UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Girl-to-girl bullying in early adolescence : beyond "bully", "victim", "bystander" Fox, Katherine Anne 1999

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_1999-0190.pdf [ 9.25MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0055461.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0055461-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0055461-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0055461-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0055461-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0055461-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0055461-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

GIRL-TO-GIRL B U L L Y I N G IN E A R L Y A D O L E S C E N C E : B E Y O N D " B U L L Y " , "VICTIM", "BY-STANDER"  by KATHERINE ANNE FOX B . S . L . , Laurentian University, 1982 B . Ed., The University o f Western Ontario, 1983  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS F O RTHE D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF ARTS in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department of Educational Studies)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A A p r i l 1999 © Katherine Anne Fox, 1999  In  presenting  degree  this  thesis  in  at the University of  partial  fulfilment  British Columbia,  of  the  requirements  I agree  for  that permission  copying  granted  department  this or  thesis by  publication of this  for scholarly  his thesis  or  her  be  It  for financial gain shall not  Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  DE-6 (2/88)  may  representatives.  permission.  Date  purposes  ttft^  is  advanced  that the Library shall make it  freely available for reference and study. I further agree of  an  by  understood  for extensive  the head that  be allowed without  of  my  copying  or  my written  11 Abstract The purpose of this project was to ascertain young adolescent girls' conceptualizations of girl-to-girl bullying specifically during the transition year to secondary school. The literature reveals that bullying is high amongst girls at that time. In order to provide a background for understanding bullying, I analyzed some of the ways in which this type of aggression is contextualized in schools, their families, and their cultural communities, and include the girls' opinions of these shaping forces. I also examined the range of ways in which girls can be bullied by their female peers, giving attention to the girls' perceptions of the causes, conditions, and consequences of bullying. This small-scale exploratory field study took place in two urban secondary schools in one British Columbia Lower Mainland school district in the fall of 1993. Three ethnographic methods were used: participant observation; tape-recorded in-depth interviews with fifteen grade 8 and 9 girls; and researcher-solicited written narratives. Using those latter accounts, grade 9 Drama students created and performed short plays in the classroom on the theme of same-sex bullying. These skits provided additional insights into girls' definitions of bullying going on amongst them. The girls' friendships and peer groups provided the main context for inter-girl bullying incidents. Whereas most of the girls in this study employed the term "fighting" as an equivalent for bullying, I organize the wide range of hurtful behaviours they chronicled under three basic headings: betrayal, intimidation, and humiliation. The ways i n which they carried out their aggressive acts were dependent on the various "weapons" at their disposal and the skill with which they deployed them. The evidence gleaned from this study suggests that existing definitions of bullying-traditionally grounded in male experiences-ought to be extended to include one-time incidents, verbal, physical, and attitudinal types of bullying that are specific to girls, and unintentional bullying o f the joking kind. O f further note, I discovered that almost three-quarters of the girls I interviewed had played more than one bullying role, calling into question the usually mutually exclusive use of labels "bully", "victim", and "by-stander".  iii  Table of Contents Abstract  ii  Table of Contents  iii  List of Tables  vi  List of Figures  vii  List of Abbreviations  viii  Acknowledgements  ix  Dedication  x  Chapter I: Overview  1  1.0 Introduction  1  1.1 Scope and purpose of the study 1.1.1 The semantics of "bullying" 1.1.2 Conceptual framework 1.2 Literature Review  3 4 6 7  Chapter II: Methodology  11  2.0 Credibility and design 2.1 Emergent research design 2.1.1 Original research questions and plans 2.1.2 Pilot Project 2.2 Negotiating Access and gaining consent (1993) 2.2.1 District and school personnel 2.2.2 The girls 2.3 The Data and its collection (1993) 2.3.1 Fieldnotes 2.3.2 Interview transcripts 2.3.3 Autobiographical accounts 2.4 Researcher bias 2.5 Data Analysis (1993-1998)  11 12 12 14 15 15 16 19 19 20 22 24 27  Chapter III: Bullying in its family, community, and school contexts  iv  31  3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3  Introduction Context #1: Families Context #2: Communities Context #3: Schools 3.3.1 Haven or hell? 3.3.2 School organization and practices 3.3.3 School culture: G o ! Fight! W i n ! 3.3.4 Perceptions of adult efficacy 3.3.5 Perceived gender bias 3.3.6 The transition year to high school 3.4 Context #4: Society and the media  31 32 34 38 38 39 41 45 47 49 52  Chapter I V : The anatomy of bullying amongst young adolescent girls  55  4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3  Introduction The context of friendship: hurting to be popular Peer group "high archy" W h y do girls bully? 4.3.1 Personal reasons 4.3.2 Lessons and rules, or " H o w not to be stupid" 4.4 Methods of bullying amongst girls 4.4.1 The gendered hierarchy of girl-girl bullying 4.4.2 Betrayal as "Backstabbing" 4.4.3 Intimidation 4.4.4 Humiliation 4.5 Weapons: Opportunity resources 4.5.1 Her body bespeaks power 4.5.2 Notoriety 4.5.3 Training 4.6 Bully, victim, by-stander: Fluid classifications  55 58 60 63 64 69 74 74 82 86 88 92 93 95 99 99  Chapter V : Beauties and beasts  105  5.0  Angels 5.0.1 Little 5.0.2 Perfect 5.0.3 Nice 5.1 Cats 5.1.1 Unpredictable 5.1.2 Predatory 5.2 Bitches 5.2.1 Female 5.2.2 Sexual 5.3 Concluding comments  1  0  5  107 108 H° 1  1  2  113 114 1  1  6  H7 1  1  9  120  Chapter V I : Conclusion and Recommendations  V  122  6.0 Limitations of the study 6.1 Suggestions for additional research 6.1.1 Gender considerations 6.1.2 A n extended definition of bullying 6.1.3 Recognizing the affective dimension of bullying 6.1.4 The roots of bullying 6.2 A n evaluation of some school responses to bullying 6.2.1 District and school level initiatives 6.2.2 Peer mediation 6.2.3 The medium of peer theatre 6.3 Concluding remarks  122 123 123 125 126 127 127 128 130 132 133  References  136  Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix  146 148 150 151 152 154  A : Form soliciting written accounts from students B : Interview schedule C : Parent/Guardian consent form D : Interview consent form-girls E : Remembering transition year bullying F: A case of long-term bullying as intimidation  List of Tables Table 4.1: Bullying experiences of formally interviewed girls  vii  List of Figures Figure 4.1: Methods of girl-to-girl bullying Figure 4.2: A hierarchy of fights  75 79  viii L i s t of Abbreviations  DOC  Guided written documents  FD1 or F D 2  Field Diaries one and two  F N (#)  Fieldnotes (protocols, informal interviews, observations)  I  Formal Interviews  KF  Researcher  ix Acknowledgements First, thanks to G o d - m y Father, the Son Jesus, and the H o l y Spirit. Second, thanks to my family: to my husband, B o b Tassone, for 20 years of standing by and believing in me; to my patient sons, Lukas, Roman, and Adam; to my prayerful and generous parents, Inge and Ludwig; and to my brother, Andrew, and sister-in-law, Teresa. Third, thanks to my colleagues, editors, and great neighbours: Marina N . , Terri B . - T . , and Derrick I.. T o my cheering squad: Diana S., Suzanne M . , M a r i P., and L i s a C . To my faithful friends: L i s a L . , Diane I., Olga and Anna Z . , Angie E . , Eileen P., Kerstin S., Dilys S., Heesoon B . , K e l l y T.; Tina and J i m C., JoAnna and B i l l B . , and Sharon and Dan W . , Darlene R., Catharine M c P . , and Ellen B . . Fourth, thanks to many U B C Education faculty for a wonderful and supportive learning experience. Thanks go specifically to Dr. Deirdre K e l l y (my thesis supervisor and teacher) and Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Dr. J. Douglas W i l l m s , Dr. Shelley Hymel, and Dr. Frank Echols for their wise advice and long-term encouragement.  To Yeshua  For from H i m and through H i m and to H i m are all thing (Romans 11:36)  Chapter One: Overview 1.0 Introduction A C T ONE Four girls ( A , B , C , and Ginny) Scene One [Two girls (A and B) stand closely together before school begins.] A to B : D i d you see what Ginny's wearing? She looks like a slut. But don't tell anyone. [B leaves A and meets up with C] B to C : D i d you see what Ginny's wearing? She looks like a slut. But don't tell anyone. [C leaves B and meets up with Ginny. Ginny pesters C to reveal what she knows about the rumour.] C to Ginny: O . K . It was A who told B . But don't tell anyone I told you. Scene T w o [Ginny attacks A verbally as soon as she spots her.] Ginny to A : Y o u ' r e so flat and ugly. Y o u should get a life! A : I never said anything! Ginny: I don't believe you, you bitch! [Ginny turns all of A's friends against A. They are not "allowed" to associate with her.] * Audience response: lots of applause and one girl breathes: "It was S O real!"  A C T TWO T w o sisters, their mother, three peers Scene One [At home, a girl teases her fat sister at the supper table. The thinner sister gets dessert; the fat one gets a fruit salad.] Mother: M y friends are coming and I don't want them to see you like this honey. [Pauses] Don't worry. I ' m going to sign you up for a good weight loss program. Scene T w o [At school. Group of female peers and the fat sister.] Peers: Oooo, earthquake! [Smirking] O h , you look nice today. G i r l (fat sister): [Angry] What do you mean? What are you trying to say? [Her voice increases in volume until she is yelling and almost crying.] I am sick of it! Sick of everyone!!! [Storms away.] * Audience response: absolute stillness [ F N (13B)].  2 T w o acts. One play: Everybody's Business. These dramatic pieces represent only two of 23 skits created and presented by the mostly female grade nine Drama students who participated in my study as part of a unit on the theme of bullying. The rumour mongering, exclusion, and teasing portrayed here are but three examples of the kinds of bullying typically experienced by many young adolescent girls. Bullying amongst girls is not private. Even i f it begins between two individuals, it rarely stays that way. From the perspective of these young adolescents, it is a serious and emotionally charged public issue that almost always has repercussions-personal or social. Involvement in various types of bullying as either target or perpetrator can have serious emotional side effects. Whether bullying is boy-to-boy or girl-to-girl, it can be a prelude to school absenteeism (Reid, 1989), student disengagement and eventual dropout (Cairns, Cairns & Neckerman, 1989; Hymel, Comfort, Schonert-Reichl & M c D o u g a l l , 1996; K e l l y , 1994; Kupersmidt & Coie, 1990), antisocial behaviour into adulthood (Besag, 1989; Olweus, 1991), depression (Besag, 1989; Olweus, 1993; Robins, 1986), suicide (Johnstone, M u n n & Edwards, 1992; Olweus, 1993; Olweus & Alsaker, 1991; Perry, Kusel & Perry, 1988; W i l s o n , 1992), and murder (Pearson, 1997; Tattum, 1989). Reports of bullying amongst boys are not novel, but news of girls bullying girls is. The 1997 beating and murder of a Victoria teen by her "friends", as well as some well-publicized bullying incidents in the United States, recently drew long over-due attention to the phenomenon of girl-to-girl bullying. After a period of general neglect, the media is more frequently training the public eye on inter-girl bullying occurring at both elementary and secondary school levels (Bonenfant, 1997; Duffy, 1996; Gram, 1997; Marano, 1995; Ogilvie, 1994; Pearson, 1997; Solin, 1997; Wong, 1997). Violence amongst girls tends to shock and dismay. In contrast to boys, we somehow do not expect it from them. Yet, as one participant in my study explained, such expectations can be unrealistic, just as appearances can be deceiving: Everybody has a bully side to themselves, E V E N girls! We're not really the goody-goody types people see us as. W e can really be B I T C H E S . I guess you could say that E V E R Y B O D Y has had an encounter with bullies, and no one can say no to that. -Excerpt from a Drama student's written account [N D O C 8]  3 Artz and Riecken (1995), in their ethnographic study of British Columbia schoolgirls, speak of increasing violence among adolescent girls as a recent phenomenon. Yet, Crick and Grotpeter (1995) and Galen and Underwood (1997) have pointed to the inattention of researchers to specific forms of aggression that are prevalent among girls as well as their failure to assess social information processing for contexts salient and problematic for aggressive girls. Thus, the degree of female aggressiveness reported in studies up to recent times has likely been underestimated. The contribution of this study is a qualitative exploration of bullying behaviours as defined by the girls themselves. It is not a measure of the quantity of aggression amongst young adolescent girls. This thesis affords the reader an opportunity to understand the impact of bullying on their lives from their perspective, a view that has been overlooked in the past. 1.1 Scope a n d purpose o f the study This study's overarching purpose is a practical one. Awareness-raising of bullying behaviours pertaining particularly to female students holds significance for school personnel directly involved in choosing and implementing bullying prevention or intervention programs. For individual districts or schools, deciding "What counts as bullying in our school?" is an important first step in setting up such programs (Johnstone et a l , 1992). A s k i n g the girls themselves is one way to find out. The purpose of this study is not to sound the alarm and generate public hysteria over the extremities of violence which may or may not be in our schools, but to point to the very real emotional and physical pain experienced by a significant number of young girls in our school systems and the need to acknowledge it. In this thesis, the girls' perceptions of bullying and the context in which they experience it takes priority. It must be remembered that bullying is on a continuum of severity (Askew, 1989; Tattum, 1989). Because the participants in my study revealed a wide range of bullying experiences, from relatively minor incidents to more dramatic examples, I aid the reader in getting a sense of that range by the use of graphic organizers in Chapter Four. In addition, as is wont to happen in highly personal accounts of events, I acknowledge the sometimes contradictory feelings and views expressed by the girls in my study (e.g., Brown, W a y & Duff, in press). One mother, whose 13 year old daughter collapsed and died after months of bullying, called bullying a form of "torture" (Friend, 1992). I wondered what the girls themselves thought about their own experiences and those of other girls they knew. I found no studies prior to my  4 foray into the field that afforded a venue for such expression. Here, in this thesis, I provide a forum for the voices of the previously unheard or unasked. I share the girls' stories using their own words, although my questions and editing have unavoidably framed their responses to a certain degree. A s an adjunct to this, I wondered i f bullying amongst girls was underreported owing to the use of the term "bullying" itself. Were existing definitions in the literature adequate to describe what was going on amongst girls? What were the ways they spoke about interpersonal aggression between themselves? D i d they think "bullying" applied to them, and i f so, when? Initially, I wondered to what degree my study would be unduly constrained i f I persisted in clinging to the term and its widely accepted operational definition. If I avoided the term completely, new ways of discussing power relations amongst girls might emerge, aiding policymakers, educators, and ultimately, the girls themselves [FD1, March 1993]. In the section below, I extrapolate further on what I found to be a lexical dilemma. 1.1.1 T h e semantics of " b u l l y i n g " Based on a review of the extant literature, the term "bullying" remains undeniably a gendered notion, and that renders it problematic. One of the most common images still conjured up by it is that of a bigger, stronger boy "whipping" or beating up a smaller, weaker boy. When "bullying" includes both sexes it often has racial, class or sexual undertones. W e can easily picture a group of white children picking on black ones, rich kids snubbing poorer ones, or elementary school children taunting an "effeminate" boy at recess. C o m m o n language meanings such as these associated with the term have an impact on how we think about bullying when girls "do it". The girls in this study were not immune to these influences either. A t the outset, I assumed that the general public would have an easy familiarity with the notion of bullying, but an interesting reaction occurred when I embarked on my research project in the schools. A s curious school personnel inquired about my study, I would usually describe it as one about "girls bullying girls". Invariably, however, people would misunderstand me and ask for clarification. In vain, I tried to pronounce the word "bullying" more clearly each time a new person would ask me, but it was not until I began combining it with "victimization" that they signaled comprehension the first time around. Was it somehow easier to imagine girls as passively victimized rather than actively bullying? Is the English word "bullying" just too  5 difficult to audibly discern? Or are we so resistant to the notion of girls fighting each other that we cannot hear "girls" and "bullying" together without incredulity? M y initial research questions were geared toward possibly finding an alternate term for bullying with which the girls themselves could resonate. Because I found existing definitions of the concept of "bullying" unsatisfying, I hoped to enrich them by getting the girls' perspectives. To get the girls to think beyond "bullying", my attempts to probe around the term included using examples of "mean" behaviours in my handouts, ones that deeply hurt or harm (see Appendix A ) . In audiotaped interviews, I explicitly asked i f there was a term other than bullying that could be used for girls (see Appendix B , question #7). In North American contexts, both elementary and secondary school students are completely familiar with the term "bullying" and its general stereotypical meaning (though they rarely, i f ever, use it spontaneously to apply to their own situations). For this reason, using the term to introduce my purpose during the various stages of the research project was a practical option. It proved to facilitate my access to information about the girls' experience and to their own ways of talking about it. Some girls utilized the term "bullying" during our interview after I did, using it interchangeably with others such as "beating up", but most did not. Instead, most girls used graphic expressions describing specific acts or consequences of bullying (e.g., "pick on" or "hospitalize") no matter what expressions I used. Still others freely imposed their own definitions on bullying based on their own experiences in a gendered world, correcting me with: " Y o u mean 'cat fights'". Most common was substitution with the word "fighting". Whether "bullying" or "fighting" is used, both are gendered terms. In a manner similar to the way people refer to "girl gangs", we speak specifically of "girl fights" or "cat fights" or "bullying among girls" because of the underlying assumption that the activity is a masculine one. This also emphasizes a presumed uniqueness or anomaly of such a phenomenon in relation to females. Limiting our views of fighting and bullying as gender specific leads to several consequences. First, bullying as a phenomenon may be either over- or under-reported by girls and boys. This may be owing to shame, guilt or pride associated with their culturally formed notions of femininity and masculinity. It may also be due to incomplete conceptualizations of "bullying" which might not include more indirect, relationally manipulative forms of aggression. Second, the extent of the problem of bullying and all its manifestations, as well as the degree of  6 emotional and physical injury to both boys and girls is not acknowledged sufficiently. For intervention and prevention programs to be more effective, students and school staff must have a more gender-inclusive view of the phenomenon, and take all aspects of it seriously. In order to do this a more comprehensive definition than currently exists is needed. Below, I offer an extended working definition of bullying based on my own findings and helpful definitions from the literature.  1.1.2 Conceptual framework Bullying is about dominance or exerting power over others as conditions warrant. It is context bound in that it is as much a "matter of opportunity" (Whitney & Smith, 1993) as it is contingent on an individual's relative amount of momentary power. This power is dependent on the availability and skillful use of crucial resources that enable a perpetrator to betray, intimidate, and humiliate. A s distinct from "conflict", which is reserved for oppositional interactions or disagreements that can be functional and even benign in close, trusting relationships (Collins & Laursen, 1992; Hartup, 1992), the term "bullying" is used in dysfunctional contexts, for relationships or situations in which there is a physical or psychological imbalance in strength or power (Besag, 1989; Olweus, 1992, 1994) where, in the face of the aggression, the target feels or is unable to defend herself or retaliate. In the ensuing chapters of this thesis, I attempt to show how difficult this asymmetry of power is to ascertain in individual cases and how its volatility stems from its dependency on context. In this study, the inter-girl bullying I address is "peer abuse" (Olweus, 1994). It is, for the most part, intentional. A pulley effect usually occurs when a given girl is deliberately pulled down (emotionally, physically or socially) in order for another girl to rise (in position and prestige). This process damages self-esteem or social status or both (Galen & Underwood, 1997). It causes the one torn down pain and often evokes fear in her. Yet, there are important instances when someone becomes fear-ridden or experiences the pain of bullying without the perpetrator's full awareness (for example, from a misinterpreted look or comment). This presents a problem for those who would restrict the definition of bullying to intentional actions. Bullying varies in nature, intensity, intentionality, numbers of participants, motivation and duration (Tattum, 1989). Bullying ranges from mild to severe. It can be verbal, physical or attitudinal; overt or covert; intentional or unintentional; provoked or unprovoked; premeditated  7 or spontaneous. Owing in part to the problematic of how to categorize "by-standers", numbers of participants can range from one to hundreds. W i t h regard to duration, the operational definition of bullying in most research implicitly or explicitly limits itself to the traditional notion of malignant "tormenting" (Stainton Rogers, 1991)-that is, the experience of aggressive episodes repeated over time (e.g., Besag, 1989; Olweus, 1994; Rigby & Slee, 1991; Roland, 1989; Whitney & Smith, 1993). B y asking participants nebulously i f they have been bullied "once or more than once" in a given week (for example, in Arora & Thompson, 1987), the implication is that being bullied counts as such if it is regular. However, based on the painful recollections and perceptions of a number of girls I interviewed or who wrote accounts for me, I extend the definition in this thesis to include one-time incidents as separate and significant alongside occasional or longstanding abuse. 1.2 L i t e r a t u r e Review When I first reviewed the bullying/victimization literature in 1992, most studies had employed quantitative methods such as Dan Olweus' (1989) B u l l y / V i c t i m Questionnaire, or other self-report instruments such as scales and inventories to discover the extent, frequency, and types of bullying in elementary and secondary schools, with some including qualitative strategies to flesh out their results. A t that time, the mainstay of inquiry into bully/victim problems consisted of empirical studies from Northern Europe (Arora & Thompson, 1987; Cowie, Sharp & Smith, 1992; Junger, 1990; Mellor, 1990; Olweus, 1977, 1978, 1984, 1991; Pikas, 1989; Roland, 1989; Smith & Thompson, 1991), Canada (Ziegler & Rosenstein-Manner, 1991), the United States (Hazier, Hoover & Oliver, 1991; Perry et a l , 1988), Australia (Rigby & Slee, 1991), and Japan (Schoolland, 1986). Ethnographies and other qualitative approaches were few and far between (e.g., Askew, 1989 and Craig & Pepler, 1992). Several of the empirical studies dealt strictly with male subjects (Askew, 1989; Junger, 1990; Olweus 1977, 1978, 1984), whereas the rest stirred girls in with the boys (Arora & Thompson, 1987; Mellor, 1990; Olweus, 1991, 1992; Olweus & Alsaker, 1991; Perry et al., 1988; Rigby & Slee, 1991; Ziegler & Rosenstein-Manner, 1991). In general, gender, as a significant correlate of bullying, was given scant mention alongside other factors. I was unable  8 to locate a single study that was dedicated exclusively to investigating bullying amongst girls. Olweus (1984), recognized as the founding father of bullying research and whose definition of bullying is widely used in academic circles, justified his choice to limit his early studies to boys because the bullying manifested amongst boys was more "serious", as well as more common. B y 1991, Olweus was including girls in his studies, yet his working definitions of bullies and victims, based on his previous research of "whipping boys", had not changed. B y 1994, Olweus still implied physical strength was the domain of boys (i.e., they were harder, tougher, and more aggressive than girls were), but that that ought not to preclude attention to bullying amongst girls. In the literature on conduct-disordered children, Tremblay (1991) bemoaned the lack of attention to girls. Several years ago, I noted the same dearth in the bullying literature. Not only was any analysis of girls' bullying in general missing, but there was also a noteworthy silence on bullying amongst young adolescent girls in particular. Arora and Thompson (1987), who surveyed both male and female students in an English comprehensive school, provided analytical commentary only on the boys in their study even though some of their data indicated that 12-14 year old girls were bullied more than boys in almost every bullying category. In Hazier, Hoover, and Oliver's (1991) rural Mid-West study, students reported that the most bullying occurred in grades 7-9. Nominations for "age of worst bullying" differed dramatically by gender between the ages 12-14, with greater indications signaled by girls (Hoover, Oliver & Hazier, 1992). Whitney and Smith (1991) surveyed over 6000 British 2  students at both elementary and secondary levels. They found that, although girls reportedly bullied less than boys did overall, girls bullied others more between the ages of 13-15 than they did at any other age. Clearly, early adolescence is a time that marks increased friction amongst girls. The transition to secondary school occurs at this time of profound maturational changes. Young people at this stage of development have high needs for both autonomy and belonging (Eccles et  'As an exception to the above, Lagerspetz, Bjorkqvist and Peltonen (1988)'s study on indirect (e.g., the manipulation of friendship patterns) aggression in girls questions the accuracy of existing studies where total aggression scores of both male and female subjects were based largely on measurements of direct (e.g., physical) bullying. This study also stood alone in that it revealed that the social life of 11 to 12-year old girls was more ruthless and aggressive than had been suggested by other research. Rigby and Slee (1991) also attributed the increase in bullying amongst Australian boys aged 12-13 years to their transition to high school. 