The Orion Nebula

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nothing New Under the Sun

This post has nothing to do with pregnancy, babies, or parenting. But it's the only blog I've got and some shit has got to be said.

We moved to Florida from the suburbs of Atlanta over the summer before I started 10th grade. Without the benefit of school, the friends I made over the first couple of months were limited to the kids around the apartment complex where my family set up shop. One of these friends had a smoking hot older brother named Shawn. Shawn was going to be a senior, and had decided that as soon as his girlfriend returned from vacation he was going to break up with her. While nothing was promised, Shawn and I did a lot of flirting in the last weeks of summer vacation. My understanding was that once he could do the honorable thing and break up with his girlfriend, we would be together. What can I say? He was 17 and male (therefore an asshole) and I was a 15 year old girl (therefore an idiot).

The week before school started, I got a call from his sister (my friend). Girlfriend had returned home and had been dumped, as promised. I poofed up my bangs (hey, it was barely the '90's) and made for Shawn's house. What followed was an absolute disaster. Yeah, there was hooking up. But it was awkward and just kind of wrong. I was not completely inexperienced, so when he said "Uh, this isn't working," I didn't argue. I'd figured the same thing out already. I was bummed, but wrote the whole thing off to poor chemistry and went home. I later found out that he had no intention of dating me anyway. He just thought I'd be an easy piece of tail in between his girlfriend and whatever new adventures awaited him in the land of senior-bigshot-douchebags.

Fast forward a few months. Four? Five? I had settled into my new school and was making friends and meeting new guys. I started dating a guy named Scott. This relationship was way more in line with what you'd expect from a relationship between 15-year-olds. There were movies and milkshakes, some rollerskating, and even a couple of rounds of mini-golf. I wasn't in looooooove with this guy, but he was cute and I was having fun. The problem? He had a twin sister, and they were creepy close. Yeah, "that" kind of creepy close. Whatever. I was never going to be able to nail down the nature of that whole deal, so I decided to just stay out of her way. Trouble was, this twin sister had a a raging crush on a certain smoking hot senior-bigshot-douchebag.

Somehow, the Mean Girl network, headed by Creepy Twin Sister, got ahold of the information that I had, at one point, hooked up with Shawn. In spite of the fact that I had tried to do right by his girlfriend, waited until I'd known him for two months, and recognized a losing proposition when things finally went down, I? Was a whore.

This was news by me, and I guess the Mean Girls decided it would take a special kind of event to thoroughly convince me of just what kind of trash I really was. So, my "friend", Shawn's sister came over and "invited" me to Scott (and CTS's) house. Something smelled fishy, so I brought a couple of guy friends for back up. What followed looked almost exactly like this:

I don't want to take anything away from poor Victoria Lindsay. I walked away in much better shape than she did. I was scratched and bruised. I'd had chunks of hair pulled out, so there were some bloody places on my scalp. My shirt was torn off. When I'd finally made a break for it I had to claw my way out of the fray using a brick mailbox housing, so I'd torn some fingernails off in that process. I didn't need the hospital, but I was pretty messed up. The thing that haunts me watching this video is that I remember exactly how helpless I felt in the middle of this crowd of girls. Watching this, did you think that Victoria should have made more of an effort to get out that door? I can tell you, the way the social structure of high school is set up, she...I...didn't even think it was an option. These Queen Bees say, "No, you can't leave." It doesn't even occur to you that you have the option to leave. I stayed and was terrorized for almost two hours before I finally ran out the back door of that house. I even did some of Crazy Twin Sister's chores. It was when I ran that they really attacked.

But the powerlessness! How does a smart, pretty, talented teenager learn that she is so much less worthy than these "popular" girls that she will stay and get beaten rather than go against them? I left with other questions from that day too. Why didn't one of the adults that drove past as I was being beaten on the front lawn stop the car and help me? Why did my parents honor my wishes for them to not react to the situation? Who had let these girls think they could do this to another human being? Why didn't I think I was worth better treatment?

The interesting thing about how closely this situation mirrors my experience is that this new incident took place in my new home town, although so far all of my exposure to it has been through national media. No matter where I see the coverage, and for obvious reasons I can't seem to get enough, everyone keeps wanting to blame social networking websites. I guess they think that because the the trash talking happened on MySpace and attack was video taped for the purpose of putting it on the internet, these adults want to assume that the attack wouldn't have happened without the lure of celebrity and the anonimity of the internet.

People, wake up! Could Victoria and I be the only girls this has ever happened to? Of course not! Girls bullying each other is nothing new. Sure, like everything else, there are newer shinier toys to use to terrorize one another. But focusing on that leads to ignoring the real problem of just how evil girls can be to each other. Don't you remember being that age? We were horrible to each other! I think the internet just shines a light on it. Why can't girls value and respect each other? Why the competition?

It just makes me sick. I need to stop now.

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