What – or Who – is Behind all this “Girl Fighting”?

August 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm Leave a comment

We hear and see that girl fighting can really stress girls out.
But what is behind all this fighting, and what can facilitators do about it?

GREAT question.  When girls are able to talk about what got their conflict going, there is usually a boy somewhere at or near the root of the problem.

Now, we’re not blaming boys or girls here.  We just want to raise some questions, and suggest some points for exploration.

Here’s a really common scenario:  a girl and a boy are dating, and then at some point, one becomes less interested and  wants to see someone else, and somehow a rumor gets started.  Maybe it’s the girl getting restless, or maybe the boy.  But when the boy either gets restless or feels the girl getting there,  he often takes some action. He tells the friend a half-truth about the girl he’s been dating, something that causes the two girls to start to fight. Neither girl “checks the facts” with the other and both think the guy would not lie to them. When the girls  have a chance to break it down and talk it out, they usually find out that something that was said just wasn’t true, and judgments were made.  On that note, whenever possible, see if the girls are willing to try to talk it out with you as their mediator – or the circle as their mediator – it helps.

And the girls get all involved in the fighting while the boy…well what does he do?  He plays it cool — says he doesn’t really understand why they are so upset. The fight ends up working to his advantage though.  It gives  him “cover” so he can indirectly break up with one girl and date the other.  Have you seen something like this happen?

I am sure it happens in reverse as well, but this is such a common story that it seems worth noting.  So here are some questions,which include motivational interviewing, exploration of media messages, family messages, power and sisterhood to consider bringing to your group for verbal and creative activities:

  • Why do girls fight?
  • Why do they NOT fight, when they choose NOT to fight?
  • How does fighting work for  girls? What does it offer them?
  • What is not so helpful or useful for girls about fighting?
  • And look at the Media with girls: movies, reality t.v., television, music, internet, magazines, etc.
  • Ask them, what do these media forms tell us about how girls are? how they act? what is normal? what matters to girls? what’s most important? What are the media messages about girls’ relationships with peers, and ethnicity, class, power, stereotyping, etc?
  • What are the myths perpetuated?  What are the facts?
  • We can look with girls at their Family  messages: what and with whom do women in the family argue/fight about? What do they connect over, and how?
  • We can re-direct the topic from fighting to connection itself, and explore power and sisterhood. Are these two words mutually exclusive? How and when and where does sisterhood influence girls’ decisions about what matters, who matters, and how to handle conflicts?

What would you include on this topic of girls’ fighting?

THANKS!

Beth Hossfeld
Associate Director

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