2  9 al., 1993). They worry about their relationships to significant adults (parents, teachers), as well as about relationships with peers. Girls and boys in this age group are unfolding their identities, their sense of intimacy, their sexuality. They notice differences more than ever before. Relatedness to their peers, with whom they interact on a daily basis, becomes extremely important (Hymel et al., 1996). This study attempts to give readers a glimpse into the world of girls within the school context, mostly according to them, at a critical developmental period of their lives. Organizational features of secondary schools may also fuel tensions among students moving up from the elementary system. H i g h schools are more impersonal. They are larger than elementary schools and departmentalized. Reduced teacher-student connections can be perceived as lack of caring. Intensified academic and athletic competition and increased expectations add to the stress of students in transition. Bigger class sizes, individualized schedules, and large cafeterias provide sources of anxiety for many girls and boys (Kelly, 1993). In an institutional framework which emphasizes dominance over others through confrontational disciplinary action, competitive selection, and streaming (Connell, 1996), for example, students face many challenges in defining themselves and yet still retaining a sense of belonging amongst their peers. In the chapters that follow I deliberately avoid the labels "bully" and "victim" as they imply mutual exclusivity, fixing shame or blame on the individual as though it were part of her identity without considering that some girls can fall into both camps depending on the context. Rather, I emphasize the experience of bullying itself, speaking of "girls who have bullied" and of those who "have been bullied" in given situations. Also, rather than use the term "victimization" interchangeably with "bullying" as many studies do (Hazier et al., 1991; Olweus, 1991, 1992), I avoid the term altogether as the girls did not use this term in their conceptualizations of girl-togirl aggression. A fairly recent study of 1500 English and Scottish secondary school students (Siann, Callaghan, Glissov, Lockhart & Rawson, 1994) reported sex differences in bullying experiences but made no attempt to analyze the degree to which individual girls or boys had played more than one role (i.e., as both perpetrator and target). In this thesis, I hope to make salient the importance of considering the mutability and overlap of roles in bullying, whether girl-girl or boy-boy, in the hopes of getting beyond the labelling of individual students.  10 The following chapter describes the research process and the methods I employed in this study of young adolescent girls' conceptualizations of girl-to-girl bullying. The third chapter analyzes some of the ways in which that bullying is contextualized both i n society and in their schools. Chapter Four unpacks the phenomenon of girl-to-girl bullying itself and discusses how it affects friendship and peer group dynamics. Chapter Five submits a critique of three labels accorded to girls in our society, and shows how the girls themselves contribute to or contest those designations. Finally, in the concluding chapter, I offer policy makers, educators, and parents suggestions for further research and for existing anti-bullying agendas.  11  Chapter Two: Methodology "Methodology" is a description of how researchers gain knowledge about the world (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994). Beginning with a reflection on the issues of credibility and validity, I proceed to trace the emergent design of this study as I sought access to the sites and participants, and spent time in the field-the "world of girls". I also consider my role as researcher, and describe in detail the data collection and analysis phases.  2.0 Credibility and design The internal validity of this study was primarily established in three ways. The first was the constant self-consciousness or reflexivity of the researcher. The second was data-source triangulation, achieved across all three major phases of data collection: formal and informal observation, formal and informal interviews, guided writing and participant performances. The third was the explicit use of the participants' spoken and written language as well as other 3  documents culled from the field to support analytical arguments and commentary. Practitioners of qualitative research view reliability "as a fit between what they record as data and what actually occurs in the setting under study" (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992, p. 48). In order to provide corroboratory sources of evidence, and as a crosscheck to data collected from the interviews, I commissioned the anonymously-authoured stories of same-sex peer bullying in the Drama classes. In this way, I strove for consistency in students' descriptions of incidents and their emotional impact. Further internal reliability was also established by a continuous crosschecking with various 12-13 year old girls in the British Columbia Lower Mainland of the descriptive and analytical components of this thesis over a five year period up to the present time. To ensure external reliability, I have made explicit in this chapter the social context of my study, my role as researcher, how the participants were selected, and my data collection and analysis processes. In this type of inquiry, threats to external validity often cannot be avoided. The identical reproduction from the original or "replication" of accounts and events portrayed is not pertinent  To get at the crux of the particular conceptualizations of the what, why, and how of "bullying" amongst girls this age and in what ways it might be distinctfromthat of boys, I desired to give the girls themselves a voice. In this way then, I hoped that their accounts would be honoured, despite my evaluative imposition of analysis. To preserve the authenticity of the interchanges, I have kept most of the quotes literal. Because I am not doing an in-depth linguistic analysis of the girls' narratives, in the quotes I use throughout my thesis I have taken the liberty of editing out most of the "urns" and the "likes", as they are so frequent as to be cumbersome. Some still remain to maintain the flavour of adolescent speech. 3  12 to its investigative purposes. Furthermore, the effects of temporal cycles within a setting mean that conclusions may not be true for the same setting at other times (e.g., Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). Similarly, problems of ecological validity, related to the fact that human beings are expected to behave differently in different contexts at different times, also arise. Moreover, no investigator observes or interviews exactly like another. Expectations concerning questions of literal consistency across different observations are based on the realization that researchers bring a variety of theoretical perspectives, backgrounds, and temperaments to the field. Possible researcher and procedure effects on the participants, as well as on the interpretation of knowledge gained from the field have been discussed in this chapter. In this project, two schools yielded fifteen girls for in-depth interviews. W i t h a small "sample" such as this, questions of subject "typicality" which arise out of concern with external validity are not a primary consideration. A t best, an inferential bridge can be built between these girls and those in other Canadian secondary schools that share similar structural characteristics. Thus, this study's external validity comes from the degree to which I have personally understood and presented the constructed meanings of the participants, phenomenon or settings, extending the understanding of girl-to-girl bullying, rendering it recognizable and therefore useful to subsequent researchers (e.g., Tesch, 1990).  2.1 Emergent research design A s this study was discovery-oriented, its complete design emerged over time. Because of this, highly specific accounts of final design decisions and practice are important in order to confirm its trustworthiness or "credibility" of its findings ( M c M i l l a n & Schumacher, 1989). A t the proposal and ethics review stages, and before entering the field, I had a loosely structured blueprint that I knew would undergo several modifications in the field. T o illustrate the emergent, rather than predetermined, nature of this particular design, I describe my original intentions and the progressive changes in my research plans and questions as I conducted pilot studies, prepared to enter the field, and ultimately negotiated access to the girls.  2.1.1 Original research questions and plans From the start, I intended to document a variety of occurrences of girl-to-girl bullying and identify some of their own perspectives as perpetrator or target, and their opinions of bullying and how it impinged on peer relationships at school. I wanted to re-examine existing conceptualizations of bullying amongst girls, hoping to fine-tune awareness of the problem  13 amongst educational stakeholders in their current efforts to counter bullying in the schools. Primarily, I wanted to uncover previously unconsidered concepts related to bullying amongst girls as the girls revealed them to me, and to discover the ways in which those conceptions made hitherto taken-for-granted views about girls and bullying problematic. In short, could we continue to use definitions for bullying traditionally defined by boy-to-boy experiences for what went on amongst girls? Although I had formulated specific research questions in anticipation of entering the field, additional questions took shape or emerged out of contextual data collected as it was over time. A t the outset, my foreshadowed problems ( M c M i l l a n & Schumacher, 1989) included questions about how bullying behaviours affect peer group dynamics amongst girls as well as the individual girls' connectedness to school life. H o w aware of girl-to-girl bullying were supervising adults, and how effective were they in intervening? In order to contextualize girl-togirl bullying, I needed to flesh out the dynamics at play before, during, and after same-sex bullying incidents. A s time in the field passed, new questions arose about the social difficulties implicated in the transition to high school, about the girls' justifications for fighting in the name of self- or other-defense, and about their competing assertions of loyalty and betrayal. M y interviews yielded a picture of, not only the physical manifestations and consequences of girl-to-girl bullying, but also some of the psychological and emotional repercussions. I also began to question the influences and motives which seemed to lie at the root of the girls' aggressive behaviour toward each other, and the ways i n which they themselves appeared to be perpetuating oppressive attitudes toward females through bullying, and how all of this was context-bound. To answer these questions I chose to conduct a condensed field study wherein ethnographic techniques such as participant observation, interviewing, written resources, and triangulation were employed i n order to produce a picture of a "way of life" of a culture-bearing group of people (Wolcott, 1987), in this case, young adolescent girls. Rather than test certain hypotheses, ethnographies such as this explore the nature of a particular phenomenon (Atkinson & Hammersley, 1994). In this thesis, I expose the meanings the girls in my study attached to or imposed on their experiences with the phenomenon of girl-to-girl bullying in the secondary school context.  14 2.1.2  Pilot Project  In the spring of 1993,1 practiced formal and informal observation strategies in a local high school, focusing mainly on the cafeteria, school corridors, and outdoor student congregation areas, watching grade 8 girls at close range and spontaneously interviewing them. Informal ethnographic interviews or series of "friendly conversations" (Patton, 1990; Spradley, 1979) with school personnel (teachers, counsellors, supervisors) on the topic of girls bullying girls confirmed that the girls themselves were the best source of insight into the phenomenon. A t this time, I also practiced interviewing in-depth three 14-year-old girls in my neighbourhood and roughed out an interview schedule and face sheet (Schatzman & Strauss, 1973) asking for demographic information. The interviews were quite lengthy as I found myself using a lot of time establishing rapport. It was at that time that it became apparent that the girls would have to get to know me "sufficiently" ahead of time. Choosing Drama classes over English ones as a less structured venue for writing autobiographical accounts and later requesting interviews made better sense in this respect. Subsequent to meeting with a successful Drama teacher who regularly uses the method of "play-building" with students in order to explore very sensitive and emotionally charged issues, I became increasingly convinced that Drama classes would be the best way for me to obtain the type of written narrative I desired. Moreover, it would also give me the opportunity to observe the students interact with each other socially and creatively i n a comparatively less formal classroom setting. I also hoped to begin building rapport with some of the girls during class time, and it seemed likely that my presence as an observer in a Drama classroom might seem less intrusive or unusual than it would have been in a typical English classroom. A l s o , access to an elective, rather than academic, class might be easier to secure. In the end, data were collected at two sites three distinct ways: through carefully recorded observation, by means of soliciting written autobiographical accounts from both male and female students during one Drama class period per school, and from formal in-depth interviews of fifteen female students. In the following section, I describe how I negotiated access to a school district, two particular high schools and Drama classes, and ultimately to the girls themselves, as well as how data was collected. I also reflect on my role as researcher in the process.  15  2.2 Negotiating access and gaining consent (1993) Compromise is typical in fieldwprk (Burgess, 1984), and the delicate process of negotiating access which interfered with my original criteria for the selection of both the schools and the interviewees in this study was no exception. Wariness or reluctance owing to reputational concerns on the part of school boards or individual administrators to participate in potentially slanderous studies is not surprising. A n in-school study of a controversial topics like bullying and violence and the accompanying risk of the school being identified once the study is made public might make any principal hesitate. In the end, my sites were chosen for, rather than by, me, based on decisions made by my district liaison and the school principals. The political feasibility of doing certain studies in certain settings is to a great extent dependent on the researcher's ability to impress powerful gatekeepers (Delamont, 1992). "Gatekeepers" are those who control entry into the field by granting or rescinding permission (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992). Because dominant group membership (particularly i f formal gatekeepers share in that membership) often facilitates entry and may alleviate suspicion, my professional qualifications (in this case my having taught high school for eight years in Ontario, and being a white Euro-Canadian speaking non-accented English) may have eased my access to the sites because these characteristics were shared with the formal gatekeepers. In this study, formal gatekeepers were my school district liaison and the two principals. Informal gatekeepers were the Drama teachers and other teachers who released the girls from their classes for interviews, and the girls' parents who either granted or withheld permission after reading consent forms.  2.2.1 District and school personnel In January 1993,1 met a well-known and respected school board official from one of the Lower Mainland districts who was in charge of school safety issues. " D a v i d " was keen on my project and eventually became my most important contact and advocate throughout the duration of my fieldwork. M y credibility in the field visibly rested to a larger degree on my affiliation with David and my past experience as a teacher than it did on my enrolment in graduate school. It was David who selected my two schools where he thought the principals, one male and one female, would most readily cooperate with my endeavour.  16 David accompanied me to both schools for my first visits. During our respective triad 4  meetings, both principals (as did the principal in my pilot project school in a different district the previous spring) wanted evidence that district approval of my intentions was solid and that it would appear on parental consent forms [FN2, October 1993]. Both principals seemed cautious about my study and wanted a lot of reassurance from my contact. They immediately wanted to know two things: how the district would benefit and how the school would benefit. Confidentiality of both district and school was also a major consideration. The grade 8 counsellor at Oceanside shared with me a list of 10 names out of 400 grade 8 students (a mix of 5 known "fighters" and 5 truly random others) from which I could choose. Meetings with vice-principals in charge of grade 8s and 9s yielded lists of ten girls each who were known as either "bullies" or "victims". From each of the lists I ended up getting three signed consent forms and subsequent interviews. The value of social connections was reinforced as both Drama teachers agreed to help me with my project once they learned of my acquaintance with the "play-building" Drama teacher from another district. I was dependent on the efficiency and commitment of the Drama instructors to provide for an introduction to my play-building theme of bullying, and for 3-4 Drama periods to be used for this purpose. I used examples of my contact's students' past writings when I met individually with the two Drama teachers to explain my proposal. Neither teacher expressed any concerns.  2.2.2 The girls Central to the investigation at its inception was the objective to interview five girls who were in the past or at that time "bullies", five who were "victims", and five "by-standers". These girls were to have been identified mainly by school personnel. M y original intent at the planning stages of the project was to select fifteen girls intentionally from a large number of "volunteers" from both the Drama classes and from candidates recommended by teachers and staff in order to  In keeping with the typical landscape of the coastal area of the province, and making sure that other schools in the province with the same name were not nearby, I call one school "Mountainside" and the other "Oceanside".  17 get a good cross-section. I hoped for variety in peer group membership, as well as in ethnicity, linguistic fluency, and social class.  6  The selection of my key informants was non-traditional, yielding opportunistic and snowball samples (Burgess, 1984). In this selection process, not only was I bound by others' referrals and who would respond to me personally i n trust, but I also relied on parents' or guardians' permission to interview their daughters or wards. Oceanside's Drama class had eighteen girls. Mountainside's had seven. I distributed parental consent forms to those female Drama students and to peer- or staff-nominated individuals in other classes and smoke pit areas, where several girls' begged me to interview them even without parental consent. (Some knew their parents would deny consent, others simply thought it would be "neat" to skip Drama class.) M a n y of the forms were lost or misplaced and were reissued by me up to three times. A s I attempted to collect consent forms I found that two things seemed to compound my challenges in obtaining the girls' participation even when they had a real desire to tell their stories. These were the parents' refusal and peer group dynamics. In many cases, their parents refused consent. Ethnicity and social class considerations may have come into play, hnmigrant non-English speaking parents may simply not have been able to make sense of the form. Some parents may have been suspicious of my "real" intentions or wondered i f the school would end up having access to personal information about their daughters and their families in the end. They may have feared that an interview might be construed as evidence that their daughter was " i n trouble" at school. Still other parents may have wanted to spare their daughters from reliving past ordeals. In patriarchal societies there is often shame attached to being labelled a victim, to being weak, in that one has not stood up for oneself. A grade 9 Lebanese girl (not a Drama student) who was being severely bullied at the time of my presence at Mountainside confessed to one of the teacher's aids that she wanted to talk to me  In this thesis I use the term "ethnicity" which refers to cultural differences more frequently than "race" which points to visible differences such as skin colour or sometimes to ancestral inheritance for example, Jewishness). When I refer to myself and some of the participants as "white", I use it as an ethnic category denoting someone of European ancestry. Regrettably, constraints related to access negotiations meant that I was unable to select my interview candidates based on differences in social class and ethnicity, which might have yielded significant data. The sexual orientation of girls I did interview was too difficult to determine perhaps because students are often adept at hiding this facet of their being from the dominant group. Here, I refer the reader to thefirstcolumn of Table 4.1 wherein the ethnicity of the individual girls who were actually interviewed is indicated. 5  6  18 very badly. She even considered doing an interview behind her parents' back by forging the signature but would not dare out of fear of her parents' wrath i f caught. In some of the other cases, there was evidence that peer dynamics controlled the voluntary response of would-be participants. In contrast to Oceanside where I had more than enough girls return signed parental consent forms and also speak to me informally about their opinions on the topic, Mountainside Drama students had a different reaction. The day I announced my intent to interview grade 9 girls individually and asked for volunteers to take consent forms home, a large cluster of girls swarmed towards me. Suddenly, one or two said aloud "I don't want to do this". Instantly about five of them backed away and did not take the forms after all. The tenuousness of trust and the power of the peer group to control "ratting" were unmistakable. A s it turned out, on my final day of access to the schools, December 10,1 barely got the last three interviews out of at total of six at Mountainside by tracking the girls down through their peer networks. In hindsight, I realized that I was not able to access the truly marginalized young women in the school. These were the invisible girls: the ones who were absent every day I visited their school, the ones who had just transferred two days before my visits, the ones who didn't show up at the counsellors' offices when they were called down, the ones who were too shy to talk to me when I went to their classrooms and asked to speak to them. B y using Drama classes, I hoped to access a large number of girls who were not afraid to speak in front of a stranger and hence would volunteer more readily than a shy person. This factor likely limited my access to the more introverted girls of all ethnic groups [ F N (4)]. Owing to time lags between consent form distribution and collection and interview bookings, the girls had considerable time to think about "bullying" as a concept. Drama students, for instance, were introduced to the topic two weeks prior to their interviews. This proved useful in that many re-considered their own participation in bullying, and changed their views on what category they might be placed in. Furthermore, they reflected on the contextual and relational boundaries of their shifting roles-as some were "bullies" with their siblings and "victims" with their parents, and were "bullies" with peers at school and "victims" off school grounds in other social settings. The number of parents granting permission totalled 16, and so all but one girl who returned their consent forms were granted interviews. In the end, nine of the fifteen girls  19 interviewed came from the two Drama classes. In total, nine girls were Oceanside students and six were from Mountainside.  2.3 The Data and its collection (1993) In 25 days (16-18 visits per school) over a two-month period, I logged 96 hours of on-site fieldwork, with an average of 3 hours per visit. The shortest amount of time in either school was for a 20 minute meeting with an administrator, and the longest observation time was 6 1/2 hours. The data I collected in the fall of 1993 primarily on school grounds consisted of (a) fieldnotes based on observations and informal interviews, (b) audiotapes and transcripts of formal interviews, and (c) personal documents authoured by some of the participants. Below, I describe in detail what this raw material consisted of and how I obtained it.  2.3.1 Fieldnotes Writing fieldnotes are a typical means of recording observational data i n ethnography (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). These concrete descriptions included all general or "sweeping", specific or thematic, and incidental observations and conversations of my entire time in the field, as well as my immediate thoughts and impressions of the field and the participants.  7  I recorded both the global and unique aspects of each site and the details of interactions amongst participants as I witnessed or heard about them. Most of the time I wrote in situ, sometimes I would document from memory what I had seen, heard or felt no later than that same day, thereby heeding Lareau's (1989) advice about "one of the sacred obligations of field work" (p. 206) in order to avoid distortions that passing time and changing perspectives invariably bring. In the schools, classical researcher "invisibility" ( M c M i l l a n & Schumacher, 1989) was impossible. O n the first day at Oceanside, a teacher stopped me and asked me i f I was from the school board, requesting a telephone for his office ( F N (1A), October 19). Subsequently, I made my own identification badge stating my name and role as a U B C researcher. This maximized my time in staff room and hallways, as many teachers readily asked about my research and quickly offered information and their own opinions.  The latter, akin to reflections that are written in a field diary, were recorded as "Observer Comments" [O.C.] (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992) and were an integral part of the study's process of on-going analysis.  