Female Friendships

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Female friendships are one of the most important dimensions of an adolescent girl’s life. Peer relationships and friendships are critical in the developing adolescent’s identity, behaviors, and overall health. These peer connections influence all areas of development including emotional, physical, spiritual, social, and cognitive. The movie “Mean Girls” addresses social behaviors and experiences that are common in female peer relationships throughout the adolescent years. “Mean Girls” has brought attention to girls mean behaviors and portrays a dark side of female peer relationships, in which girls act as bullies and use relationships to express anger or power through rumors, exclusion, secrets, or gossip. This movie shows the significant role that female peer relationships play. The functions of peer relationships in adolescence are to help support adolescents at a time when they are challenged with many new experiences, to encourage the development of emotional autonomy, to enable teens to form deeper forms of intimacy that will be needed in adulthood, and to improve social skills. Positive peer relationships cause less anxiety and depression in adolescents where as negative peer relationships may place an individual at risk for maladjustment. Adolescents who are generally disliked, aggressive, disruptive and cannot establish themselves in the peer culture are developmentally at risk. Having friends and peer acceptance are generally related to school competence, higher self-esteem, and better adjustment. This information about the effects of an adolescents experience with peer relationships shows the importance of these relationships. It also explains the impact these relationships have on an adolescents development.
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