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 In the 25 years we have been working with schools across the country, we have noticed some key gender differences in bullying behavior.  Mean Girls - Movie Poster Print - Style B - 27" x 40"A couple of weeks ago we watched the movie “Mean Girls”, about a group of high school girls bullying another girl who doesn’t fit in, so they verbally torment her, and generally make her life miserable. Of course the misfit prevails, the mean girls face suitable consequences for their behavior, everybody learns lessons and live somewhat happily ever after. We wish it could be more like that in real life.

Gender Differences in Bullying Behavior

  • Girls generally display bullying behavior by lashing out verbally, by creating alliances, by leaving other girls out, by gossiping and spreading rumors, and by engaging in covert behavior.
  • Girl bullying is often based on body image, which can often be attributed to poor body images, low self-esteem, and may lead to eating disorders. 
  • Boys have more of a “line ‘em up and knock ‘em down” tendency, and display their bullying behavior through physical intimidation.
  • When boys engage in bullying behavior, they tend to bully girls as much as boys, while girls tend to bully mostly girls.
  • Bullying behavior by boys can easily extend into sexual harassment or abuse, especially at the middle and high school levels.
  • Both boy and girl bullying can manifest in racist remarks, especially if the students are poorly schooled on cultural diversity issues.
  • In the last ten years, we have noticed a rise in both boy and girl bullying based on homophobic fears and misconceptions.

Both gender varieties of bullying are harmful and insidious in there own ways. As adults, it is so important to tell our children, and especially our girls, that just because they’re not hitting somebody physically, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

Gakina-awiiya (We Are All Related),

Chief Robert and Terri Lynn TallTree
www.thetalltrees.com

“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth, and heal each other.”   – Ojibwe prayer

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Anti-gay or homophobic bullying is an extremely serious, harmful issue that every parent and teacher should be aware of. One of the most profound memories we have comes from the day we spoke at a conference on Grief and Loss. It was in Casper, Wyoming and it was on the same day as Matthew Shephard’s funeral. There was so much sadness, it hung in the air like a dark cloud. Every single person is someone’s son or daughter. If you hurt them, they will feel pain.

 

Click on these links to read up on anti-gay or homophobic bullying:

 

www.safeschoolscoalition.org/Anti-GayBullying_Whats-theBigDeal.pdf

www.nmha.org/go/information/get-info/children-s-mental-health/bullying-and-gay-youth

www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20070330/bullying-targets-lesbian-gay-teens

Gakina-awiiya (We Are All Related),

Chief Robert and Terri Lynn TallTree
www.thetalltrees.com

“Teach us love, compassion and honor…that we may heal the Earth, and heal each other.”   – Ojibwe prayer

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