7  20 A t first, I made two and three visits to each of the grade 9 Drama classes to observe peer interaction patterns. Reflexive observational research involves not only studying the environment with a focused gaze, but also formally and informally dialoguing with the participants (Delamont, 1992). O n most days I ventured into the schools, I engaged in informal and formal observations and chats during a fire drill, in classrooms, staffrooms, cafeterias, school corridors, and student congregation areas, and at a peer mediation training session. I usually found a way to speak to a few grade 8 or 9 girls during each foray into the schools, whether in the classroom or elsewhere. Conversations varied from obtaining raw demographic information to engaging in spontaneous tete-a-tetes or lengthier, more revealing encounters that corroborated other evidence. Informal interviews (impromptu or otherwise) with male students, teachers, administrators, and both elementary and secondary school counsellors helped me determine, to some degree, i f adults' perceptions were widely disparate from the girls'. They were purposeful in the sense that I used them to crosscheck rumours, hunches or other information. A s time in the field elapsed and I revisited cafeterias, certain corridors, and areas such as the "smoke pit", my observations became increasingly specific and focused (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). During my examination of bulletin boards, trophy, and other display cases, female washrooms, guidance, and main office waiting areas, and exterior school entrances/exits, I sought out structural and organizational evidence that might give clues as to why the girls were either unsafe or able to hide many o f their aggressive behaviours. I looked for the many ways schools show what they value most-what is most praiseworthy and esteemed by those who would promote school spirit. Direct observation may well be the heart of field research, but interviews are an important means of providing context or meaning (Schatzman & Strauss, 1973). Formal interviews can be a "corrective to unwarranted observer imputation and inference" (p. 77). After all, what I was after was the girls' perceptions and opinions about their lives and specifically about their involvement in bullying.  2.3.2 Interview transcripts In my final two weeks at the schools, I formally interviewed and audiotaped nine Oceanside and six Mountainside girls with written parental and student permission (see Appendices C and D ) . I categorized these girls as follows: self-nominated "bullies" (two grade  21 8s, three grade 9s); other-nominated "victims" (three grade 8s, two grade 9s); and self- or othernominated "by-standers" (two grade 8s, three grade 9s). Parents and students were guaranteed the utmost discretion and respondent anonymity. A l l but two sets of interviews were done one-on-one in a relatively private setting with minimal interruptions (nurse's room, peer counselling mini-office, Drama class anteroom, seminar rooms, and counsellor offices). Interviews averaged 55 minutes with the shortest being 30 minutes and the longest ones 100 minutes as they extended into a second period. Variation in interview time (see column two in Table 4.1) was a result of some girls being more forthcoming with information than others were. Four girls had the longest interview times simply because they insisted on coming with their best friends. The shorter interviews were held with girls who arrived late because they forgot and I had to seek them out. Others' previous classes were quite far from the rooms in which I held the interviews. The purpose of formally interviewing individual girls in-depth and over an entire class period i f possible was to explore more fully their conceptualizations of what is termed "bullying", the types of hurtful behaviours perpetrated against them, the social contexts of the bullying incidents, and some of the reasons behind bullying. I used a semi-structured interview schedule as a guide whereby the sequence and wording of questions varied somewhat from interview to interview, but the basic topics and issues covered were the same (Patton, 1990). B y design, the girls were asked pre-set questions, but were allowed to digress and raise their own topics as the interview progressed and encouraged to elaborate on a particularly salient point. Girls who were highly articulate and had the most intense experiences with bullying gave the most vivid interviews. I caution the reader to be wary of getting caught up in the passion of their quotes and generalizing extremes of bullying to the wider population of girls. It was my hope that the process of questioning and probing deeply into bullying experiences would get the girls to reflect upon their relationships with each other and the roles they may have played in the past, and that they might learn something new about themselves. I was also interested in their opinions of how to stop or avoid getting bullied, and what they thought schools might do to help them better. Audiotaping the interviews meant that I could  In Chapter Four I render these categories problematic.  22 have an accurate written transcript of the proceedings for triangulation purposes with my other data sources.  9  About one third of the way through the interviews, as more compelling issues came up, I rewrote my interview schedule, adjusting the sequence and wording of existing questions, closing gaps in information given, and adding emergent ideas. In time I felt I had gained enough information in one particular area, and so I probed more deeply in other areas (e.g., Patton, 1990) especially in later interviews. M y typed interviews or "transcripts" were an extremely important data source. They are an imperfect source in that a few parts of conversations were not recorded because tape ran out or because some words were not decipherable during transcription. One question that arises during transcription is how to capture for the reader the shifts in voice volume. What can one make of the statement muffled by a sudden covering of the mouth by the hand or other subtle gestures? (e.g., Goldin-Meadow, W e i n & Chang, 1992.) What of abrupt changes in the participant's manner accompanied by a shifting in her chair, palpable tension within a hesitation, or a fumbling to find the "right" words? In certain cases, these might be construed as part of "impression management" (Goffman, 1959) and deserve closer scrutiny. Some research works point at the implications of leaning on textual forms such as transcriptions as the sole means of accessing that data (e.g., N i k s , 1995). Nevertheless, Because I wanted to give previously unheard girls a "voice", I needed to use their words as much as possible to convey to the reader a sense of the authenticity of their perspectives. For this reason I quote the girls liberally throughout the text using my transcripts. 2.3.3 A u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l accounts In this study, I also commissioned autobiographical accounts of same-sex bullying from grade 9 male and female students in the two Drama classes. Boys were included with the understanding that I would likely take only the girls' information for my research because the classes were doing a formal play-building unit called " B u l l y i n g " that would be evaluated by their  To my chagrin, my second interview (Angela) was not taped as I forgot to press record, nor did I take notes during the interview. I discovered the error immediately after she left the room, and I scrambled to write down my recollections of her words. For this reason, I have labelled references to her input as 'Tieldnotes" [FN].  23 teachers as would any other unit.  Getting specifically guided written data from participants was  crucial to finding out more about the what and why of bullying episodes amongst the girls, according to them. These personal documents gave depth and background to observations and interviews (Burgess, 1984). In collaboration with the two Drama teachers, who prepared the students by initiating a dramatization activity on "conflict", I took all students in each class to a seminar room (Mountainside) and Math classroom (Oceanside) to complete confidential, anonymous forms ("face sheets"), and draft a personal account of same-sex bullying during one Drama class period. A t both schools, I explained my role as a graduate student researcher of teens, youth violence, and bullying amongst girls in particular, and voiced my intent to ask for female volunteers for later interviews. I reviewed the play-building technique by giving examples of other themes and samples of writings by students from another Lower Mainland school on such themes as "suicide" and "my worst moment". A s the students might not have been forthcoming with confessions of their status (regarding involvement in bullying as bullies, victims or bystanders), they were asked to choose pseudonyms for themselves and peers described in their writing.  11  When I asked them what they thought bullying was, I got limited responses. Some  said, "fighting", others "intimidation". I elaborated, adding the potential for both similarities and differences in same-sex bullying amongst girls and boys. Students were also told to write boldly "For researcher eyes only" i f they wished their story to be kept for my use alone. Following this, I distributed and read aloud (stressing the optional nature of the exercise) a four-page stapled handout consisting of an introductory cover page explaining my purpose and their voluntary contribution, a "face sheet" (Schatzman & Strauss, 1973) requesting limited demographic information, and two blank sheets of lined paper (see Appendix A ) . Before they began writing, I answered their questions for further clarification. Descriptions of "bullying or victimization" on the cover sheet were carefully worded to include clearly attitudinal attributes (e.g., excluding) as well as more easily identifiable acts (e.g.,  The teaching strategy of play-building necessitates the active contribution of the students in the creation of either a presentable composite play or individualized sociodramatic sequences based on their most intimate thoughts about or personal experiences with sensitive and often controversial issues like sexual harassment or, in this case, same-sex bullying. They can be presented, not only to classmates, but also to the entire school. Performances are intended to inform others of little-talked about issues, raise awareness, and even to be therapeutic for actors and audience alike. "Throughout the text I use pseudonyms for all participants in my study to preclude identification.  24 beating up). The handout used as much of the participants' language as possible in order to maintain high internal validity. The face sheet provided me with statistical information regarding gender, age, racial and/or ethnic group affiliation, parents' occupations (as a rudimentary S E S measurement), several basic interests questions, and request for four-word adjectival descriptors for themselves. This information helped me match and crosscheck stories with the girls I interviewed later from the two classes. A l l the girls completed the face sheet partially or entirely. Thus, between the two Drama classes, I received 41/47 stories in total, ranging from 20 to 100 words in length. Including overlap, and the fact that some students wrote more than one story, eleven of the accounts were of elementary school experiences, and 21 were secondary, the rest were commentaries on bullying. Only one girl in 32 did not write an account, compared with five boys in fifteen that did not. Fifteen of the girls and two of the boys insisted on "researcher eyes only", leaving 24 stories from which to select possible play-building scenarios (thirteen of which were usable). I typed up all the accounts (correcting grammar and spelling errors at the Drama teachers' request), and mixing both schools' stories distributed them for students who broke off into small groups to prepare their skits. The two skits that introduce the first chapter of this thesis are a result of these writings. 2.4 Researcher bias A s a novice researcher, I found the tension between keeping to the basic intellectual goals of the study and convincing myself not to hold on to the preconceived notions related to the phenomenon of bullying specifically or to teenage girls in general challenging. M a k i n g "the familiar strange" (Delamont, 1992) and "letting go" was a struggle not only during data collection but also during the process of analysis in and out of the field. Both the researcher and the participant eye their social worlds through lenses tinted by, at the very least, past experience, cultural beliefs, and political or personal agendas. Not only that, but gender, ethnicity, linguistic fluency, age, social class, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation all matter in the playing out of social interaction. In all honesty, I as researcher have to admit to subjectivity and acknowledge the need for a reflexive understanding of my own role in the research itself how my presence may have informed or influenced participant responses, and how I may have shaped the data. For months I grappled with the ideal of self-confession that seems to be required of qualitative work. Merely listing a string of attributes without in-depth analysis is somewhat  25 unsatisfying and of limited utility. If I say I am "white", it does not say anything about the degree to which I am aware of how my whiteness impacts others, both white and other-than-white. If I claim to be middle class, that tells the reader nothing about the extent to which I am class blind. Neither does it tell of my past memberships in other classes. What of personal or spiritual beliefs? If I indicate that I am Christian, it says nothing about the amount of influence my faith has on my life, nor can this adequately account for how much or how little of my worldview may have seeped into research theory and practice. Reflecting on "observer effects" during the research process led me to ask "with w h o m " did I, as researcher, build rapport and trust adequately? A s a heterosexual, middle-class white German-Canadian speaking unaccented English, I may well have appealed primarily to members of my own privileged ethnicity and class. Out of the 15 young women I interviewed ten were white, six of which were likely middle class. Yet, of the two girls who were Asian, two who claimed First Nations status, and one South American girl, three spoke English as a second language. A s such, they likely provided a representation proportional to their larger school populations. T w o girls-one white, one First Nations-specifically mentioned their parents were receiving social assistance. I was only able to guess at others' class membership (ranging from low to middle) judging by social class indicators such as clothing and parents' work either from the interview or the face sheet accompanying their written accounts. Transcribing my audiotapes verbatim and in their entirety gave me ample opportunity for retrospective, and sometimes painful, reflexivity. W h i l e transcribing my interview with Dawn, one of the First Nations participants, I reflected on my role as a white, middle class researcher. I was frustrated to see the lack of rhythmicity between narrator and interviewer about which Reissman (1987) speaks so frankly in her article on women interviewing women. Though gender constitutes both a spoken and unspoken bond between the interviewer and interviewee, gender congruity with Dawn in this case was not enough. The observer comments in my fieldnotes articulate the lack of shared experience with Dawn and my consequent inability to enter into her style of discourse: The interview made me feel so white, so middle class. I couldn't follow much of what Dawn said, and there were uncomfortable (for me) pauses much of the time. There was no loud laughter (as with other girls) between us really. I didn't know how to ask her the questions to get good information. Everything was like pulling teeth. I couldn't wait for the interview to be over! [ F N (23), December 9]  26 I believe my age (mid-thirties at the time) and plain dress and appearance did not affect the voluntary aspect of the selection process nor the candour of participants' responses as much as did my ease with pre-teens and teens. M y manner of speech changes quickly to mimic their patterns, cadences, and turns of phrases without implying that I am one of them. I enjoy them and they can sense it. Though these traits are useful for establishing quick rapport, it is worth considering whether any of the girls were not totally candid i f they perceived me as "nice", knowing that they themselves were not being nice in the open confession of bullying others. Moreover, I wondered i f any of the girls had edited their speech to give me what they thought I wanted to hear. D i d they "clean up" any of their accounts to save me from proper adult horror, or did they embellish them for shock value? Data must never be taken at face value (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). Researchers' observations are subjective, and more often than not, individuals tend to present themselves in a favourable light. The girls in my study may have put up intentional or unwitting fronts to some extent (Goffman, 1959). A s a method of triangulation, however, I constantly crosschecked as many significant facts given in reports as I could with other students and school personnel (Burgess, 1984). This, in addition to their forthrightness and basic lack of nervousness, as well as similar conclusions drawn in recent research on girl-to-girl bullying (e.g., Artz & Riecken, 1995; Brown et al., in press), leads me to believe that the girls were not misrepresenting themselves and were relaying honest accounts based on their current perceptions of bullying. Lieberman (1992) says that the role of the field researcher is that of "an insider and an outsider at the same time: one who dares to 'speak the unspeakable' because she must document what she sees, but also one who cares deeply and passionately, and empathizes with the problems of practice" (p. 10). I found myself caring about all the girls, whether bullied or perpetrators of bullying, particularly after talking to them in interview scenarios. Observing and talking with the girls over time, I listened with interest to the everyday intricacies of their relationships with friends and foes. A t times, I resonated with the bullies because I had my own history of elementary school bullying (as a perpetrator), and even mentioned this to some of the girls as they confessed to their aggressions against other girls. But I also felt equally dismayed at most of the girls' easy acceptance of the status quo: violence is a part of life and you just had better accept it.  27 I was not unaffected emotionally by my work with these girls. One of my last interviews was with Leah. The painful content of her story of being bullied proved too much for me. Arriving home that day, I burst into tears before I reached my door [ F N (22), December 10]. Transcribing Leah's interview a year and a half later, I wept again hearing her voice describing in monotone her humiliation. But emotional involvement with the participants-hence the lack of detachment—can mean that important questions are not asked. Leah's account, for instance, left me too numb to ask where she got "killed" and what the second g i r l did to "really hurt (her) badly" in contrast to the first girl's " k i l l i n g " her. Though I needed their intimate narratives and previously unknown details about their activities, I also worried about the ethical nature of my intrusion on the girls' lives (e.g., Punch, 1994). I was taking a very personal part of them-"true confessions"-and saying "thank you very much and good-bye", probably never to see them again; quite likely never to have them see themselves situated in print, despite the fact that I dangled "the book" that I would write about them (my thesis) as the proverbial carrot to entice them into accepting a consent form. Certainly a few of the girls (e.g., Amber, Christine, and Angela) found it emotionally difficult to dredge up old memories. In one of the Drama presentations, a couple of the girls were almost crying as they got into their roles, as were a few of us in the audience. Although the next and final segment of this chapter addresses more plainly the analysis of my data, all of the above sections, from the data collection to the contemplation of my role, are really part and parcel of that analysis process. 2.4 Data analysis (1993 -1998) Following Bogdan and Biklen's (1992) advice, during both my time in the field and following data collection, I used an ongoing process of inductive analysis, hoping to clarify the different meanings ascribed to the concept of bullying among females from the viewpoint of the young women. Though analysis formed an integral part of the investigation right from my official entry into the field in September 1993, a more formal analytical undertaking did not occur until the fall of 1995 when I began to transcribe my interviews. The process of organization and interpretation moved the study into an explanatory mode. Not only did I ask how girls bullied each other, but I also began to question the forces or structures, beliefs or attitudes, policies or ideologies that might be shaping the phenomenon.  28 I sorted the data through the development of a coding system, graphics, and charts, and made analytical notes and memos. I lifted salient categories from my original research proposal (e.g., bullying, peer group dynamics, schools) and fit ideas from my data into those categories, evaluating their typicality as I went along. In time, however, and in keeping with Bryman and Burgess (1994), I found that my codes became building blocks for emergent rather than prespecified concepts. Using the technique of comparing and contrasting evidence, I sought common threads or patterns, inconsistencies or exceptions to patterns, attempting to weigh their significance or insignificance in light of the rest of the data (e.g., Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). In this way, new categories (e.g., rules, reputations, toughness) and themes (fight hierarchies, the perpetuation of feminized labels, self-defense and protectionism) emerged quite readily. I began to see that there was much more to the issue than I had anticipated. The provisional nature of emergent categories was evident as some revision occurred (e.g., Bryman & Burgess, 1994). For instance, I felt that "victimization" was no longer a term I  12 wanted to use i n my final text. It simply did not "fit" the females in my study.  More and more  the act of bullying or being bullied seemed to take center stage. The inherent weakness implied by the word "victim" seemed like an affront to use i n reference to the girls. It was at this early stage that my conceptual framework was evolving; I could already see the overlap and instability of the roles of "bully", "victim", and "by-stander". Chapter Four unpacks these conceptualizations more fully. For this project, I also deliberately collected a wide variety of peripheral documents that, though not considered as "data" per se, constitute important resources in flavouring the study's analytical phases and as a validity check. A s part of the triangulation process which helps to validate findings (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983), I studied informal and formal documents which focused on girls relationships with other girls i n the development of my research questions and in the analysis of my data. There were books such as Margaret A t w o o d ' s (1988) fictional Cat's eve, and Anne Campbell's (1984) documentary The girls in the gang. The popular press literature and mass media products such as magazine and newspaper articles on bullying [for  29 example, Psychology Today (Marano, 1995), Seventeen (Solin, 1997), The Globe and M a i l (Pearson, 1997; Bonenfant, 1997; Wong, 1997); Utne Reader (Jones, 1994)] and television shows such as " M y so-called life" (in which the first episode featured bullying amongst girls) were also beneficial in that they successfully captured the texture of school and teen culture, and provided further informal cross-checks to my data. "Official documents" related to the theme of relational aggression amongst girls and culled from the field included weekly school bulletins, district and school codes of conduct, substitute teacher information handouts, student daily planners, and district pamphlets. Although I jotted down my immediate reflections of the field as "observer comments" [O.C.] in my fieldnotes (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992), my most reflexive work was recorded in the pages of my "field diary". The field researcher's journal or personal log is an important tool, useful in focusing research design, and collecting and analyzing data; it reminds the researcher of things to do later and traces the development of foreshadowed questions. M y two field diaries (begun in January 1993 and finished in March 1996) track my research-related reflections and activities preceding, during,, and following my fieldwork. In my diary I could ponder about bullying and human nature and how my developing worldview framed these thoughts. For instance: Girls are so relational in their bullying. What's lacking is T R U S T ! Betrayal, desertion, criticism and lies characterize their bullying amongst each other. It's horrid. [FD, December 1, 1993] I wrote about tangential issues that pointed to the issue of interpersonal violence, the life of adolescents, women and girls. It was the place of self-consciousness where I could speculate, think about what I would have done differently, and sketch future projects related to this corner of the girls' world. These journals contained insights gained and inferences made apart from the observational data, as well as questions and analytical memos about methodology and conceptualizations of aggression. The more I came across new documents and went over my data, the more my own conceptualizations of bullying changed. I viewed the act of bullying, with regard to girls, somewhat differently. I saw it in terms of the damage it can do socially and emotionally, as well 12i2 Tattum (1989) notes that the use of "victimization" tends to alter adult response to given incidents, in that it generates a more sympathetic (versus dismissive) response toward the target. In limiting my discussion to bullying, I would encourage readers to avoid being "dismissive" of the perpetrators.  30 as physically. Furthermore, as I became increasingly aware of the limitations of using labels-'bully", for example, seemed to stick and implied a predictable or stable behavioural pattern-I began to note the frequency of other designations for the girls. A s I began to focus on how language is employed by the girls and by others, it seemed appropriate to use a form of discourse analysis (e.g., Tesch, 1991) for the terms "bitch" and "cat" for instance. This eventually formed the fifth chapter of this thesis. Increasingly I saw that bullying amongst the girls was context bound. There seemed to be a situational aspect to the bullying in that I began to suspect that almost any girl might bully another i f all conditions were "right". In the chapter that follows, I discuss the potential impact of contextual factors in shaping bullying and in increasing the likelihood of bullying occurring amongst girls particularly during their transition years to secondary school.  