Monday, October 15, 2007

Mean Girls

Here's an article on what Maclean's calls the "mean girl" books . . . stretching from Sweet Valley High to Gossip Girls. It has the usual blah-blah-blah corrupting our children blah blah blah valourizing viciousness (oo, I like that phrase, nicely alliterative) blah blah blah burn 'em all and break out the Scarlet A's. Then it turns to a different point of view.

Girls, in other words, seem to already understand the Darwinian social dynamics of junior high. And the books may actually serve as a tool for them to attempt to make sense of it all.

And later . . .

And the books also give the girls who are not necessarily perched on the top social rung a risk-free context in which to play out various social hypotheticals. "I think the reason girls like to read the books is because they make you feel like you're actually part of a really important clique," says Anthi. "It gives you a feeling of power." Adds Kristen: "And you know the secrets." At the same time, they can judge and reject the bad behaviour from the safety of their room.

Hmmmm. I do remember the viciousness of middle school, although I was so far down the ladder that I didn't come in for much more than mockery, instead of the high-stakes shark fights this article presents. I haven't read any of these books (I didn't even read Sweet Valley High). Can someone who has chip in on this one?

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