White feminists, patriarchy, and solidarity: the dangling carrot
Heather Jo Flores
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So mean girls are mean because of patriarchy? That’s absurd.

My daughter was a victim of the mean girls and it wasn’t because she was a non-conforming “black pants girl”. She was actually quite compliant, well behaved, and happy. The problem was she is an only child who didn’t spend a lot of time around kids her own age until grade school. The adults who surrounded her were invariably kind and loving. No one was deliberately mean to her, so she never learned strategies to cope with people being mean to her.

Mean girls don’t learn to be mean from adults. They learn it from older mean girls. They learn to cope by joining the mean girls, withdraw, or (as my daughter did) start hanging around with boys. Aside from a few close girl friends, most of my daughter’s friends were boys.

Presumably, the same boys who were being instructed by patriarchical parents to suppress women.

Boys go through a similar process of conformity / isolation. It’s just different, and a lot of non-conforming boys have more girl friends.

But there IS a link between patriarchy and childhood peer pressure, but it’s really the opposite of your thesis.

There is a whole class of behaviors that are not passed down from parent to child, but from older children to younger children.

Accents are one. Children of immigrants usually pick up the accent of their peers, not their parents. Gang culture is another. How often have youths joined gangs regardless of all their parents can do to prevent it? Smoking? Drugs? Alcohol? Music? They’re all passed down by children.

The coping mechanisms we learn as children stay with us into adulthood. The mean girl often becomes a mean woman. The bully boy, becomes the bully man. Mean girls tend to ally themselves with bully boys, so black pant girls are often bullied by both boys and girls.

These childhood cultural imperitives stay with us into adulthood, so patriarchy is not the cause of mean girls and bully boys, it’s the result.

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