31  Chapter Three: Bullying in its family, community and school contexts 3.0 Introduction One of the assumptions of qualitative research in sociology is that the phenomenon under investigation is married to the immediate context. In this chapter I look at contextual factors in the girls' lives which inform bullying particularly during the transition year to high school. Here, it would seem that families, ethnic communities, schools and society provide veritable seedbeds for the confrontational, competitive and conforming attitudes that fuel bullying incidents whether they take place on or off school property. A t Mountainside, a youth worker (who spoke out of his own white middle class assumptions) believed that, after visiting many students' homes, his school's problems with violence could be attributed to: (a) the low S E S of a significant number of families, (b) negative community perspectives (including frequent critical media coverage) of the students as "violent trouble makers", (c) peer influences, (d) the hidden social force of family influence where students see as "normal" someone getting "smacked around" i f she or he proves to be an irritation (particularly in some cultures where hitting is an acceptable means to teach someone a lesson), and (e) cultural influences (i.e., Many students go through a confusing "identity crisis", torn between the strictness and discipline of family norms [old identity] and wanting to be "Canadian" [the emerging identity].). Students from Vietnam, E l Salvador and Nicaragua, for instance, have known war and its accompanying poverty, political confusion, violence and corruption of authority figures all their lives, and question: " W h y should they believe or listen to authority figures here?" [ F N (23)].  13  In this study, the girls brought other perspectives to the question of underlying causes of bullying. Most were personal, but they did concur with the fourth point proffered by the above counsellor. B y using their narratives, I attempt to show just how nested they are in their families,  In the British Columbia Teachers' Federation Task Force on Violence in Schools' Final Report. Cameron and colleagues (1994) listed as root causes of school violence: media portrayal of violence; economic conditions (poverty, unemployment); the legal system (Young Offenders' Act); family violence and instability; gang involvement; alienation; and discrimination (racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and ethnocentrism). A recent survey of teacher perceptions of violence in British Columbia public schools listed (in order of significance) free floating anger amongst students-linked to abuse in the home and violence in the media, alcohol and substance abuse, poverty and racism as the main factors promoting violence in schools (Malcolmson, 1994). 1J  32 their ethnic communities and in their schools, and how these entities are in turn influenced by the cultural forces and expectations in society. 3.1 Context #1: Families Grade 8 students in Ziegler and Rosenstein-Manner's (1991) study felt that the only way to stop bullying was to address family cycles of violence. During my interviews, when I asked about the causes of bullying, six of the fifteen girls immediately responded with the words: "home life". Home life translates into "the way they were raised", family problems" or "pressures". Arora and Thompson (1987) and an Oceanside counsellor also echoed the "home life" refrain [ F N (3B)]. For teenaged girls, familial relationships remain salient throughout adolescence despite an increase in time spent cultivating close friendships (Collins & Laursen, 1992). Parental support and instruction or lack thereof counts. Melissa, who told me she had never bullied anyone, was brought up to strike back when struck first, with the knowledge that i f she hit someone first, she was to blame i f she got hurt. Her parents' influence in this regard was evident in her statement indicating she was fully prepared to fight another girl, i f the circumstances warranted it. Fathers and older brothers often make it their business to guide their daughters in the ways o f survival. M a n y o f the girlfighters in Thompson's (1994) study said that their fathers taught them how to fight or sent them to martial arts training. B i l l i e ' s older brother taught her how to fight as well as block punches "so in that way, i f they're bigger and older than me, I still have a chance at least." I noted two cases where well intentioned significant males, introduced their daughters and younger sisters to martial arts and fighting techniques accompanied by warnings of rape. When Melissa was nine years old, her father taught her karate because "like my Dad knows there's like a really high crime rate, like raping and all that". Jaymee's older brother "forced" her to take Tae K w o n D o : "He always teaches me how to defend myself....He goes ' O h , you should go in so you can defend yourself with girls and stuff who are much bigger than y o u . ' " Sometimes parents' values and attitudes toward aggression are directly contrary to those held by schools and district boards. B i l l i e , who routinely claimed self- or other-defense, recounted:  33 When I got suspended 'cause a girl attacked me here....my dad was totally pissed off at that. So he came to the school and he yelled at the principals here...he didn't think it was fair and he made them show h i m in the [student handbook] that it was wrong to even defend yourself and that I should have just stood there. The afternoon B i l l i e introduced me to Bethany's mother so I could ask her i f I could interview her daughter, B i l l i e told her that I would interview Bethany about "violence and stuff. The mother's response? A chuckle, a little fake "sparring" with B i l l i e , and the comment: "Violence, eh?" She either did not take the issue seriously or was oblivious to the fact that the girls (who were both identified by the counsellor as two of the "big five" school bullies) were routinely involved in aggressive encounters. I wondered how she felt after Bethany was terrorized by this so-called best friend a mere week later. Emotional or physical abuse caused by close relatives, parents, and their partners or friends were seen by most of the girls as reasons behind aggressive actions against others. Girls who had been bullied sometimes felt "sorry" for their attackers owing to the perpetrator's home life wherein she had experienced rejection, neglect or both. Nicole, for instance, came just short of completely excusing the girls who had brutalized her verbally and physically for weeks, destroying many pieces of her clothing and nearly burning her face based on the knowledge that one father beats his daughter, another's "parents don't care" about their daughter, and the other's parents are "really mean". Bullying was very much a means of venting anger, anger toward adults whom they should have been able to trust. T w o girls told me outright that they felt unloved by one or both parents. For Angela the formula was simple: you get no respect from home; you give none to anyone else. Twelve year old B i l l i e , shared this story about familial disrespect: B : (...) L i k e w e ' d be sitting down having dinner right? A n d like w e ' d all be talking and my m o m would say, "Don't talk while you eat," right? A n d I'd be like, "Okay, sorry." So I'd start eating and i f I did it again my mom's boyfriend would hit me on the hand with his fork, and that was just her boyfriend, and that pissed me off 'cause my mom's best friend like she's a friend of the family, like she'd do that to me too. She'd take her knife or her fork and she'd just whack me on the hand with it, and it pissed me off, and she, and the guy's been seeing her for about two years now and now my mom's boyfriend started doing that, and I just flipped and I go, " Y o u fucking asshole! D o n ' t ever do that again!" 'Cause it made me so mad because I used to get cuts and bruises on my hands from knives and forks hitting my hands, right? A n d I hated it. A n d then my mom, she hit me across the face and she goes, "Don't ever talk like that again." A n d I go, " Y a , like you give a shit! I fucking hate you, you stupid bitch!" and that's what I said to my  34 mom, and I just took off. I've run away so many times and stuff. But it's usually like, I kind of think i f your parents are divorced, and then your m o m gets a boyfriend, and she spends most of her time with her boyfriend, a k i d feels like abandoned. Abandoned, like you kinda feel left out and that's what it was like for me. For four years I always felt left out and like my mom was abandoning me. L i k e I could just leave the house. M y mom wouldn't notice that I left. I'd come back at like 2 o'clock in the morning, my mom S T I L L wouldn't have noticed that I'd left. Not only did she experience intense feelings of maternal and paternal abandonment, but she recognized the effect of witnessing generational violence against women (her grandmother had been beaten by her husband, just as had her mother by her husband) on her own behaviour and attitudes.  3.2 Context # 2: Communities British Columbia's ethnic heritage is diversifying annually, especially amongst its youth. First languages of incoming students at both schools in my study were mainly English, Cantonese and Mandarin, Korean, Polish, and Punjabi. Though specific figures were not available, an estimated 50% of students spoke English as a Second Language. Neither of the schools in my study was designated as inner city, but they did differ somewhat in social class make-up. Mountainside's student intake was reportedly middle-class with some students from both low- and high-income families. According to one teacher, 28 out of 33 grade seven graduates coming to Mountainside that September were labelled "at risk", a label hinting of lower class. T w o developments nearby housed many of the students and were marked by poverty, crime, and substance and sexual abuse. F r o m teachers' aids I learned that at least two of the girls I interviewed (Leah and Dawn) lived there. In response to my query about school S E S , one of Oceanside's administrators reported that the school's student body as "largely working-class-middle-class, lower-to-middle, more middle, some welfare, some upper" [ F N (3A)]. In the staff room, however, teachers described it as a "high achievers" type of school with a good reputation and "a lot of rich kids" mainly from Asian families [ F N (2A)]. Notes from weekly bulletins regarding meetings for school trips to Florida and Japan, riding and rock climbing clubs, and advertisements for summer program applications for Oxford and the Academie de Paris led me to see the school as more middle- to upper class relative to Mountainside.  35 Despite their intentions to the contrary, schools may actually hinder solidarity and cooperation amongst students of differing ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. B y their very nature as "middle class" institutions, schools cater to student members of that class (Curtis, Livingstone & Smaller, 1992). Structural biases exist in favour of individuality, competition, and future orientation. Middle- and upper class Northern European Canadian students have often been raised within those norms and fit in well with school systems that perpetuate them.  14  Students of other classes seek to gain their own measure of power and control by the means at their disposal. For example, Jaymee, an immigrant from Korea, used her connections with reputedly widely feared local Korean gang members to intimidate others and ensure her safety on and off school property. Converting ethnic affiliation into "social" capital made up what she lacked in cultural capital (money, status, and structural familiarity). (For further commentary on her connections, see Section 4.5.2.) Just as community ethnicity and social class mark individual schools, they also influence the formation and dynamics of the various peer groups located within those schools (e.g., Kelly, 1993). Though the girls I interviewed never gave any direct indication of class-consciousness with regard to the reasons for bullying, they did show some awareness of ethnic differences as foundational to some incidents. Certainly some girls use ethnic capital to justify aggressive behaviours. According to a few of the girls in my study, "Spanish girls" were to be feared by those outside their ethnic group. Even Maria, herself Hispanic, dreaded them. Dawn made sure that she was always surrounded by fellow First Nations boys and girls when she went off campus to seek out a target. Notoriously tough B i l l i e called herself "Native" even though she was only one quarter First Nations. W h e n she needed to, she exploited the racist attitude prevalent among students that "Native girls" are tough and hence to be feared. In this study, I found that some girls' sense of superiority over "other girls" was coloured by racist inclinations. Racism often takes the form of verbal, psychological or physical bullying in schools (Besag, 1989). Racial or ethnic bullying is sometimes difficult to confirm owing to the complexity of participant perceptions. Junger (1990) suspected that some bullying incidents  Furthermore, a poor fit between developmental needs of young adolescents and their educational environment can result in increased social comparison, concerns about evaluation and competitiveness (Eccles et al, 1993).  36 are interpreted as related to the target's ethnic background whereas the "real reason" may be something else altogether. Too, i f numbers of a particular ethnic group in relation to dominant groups are sufficiently high as to constitute a "threat", then members of that ethnic group are viewed through the lens of their ethnicity and their actions more likely attributed to that affiliation (Kelly, 1993, p. 210).  15  It is not always easy for the girls themselves to identify racism in a mixed bag of motives. Kelly, a middle class Caucasian, thought that the teachers treated Martha ("one of the only Black people at our school") differently because she had no friends: (...) They think it's because she's Black and it's not, it's because she's a really big.... So* anybody who bugs her gets in big trouble because they think they're being racist. W h i c h we're not. Kelly felt that, had Martha been "nice" she would not have been picked on and friendless. It would have been interesting to get Martha's perspective. Still, ethnic stereotyping was frequent in both the girls' writings and their interviews. When Bonnie was asked about a certain bully, she described her as follows: "She's in grade 11. Like she's pretty tough, she's Spanish or something." Nicole, describing how a friend had been bullied, explained the perpetrator's actions not only on the basis of her Hispanic heritage, but also on the assumption that she "looked" Native and thus "had more things in her". A s such, she was a "rougher" person. M a n y girls see Hispanic girls as fighters, including Hispanic girls themselves (Brown, Way & Duff, in press; Thompson, 1994). Bethany, for instance, did not "mess around with Spanish and Blacks". The former in particular scared her. According to her, Hispanics were "psycho", "crazy", and had bad tempers: They are brought up differently...like the ones who have been brought up in E l Salvador or Chile or Guatemala, they've had a rough life and they have to protect themselves somehow.  During the interview stage of data collection, I made attempts to discern if motives for bullying were based on social relations such as ethnicity or sexual orientation, but did not delve into class-based reasons. I had assumed that the slight difference in the socioeconomic status (SES) of the two schools would yield some interesting contrasts, but was unable to scrutinize more thoroughly class-based power differentials in my quest to probe for gender-related factors. Deeper probing into class-based motives might possibly have revealed a tendency for lower SES girls to value physical fighting over verbal aggression, the latter perhaps being the preferred modus operandi for middle class girls.  37 Samantha thought that "Spanish people are probably more w i l d than the rest of the gangs...Their parents are proud of the way they act. They go, ' Y o u ' r e like a true Spanish person! Y o u ' r e acting like I do.'" Samantha went on later i n her interview to say that no white gang would gang up on a black gang because "I mean, it's obvious, black people are tougher than white people. I don't really know why....I guess it's genetic, that they're big compared to white people. White people are scared as hell of them...".  16  Girls who had perpetrated fights seemed themselves unable to critically assess i f their motives for bullying were racist or linked to social class considerations. I suggest that the white girls were speaking out of blindness to ethnicity considerations. Class blindness, understandable given the age of the girls, may also have underlain one of the white girls' comments that whether you were rich or poor did not matter. When I asked specifically about ethnic bullying in British Columbia cities, Tanya, like a few other white respondents, initially felt there wasn't much: " L i k e someone could be beating up, say, a black person. It's N O T because they're black. It's because of something they've done. Plus we don't really have that many African Americans here. But the other big racial thing is Orientals...".  17  In autobiographical accounts, at least one girl wrote of being bullied by a Chinese  girl. A Chinese girl, in turn, wrote of having been bullied by non-Asian girls. Siann and colleagues (1994) have contended that most individuals, at the subjective level, tend to draw a distinction between racial and sexual abuse and bullying. The reasons for this, they suggest, are that racist and sexist taunts do not strike at the individual's core of self. Yet, in my study, Samantha, a Chinese student, claimed to be unaware of racist bullying amongst girls but nevertheless told me during her interview that white girls were in great danger of getting bullied i f they dared utter an ethnic slur against Asians. It would seem at this developmental stage, girls are not sure of what counts as bullying at first glance. Sometimes prompting them accordingly allowed them to find examples that fit into their own definitions.  In Thompson's (1994) study, greater numbers of African-American and Chicana teenagers told stories about female violence than did any others. Furthermore, no middle-class narrators admitted to fearing violencefromother middleclass girls. Unfortunately, our interview was disrupted and we had to switch to a different wing of the school. The ethnic thread was lost when we resumed our interview 10 minutes later. 17  38  3.3 Context #3: Schools 3.3.1 Haven or hell? Schools...offer a sense of security. They provide a supportive group of people, a centre for friendships and positive experiences, not to mention a valuable education. -Excerpt from the Oceanside student handbook I don't even want to be in school right now....I have no interest in it whatsoever. A n d to top it all off, I have to worry about getting my ass kicked. -Bethany, I The girls i n this study reported similar types of bullying ranging from mild to serious at both schools. Notably, none of the teenaged participants linked any blame directly to Mountainside or Oceanside per se. Some of the girls even reported feeling relatively safe on school grounds versus off. Research confirms this (Kelly et al., 1995; Lecompte & Dworkin, 1991; Noguera, 1995). The girls claimed that, unlike bullying amongst boys, much of the bullying that goes on between them takes place off school property where they are not likely to get caught. "Girls are smarter than guys!" declared two of them. Samantha elaborated: "[Girls] are more patient. They keep it inside. They save the best for everyone to see." O f f campus, not only are they less likely to get caught and punished, but there may well be significantly more spectators out to view an amply advertised showdown off school property. Nonetheless, for many of the young adolescent girls in my study, secondary "school" in general was not perceived as a safe haven. M a n y attacks do occur on school grounds (in the corridors, the cafeteria, and outdoor student congregation areas). Whether fights or confrontations take place on or off campus, the school does provide a context for forging alliances, identifying (or fabricating) reasons for putting someone " i n her place", and planning strategies to teach someone "a lesson".  18  Dawn, B i l l i e , and Jaymee frequently missed classes in  order to make critical social connections or plans, or wait at strategic locations for their targets to come out of school. For the girls in this study, it was not the individual schools i n particular, but was school life in general (roughly translated by them as "life" or "school") that houses the potential for  I must clarify at the outset of this section that it is not at all my intent to label as "bad" some of the traditional features of schools. Thousands of students do well within the existing structure and organization of secondary schools and enjoy their years there. My questions concern the many students who do experience pain and hurt within that framework.  39 bullying. School life ranged from being somewhat painful to downright precarious. For one 14year-old, school was a place "to meet your fate which is nothing but a black eye." [ N D O C 7] This was a girl who claimed to have "100" best friends and who thought others saw her as sweet and honest. It would seem that school life was fraught with contrasts. Bullying linked to school life-whether through location or relationships-can have profound emotional repercussions. For some of the girls who had experienced bullying or had witnessed it close hand, feeling unprotected sometimes went beyond wistful resignation. A Mountainside resource teacher knew of a student (since transferred) who threw up every morning and came to school half an hour late to avoid early morning bullying. Some of the girls I interviewed claimed to be depressed and even "paranoid". Not only is this fear traumatic to the girls, but it can also reduce their ability to devote full attention to their academic studies (Baker & Mednick, 1990). Furthermore, getting involved in fights can lead to disengagement from school life (Kelly, 1994). Perceptions of insecurity, and feelings of being at risk-accurate or not, keeps many children away from school, and may cause them to drop out i f they are repeatedly threatened over time (Hyle et al., 1991, LeCompte & Dworkin, 1991). Bethany, Angela, Samantha, Nicole, and Leah reported that they sometimes found it difficult to concentrate in class or made excuses not to go to class because of their involvement in bullying episodes i f they had been targeted. Bethany in particular reported being fear-filled both at school and walking home. When I asked why she had not been in her Math class when I went to find her for her interview, she said: "I was having trouble breathing and I didn't feel good. I was shaking....I don't know what happened, but I lay down." School attendance requirements were not enough to keep her from staying away from school. She felt unable to: (...) sit there and worry about i f there is somebody standing outside my classroom waiting for me to come out....That's what makes me feel scared, 'cause I don't know i f they are whispering, " O h , it's after lunch we're going to get her." I don't know what they're saying, right?  3.3.2 School organization and practices In this study, I found that many of the girls gave confusing and contradictory accounts of their bullying experiences and their responses to those experiences. Often, my head would spin at the contradictions in their dialogue and, at times, their appearance. T o illustrate: Angela, Bethany, B i l l i e , and Dawn told me candidly that they believed that bullying was wrong and that they sometimes felt sorry for girls who got hurt by them or others. Yet, throughout our  40 interviews, these girls continued to justify every violent action they took against other girls as though they somehow deserved it. A s another illustration: Angela (plainly dressed) wore earrings that stated "Looking for a hunk" and "Soft and sexy". These messages seemed to contradict who she said she was and what she wanted. A closer look at the world of school reveals that the girls' personal incongruencies are bred in a specific context that causes double binds. One such obvious lack of fit is the incompatibility of the girls' concerns (for example, feeling good and looking good) with the schools' concerns (being good and doing good). But the latter's concerns represent an ideal that is, in practice, difficult to realize given the structures that are in place in most secondary schools. Mountainside was divided into independent sectors separated from each other by extremely long hallways and outer courtyards all under one roof. Similarly, Oceanside was segregated by distinct floors and buildings that isolated specialized groups from one another. The girls in my study congregated in specific areas in the school. A t Oceanside, for instance, it was clear that not everyone could hang out with the "tree people". Likewise, at Mountainside, the "smoke pit" was reserved for a particular crowd. Departmentalization by subject matter (academic, technological) or function (special education, student services), by cliques or groups (homeys, cool normals, skaters, skids, nerds, popular) contribute to a sense of belonging on one hand and a sense of alienation on the other. A highly differentiated secondary school staff (for example, special needs teachers, counsellors, teachers' aids, drug and alcohol abuse workers, police liaison) is capable of delivering numerous specialized services and functions to address a great variety of individual student needs. However, this also accentuates differences between individuals, rather than integrating individuals into the larger community group. Allegiances are stronger to individual departments than to the school itself (Lee, Bryk & Smith, 1993). It is highly plausible that when teachers fail to experience "community" in the workplace, so do the students. I wondered i f the lack of modelling of social integration (e.g., Braddock & McPartland, 1993) contributed to the girls' tendency to act individualistically, for their own good, rather than for the good of the whole. Peer groups operate within and are shaped by the structure of the school in which students are located (Lee, Bryk & Smith, 1993). In a striking parallel to the ways in which the girls organize themselves, schools have a top-down organizational structure in staffing and downward communication. Individuals understand their various places i n that vertical hierarchy as being  41 either superordinate or subordinate to others. One's place in the "pyramid" is determined by the amount of decision-making power and voice one has. Built into this is an individual's drive to gain more personal power by rising to the top. This can be realized by currying the favour of the leadership or by proving oneself worthy or capable by specific achievements or both for instance. Noguera (1995) provides a compelling analysis of the legacy of excessive social control inherited by North American schools over the decades. In their efforts to maintain the order necessary for learning to take place, schools all too often implement prison-like policies and punitive disciplinary practices. Mountainside's "lock-in" procedures, police liaison presence, and use of suspension and expulsion are examples of symbolic and active ways in which many schools "fight" violence. Ironically, proposes Noguera, this actually increases our schools' vulnerability to occurrences of violence. Confrontational disciplinary systems (Connell, 1996) and punishments rarely set an example of preferred behaviour for girls and boys. Instead, they model power imbalances: administrators over students. Such disciplinary action becomes a means for administrators to "send a message" to the population at large about who is in control, rather than dealing creatively with a specific situation. In Chapter Four, the discussion of reasons girls gave for bullying others reveals how institutional practices such as these can shape attitudes toward bullying others. 