, we're all individually responsible for raising our kids with the right values. On the other hand, when I look around and see some parents not only setting such poor examples but also encouraging the same sort of "spoiled princess" behavior in their kids, it scares the hell out of me. That's why I love coming herre, Margalit. Your approach and perspectives on parenting are like a guiding beacon for newbies like me. Congrats on your nomination!

13/1/06 8:52 AM  
Anonymous R*Belle said...

Oh wow, do I agree with you. I have so much to say on this topic and yet I usually find myself keeping my mouth shut for fear of rocking the boat.

13/1/06 11:01 AM  
Blogger jennifer starfall said...

yup, mean girls grow up to be mean women. the phenomenon is starting to gain more recognition because us nice ladies can't stand them anymore.

i liked this book about it, if you're interested in reading further... i also heard about a new book on NPR, but i missed the title!

13/1/06 11:26 AM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...


13/1/06 6:21 PM  
Blogger Carmi said...

The company where I used to work was packed with women who subscribed to the clique mentality.

Now that I've left the firm and have established a somewhat more successful career trajectory than theirs, they're suddenly very friendly to me every time I bump into them when I'm out and about.

Losers, all of them.

13/1/06 11:39 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Hmm...it depends on where you are. The "cool" phenomenon can include religion (and then anyone who's not obervant is uncool); it can include Republicanism (and then anyone who's liberal is out). etc. The one constant is that the cool girls decide what's cool, and if you're not it, you don't get in.

I'm sure we'll be seeing them around up till old age, wherein we'll discover that the cool girls have taken up canasta (or mah jongg, or Crazy 8's) and that's the cool game to play in the assisted- living-home common room.

Oh, and hi! I'm over from Grace's. Now I can't stop reading...

14/1/06 10:22 AM  
Anonymous carrie said...

That's why I don't like women in general, though I am finding so many kindred spirits onlie that it's hard to maintain that attitude. Actually, I wrote an article for the last Mosaic Minds about mean girls. God I'm glad I'm not a kid anymore, though being a mother is almost like reverting to high school if you let it. Maybe that's why I don't have any IRL friends *lol*.

Oh, and I meant to comment on the tattoo post--I don't have any, don't want any and find most of them to be pretty tacky looking. At one job my skinny little boss had dolphins swimming around her belly button. . . then she got pregant. You can imagine the results.

14/1/06 10:29 AM  
Blogger L said...

Ok, I know you posted this a while back but I've been very behind on my reading.

I like this post because you point out so much of what is wrong with today's society. There is no tolerance for diversity, which is sad considering it is 2006!

18/1/06 7:11 PM  

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