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Empowerment a Two-Way Street a Reaction to Rosalind Wiseman's Girl Cliques

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  • October 2007
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Cliques have to start somewhere. The actuality is that most high school boys and girls are extremely aware of "types," and most fit bits and pieces of several. Yes, there are "popular girls" and "jocks," but the majority exist between these obvious stereotypes; nothing like what we see in the movie Mean Girls, in which all of the students are portrayed as being distinctly defined with one group. Everyone is quick to say there are cliques, and queen bees , and so on and so forth, but few give any recognition to the uniqueness each individual adds making each situation abstractly different. "The Plastics," in Mean Girls, are modeled closely on Rosalind Wiseman's "queen bee," "sidekick" and "messenger," which really are quite generalized stereotypes. Wiseman acts as if she is only trying to help people understand "girl world," but really Wiseman is being a "mean girl" herself by using hasty generalizations such as these.

Are girls meaner than they used to be? I really don't think this question can possibly be answered in relation to time. What do statements like "used to be," or "no worse than ever," really mean? The world we know today is far different for women than it has ever been and their social endeavors much more in the public eye. The cliques talked about by Wiseman never could have existed before the era of public education for women. In almost all cultures across all of time women have had little social interaction compared to that of today's semi-equal world where women can, for the most part, make all of their own choices for the first time.

Wisemen's essay, "Cliques No Worse Than Ever," really seems to only be a comparison of what she saw and experienced in her high school days, to the way she perceives things are in high schools these days. I believe the essay is written from an ethnocentric point of few, but also with a perspective of the time in which she has lived. Whether or not Wiseman arrived at the correct conclusion, her...

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