Sunday, June 6, 2010

Teach Your Daughters Well

I had an experience this weekend that brought me back to the phenomenon of middle school "mean girls" (and yes, this will eventually get around to 50/50)and really blew my mind. It seems that the ex-girlfriend of a man I am dating has created a pseudonymous blog about dating in her 50's, and chose to dedicate one post to me, or as she put it, her "ex's next". While I'm interested and amused that she thinks I'm so important in this man's life to be worth commenting about, needless to say, it was not a flattering post, and in fact, reeked of language and behavior that can at best be described as classic 7th grade mean girl queen bee nasty. Immature? Yes. Wounding? Not really.

It is not so many years ago that I abruptly resigned (with no future job in sight) from a cushy position because my female boss, the CEO of that company, exhibited classic mean girl behavior, taunting me and verbally harassing me, and I refused to be pushed around by this bully who was determined to demean me based on her insecure competitive nature. My sense of self esteem, particularly in the professional world, was strong enough to recognize damaging behavior and refuse to get caught up in this bee's nest. This is pretty different from when I was in middle school, when one withering look or nasty comment could send me running away, ready to compromise my behavior in order for the alpha girls to accept me.

So what does this have to do with 50/50? One of the original concepts of the business was for a significant portion of the profits from 50/50 to be used for development of and/or support of programs fostering self-esteem in middle-school girls. The very idea of a women's clothing business which recognized the clothing needs of mature women while nurturing future mature women seemed complete and holistic. I still believe in the concept, and if I should ever open this business, it will be a critical component.

But I realized when I read this nasty post from "Emma" that all the programs in the world are not the answer. This woman, this bright, well-educated, professionally successful mother of a daughter is probably feeding her daughter with all the right words, books, and programs to teach her to be a good strong woman when she grows up, just like Mommy. But the role-modeling exhibited by this grown-up mean girl must be, sadly, delivering quite the opposite message to her daughter, and no program will wipe out the messages fed to her in mother's milk. We comment with outrage over teenage girls being driven to suicide by bullying online and off. Sadly it is no surprise from whom these bullies sometimes learn.

For more reading on grown up mean girls


  1. Lisa, I'm constantly delighted at the range and perceptiveness of your posts on this great blog. I hope you are listed under Philosophy! Brava!

  2. Love your attitude, Lisa. I, too, had a nasty female boss just like this once upon a time. It saddens me to see women so insecure in their own self-esteem and innate wholeness that they have to demean others and resort to petty, vicious attacks to make themselves feel not so small.

    Carry on being the fabulous woman you are!

  3. I have had this experience too, Lisa, as an artist and as a community organizer, and even from my current beau's ex's blog (which I only heard about and decided not to read.) It always amazes me that adults still engage in this behavior that seems like such a public display of insecurity. Thanks for speaking out about it--I hope she might learn a lesson and grow up! The world is a much better place for those of us who make it so through visual or verbal means.

  4. Clearly this man, whoever he may be, elected to date the wisest woman.