3.3.3 School culture: G o ! Fight! W i n ! A school's culture is partially reflected in its ceremonies, its symbols, and the accomplishments it chooses to recognize officially. -Purkey and Smith, 1983, p. 444. Upon entering the main doors of many secondary schools, the brightly painted walls often communicate mixed messages of what is valued to students and visitors. Not only are there sometimes-larger-than-life murals depicting often violent scenes of mythical ferocious creatures, but immediate messages about the school's athletic spirit are also sent. T o illustrate, one is often greeted with the written message: "This school is the home of the Vikings, Gladiators, the Fighting Irish, Grizzlies, Lions", and so on. Thus, strolling along the corridors of our schools, one's eye is caught alternately by advertisements for the fighting spirit of the school and by neatly-framed and boldly-lettered school or district codes of peaceable conduct. The contrast is striking. O n the one hand, at least part of the student body is being lauded for their role as marauding hordes or beasts of prey. O n  42 the other, school rules, whether two (Mountainside) or ten (Oceanside) pages in length, clearly and firmly forbid aggression against fellow members of the student body. School mission statements often appear to be based on benevolent ideals of equal access and camaraderie, but a closer look shows how they, too, reflect cultural biases in favour of inequality between individuals and between groups. Mission statements usually include the idealized concept of a commitment to the development of an "intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally well-rounded individual" [Oceanside Mission Statement]. The telling word order of which emphasizes the degree of value accorded to each facet of that well-rounded individual.  19  Academic and athletic achievement and bullying Athletic rallies and graduation ceremonies implicitly communicate a school's values and are two rituals that appear to unite all students and teachers (Lee, Bryk & Smith, 1993). Alternately, these rituals may contribute to the further fragmentation of the student body by raising some students high above the masses, inadvertently excluding a large number of others. A w a r d ceremonies inadvertently elevate a very few people to a superior status: the message sent is that they are somehow "better" than the unrewarded who begin to appear inferior. It also provides a subtler message that some are accepted and some are rejected. Although the student participants in my study did not comment on these aspects of school life, my observations and informal contacts with school personnel drew my attention to them. For example, a teacher from an equivalency program at Mountainside told me that students bully because they are very angry. They feel alienated, she said, from the dominant school culture which favours and promotes team members, council members, and honour roll achievers, and puts them in a favoured position. When other students are not in a position to be chosen for these positions, they get the message that they are not wanted, not valued [ F N (2A)]. Performance-reward systems are set up in schools in the hopes of encouraging all students to adopt similar values and strive for the same goals. Yet, institutional emphasis on individual competition such as it is actually discourages cooperation and unity within the student  I do not claim here that schools ought to switch their priorities, but I do wish to point out that students unequivocally receive the subtle and not-so-subtle messages about those priorities, and incorporate them into their socialization processes and structures.  43 body. Furthermore, when some gifts (for example, academic and athletic) are accorded more value than others are, "a job well done" in a different area loses its sheen. A t the same time, the doors of envy, jealousy, and revenge may open in those who have not been rewarded or who have no chance of ever being recognized. In their work, Hoover and colleagues (1992) have suggested that competition may be a factor in causes of bullying. When I asked Amber and Christine what sorts of things in our society encourage women and girls to be aggressive with each other, Amber immediately replied: It's competition. Competition gone too far. L i k e you know that you're either equal or you're just a little bit below and you can't think of any other way to raise yourself to be better than this person and that's like your G O A L . It's what you want and nothing is going to stop you from getting it. Then, to get that, you're going to have to put the other person down or stomp on them. T o get past them. Said Tanya: " Y o u know, it's so much on C L O T H E S , chest size, make-up, hair, like i f you don't look good then it's—pfff!" For the girls, classism in the form of assessing appearances, rivalry, and competition in athletic and academic striving form part of a veritable root system which has the potential to sprout into clashes amongst them. For those girls who can make it to the top academically and athletically, reward systems can serve to bolster their identities. Amber and Christine, both A students, clung to the adult support and affirmation they got for getting those A ' s despite the cost in terms of peer acceptance. Amber's elementary school life was "hell", yet she would never have traded getting good marks for a better social life. Christine, on the other hand, yearned for a social life as it was defined by her peers even though she was involved in many athletic endeavours and had friends: "I mean I certainly didn't have a life-I mean people would ask me where my life was. I'd say well I don't know." She figured that getting good marks was the only thing she was good at. Girls like B i l l i e , Dawn, and Jaymee, who had failed to achieve a measure of schoolapproved "success", carved out identities for themselves by means of bullying other girls within the context of school, thereby gaining reputations as individuals not to be tampered with. Bethany emphasized this point: " Y o u want people to know not to mess around with you....You have to earn your name in grade 8." In schools and peer groups certain standards for performance are established and institutionally upheld. Conforming to those standards by beating others academically or in a fight is most amply rewarded by social standing or prestige,  44 sometimes monetary rewards, public recognition, and plaudits from adults in the case of the former or from peers in the latter. In short, it is a means to obtain respect and thus, power. Amber used the term "powerful" for Christine who was calm and cool during a districtwide debate and "wimp" to label herself for not performing well or winning in similar competitions. " W i m p " was also used by other girls to describe those who could not stand up for themselves and fight well. Girls who could were looked up to as having power. The high valuing of demonstrated intellect and physical performance comes through loud and clear. The girls mirrored this hierarchical preference of intelligence and physical prowess over social and emotional gifts in the structuring of, and dynamics within, their various peer groups. Being "smart" or "stupid" as related to bullying and social survival came up again and again in my communications with the girls. The smartest or most "effective" girls were those who either won fights or avoided conflict with the fighters while managing to stay safe under their protection. According to them, only girls who were stupid or weak got themselves into trouble. Being labelled stupid (i.e., not smart) may have more meaning for the girls than for the boys. From their writings and the conversations I overheard, "stupid" seemed to be a favourite word amongst the girls. A s an antecedent, from time to time it appears as a somewhat meaningless filler to signal "coolness", in the same way boys use " f u c k i n " ' .  20  It may also be that  the toughest girls use "fucking" to a much greater degree than the bulk of girls who are still conforming to cultural restrictions requiring better behaviour from them than from boys. During my research, I could not determine the extent to which any of the girls might have used that expletive. It may be they were more careful not to give a negative impression in front of me. However, the frequency of "stupid" in purposeful reference to other girls or even to themselves in their personal descriptions was noteworthy. Amber, a "straight A s " student, offered a glimpse into one way stupidity is interpreted by young adolescent girls and how such an interpretation contributes to identity formation: I remember a bunch of stuff, but I know I just remember the emotions that I still carry, really, really, really D E E P down you know. I still remember how I felt, but I  One afternoon, however, I overheard a vicious altercation between two girls who were completely unaware of my presence in the hallway. "Fucking" peppered the verbal challenges meted out by one girl leaving the target white-faced and afraid-looking [FN (15)].  45 can't remember anything about it....There's this big ball inside. L i k e fat.... Maybe that part could be like not feeling worthy and maybe that part made you feel stupid because you don't fit in and this part is because you don't look right. Here, deviation from peer norms is linked to a lack of intelligence. In schools which are oriented to performance-reward expectations, students who are unable to conform to school norms (such as striving for academic and athletic achievement) might consider themselves unredeemably stupid. Social and emotional advances and bullying Despite some findings that teachers often, at least in rhetoric, value social and emotional development the most (Kelly et al., 1995), social and emotional considerations are relegated to last place in the life of most schools whether explicitly stated or not. Accolades for social development are given to those displaying "good citizenship", but progress in social skills such as relational loyalty and honesty, or in emotional development for example, go virtually uncelebrated (in part because they are harder to measure). It is rather the lack of sufficient emotional development (i.e., "social problems") to which attention is drawn. Ironically, these "lesser" achievements sometimes have a direct impact on academic and athletic achievements. Samantha, for example, admitted that her academic performance was negatively affected by her preoccupation with social connections. A s she got to know greater numbers of people in the school, the more she needed to spend time with them. She got drawn into skipping classes because she didn't want to be "attacked from outside".  3.3.4 Perceptions of adult efficacy When I asked Leah what administrators, teachers, and counsellors could do to make school a safer place, she insisted that, "There's nothing really that they C A N do. Unless something really happens, and then they can suspend the person or expel them. But most people say i f you rat out then you're going to get more and more." K e l l y expressed a similar opinion: K : What I did last time was I went to a counsellor and I said, "She's after me. I do N O T want the principals to know about this. (They're supposed to tell the principals.) I ' m just saying that i f we get in a fight, then it's not my fault, and I don't want to be in trouble for it." K F : W h y wouldn't you want the principals to know? They could have put a stop to the fight. K : N O ! They can't. They think they can, but they can't. K F : (...) because the person would find you off school grounds?  46 K : Yeah, yeah, that's right. O h ! Y o u ' d be so dead. That is the worst thing you can do is rat on somebody. If you ratted on somebody, oh my God, oh, you'd be hanging on for dear life, i f you told on them and they found you. K F : So, you can't even tell your parents because they might phone the school? K: Yup. K F : (...) D o the administrators know what school life is like for people? K : A little bit I guess. But they don't really understand what it's about though. The fear of being accused of ratting is not unfounded. A price w i l l be paid. Girls caught bullying w i l l often readily agree in front of administrators not to harass the target any further, but suspended girls eventually come back to school. The target and possibly even her friends might "get their asses kicked again" either by the original perpetrator or her friends. Bethany confirmed that: "It wouldn't matter i f [Billie] was sent to Y D C [Youth Detention Centre]. It won't matter i f she's expelled. It won't matter i f she's suspended. Nothing w i l l stop her." To their credit, many schools do provide much for students by means of emotional support and acceptance. Sometimes, certain teachers are seen as surrogate parents (Crawley, 1995). However, when it came to issues of personal safety for the participants in my study, parents, teachers, and administrators were not perceived by the girls as able protectors-partly because of unawareness and partly because of a lack of caring. Gulfs in ethnicity, class, age, and experience between school staff and students are all too common in urban secondary schools. Other researchers have also found that young people perceive junior high or secondary school teachers as unaware of many bullying episodes (Junger, 1990) and less caring than elementary school teachers (Eccles et a l , 1993; Hazier et a l , 1992). Ignorance resulting from unawareness and lack of caring can foster an environment of mistrust and resistance (Noguera, 1995). Moreover, the decrease in personal and positive relationships with teachers is especially problematic during early adolescence as children are in special need of close relationships with adults outside their homes (Eccles et a l , 1993). Nicole felt that principals knew about most fights and felt strongly about violence, yet she agreed with most of the girls I interviewed by saying: " L i k e they don't know everything." Dawn's opinion was more in keeping with the general view: "I don't even think the principal has even seen us girls fight-like maybe arguing-that's it, but no fighting." When I asked Tanya about teacher awareness, she said: They're not conscious. They can tell, kind of. L i k e IF teachers can tell, it's just in their own class-the staring, the glaring, the little things. Some of them are not as dumb as w e ' d like them to be....They do catch the little things, but they don't  47 catch a lot of the language because [the girls] don't really stand in front of the teacher and go, "Screw you! Fuck you, you stupid bitch!". T h e y ' l l say it i n the hall. A n d most teachers, they hear that everywhere. They just hear swearing. They don't pay attention to it. But i f something really does go on, like screaming really loud in the hall and beating up, they find that out. According to Malcolmson (1994), British Columbia teachers are conscious enough to view school violence as a significant problem, notably within the secondary school system. Cameron et al. (1994) also reported that teachers are noticing adolescent girls intimidating, harassing, and assaulting other girls. A t Mountainside, I found the teachers' aids particularly aware of bullying incidents, even without knowing all the details [ F N (18)]. Besag (1989) and Olweus (1991) reflect that part of school personnel's inability to help may lie in their decreased awareness of the more subtle and hidden types of psychological bullying, such as social exclusion and intimidation. Girls who have learned not to share can carry the anguish and pain of emotional torture in silence for months or years without significant adults knowing about it. According to certain research findings, adolescent girls are more likely than adolescent boys to seek help from school-based professionals as long as they are assured confidentiality (Offer & Schonert-Reichl, 1992). In my study, bullying amongst girls was usually brought to the attention of administrators and counsellors through means other than the girls themselves, whether they had been bullied or had witnessed an incident. The vice-principal in charge of the junior grades at Oceanside ruefully admitted, "kids never spill their guts" to h i m [ F N (3A) October 28]. A s mentioned above, fear of being marked "a rat" owing to the violent repercussions of being assigned that label may be a major factor attributing to this silence. Yet other factors also play a part. In early adolescence, friendship conceptions grow to include more self-disclosure and the sharing of confidences (Schonert-Reichl & Hymel, 1996). Given this, as well as the fact that the girls felt that school staff and parents were unable to protect them or were simply not taking them seriously, it is not surprising that they took their problems to their friends instead, even though confidentiality could not necessarily be guaranteed amongst those friends.  3.3.5 Perceived gender bias Guys get suspended for fighting, girls don't. -Dawn, I  48 K e l l y (1993) noted that girls are less often suspended than boys are. Part of the reason for this may lie in girls' tendency to strategize and put off their intended revenge until a more propitious time. Samantha maintained that administrators knew that bullying amongst girls goes on off school property. However: "They just don't stop it. They don't care. They think the guys are just more important and everything. The guys w i l l get into more trouble." However, in speaking of girl fights off school grounds, Leah exonerated the school, claiming it was powerless: 'cause it's not on school property. Basically the guys are the ones who get caught fighting at school. Girls are smarter. If you're caught fighting on school property, y o u ' l l get suspended, but i f you hurt the person really bad and it's like a life and death situation, you're immediately expelled from all schools in [the city]. Still, she knew of one grade 9 girl who got expelled that autumn because she broke another girl's arm, nose, and front teeth apparently not on school property. Despite this evidence of a girl receiving the same consequence that a boy caught in a similar situation would receive, several of the girls I interviewed clung firmly to the conviction that girls are not treated equally. One of the few boys I interviewed informally thought, "principals treat the guys and the girls the same" [I D O C 4]. But the following account reveals the degree to which one girl believed that all adults cared little about girl-girl aggression and even imposed that belief wrongly when adults did step in to intervene. Once Dawn and her friends staged a fight on a major street and "it was like a thousand people were walking by and they didn't care. W e did it on M a i n Boulevard, in front of a store, and nobody cared-they just looked at us going ' m m m m ' . " However, she later mentioned that a woman had seen them from across the street and had called the police, who came. Yet, at a different point in the interview Dawn claimed that the police only came for boy fights, that she had "never seen a girls' fight have the cops come [because] they don't think it's that serious because girls don't like, stab and stuff and like shoot people." Dawn's perceptions were clearly that girls are not taken as seriously by adults as boys are. Perceived gender biases that render the credibility of girls questionable and the legitimacy of their claims lesser than that of boys, could certainly account for the girls' reluctance to go to teachers and administrators for help with bullying problems. H i g h school dropouts, for instance, routinely report the absence of teacher caring (Lee, Bryk & Smith, 1993). It is probable that the roots of some of this ambiguity lie in a mixture of both faulty and accurate student perceptions of the absence of a certain type of caring-the kind  49 shown by "just listening" rather than giving advice and taking action [Melissa, IJ. When one of Dawn's friends got beaten up right in front of the school complete with "a huge crowd, like fifty of us watching...no teachers, no nothing came out." She felt that word of the fight had circulated amply to call out so many on-lookers, so the teachers must have known. Some of the girls specifically noted the contrast in not being able to go to adults for help in secondary school as opposed to elementary. Whitney and Smith (1991) found that only a third of bullied pupils felt able to talk to a teacher about the problem. The transition year is likened to a shocking move from "family" life to "real world" preparation for the impersonal workplace. K e l l y felt the weight of being responsible for herself in the eighth grade: "[In elementary] you go to the teacher i f you have a problem and here you can't go. Y o u can't go to really anybody. 'Cause I mean you're scared about, like people finding out....In high school everybody has connections. Y o u don't know who they are connected with. I mean, some people might be connected with gangs." Grade 7, or elementary school in general, was considered "unbelievably different"-more "friendly", safer. The decrease in personal safety was confirmed by Melissa who reported that "not that many people in elementary school want to pound people. It's more like in high school." In elementary school, K e l l y considered "fighting like totally gross". She believed that "the people who fight think they're cool and stuff. After her arrival at Oceanside, she saw that dealing with fights and threats was "like, um, part of everybody's daily life here....It's pretty normal. A lot of people fight." In the following section, I highlight some of the girls' impressions of their transition to high school, and the place of bullying as part of that process. 3.3.6  T h e transition year to high school You're in grade 8. Y o u ' r e picked on. -Tanya, I Tattum (1989) cites research that reveals student, anxiety over the prospect of bullying in  the transfer from elementary to secondary school. It is almost as though they expect it as a rite of passage in the transition years. Senior elementary students in Ziegler and Rosenstein-Manner's (1991) Ontario study expressed fears about the possibility of facing bullying and violence once they moved to high school. Tanya equated going to high school with going to Kindergarten: " Y o u only know a few people, and so you've got to fit in (...) Once you get to the older grades things change because everyone, you know, finds themself, knows where they are."  50 The best of times, the worst of times In British Columbia, high school begins in grade 8. For some of the girls I interviewed, the move to a larger secondary school symbolized hope, the opportunity for a fresh beginning, and relief from peer persecution at elementary school. Heaving a great sigh of relief, grade 9 student Amber remembered: "It was wonderful because I didn't know anyone. It was tremendous. I loved it. Because it was grade 8,1 say, ' Okay fine. Start new." Overall, however, it seemed that the grade 8 year was a time to exercise considerable caution. Samantha was blunt: "When you're in high school...if you say one thing, everybody's going to know." Appendix E provides a written reflection [S D O C 11] by one student of how having been bullied coloured her daily life, her relationships, and her health during her grade 8 year. Starting over also often brings with it the anxieties of the unknown, or of finding and keeping one's place within one or more new peer groups. Success in the latter arena, as Bonnie saw it, depended on how skilled you were in locating yourself close to the right people: "In grade 8, you're either big or small." Angela had not realized just how "really hard" it would be to make new friends at high school, but as she acquired them (especially ones in higher grades), the thirty or so elementary schoolmates who still tried to torment her "gradually lost power" over her. Leah struggled with learning new behavioural rules, the new group think: "That's the roughest time like to get beaten up and picked on because all these people are coming straight from elementary school.... they don't know what's going to happen to them i f they start mouthing off and all that." The grade 8 counsellor at Oceanside attributed social conflicts to the "regrouping" that occurs when students from the various feeder schools, and "about 100 others from all over the world" remix; there are resentments and hostilities. A new pecking order is established [ F N (5)]. Likely because my questions about the transition year and the differences between grades 7, 8, and 9 were framed in terms of bullying, the girls gave mixed, and sometimes contradictory, responses about the quality of that first year at high school. Maria, for instance, said that the transition from grade 7 to 8 was "easy", yet went on to describe how she had been ostracized by a former elementary school friends and also by male and female peers belonging to her ethnic group during her grade 8 year. Though Samantha began our interview by describing the beginning of grade 8 as the best time of her life "fun-wise", she concluded by confessing that she  51 was "always depressed" at that time, that grade 8 was really "a terrible time. I was scared as hell. I knew that I wanted to be friends with people. I knew I had to start all over again and find all new friends." In the end she summed up many of the girls' ambivalent experiences: "It can be the worst, it can be the best."  School size Some empirical studies (Olweus, 1984, 1994) have found that school size appears to be of negligible importance for the relative frequency or level of bullying problems. Olweus' data refer to the proportion of bullying incidents reported and not to individual perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of school size. Interestingly, in my interviews with girls, about half of the participants perceived school size to be a factor that could shape the context of bullying in that it had a significant effect on their social relationships. On the one hand, the much larger size of high schools offered girls a chance to "hide" and eventually establish new social identities i f they so desired. H i g h academic achievers Amber and Christine both welcomed the anonymity of high school as it meant a drastic reduction in peer put downs because they no longer "stuck out". O n the other hand, larger school size also provided an intimidating and alienating contrast to the often familiar and more protective surroundings of elementary schools. When Nicole arrived in September, "the thing I was really scared about [was] making new friends and not getting to know people because I ' m not that kind of person....I'm kinda shy. I was really scared of this school because it was huge, right?" She went on to describe secondary fears related to opening her combination lock, the different subjects, and finding her way around the building. Leah found going from class to class with eight different teachers and being in a large cafeteria, for instance, confusing: "It just felt like you were lost. [You] don't know where to go." Yet, despite that and her negative experiences with being bullied in grade 8, she concluded that high school was "pretty good, because there's bigger crowds and all that, more friends. Y o u get to meet new people." More people can be either a blessing or a curse. When Samantha spoke of friendship dynamics, she mentioned that school size had an impact. A s high school is so much bigger it becomes more difficult to manoeuvre one's way around relationally as there are so many people "to worry about". Bethany confirmed this: "It's different because in high school there are more people that you can talk to and then the story changes more."  52 Kelly, in grade 10 at the time of the interview, saw grade 8 as "a total mess....Everybody gets scared in grade 8....[Bullying is] definitely worse in grade 8, 'cause you're new to a school. This school is so big, it's unbelievable. Y o u don't really know who you are in the school. In grade 9, you pretty much have your identity figured out-like who you hang out with, who you're 21  friends with, who you're not friends with."  