Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, September 23, 2004





Grrls vs Grrls

By Maliha Bassam

Don't get me wrong. I am not the resident RS misogynist. I happen to like being a girl; it's pretty cool. But enter the typical high school scenario for a week and you'll see how things aren't always rainbows, butterflies and bubble gum. At a point, you really begin to doubt how much of it you can ignore and even how much of it you should ignore.

I'm talking about the popular phenomenon of female rivalry. If you think by that I mean a few cat fights in the washroom, some hair-pulling topped with a flux of expletives; think again. If you're a girl, you must bump into it at least a few times a day, sometimes oh-so-casually, that even you don't realise it. Of course though the sight of X pulling Y's expensively highlighted hair might provide much-needed entertainment to your bored mind, the thought of some things girls can do and usually do, are less than flattering.

For example, try remembering the first time you walked into your Economics tutor's class. Assuming that half of the population happened to be female, you must have felt twenty five pairs of eyes giving you the 'Check Up', which is basically a head to toe visual dissection aimed to register some of the following facts: Is she prettier than me? Taller than me? Thinner than me? Smarter than me? Now you may ask me to wait a second; you never DO that, in the case of which all I have to say is: Good for you; look around yourself and you'll find that too many girls are not as forgiving.

Another aspect of female rivalry that I find simultaneously ridiculous and infuriating is how some girls love dishing the dirt on other girls. Let me share with you one experience I had on a particular overnight study tour. Somehow the topic of conversation came to this girl who was really upset (and who didn't happen to be in the room). When I thought that the other girls would express their sympathy or at least just let the matter be, they started picking her apart with the exact relish of a starving tiger feeding off an antelope (okay, tigers better eat antelopes or excuse my limited food chain knowledge). Starting from the minutest details of her appearance to the guy she was dating not being 'cool enough', every feature of hers was scrutinised as if under a microscope. By the end of the entire length of the verbal abuse, the girls wore expressions of an inexplicable satisfaction, as if their analysis of the whole subject was tantamount to the completion of a Ph.D.

People say that the female species is supposed to want what they don't have and the extension to such desperation becomes evident as soon as romance comes into the picture. Let's take Girl A and Guy B, put in a few giggles and Hallmark cards and voila! They're going out! Now enter Girl A's so-called friends; Girls XYZ, who prior to this couple getting together, hardly bothered to consider Guy B's existence. All of a sudden, B becomes the token male, the subject of an overload of attention from Girls XYZ. Then XYZ just happen to casually mention how 'close friends' they are with Guy B in front of his girlfriend A, the prime motive of theirs being, 'Let's make her jealous'.

Similarly the news of the star couple of the school breaking up is enough to send some girls into a frenzy. After the initial celebration over the fact that Girl A got dumped by Guy B and the fact that B is now a single guy, they project all their energy into Mission: Mend B's Broken Heart and Find Him a Soulmate Within a Week,

Even when guys aren't in the picture, some girls have a tendency to classify themselves as beings superior to the ones who don't own 70 pairs of Pradas like they do. It's usually easy to distinguish this 'cool group'. They usually stick together in clumps of bright colours and glittery 6 inch heels. With a damsel-in-distress air meant to bait the 'macho' (*ahem*) guys and an eternal, never-fade-away expression of 'I-don't-get-what-2+2-means-doesn't-that-make-me-cute?' this 'in' crowd can be spotted from miles away. They make it their duty to pass a comment on every thing that doesn't fall under their business, like how unfashionable Girl A is, and how unfashionable Girl B is, and how unfashionable… oh, well, you get the picture. They giggle at jokes told by the 'in' guys (even when they're not funny), have a blast picking on the poor guy who was their only friend when they were fat in class four and keep on reminding anyone who's unwelcome and dares to cross the invisible line to their territory that the barometer of 'coolness' hasn't given a high-enough reading for them to do so.

While it may be funny to make observations of the idiosyncrasies of these girls for the people with a slightly higher IQ than that of snails, sometimes the things that result from these are rather tragic. Any girl thrown out of the 'cool crowd' may find herself becoming a social outcast with everyone either hating her for her previous schemes or simply being afraid to be friends with her. Sometimes, the amount of illogical fear that these girls inspire in the ones who are not in their crowd is quite astonishingly high. And for the ones with crumbling self-confidence (as is so common in every high school), a few lethal comments from these people can shatter them into powder.

Of course I have to admit that people aren't always as bad as this. Some of them change with age. Some of them don't. Not all girls are mean and hate each other. Not all of them have voodoo dolls and know black magic spells to make your hair fall out. Some are actually rather nice. However, you can't deny the fact that usually, girls tend to get a little… GRRR… with other girls and the intensity of the competition or jealously may extend to a point where it's no longer absurd but cruel. Next time some mean girls pick on you, make sure you know your high kicks to teach them who's boss. And if you're too scared/short, just give me a call, eh?


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