Posts Tagged ‘social competition’
My daughters put a book into my hands several months ago, and I finally sat down and read it.
And recommend it to adults, as well as young people (girls in particular) over the age of 8 or 9.
Amy Goldman Koss’’s “The Girls” is the closest read to ‘what really happens’ that I have come across. Not only is each chapter told from a different group member’s point of view, the ‘situation’ around which the plot evolves is not a big, blown out, ‘that would never happen in my life’ event.
In keeping with girls’ reliance on their social network, the aggression is covert, simultaneously allowing for the maintenance and destruction of relationships.
Put differently: girls rely on their social network as a means of competition (that is, it is a tool for social advancement) while valuing that network as an end in itself (an important resource to be competed for). While the network may be colonized in the service of cruelty, the aggression remains subtle and insidious, ripples on a pond with far reaching affects, while underlying relationships remain intact.
In “The Girls” there was no confrontation, no fight, and only one overtly nasty incident .
Instead, a more likely scenario, centering around the nuances of inclusion and exclusion, was played out. And, it was done in a way which accurately depicts how all members of a group constantly jockey for position, and consequently need to process friendship struggles―as bystanders as well as victims―on an ongoing basis. The book does a wonderful job portraying the ambivalence of bystanders, suggesting their potential to negotiate, if not withstand, the bullying.