Bethany expanded on the challenges of identity  establishment: "It's worse [in grade 8]. Y o u have to earn your name. It seems like in grade 8 everybody wants to be popular so there's lots of fights and stuff. [Girls are] getting beaten up, and threats and everything....In grade 7 you didn't have to say anything to be popular. In grade 8...it's like somebody trying to choose your friends." In the move to secondary school, the girls felt the loss of the familiar. They needed to find a new place of value in a sometimes frightening environment. But it is not just an increase in physical size that affects the girls in their move from elementary school. Unbeknownst to them, certain organizational features of schools may well shape the girls' attitudes toward each other and may reinforce bullying behaviours amongst the girls.  3.4 Context #4: Society and the media Everywhere young, developing minds turn they see self-centred adults striving for success, power-hungry, competing to get ahead. They see respectable grownups who have merely substituted bullying with their money or their minds for bullying with their fists. They see their country's leaders name-calling and shooting insults under the guise of criticism. They see the competitive outlook continually reinforced, from the casual card game to the piano recital to the child's classroom. A s Gore V i d a l has said, "It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail." -Zarzour, 1994, p. 147 Slugging it out for position. It's a jungle out there in the global economy, and many companies spent 1996 growing up to be big and strong. -Financial Post headline (Davies, 1996) A s depicted in many daily television news reports, dramas and sporting activities, the adult world appears to be a place where not just survival but winning is the name of the game. "Slugging it out" or calling for blood is widely accepted as part of "life"; symbolically "beating" others to gain and maintain profit, status or both. A t every turn, girls and boys witness the  Grade 9 for Maria meant that her elementary school girlfriends' desertion during the transition year ceased to bother her. Angela affirmed that, in contrast to grade 8, she no longer cared in grade 9 whether she could gain entry into a cool crowd  53 promotion of power, wealth, strength, and personal glory as desirables to be sought out and grasped by those with enough acumen. The possession of some or all of this capital identifies the owner as a "winner". Failure to own it can result in the label of "loser". In a culture founded on individualistic ideologies, the individual receives credit for her or his efforts in achieving winner status and is blamed for being a loser. In the case of young adolescent girls, bullying can be a lucrative means to obtain many of those assets. Their currency ranges from their individual degree of "protection" to their personal social standing or reputation amongst peers. When a girl wins a fight, she is propelled from obscurity to fame. She is seen as a "winner" of fights, someone either not to be tampered with, or as someone to be usurped. From what I could ascertain from my interactions with the girls, they embraced the social lie that only their own weakness and lack of smarts prevented them from gaining and keeping those rewards. In a culture where weakness is despised and strength is reified, citizens risk being slotted into one camp or the other with no account given for the ways in which individuals might display both strength and weakness in varying situations. "Others" are too often used as stepping stones, either for the strength they provide, or for their weakness, as a measurable contrast to one's own degree of "superiority". In this sense, judging by externals and reinforcing differences are highly profitable for those possessing power. Based on the data I collected, it would appear that these ways of thinking found their way into the adolescent girls' subculture. They used them in forming their peer groups and as excuses for bullying others. The message that young girls get from our society is that it is okay to use aggression to get what you want. Moreover, living in society coloured by a dog-eat-dog mentality and the reification of differences, it is small wonder that the girls felt safety issues so strongly. What was salient in my study was how the girls often justified their bullying, whether on or off campus, by the need for self-defense or for defending other friends or siblings. Despite much theorizing, speculation, and research on the impact of media on student behaviour, the girls in my study did not draw my attention to these larger social influences. O f all the girls I spoke with, only two acknowledged any effects the media (magazines, television, and films) might have on them. Watching the news and reading the newspapers helped develop a high level of caution and fear in B i l l i e , for instance: " A l l the gang fights, all the kids getting beat up by adults, girls getting raped in their neighbourhood...that like would scare me." Samantha  54 said: "Everyone always says, ' O h , it's your parents, it's your parents!' [but] sometimes it IS the movies." The effect of television and films-and tied to that "famous people"-had a significant effect on her. F r o m watching so many "real-life movies from the States", she associates respect and the possession of guns to the point that handling of a gun made her feel like the characters in those movies and also like a guy: " Y o u see a gun. Y o u just love it. Y o u just love holding it. Just the way it looks and everything. L i k e when you hold it, like you're pointing it, you like being in control and everything. Also, you come back to the school and you brag about it. Everybody feels weird, ' O h , she's held a gun, and I haven't', and everybody's going to start talking about, ' O h yeah, I ' m tough and a gangster.'" Nonetheless, an influence such as "the media" is outside the immediate context of any given bullying incident. L i k e the girls in Artz and Riecken's (1995) study who sloughed off media influence, most of the young girls in my study did not indicate a ready awareness of wider social forces or specific school organizational factors that could shape their concerns for personal safety and their attitudes toward bullying other girls. One girl was surprisingly adamant about the lack of influence the media had on girls' behaviours and attitudes. T o illustrate, when I asked K e l l y why girls bullied and i f it was "movies", she insisted: "Definitely not. It's not. Definitely. I ' m sure it affects little kids...to just play fight and everything. But T V does definitely not affect us. If we fight, ya, it doesn't affect us. Not at all. It has nothing to do with that." In the next chapter I look at the types of bullying reported by the girls in my study, and use their narratives to highlight some of the more personal underlying reasons they give for these harmful behaviours. The spheres of friendships and peer groups are also examined with regard to their significance in girl-to-girl bullying.  55  Chapter Four: The anatomy of bullying amongst young adolescent girls 4.0 Introduction I see lots of girls bullying other girls all the time. It's not always physical, but sometimes you hear name-calling and swearing, lots of it. Personally, it makes me mad when I see people making others feel bad because they think they're more cool or more popular or just better. If I could have my way, I'd make bullying stop! - [ N D O C 6] Sometimes things just don't turn out right! People say and do things they don't mean. But I don't want to talk about it on paper. - [ N D O C 2] [During grade 8] I was waiting at a bus stop and a girl came up to me swearing and calling me a bitch because I had supposedly mouthed her off. She hit me in the head and I said, "Fuck you!" and she just looked very surprised and told me never to swear at her, and then my bus came. - [ N D O C 14] I just stood there. L i k e a statue. It came as a shock. M y friend, who I thought wouldn't ever slap someone, just had. The girl that had been slapped just stood there in shock as well. The girl that had done the slapping felt on top of the world. D i d she think what she had done was right? - [ N D O C 8] Bullying can be equally traumatizing whether physical or verbal (Hoover et al., 1992). One-on-one, more-on-less, spontaneous or premeditated, bullying amongst girls seemed generally unpredictable-sometimes coming out of the blue, sometimes expected but never realized; sometimes perpetrated by strangers, sometimes by good friends. Verbal abuse escalated into physical violence within minutes, or it was brief, ending after only one vicious altercation. Incidents were either one-time or prolonged over time (reportedly lasting from a week up to years). Given girls employed either the same strategies or a variety of techniques. When I asked the girls in the interviews and in the Drama classes to tell me about "bullying" per se and what "the worst ways girls can hurt each other" (see Appendices A and B ) , they used descriptors ranging widely from "teasing", "having a cow", "back stabbing", "getting in a fight" all the way to "killing". Being on the receiving end of bullying was described simply  56 as "getting hit" or "beat up", or more graphically getting "your ass kicked", "the shit or crap kicked out of you" or even "boot-fucked". Melissa, for instance, defined "bullying" as harassing people, telling them what to do or threatening them. She claimed that neither boys nor girls actually use the term "bullying", but rather that they describe the specifics of what they intend to do to someone: "They usually like just say, ' O h ya, I ' m going to like k i l l this person.'" When I asked her to elaborate on " k i l l i n g " between girls, she said it could mean either "talking" to each other or a "shit-kicking". A s part of my fieldwork, I had solicited written accounts of same-sex bullying from the teens. Female students had no problem coming up with plausible scenes that included a wide range of hurtful behaviours, from false accusations and name-calling, to rejection based on visible ethnic differences, and the projection of violence experienced at home. Whereas the boys in the classes were more physical in their classroom portrayals of bullying (jostling and wrestling each other to the ground), the girls were most convincing in their use of scathing tones, condemnatory remarks, and looks of disgust. These examples served to underline the social impact of bullying and the emotional pain it causes the individual girl. In this chapter, I have organized the girls' bullying repertoire into three basic categories: betrayal, intimidation, and humiliation. Table 4.1 represents an attempt to give the reader a composite picture of the range of bullying behaviours that emerged from my interview data without going into a subjective assessment of "degree" of violence (given that the most extreme examples were likely not widespread). It also affords a glimpse of how many girls experience bullying from more than one vantage point.  57  Table 4.1: Bullying experiences of formally interviewed girls Girl (age) (ethnicity) Amber 13, CA Angela 14, CA Bethany 13, CA Billie 12, FN Bonnie 12, CA Christine 14, CA Dawn 15, FN Jaymee 13, AS Kelly 14, CA Leah 13, CA Maria 14, HI Melissa 12, CA Nicole 13, CA Samantha 14, AS Tanya 14, CA  Length of Interview (minutes) 100*  Bullied Others  Was Bullied  Would Bully  physical assault (E)  yes  30  picking on (F)  50  slapping, threats (S)  verbal harassment, humiliation, betrayal, property damage, hair pulled (E) looks, pushing, verbal abuse (F) (E) (S) screaming, threats, betrayal (S)  95* 50  physical assault, threats, screaming, betrayal (F) (E) (S) confrontation (S)  100*  no  60  50  physical assault, humiliation, threats (S) physical assault, threats, screaming, betrayal (S) accusation (S)  65  betrayal (S)  65  no  65  no  35  betrayal (S)  65  yanking hair, threats (S)  45  no  95*  AS - Asian E - elementary experience * - Shared interview time  CA - Caucasian S - secondary experience NM - no mention  yes NM  physical assault, emotional abuse (F) physical assault, verbal abuse, betrayal, rumours (S) teasing, name-calling, betrayal (E) (S) threats (E)  yes yes no yes  name-calling (S)  yes  threats (S)  yes  physical assault, forced abasement (S) looks, betrayal, exclusion, namecalling, threats (F) (E) (S) confrontation (S)  NM  destruction of personal property, physical assault, threats (S) name-calling, exclusion (S)  yes  teasing, accusation, betrayal (F) (E)(S)  no  FN - First Nations F - familial experience  NM yes  yes  HI -Hispanic  Note: The names of the girls are arranged alphabetically. School affiliation is not indicated, as the girls' experiences did not vary significantly by school. This chart represents only what I could glean from my interview transcripts and surely does not give a comprehensive picture of any one girl's experiences. Given the emergent design and flexibility of my question schedule, many illustrations came up spontaneously in individual narratives. Furthermore, it must be noted that a few of the girls considered only involvement in fights an equivalent to bullying at the time of the interview. Some of their other painful experiences are designated as bullying by me in order to give the reader a fuller picture of the range of aggression in their lives.  58 When addressing a complex phenomenon such as bullying it is important to consider not only the various ways in which individual girls bully, but also the contextual factors that influence their ambition to do so. I begin this chapter by grounding the reader i n two of the primary contexts in which the girls situate their bullying experiences-their friendships and their peer groups. Then I review some of the personal motives and peer-based rules behind the harm girls do to each other. Next, I consider what I found to be the hierarchical nature of bullying. I then lead the reader through a wide range of attitudinal, verbal, and physical bullying behaviours as reported by the participants, and deal with the "weapons" used by several girls in my study, singly or in combination, in order to bully others. I conclude with an analytical discussion of the three labels commonly assigned to individuals involved in bullying: bully, victim, and bystander. The evidence I provide to support my analysis is grounded predominately i n the girls' written and oral accounts.  4.1 The context of friendship: hurting to be popular Friendships can be a source of both knowledge and great strength for adolescent girls. They can also be a source of struggle, hurt,, and confusion, particularly as girls move into adolescence and begin to negotiate dominant cultural views of gender relations, femininity, appearance, and sexuality. - B r o w n , Way, and Duff, in press, p. 15 M a n y youngsters today gather friends around them like a coat of armour. Companions act as tools of protection or ostracism or revenge. A group of friends becomes one great big, faceless bully. -Zarzour, 1994, p. 38 I think the worst thing is to lose a friend or friends. -Samantha, I Saying y o u ' l l be friends forever with someone has become "cheap lines" (i.e., meaningless words). - [ N D O C 11] Research shows that bullying is subject to situational factors (Junger, 1990)-"the right place at the right time". Amongst girls, bullying, as a matter of opportunity, takes place i n a wide variety of environments-in school cafeterias, washrooms, classrooms, and corridors, in transit to and from school (e.g., Craig & Pepler, 1992; Ziegler & Rosenstein-Manner, 1991), at school dances, bus stops or skytrain stations. It is a fact that some bullying takes place spontaneously with the target being completely unknown to the perpetrator. In this section, however, I focus on  59 the arenas of friendship and peer groups. These formed the two main contexts in which the girls in my study located most of their bullying experiences. For the girls in my study, "friends" ranged in function from affiliates to intimates. Friendship (as conceptually distinct from "group acceptance") signals a dyadic relationship with mutual affect and commitment, and a shared history. It is a relationship of both opportunity and vulnerability (Parker & Asher, 1993). Friendships vary broadly in intensity, exclusivity, security, commitment, and the extent to which reciprocity and complementarity are salient issues (Hartup, 1992). A m o n g teenage girls whom one loves or considers a friend can differ and switch as circumstances change. Friends are a source of comfort, advice, encouragement, and relief. If they prove untrustworthy, they are considered traitors-'other girls" (Thompson, 1994). In my study, "friendships" seemed so shaky that friends could become enemies from one day to the next. In fact, nine of the fifteen girls I interviewed mentioned that they could not trust their friends. Samantha, for example, acknowledged: "There's a really good chance my friends would not back me up." But i f stability in adolescent friendships is not always typical (Collins & Laursen, 1992), the quality of individual friendships is of greater importance than the quantity (Hartup, 1992), and friendships with specific children are more significant than relations with their larger peer group (Parker & Asher, 1993). The importance of having one or more "best" friends stood out as the girls shared their stories about bullying. In general, friendship seems to be determined by the degree to which one girl is "connected" to another girl. Those connections can range from camaraderie and mutuality (having fun together, sharing confidences) to need and utility (protection, status). According to Kelly, a best friend, for example, was someone who "doesn't care what anyone else thinks, and someone that can get away with it." This type of friend is strong enough socially to resist others' attempts to control her friendship choices. The best friend a girl can have may not necessarily qualify as "popular", but is someone "nice", widely respected, and even feared. Being popular is "having lots of friends", knowing "everyone", and "everyone" knowing you. It is accompanied by the assumption that you are generally "liked". It is a symbol of personal and social value. Popularity as "noticed" in the sense of noted or noteworthy is,  60 however, preferred to popularity implying that one is conspicuously noticeable due to being different or weak. Being popular does not mean a given girl is "tough" (though a tough girl may want to become popular through her fights as an additional safety precaution). Dawn believed that toughness was not required as long as a girl's "popular" status meant that she was taken seriously. K e l l y saw B i l l i e as someone "really really hurting to be popular....She wants to be like some big thing and so, she's involved in every fight." If she could just become popular enough, then no one would want to cross her. When I asked what things in our culture encourage women to be aggressive with each other, K e l l y responded: " A h h , I would just say the need to be popular, and to be noticed....It's the way you portray yourself. If you portray yourself as somebody, something, that somebody else doesn't like, then you get bullied over it. A n d whether it goes as far as a fight [depends on] who is in the school...and how you react to T H E M . " Bonnie felt that fights were a good indicator of the quality of friendship: "That's when you find out who your true friends are." Friends are not necessarily those who w i l l jump into the fray but are those who w i l l still greet you in public after the fight. She concluded that: "Most people don't want friendship. They want protection....Most friends aren't even real friends. They use you until someone kicks your butt, and then they lose you." O n the other hand, i f a girl wins a fight with a known fighter, her friends may have a difficult time choosing how or i f to switch loyalties. Protection is foremost in all their minds. 4.2 Peer group " h i g h a r c h y " Bullying within the context of peer groups is a powerful means of putting someone down (or out) and raising oneself up in front of an audience. In a manner similar to gangs (Campbell, 1984), cliques or peer groups represent small communities. When a girl is thrust outside, it is serious. Said Samantha: "It's just this thing in your mind, this feeling in your heart, that when you're not accepted, your heart just twists up, it kinda like squeezes all the blood out of you." Tanya agreed: I know how it feels 'cause-I've never been beaten up-but, just like, "beating up" is sort of like, when someone would like totally torment me, make fun of me in front of everybody. It's just like the same feeling. Y o u feel empty. Y o u have like nothing to hold on to.  61 The influence of peer groups is acknowledged as an important factor in adolescence, both within and outside school. Where the influences of family and school are weak, the peer group w i l l be even more significant, often assuming some of the functions normally associated with the family, for instance (Besag, 1989). A s such, acceptance, rejection, and bullying are some of the normal formative influences (Cullingford & Morrison, 1997) of these groupings. Although peer group members are not necessarily friends, some members may be considered friends. Bonnie considered members of her peer group as the people at school to whom she was "something", that is, "they'll usually take your side". She felt that one's place in a peer group hierarchy was dependent on how much one "talks" intimately and otherwise with any given person, and how much time one spends "doing" things with her. Typically, she said, a girl could have several types of "friends" within the group: one best friend (talk and do everything), several "close" (talk and do most things) or "good" (talk mainly, do rarely) friends, quite a few "hi/bye buddies" (also known as just "friends"), and many she just "knows" and who know her (no hi's or bye's). Attaining secure membership and solidarity within a peer group provides defense against threats from other children and provides a means for girls to evaluate themselves in comparison to others (Cullingford & Morrison, 1997). A t high school, "choice" is the key word (Eckert, 1989). In response to the dynamic nature of peer groups, one survival technique appeared to be cross-group "hopping around". Melissa suggested that about 40% of girls did this. Nicole, who claimed to have "about five different sides", chose to hang out with people i n several groups: the "good" people (kinda smart, kinda nice, B students), the "smoking" people (fun, rowdy, swearing, C students), and the people who were not cool. In her case "cool" was fashion related. The uncool "dress themselves", the way they want to, not according to the dictates of peers and designers. Her own position in the various hierarchies varied from group to group. Should she topple from favour in any given group, she had some backup. To the girls, membership in one or more specific groups is crucial. "I have to belong to a group," wrote one girl. If she did not go along with the wiles of the group, then her "friends [would] no longer accept me" [I D O C 1]. W i t h regard to bullying behaviours within the context of some peer groups, through pressure to conform and a fear of standing out (or alone), members may actively participate in violence toward others, or passively collude in it (Cowie, Sharp & Smith, 1992) even i f those individual members disagree or have nothing against the target. This  62 behaviour may also be attributed to the influence of the peer group in defining gender norms (e.g., Connell, 1996). A t secondary school, students take on differential roles in a highly structured peer society (Eckert, 1989). Different hierarchical systems abound-within group, within grade, within school (as marked by physical boundaries such as smoking areas, for example), across schools, within communities, and across municipalities. Referring to in-school peer groups, Christine reflected: "I don't know about grade ten or eleven, but you have sort of like a caste system within grade nines [and eights], especially with the girls it seems like." But unlike a caste system, peer group status processes are unstable and, as the girls so often perceive, arbitrary (Eder et al., 1995). People "come and go" in a group. Usurpation is common. In contrast to elementary school, said some girls, high school meant the near impossibility of real trust. Melissa claimed that grade 8 was the year that peers subject each other to many "little tests" to "make sure you are not a rat." Friendship links are too often tenuous. Bethany and Bonnie, for instance, fell from grace almost overnight. The former's social life at school changed inside a week. Owing to a back injury, Bethany was absent for most of that week. Jaymee took advantage of the opportunity to plant a rumour, B i l l i e believed it, and subsequently "buddied up" with Jaymee. Bethany lamented: " W e were like best friends. W e were like sisters." Despite some girls' competing claims that all members of their particular peer group were equal ( " A friend is a friend to me!"), I suggest that many of the girls' peer groups were pyramidshaped. The bulk of individuals (i.e., those having the least amount of power) occupy the base of the pyramid. A vertical hierarchy is evident as each layer of girls closer to the top has closer ties with the head girl or girls. There is evidence of status positioning of "leader" and "underlings" in the ways i n which the girls commanded respect from or deferred to others i n their group. Nevertheless, though the positions themselves seem firmly set, those who fill them are in a highly precarious situation. A n y girl can free fall from her position quickly, sometimes to the point of needing to find a place within a different peer group altogether. Even the head person or "queen" can tumble unexpectedly i f she "messes with the wrong person". The climb upward, however, is usually arduous. Footholds are not easy to find, and certain strategies must be employed. If rejected, a girl is locked out, isolated, at least for a time. In the interim, it is not easy for a girl to simply go up to another person and gain instant access into that person's circle.  63 Bonnie insisted that, "when you leave [voluntarily], you leave independently." But after losing a fight, it is even worse. "People don't want you in their group. They don't want to get into trouble [with the tough people whose group you're now out of). People w i l l start saying stuff [Samantha, I]." In this case, it is best i f a rejected girl tries to make friends with the one who hurt her and regain her former position or even one lower. Currying the favour of the leader or the girl second in rank and influence is one technique often used to gain group entry, rise in the hierarchy, or deflect any negative focus put on oneself. Reported Bonnie dryly, "even your best friend w i l l backstab you i n three seconds for a better position in the 'high archy'." Dating certain types of guys can also be a way to secure entry or position. Bonnie said that i f a girl was "rock bottom" it was extremely difficult to get to the top even i f she were "best" friends with the "biggest" person. She would have to prove herself to "everybody" before she could get "even close". Thus, involvement i n a "real fight" presents a golden opportunity to start a girl's assent or even catapult her into a coveted spot. To validate higher status, the final proof is in the fighting.  