Odd Girl Out: a Teenagers Struggle with Peer Victimization and Bullying

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Odd Girl Out is a TV movie that follows the struggles of a young girl named Vanessa Snyder, who must deal with the brutality and peer pressure from the children in her class. This film is based on the advice book Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons. It shows that bullying among girls is usually non-physical, indirect and unnoticeable. This problem is harmful, destructive and usually ignored, leaving victims to suffer in silence. Vanessa is a young girl in eighth grade who begins the year a happy, confident teenager who is “in with the in crowd” led by her best friend Stacy. When a young boy Tony becomes interested in Vanessa whom her friend already likes, Stacy and her band of loyal followers seek revenge on Vanessa by completely destroying her. Vanessa soon becomes the victim of this non-physical, verbal violence from her former friends. Even though Nikki, Stacy’s other best friend who is jealous of Vanessa, is the main girl who is tormenting Vanessa, Stacy plays her part by pretending she's still Vanessa's best friend and not stopping the verbal attacks on her. Vanessa is slowly pushed out of class activities, called names, socially isolated and the worst, her tormentors create a hate site about her on which they put humiliating photos and hateful comments about her. The bullying escalates, with Stacy, Nikki and the rest of the popular girls, cornering Vanessa inside a bathroom and verbally brutalizing her, including degrading every aspect of her and revealing her embarrassing secrets. Vanessa ends up chopping all her hair off while in a nervous breakdown. Soon she starts cutting school and lying to her mom to avoid the brutal attacks she faces every day. Vanessa’s mother tries unsuccessfully to address the problems and speaks with the principal of the school to see if any steps can be taken to stop this harassment. The principal, however, informs her that they cannot take disciplinary action against non-physical violence. The bullying never stopped and even went so far that Vanessa took an overdose of pills and ended up in the hospital. Finally, after the whole ordeal, Vanessa found the courage to stand up to Stacy and see through her fake concern and Vanessa was able to see through her bullying that she didn’t need the approval of these girls or their friendship.

We’ve all been there. At some time or another, all young girls are subjected to feeling like the outcast and there is always that one girl who never lets you forget it. Bullying can come in all forms, not just physical abuse. Girls are genius’ when it comes to finding new and inventive ways to make another girl’s life miserable. “The term "relational aggression" is used to describe a type of bullying primarily used by pre-adolescent and adolescent girls to victimize other girls—a covert use of relationships as weapons to inflict emotional pain.” (Carney, 4) Acts of relational aggression are common among girls in schools today. These instances include rumor spreading, secret-telling, backstabbing, ignoring, excluding from social groups and activities, and verbally insulting. Other behaviors include making fun of someone's clothes or appearance and these types of behaviors are common among young girls and adolescents. Perpetrators might be driven by jealousy, need for attention, anger, and fear of competition. In Odd Girl Out, Nikki was so harsh to Vanessa because she was jealous of her and Stacy’s close friendship. She was afraid that they would exclude her so she went out of her way to hurt Vanessa because of her own insecurities. One reason girls choose to engage in such non-physical behavior because it a makes it hard to be held accountable for their actions. Girls who appear the most innocent may indeed be the most hostile in their actions. Stacy, for example, was just as bad as those girls who were openly harassing Vanessa. Stacy instead let her group take care of the grunt work, and she...
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