4.3 Why do girls bully? A s reported by Artz and Riecken (1995), the violent or "high deviant" girl feels ambivalent about violence, although she uses it as a means to an end. Arora and Thompson (1987) concluded that girls who frequently bully do not appear to view their behaviour as being deviant, indeed they view it as appropriate. Crick and Ladd (1990) have suggested that the ends may justify being mean i f the aggressor expects relatively positive outcomes to accrue for aggressive acts. The girls in my study recognized that bullying others was wrong; some even felt sorry for those they hurt. However, although a few isolated episodes of bullying may have been truly random, most were purposive. Based on the girls' justifications, girl-to-girl bullying was a necessary evil. Unlike Campbell's (1984) girls in gangs, the girls in my study-even i f covered by a great cloud of "friends"-stood alone. From their accounts, it seemed that virtually anyone, from best friends to complete strangers, from "nice people" to the really tough, were capable of bullying at unexpected times. According to Craig and Pepler (1992), caring adults and peers rarely intervene in bullying episodes effectively. In her study of 400 girls, Thompson (1994) also noted a lack of female  64 solidarity amongst a significant number of individuals. M a k i n g sense of and manipulating specific concepts such as loyalty, trust, and betrayal is of vital importance to young adolescent girls' sense of identity (Besag, 1989) and peer relations (Brown et al., i n press). I suggest that this sense of ultimately being alone, particularly after a girl has experienced betrayal and no longer trusts others (adults or peers), constitutes the backdrop for most of the reasons the participants in my study gave for girl-girl bullying. 4.3.1 Personal reasons When personal danger threatens, bullying is defensive. K e l l y said that a fight can develop when one person in the group pushes or hits another person in the group. Selfpreservation in unsafe environments or circumstances, as well as maintaining a protective reputation, is a strong motivator. But the line of demarcation between so-called "self-defense" and an overt power play with a little enjoyment tucked in is a blurry one. Claims of self- and other-defense in the name of kinship or ethnic ties or friendship can also be used to justify violent acts and "get away" with them when motives are not pure. When personal or group expectations are violated or outside stressors accumulate, bullying is offensive. Five of the fifteen girls brought up "anger" as a main reason for inter-girl bullying. In this study, some girls at school were purported to have a "temper" and take out their rage on someone who has caught them " i n a bad mood" or has gotten on their "bad side". Moreover, because girls reportedly feel angrier than boys in response to relational aggression (Crick, 1995; Galen & Underwood, 1997), anger may buttress retaliatory bullying. Connell (1996) has suggested that boys challenge school disciplinary systems through violence in order to acquire or defend prestige, to mark difference, and to gain pleasure particularly when they lack other resources for gaining those ends. Evidence from my study also points to some girls' desire for social recognition from peers through being popular or getting a "rep". They may also want to feel powerful (Ziegler & Rosenstein-Manner, 1991) or desire to hurt and control others (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995), or both. In addition, failure to comply with peer-established "rules" is an offense not easily overlooked by girls who may see themselves in a disciplinarian role modelled at home or school. True intentions and motivators behind individual acts of bullying can be hard to pin down, especially when the desire for affiliation with peers is so strong at this developmental stage. Sometimes scapegoats are just those who are "at the wrong place at the wrong time", but  65 this study's data suggest that "mostly there's a reason" [Billie, TJ. Even when "no reason" is given, i f one probes more deeply, a reason or two can be unearthed. Wrote one girl: "[Girls] only fight when they want to prove something. Prove that they're higher than anyone else" [ N D O C 8]. The extent to which entertainment and other media forms influence the girls aside, a few of the girls found bullying others itself entertaining, almost addictive. Rayanne, whom I met informally at a "Youth and Violence" conference, said she "felt energized, felt a rush, better than drugs" [I D O C 1]. O f the girls I interviewed, five spoke of "the urge" to bully or, in a moment of boredom, the "fun" they experienced in hurting others. Samantha explained that "when you bully someone, like it just arouses everybody. A n d everybody gets into it. A n d then it starts something, and that lasts for months, a month or weeks. It's anything to pass the time." Some girls, it seems, just flat out "like" to bully. They w i l l look for any reason to participate. In a few cases getting involved in aggressive situations was a means of getting attention. On the one hand, making oneself deliberately different-"noticeable"-is a means of provoking another to "come after you i f you're a geek," said Kelly. One girl stated as a strict rule: "Don't be noticed". If girls are noticed, they risk being measured-peers w i l l either look up to or down at them. Thus, on the other hand: " Y o u fight, and I mean every time you fight, you get just a little more well-known...because when you fight, people respect you for fighting....You gain a lot of attention when you fight." In addition, a few of the girls in my study may have sought the particular attention of boys. These girls felt (mistakenly) that boys approved of their aggressive behaviours and respected them for being tough. N o matter what the rationale behind an aggressive action was, once a situation began to evolve, it seemed to be a matter of pride for a girl to be able to justify her actions because the person expected to bully would have to follow through for the sake of her reputation even i f she had changed her mind. Moreover, self-images are boosted by feeling noticed or tough, or by getting "known" and thereby gaining a coveted position in a hierarchy. Stronger girls w i l l often be able to say, "Don't talk that way to mel" in a way that implies that they are superior to others. Rayanne liked beating other people up because of the control and the power. Violence was the way she held her own. M u c h of the bullying reported in my study, however, was "reactive" (Tattum, 1989). Reasons, whether fabricated or not, were usually specifically tailored to particular infractions  66 related to disrespect. Cheekiness (having "an attitude") and slander (the criticism of physical appearance or character or showing disrespect to the individual or one of her family members or friends) were cited as the most common reasons for disciplining another girl, that is, "teaching her a lesson". Disrespect can also be shown by an individual's ignoring or not taking another girl seriously. "Joking around" can easily result in offense being taken. Eye rolling or looking at another girl "the wrong way" was also seen as just cause for immediate action. Such looks are often misinterpreted, as are some actions. One girl, for example, was terrorized for having rounded a corner at school only to bump into someone ready to take offense and bully. Anger is the emotion most commonly connected with aggression (Lagerspetz et a l , 1988). Girls' anger connected to bullying incidents ranged from moderate annoyance to outright wrath. The expression of anger and aggression in adolescent girls is greatly affected by their social and material status, and by the definitions of appropriate femininity communicated to them through family, friends, media, and society. Such cultural contexts define the contours of anger (Brown, 1998), but the girls in my study did not seem overtly aware of these broader influences on their feelings of rage. Many times that person "ready to bully" is someone already seething with resentments and fury before an encounter with the one eventually injured. Her excuse for bullying (whether legitimate or illegitimate) is sometimes simply that she fights when "something gets me mad". That something can be a false accusation; a perceived moral slip or display of sexual, intellectual or physical difference; a slight provocation such as some of those mentioned above; or, commonly, a fierce sense of vengeance, of wanting to get even. In our culture, the impulse to retaliate is socially encouraged by the phenomenon of mutuality. Both favours and injuries are to be repaid. Paying others back is a motivation that cannot be underestimated. Christine and Tanya, who had not bullied other girls in response to desires for vindication at the time of our interview, were amongst the smaller number who said they would not bully others because it was wrong to 22  harm others.  Others, whether they had bullied someone previously or not, and who knew full  well that bullying is wrong said they would bully another girl for a reason, usually for revenge.  These girls may have been speaking from a class-based acquiescence to the dominant culture where strong feelings like anger are unacceptable for girls.  67 Crossing the line between respect and disrespect, "stealing" a boyfriend, talking behind someone's back were reasons backing the desire for revenge. Dawn, who had cultivated a great deal of social power, could not abide anyone telling her "what to do" and would quickly put any girl who tried in her place. O n the other hand, she said, that sometimes she would "care" and decide not to hurt someone who had slighted her. Despite the ruthlessness of bullying, I believe the girls in my study who used violence were not altogether heartless. A s members of a subordinated group, they were unable to strike at those more dominant, and so they lashed out at other females. They often experienced mixed emotions and used twisted logic. Bethany expressed this confusion well: "If I ' m screaming at somebody, I ' l l feel sorry for them. Like, even though I ' l l be mad or whatever, I ' l l still feel sorry for them. L i k e I ' m not really the type of person to go up and hit somebody for no reason." Billie, by far the most talkative of my interviewees, said: "Sometimes i f they didn't do anything wrong and they don't do that thing again, you kind of feel sorry for them because you know she really didn't do it i f she doesn't do it again." Most of the girls who had harmed others felt that bullying was inherently "wrong, but...". Often they felt "bad about it afterward" or "sorry, but...". M a n y said they did "not mean to get involved, but...". What are those "buts" about? Some clues lie in B i l l i e ' s words: (...) i f I punch them in the face, I feel sorry for them. But like I have to defend myself, right? A n d i f somebody just keeps fighting with me, I can't just stand there and let them hit me and stuff... .1 have to fight back. I don't want to get hurt right? But I don't want to hurt somebody else... .1 hit them till they get down [and when] they stay down I stop [and walk away]. I've been in fights with lots o f girls and half the girls I've been i n a fight with, we're friends now. It seemed that one's guilt could be exonerated by becoming friends with the one bullied after a sufficient amount of time had elapsed. Not hurting her "too badly" or claiming self-defense is part of this process. In most cultures, self-defense is considered a safety issue and is socially acceptable on the grounds of avoiding death or injury. In my study, some of the participants in my study had more extreme attitudes toward the need to defend oneself and one's significant affiliates than others did. Social class differences may account for this. The context in which some of the girls are raised has taught them that they cannot trust anyone. They have a strong sense of needing to look out for themselves, using any means necessary. Several girls wrote and claimed during interviews that they had "no other choice" but to assault another girl. Girls at both schools  68 wanted first and foremost to protect themselves: their physical well being, their status position,, and their self-identity. It may be wrong to fight, there may even be no point to it, but " i f somebody hits you first, it's right to defend yourself." Secondly, they feel a deep sense of duty to protect their siblings and current friends, and even friends of friends. Said B i l l i e , from her working class perspective: "That's what girls are like, they defend their friends." Notwithstanding, generalizations about "what girls are like" were not always painted in such positive strokes. A female elementary school counsellor I spoke with said that, "girls are possessive and manipulative. They like to have control over others. For instance, a 'bully girl' w i l l try and ' o w n ' a group of weaker girls" [ F N (3B)]. During my fieldwork I noted a sense of frustration in the girls themselves about their identity as females. There was a disturbing trend amongst them to downgrade things female and feminine and to elevate things male and masculine. Thompson's (1994) research on inter-girls aggression points to girls' misogyny. In their misplaced rage against womankind, they vent their anger on each other. Misogyny, a form of sexual asymmetry, is the society-wide devaluation of the female sex. In patriarchal cultures such as ours, it is men who define femininity and thus, the female. Hence, all members of such societies perceive and discriminate against the female, her place and her image, from the prevailing masculinist perspective. Females and males outside the norms of hegemonic masculinities suffer discrimination based on differences in ethnicity, class, weight, age, and sexual orientation. Misogynous beliefs convey that women are stupid, petty, manipulative, gossipy, irrational, undependable, incompetent, overemotional, oversexed, undersexed, and inferior (Ruth, 1995). The implication therefore is that they deserve to get punished. Gender devaluation directly influences teenaged girls' decisions to put their female peers in their subordinate place. G i r l s - w h o they are and what they do-are closely scrutinized in our society, hence, policed. Under the guise of disciplinary action, bullying the wayward (those guilty of duplicity and outright lies), the annoying (looking or being different in appearance or manner) or the stupid (those who have broken underlying social rules) is justifiable.  69  4.3.2 Lessons and rules, or "How not to be stupid" Y o u watch what you say. Y o u watch what you do. Y o u stay away from people you don't like. Y o u ' l l be fine. Y o u really w i l l . Y o u know who the fighters are the people who, like, wanna scrap with you and you stay away from them. 'Cause that's what it's about. Some people don't understand that. -Kelly, I Amongst the girls, there exists a complex system of rewards for adherence and punishments for non-conformity to rules which must be internalized during the grade 8 year, the sooner and more thoroughly, the better for the individual's social life and safety. The promotion of self-sufficiency in our culture is reflected in the nature of those rules, in the rewards for compliance and in the consequences for non-compliance. Y o u succeed, you did it; you fail, it's your fault. Therefore, the onus is on the individual to figure it all out. Sometimes when personal norms conflict with institutionalized ones, the individual may not adhere out of confusion or ignorance and get punished. This is seen as a result of her own stupidity; she has only herself to blame. Unfortunately, evidence points to the sad fact that even i f a girl has apprehended the rule and does not commit an infringement again, there is no guarantee that the punishment w i l l cease. Bullying can be a means of educating others about peer expectations (Hoover, Oliver & Thomson, 1993). In a way akin to views held in our society that victims are somehow responsible for crimes perpetrated against them (notably in cases of sexual assault or harassment), many of the girls in my study felt strongly that their targets brought their pain upon themselves. In short, they "had it coming". Girls who failed to conform to required behaviours and attitudes amongst peers were simply "asking for it" (Artz & Riecken, 1995). A common refrain was that a victim was someone who had to "learn her lesson". If she had ratted on 23  someone, for instance, or had a "big attitude problem", she just "deserved it". Schools provide a context for the institutionalization of roles, circumscribed norms and statuses accepted by micro-societies, such as the world of girls. Through this process, individual  Since schools, as institutions, tend to perpetuate the ideologies of dominant social groups, the rules and norms to be followed in schools are stereotypical male ones. Thus, never showing fear or emotional weakness, being dominant, independent, competitive, ambitious and aggressive are valued. This poses a dilemma for girls in particular. They feel that they must not show that they are afraid to fight. What better way to prove this than byfighting?In the face of these social rules, empathy for targets is reduced in both girls and boys (Askew, 1989; Rigby & Slee, 1991). Yet girls are still expected to be more empathetic than boys and are condemned for not showing the socially required amount.  70 variation in behaviour, appearance or attitude (i.e. "differences") is replaced with behaviour that is deemed predictable, hence "normal". A s any set of social control mechanisms might do, peer rules can force conformity to, at times, questionable ideals. Because schools, as institutions, tend to perpetuate the ideologies of dominant social groups, the rules and norms to be followed in schools are stereotypical male ones. Thus, never showing fear or emotional weakness, being dominant, independent, competitive, ambitious, and aggressive are valued. Thus, girls who strive for equality with boys, recognize that they must not show that they are afraid to fight. B i l l i e clearly stated a rule: "Be afraid, but N E V E R show your fear. Only the stupid are not afraid." Moreover, given the above values which underlie their rules, both girls' and boys' empathy for targets is reduced (Askew, 1989; Rigby & Slee, 1991). The problem for girls is that adults expect them to be more empathetic than boys. Having school codes of conduct and policies firmly in place does not guarantee that any given girl w i l l be spared from bullying i f she is targeted for one reason or another. Leah stated that, "In grade 8 you're going to figure it all out the rough way...When I came here, I found out how you're going to get beaten up and how you're not going to get beaten up." A t the beginning of the transition year the girls often do not yet know the "rules", underlying parameters of social behaviour acceptable to peers in that setting. Individual girls must learn lessons and survival tactics, ascertaining how "the enemy" thinks, so that potential bullying or "the next move" might be anticipated. These strategies are a critical determinant in avoiding encounters, at least for a time. The power of peers in establishing and maintaining specific behavioural and attitudinal sanctions cannot be underestimated. I found that peer-set rules superseded school rules to such an extent that the girls often shrugged off consequences such as suspension, expulsion, and transferring as being less painful than the ones they experienced at the hands of their peers. Some girls were not even clear on specific disciplinary action taken against a perpetrator of bullying against them. One drama student cited her off-campus attacker as merely getting "some sort of punishment" and being transferred out of her class [S D O C 8]. The actual bullying event and the "lesson" learned seemed far more important than finding out what consequences the perpetrator suffered. The dominant group often sets up constraints, which affects the agency of the subordinate group. Fear owing to threats of violence or ostracism restricts choice. It can keep subordinate  71 groups in line and plays a large part in shaping social behaviours. The girls view ratting as an act of brazen betrayal.  24  Not only does fear buttress the ratting taboo (Mellor, 1990; Ziegler &  Rosenstein-Manner, 1991) or "muzzling" as K i m Zarzour (1994) has called it, but it also fosters an atmosphere of lying. Students are often "forced" to lie to concerned adults for fear of aggressor retaliation. Ironically, however, a girl accused of lying has committed a major offense-broken one of the main rules: "no lying". What's a girl to do? L i e to protect herself (and possibly escape harm) or tell the truth and risk being labelled a liar? Thus, rules can hinder the honesty and vulnerability that would underpin the intimacy the girls covet. A s the girls enforce and adhere to peer-created rules, they not only mirror their environment but also influence it. Fears, ignoble motives, and status strivings can confound their claims that adults do not care or are incapable of helping them. In many cases, the girls are active agents in perpetuating violence within their settings. T o illustrate, as much as she knew that going to a counsellor, teacher or administrator would be the "right thing to do", Tanya would have much rather taken matters into her own hands and teach the offender a lesson by finding that person, and getting a friend or friends to "kick the crap out of them [otherwise] they can still do it outside of school." That, she said, would be the "smart thing" to do. Just as there are more generalizable proscribed norms or conventions which reflect broader social trends such as " M i n d your own business", "Watch your own back", and "Don't get involved", certain rules prescribe behaviours individual girls are expected to display in specific situations before, during, and after bullying episodes. Here, I highlight several of the more common ones.  "Don't be a rat" A s a partner to the edict: "Don't talk about anyone", this code of silence figures in the number one position. Ratting without consequences is almost unthinkable. D a w n advised: "If the administrators find out about [a fight], then you'd get beaten up more, 'cause you usually have to keep your mouth shut about things. For me, I would never say anything. I wouldn't want  Ratting can have serious repercussions beyond physical safety. Dawn boasted that one of her friends was transferred because of her. Dawn's parents grounded her because this friend had told them "things" about Dawn. Consequently, Dawn threatened to go after the girl. By the time Dawn returned to school, the girl had transferred because "she knew I was going to do it, 'cause I did it before in grade seven. I beat her up. It was funny actually." It was fairly easy for Dawn to discover the name of the girl's new school, but Dawn sought her out off school property at a favourite hang out and made her pay for her betrayal.  72 to get beaten up twice as much." B i l l i e warned other girls to "think before they talk....Once you get it once, like you should just shut up." Bethany suggested: " I ' d say keep your business to yourself. I would say, don't tell anybody anything even i f they are your best friend." "If you're like a weak person, you have to watch what you say, and when you say it, and [to whom]you say it." Boasting about high marks and other achievements, or being seen as a racist " i f [one is] white" [Samantha, I] can certainly invite bullying, but most infractions are interpreted through the lens o f status perception. A girl in an inferior position must not only adhere to the rule "Don't dress like a slut", but she must also never advertise sexual intimacy with boys by word. Leah cautioned: "When you come to grade 8, don't try to go out with any guys unless they ask you out, 'cause you can get your butt kicked real bad for it." The issue might be that another girl secretly likes that particular boy, or it might be that girls are not supposed to be so bold as to make the first move. Even worse would be a confession that one had "gone to bed with a guy". Although the girls seemed quick to point the finger at the "fallen", Melissa warned against moralizing, no matter what the "crime". " Y o u can't sit there and go, ' O h ya, well you shouldn't do that, it's bad!' Y o u have to be willing to take what they are going to do. Y o u don't whine about it." "They" likely refers to girls who have a lot of power, and thus claim immunity from moral requirements imposed on the rest of the girls. I found that girls who had bullied others more than once talked openly about other girls, dressed the way they wanted to, and asked boys out on dates. Comments on their behaviour, however, were interpreted as insolence, and a lack of respect. Said Leah: "If you talk back to them you're going to get it even worse." "You have to give older people respect" The height of stupidity according to B i l l i e was ignorance or defiance of the rule: "Don't touch anyone who has harsh protection from an older sibling." K e l l y insisted: "If you're in grade 8, then you give the grade 9s, 10s, 1 Is, and 12s respect, right? Y o u don't say anything mean about them. Y o u don't say anything about them. Y o u just be nice to them. Y o u L E T older people give you dirty looks, I mean that's just the way it is....You just like, turn away. Y o u don't give them a dirty look back." Apology is always in order. Unfortunately, it does not guarantee the cessation of bullying. Sometimes, i f someone "big" comes after you, " i f you apologize to them, they'll probably stay away from you." Even so, "some of them w i l l hit you anyways. Y o u just have to  73 stay away from them after you apologized. Most things blow over. T h e y ' l l find somebody else to bug." Bethany echoed many of the girls' sentiments: " Y o u can't say nothing or do nothing. Once they think something, they're going to think it and apologizing doesn't end it." "Don't stick up for your  friends"  This rule flies in the face of bold justifications for fighting such as "other defense". It applies to the weaker party. If your friend appears to be losing or the other girls' back up is stronger, it would be wise not to interfere. Friends may allow a friend to be beaten up without intervention or comment (which might question the morality of the perpetrator's actions) especially i f there is a conflict of interest; that is, the observers are friends with both the attacker and the one victimized. They may take this fence sitting even further, by chiding the beaten one for defending herself. After Nicole's fight, one friend rebuked her for fighting back and told her she was "dead" for doing that. This admonition made it difficult for Nicole to determine the direction of her friend's loyalty. "Don't show you've got it" Christine told me: "The one thing I've learned hasn't been to defend myself. It's been just don't do anything about it." "Don't show that you've got it," reinforced Amber during their interview. Nicole fleshed this idea out: "When a bully does something, don't retaliate (smack back) or avoid the punishment (block a kick) or else "you (and your friends potentially) are dead." B i l l i e advised that, i f confronted, " Y o u can T R Y to walk away, but don't run because they'll run after you." The above rule about not defending oneself is one of many that put the girls into a double bind. Self- and other-defense are often cited as the main motivation behind a bullying episode. The dilemma arises, said Samantha, "when people punch you, they go, 'Aren't you going to punch me back?' and you don't know what to do. Should I protect myself? If you just stand there, you know, they just beat you up...You don't know i f that was her best punch. Y o u don't know, i f her friends are going to be coming after that." In keeping with the concept of never showing one's fear, Samantha also exhorted that when being bullied, "The one thing you never do is cry. Y o u never cry." The following section looks in-depth at the many ways in which girls at this developmental stage bully each other, and the ways in which they evaluate their bullying.  74 4.4 M e t h o d s o f b u l l y i n g amongst girls When asked to report on bullying, children tend to focus on overt acts of aggression (Arora & Thompson, 1987). T o be sure, the girls spontaneously related many direct means of bullying. However, they cited several more covert means of bullying as well. Ziegler and Rosenstein-Manner's (1991) study of K - 8 children's concepts, experiences, and attitudes around bullying in 17 Toronto schools, noted that the definition of bullying broadens with age. The youngest children assumed that "bullying" referred only to physical aggression; those in the senior grades included threats, verbal taunting, and exclusion. Most of the high school girls in my study had a broad conceptualization of the term "bullying" as it related to girls. They also revealed, through their stories, a hierarchy of status accorded to different types of bullying as part of their conceptualization. Hence, "bullying" amongst girls cannot be said to be simply a stream of types given in random order. For most girls, "fights" still rule as the primary example of bullying perhaps owing to its high social status. For individual girls, the type of bullying they have directly experienced or witnessed likely figures second in their conceptualization. Figure 4.1 is an attempt to graphically organize some of their methods without implying proportion. One needs to imagine the wheel turning like a kaleidoscope, changing the order of techniques by combining and recombining them. 4.4.1 T h e gendered hierarchy of g i r l - g i r l b u l l y i n g I feel like slapping her really hard, but I know that wouldn't work. I feel belittled and used. This is not as important an issue as others, but....It's not fun to always feel self-conscious at school-whatever I do. It is a no-win situation....It's just something I have to live with. Not that I want to though. - [ N D O C 19] Social standards of acceptability of aggressive behaviour differ for boys and for girls (Cairns et al., 1988). The above quote reveals how girls can trivialize their own negative impulses and their pain. It would seem that their "little problems" are simply of lesser relevance than other people's predicaments. For their troubles to be significant they must be somehow larger, perhaps like the ones given attention by dominant members of society. According to the  Figure 4.1: Methods of airl-to-qirl Bullying  destroying friendships manipulating  name calling teasing  friendships  contemptuous looks and tones  exclusion, ostracism  spitting  desertion  spreading rumours  forced abasement  disclosing  forced apology  confidences  physical assault  deadly looks  warnings, threats  restraining  confrontation,  screaming  accusation destruction or  \«rbal harassment  damage of personal property  • • •  Humiliation Intimidation Betrayal  76 girls, boys and their fights tend to receive more sober appraisal than girls and their "squabbles" do, both within families and schools. When one is taken seriously by institutions, one's status has the potential of being raised. Hence it is not surprising that both males and females can be ridiculed with the expression: " Y o u fight like a girl." It seemed that "girl fights" (the ones that are less physically damaging) are not taken as seriously by school staff as "guy fights". Paying them less attention in certain contexts sends messages to girls that they are less important as persons. Tanya told me that: "When school staff hear about a "bad thing" happening between girls, they "ponder on it for a while, going ' Y a , I ' m sure that happens a lot' and then, poof, it's gone...since girls aren't as physical, it's not as big of a so-called deal, as it is with the guys." A l l six of the girls Artz and Riecken (1995) interviewed felt that females were less respected and less important than males. The current nature of gender relations in patriarchal societies such as ours is such that hegemonic males, their characteristics and their activities are generally ascribed greater cultural, economic, and political value relative to those imputed to females (Connell, 1987). In most cultures, the masculine initiates, penetrates, and confronts the world. It "does". The feminine responds, receives, and nurtures. It "is". Idealized masculine traits include: being strong, hard (emotionally tough and physically muscular), powerful, intelligent, active, sober, forceful, authoritative, self-reliant, successful. In contrast, feminine ideals are: being fragile (weak), soft (soft-spoken and soft to the touch), gentle, giving, patient, childlike, nurturing, intuitive, emotional, passive, ebullient, needful, compliant, and contented (Payne, 1985; Ruth, 1995). When the more physical "masculine" traits are overemphasized for boys, society accedes that males need to "burn off energy" and aggression is a "natural" expression of that need. The more heart-based "feminine" traits applied exclusively to girls (or non-macho males-"faggot, sissy, pussy") can lead to social assumptions that they are inherently over-emotional, which is often interpreted as unwarranted over-reacting to situations. Hence girls' actions and reactions are often dismissed as of little or no consequence. Bullying reproduces dominant ideas we have about girls and boys. It also provides new meanings. Not only are actual "girl fights" looked down upon, but they are cited as being for "stupid" or "dumb" reasons [ N D O C 3,1 D O C 5]. Needless to say, this reflects poorly on the participants. However, when some girls fight "like guys", their status is significantly raised.  77 They often get more respect from their female peers. According to Leah, "If you fight like a girl, they'll make fun of you, and i f you fight like a guy, they're like, ' W h o a ! ' . " Dawn described a fight she jumped into at the beginning of the grade 9 school year. "I was all mad and I turned around and then I cracked my knuckles and I just went B A N G . . . I hit her right square in the face...and her head went back and hit the table, and then I went to hit her again, and she covered herself...then she jumped on me...and my friend Arlene came i n and started giving shots to her on the side...with her steel toed shoes." N o "girl fighting" for her or for Arlene. In Western society, young adolescent girls fall prey to society's double messages. Fifteen year-old M i a told me informally that "girls don't know how to be anymore". They have to be tough to be equal ("If guys can fight to get power, then girls want power too. W e want equality."), but they also have to be demure and sexy to "get" a guy [I D O C 2]. O n one hand, girls are urged to claim and conform to Western norms of femininity. O n the other, they are jeered at for being female. A r c h jokes about girls and women abound-as though there is something inherently amusing about being female (Ruth, 1995). B a d boy machismo is widely tolerated (i.e. accepted) across many cultures. Thus, little boys' misbehaviour is accepted and even condoned in "boys w i l l be boys", whereas perfection and goodness are required of "young ladies". Girls who do not conform to these requirements are labelled deviant. Adolescents are motivated by strong desires to achieve equality with their friends (Hartup, 1992). In their yearning for equal standing or "girl power", girls may be trying to appropriate hegemonic masculinity for themselves by fighting like boys and so gain control over their lives. Tattum (1989) points to the distinction adults make between bullying and fighting. The latter is seen as aggressive behaviour between children equally matched in strength. F r o m the viewpoint of the girls and given the wide range of contexts, I wager that fighting, like other bullying, is rarely seen as combat between equals. The female participants in my study felt that bullying amongst boys was very different from bullying amongst girls. In keeping with social expectations for boys to be "manly", Hoover and colleagues (1992) suggested in their study of middle and high school students that female respondents may have been more willing to admit that they found bullying more emotionally troublesome than did male respondents. Tanya believed that, "guys are even afraid lots of times. They don't want to put that out because they're guys, you know, B I G M E N . "  78 K e l l y pointed out a significant difference in the motives for bullying between the sexes. She agreed that guys fight for the same reasons, but that girls also fight to get back at another girl for dirty looks, backstabbing, girl friend or guy stealing, or particularly for besmirching her reputation with labels like slut and bitch: "I guess it's because it's always like girls are always people who say 'no'. I've never heard a guy say 'no' in my whole life!" The sexual double standard for females adds fuel to the fire. There is a social taboo advocated by both sexes against girls who advertise sexual intimacy with guys, but the same does not apply for boys. Tanya was aware of this: "It's the whole thing about, i f a girl sleeps around, she's a slut. If a guy sleeps around, he's a stud. That's so dumb." Many of the girls' perceptions of sex differences in bullying were faulty and contradictory. Most felt that guys punch, settle quickly, and "it's over", but with girls it goes "on and on and on". Yet, one male Drama student was tormented over a long period of time [B D O C 4]. Some o f the girls felt that boys were primarily into close-fisted punching, never open-handed slapping. Another girl said that they were mainly into knifing each other. The girls' view of boys as being primarily physical with each other-, and girls "talking" more (issuing verbal warnings, and so on), may issue, in part, from the way girls are socialized. It is far more unacceptable for a girl to be physical in any sense than it is for boys, who are expected to be so. A s mentioned earlier, boys and their fights are also taken more seriously as persons by significant adults, but that is not to say that adults never intervene when they see girls in danger. Yet, from her perspective, Dawn claimed that when the public sees boys fighting the police are called, but that this is not the case with girls: "I guess they don't think it's that serious because girls don't like, stab and stuff, and like shoot people." When I challenged the veracity of her comments about girls' aggressive tactics, she insisted, "Most of them don't. Most guys do that very quick thing." Girls get help from the other sex. Boys never get aided by girls. If so, it would be to their shame. B o y friends who tag along as support for their female friends, w i l l often act as referees, pulling girls apart or offering instructions or reiterating rules (for example "only one-on-one"). W i t h both boys and girls a fight is usually a group event. However, with girls it is a group event before and especially afterward as the manipulation and side shifting of friends works itself out. Bonnie said that boys "stick together". The entire group is committed. "They're groups. They're not individual people....They'd never leave each other." But girls  79 switch alliances to the winner. Girls w i l l sometimes fight boys, but boys w i l l not fight girls in public. They'd get a "bad reputation" for doing so, and besides, the girl may have "a real tough guy behind her." In bullying amongst girls, there appears to be a main status division between "real fights" and "girl fights". Figure 4.2 below illustrates the hierarchical nature of bullying as fighting by its pyramidal shape, the top portion representing the types that are reckoned as valid.  Figure 4.2: A hierarchy of fights  When girls put down the ways "girls" fight and ask each other " D o you fight like a girl or a guy?" they are guilty of complicity with patriarchal forces in our society. The cultural value of masculinity is thus reinforced. Fighting is a gendered concept. A s a cherished part of hegemonic masculinity, fighting is one of the chief strategies in dominating subordinate men and all women. Hence, "real" fights are only those which employ techniques that boys or men use. These "real fights" or just plain "fights" can involve breaking bones, punching, kicking, and instrumental weapons for example. They are the ones that "count". In a sense they are gender neutral in that both boys and girls engage in these. The others, which fall under the broad classification of "girl fights" and are gender specific, applying only to females. According to Angela, these are the "cat fights [that] don't count". W i t h the former, bruises, scars, and broken bones attest to their reality. A t Mountainside, reported Leah, "one [grade 9] chick got expelled because she broke a girl's arm, nose, and her two front teeth are missing." The latter fights leave no visible marks beyond scratches or bite marks, and therefore are deemed not only less "real", but also worthy of scorn. Even when they include techniques used in "big time" fights (punches, bloody noses), i f they are labelled " g i r l " or "cat" fights, they are considered "no big deal". Said Billie:  80 Because that's what girls are like. They look at somebody. They watch them get into a fight. They see how they fight and i f they fight like they're a wimp or they cat fight girls w i l l go after them i f that's how they fight because that makes you look like a wimp, right? I mean lots o f girls who cat fight, like they pull hair, they scratch, but at the same time they punch you and they kick you, and stuff, like how guys fight and stuff, but, I don't really like fighting with girls who scratch and pull hair, and bite people. How then has it happened that toughness is being claimed as a normative requirement for teenaged girls? For the sex which has not historically been granted much respect, one way to gain respect is by mimicking the sex that gets it. Samantha says of those girls who bully: "It's all about respect, you know....They like being powerful. They know what it feels like to be a guy, kind of." M a n y girls who want to survive in today's dog-eat-dog world and even "get the guy" are challenging traditional gender norms by appropriating masculine traits in order to gain some measure of control over their lives. Leah thought the reason girls are "so rough" nowadays is because they erroneously think, "guys w i l l like them i f they're tough." She may have based her generalization on her own social class experience. For some girls hierarchical differences included age specificity. Despite the fact that most of the girls claimed that grade 8 was the worst year for being bullied, two of the girls I interviewed maintained that grade 9 bullying was far more serious than grade 8 bullying. Melissa stated that: "Not many grade 8s are like violent. They all settle with words except for when you get into grade nine that the violence really comes i n . " Dawn downplayed the type of bullying that occurred in grade 8, claiming that it was much worse in grade 9: "Grade 8s get picked on more, told what to do, and like give me your money, bullied and stuff [by] mostly the grade 9s. 'Cause like they're little and we get to tell them what to do 'cause that's what was done to us last year. But mostly in grade 9 is when you get into the harsh fights and stuff." For them, seriousness included the notion of exerting a greater degree of physical violence on the less powerful. Thompson (1994) highlights fights over boys between jealous girls and calls these in particular "teenage catfights" (p.235). Ironically, many of girls have a faulty view of boys' approval of their crossing over onto male turf. They misinterpret the boys being entertained with actually " l i k i n g " the girls. One girl said, "Guys like to see girls fight. They chant: ' Y a , ya! W e want to see a cat fight!' [I D O C 2]." But sixteen year old M i k e , whom I had also interviewed informally, commented: "It's funny to see the girls fight" [I D O C 4, 10, 22/93]. Several of the  81 girls I interviewed both formally and informally felt that boys witnessing girls beating each other up lauded their show of strength and that fighting another girl raised the status of the good fighter in the boys' eyes. In short, that they took them seriously. But the boys do not seem to take them seriously. In one informal observation of a spontaneous verbal fight between two girls in a school corridor, I watched a boy stop to watch. He had a smile on his face the entire time. He seemed oblivious to the hurt and pain of the situation. In fact, I believe he was entertained, as he registered much disappointment when the girl doing the screaming stormed away: " A w ! I wanted to see a brawl!" Then he laughed and went on to his class [ F N (15)]. In patriarchal societies, women and those men who stand outside dominant norms of masculinity are seen as "other". Labels, such as "cat" fight further demean girls as a group as they are interpreted as mildly entertaining conflicts of no consequence. Although I am not condoning aggression here, gendered terms such as "cat fight" are sexist labels that convey attitudes that denigrate bodies, personalities, talents, and efforts. The gendered nature of these attitudes in our society reflects a double standard of morality for boys and girls. Boys have no demands for being pure ("saving themselves") and have drastically reduced expectations for being good, females are kept in a place of oppression and males in a place of freedom. When I asked Bethany why girls need to know how to fight, she answered: "I don't know, they just need to....I don't know where it all comes from, but they just need to know how to protect themselves." It is a fact that females in our society have more reason to fear violence than males do (Canadian Advisory Council of the Status of Women, 1991). The degree to which a girl can control her body by keeping it "pure" until she chooses the time and the partner is mediated by her not unfounded fears of rape and its potential consequences, including pregnancy and having to decide for or against abortion.  4.4.2 Betrayal as "Backstabbing" I thought that I knew about 'em Thought that they would never do me wrong W e l l well they smile in your face When all the time they wanna take your place Them backstabbers Same old scene that Y o u ' v e seen for so long Always want to be around you But as jealous as they come  82 W e l l don't want you to w i n that race 'Cause i f you do it's gonna lessen their space... - F r o m "Case of the fake people" (1994), written by Dallas Austin, performed by T L C on "CrazySexyCool", E M I A p r i l Music, Inc. Darp M u s i c (ASCAP). O f the fifteen girls I interviewed, six told of having been stabbed in the back by friends, and two admitted to have done this to someone. T o backstab is to "two-face" a friend. It is the often forbidden disclosure of private confidences or intimate feelings ("secrets") to other friends or even non-friends. The details may remain in their "true" form, but sometimes they get distorted in the telling and retelling. Tanya expressed her frustration with confiding in friends: " L i k e it's so hard. 'Cause the last thing you want is them turning on you. L i k e you're so worried that they're just going to splurge your whole life to everybody, and then what are you going to have? Everybody's going to be laughing at you the whole time." Another girl wrote: "It's not as i f I disagree with what they all said, but just the fact that 'anything' was said by my 'so-called friends' [ N D O C 18]." Because they show their feelings more, girls are more vulnerable than boys to the vagaries of backstabbing. The potential for backstabbing creates a tension within friendships between girls. It can be a form of blackmail. If you anger your friend for any reason, she can pull out part of your identity and expose it to the world for ridicule and condemnation, and you 25  w i l l writhe. M a n y girls, however, do not really intend to deceive or injure their friends. Backstabbing can be a means to impress tougher or more popular girls, and thereby gain access and affiliation to their peer groups. A s appears to be common in so many of their social interactions, protection of the self is paramount. The style of relationships within girls' social networks tends to differ from that of boys. Girls maintain more intimate and self-disclosing dyadic relationships. Boys prefer larger "chum groups" and friendships based more on shared activities rather than verbal self-disclosure. Girls seek out and provide more social support than do boys (Belle, 1989). Too, the social structure of peer groups is closer or tighter among girls than boys. This increases opportunities for girls to exploit relationships by means of indirect aggression. When they bully  When I asked several girls what would happen if a girl identified herself as lesbian, only Kelly commented specifically. She felt that other girls would not likely beat her up, but they would make fun of her or stay away from her.  83 by manipulating and destroying relationships, girls are able to avoid detection by and disapproval from others to some extent (Lagerspetz et al., 1988). Some researchers refer specifically to "relational" (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995) or "social" (Galen & Underwood, 1997) aggression in reference to girls. Older children and adolescents regard betrayal (i.e., disloyalty and violations of trust) as the main cause of friendship termination (Hartup, 1992). Betrayal can take many forms, from scheming and planning to attack someone at a specific time and place to systematic ostracizing by "friend control", to jumping on the judgement wagon by quick and uncritical accepting of rumours. Besag (1989) claims that many girls do not consider rumours or ostracism to be bullying even when it causes considerable distress. Spreading rumours, ostracism, and desertion can do more than damage the personal integrity and reputation of the subject. These methods of bullying can also ultimately destroy the subjects' wider relationships, stirring up dissention and moving beyond individual rejection to rejection by the group. Without a doubt, these fall into the category of bullying and all girls need to know that. Spreading rumours and disclosing confidences Rumours are a very bad thing. Not only in my own situation, but in many of my friends'. The way it works is people hear things, they go tell another person who gets their group after the innocent person....Teens are put in situations where they get overpowered by others. I was innocent, but I got accused. - [ S D O C 7] A m o n g adolescent girls, talking "bad in someone's ear" or "behind someone's back" (whether about a friend or non-friend) is a betrayal tactic. The hypercritical nature of rumour mongering makes it a thinly veiled form of backstabbing (when done by friends) or slander (when done by non-friends). The head counsellor at Oceanside reported that almost all peer mediations involve rumour spreading [ F N (3B)]. Betraying confidential secrets or throwing accusatory, divisive barbs often begins under the guise of gossip. They end up causing embarrassment or casting doubt on the individual. They are readily believed (whether true or false) by both friends and non-friends. Amongst teens, bullying can be the whole school's business. Rumours-especially those involving potential girl-fights-spread like w i l d fire: "If some girl wants to fight me, I go tell Jaymee, Jaymee tells somebody else. I go tell another friend, another girl, and then it gets to all the girls in the school right....they'11 help us....So many girls would come! [Billie, I]. She  84 described their gendered peer culture: "If a guy gets hurt, [it's] ' O h ya, just another fight.' If a girl gets hurt, it's like ' O h my God! What happened?'" and then the "whole school" w i l l try to find out the exact details. " A girl does something, it's like the biggest deal." Whether the content of gossip or rumours is based on truth or lies, whether the intent is for the information to stay between two individuals or to go beyond and discredit the subject, the danger of the subject being hurt is imminent. Amongst the girls in my study, tales of "backstabbing" in both elementary and secondary school came up over and over again when I asked them to describe bullying (particularly in their written accounts). The girls poured out their pain: I couldn't believe that my friends were two-timing double-crossers. W h i l e they pretended to be my friends they were telling everyone else about my secrets. W e l l , this experience left me scarred for life. I never ever give anyone my trust freely [S D O C 5, 14 years old]. Some girls readily assure the confiding one that her story w i l l go no further, but they believe that it really cannot hurt to share with yet another "best friend", and so it goes. Thus, instead of only self-disclosing to solidify friendship bonds, a girl may "other-disclose" to gain the desired closeness and assure the listener of her relational trust. Moreover, this assurance may be held forth as proof of her allegiance to a more advantageous relationship-advantageous in means of protection and social status. "Rumour spreading" as a concept is not considered as an example of bullying amongst boys. But, this does not necessarily mean it does not occur amongst them. Female backbiting is seen as normative in North American culture, hence gossip or rumour mongering is generally associated only with females. It is such a gendered notion that the phrase: "He is such a gossip" is unuttered in our society. The danger with relegating gossip and spreading rumours exclusively to females is that it is often dismissed as harmless. Yet spreading rumours is not a harmless activity. A given girl can be supplanted in a hierarchy and tumble from a position of safety i f lies are believed. She can be abused verbally or physically for things she did not do or say. She can be ostracized from her peers owing to a negative reputation. Rumours can range from " D i d you see what A was wearing today?" to " Q is such a bitch!" to " X likes Y you know!". They can also be more subtle. Jaymee never liked Bethany from the start. Bethany was also i n her way in their peer group hierarchy, being at number two position beneath Billie. Throughout my interview with Jaymee and B i l l i e , Jaymee  85 consistently inserted negative points about Bethany, casting her in an increasingly bad light before the listening Billie. These comments were likely as effective as rumours. A week and a half later, B i l l i e beat Bethany up and ostracized her from her circle of friends. Ostracism and desertion The thing that hurt me was like when I was friends with her, her friends were my friends and then as soon as I ' m not her friend, her friends don't talk to me. Her friends don't say hi to me. Her friends don't care. They just want to be popular. -Bethany, I It was maybe a Monday morning and this girl got off the bus and waited at her classroom. I guess my friends had been planning this a while. They rounded up a whole bunch of girls and ganged up on her. Everyone was yelling at her all together. She started crying and nobody stood up for her not even her best friend. From that day on, nobody talked to her. That best friend of hers was me. I totally still feel bad even though it was three years ago. I can't believe I did that....I didn't realize till after that I hurt her a lot. I know inside that I really wanted to be on her side. W h y did I have to realize it so late? I always think I could be the perfect friend only until I think three years back to that day. I can't forget it. - N D O C 11, 15 years old Betrayal is not only evidenced in the prelude to a bullying attack, but also in the aftermath. Another definition of backstabbing given by some of the girls in my study includes the notion of desertion. Shutting someone out by ostracizing or deserting them is both intentional and unintentional as it can be considered both a means and an outcome of bullying. Even though fights are not always sandwiched between backstabbing-especially i f they spontaneously erupt when friendship and status issues are at stake, this painful form of betrayal takes place when the loser is identified either during the fight or once it is over. In our society, losers are often seen as failures. The social and personal repercussions of this identification include not only rejection but also neglect. Bonnie told me on a Friday, that i f B i l l i e ever beat her up, "every single one of my friends would back stab me in three seconds." Four days later, during my interview with her sister Kelly, I learned that B i l l i e had beaten Bonnie up that Monday and that Bonnie's friends did abandon her. Nicole illustrated the peer pressure placed on the girls to abandon the shunned one: "She had a fight with my friend, and she's not talking to my friend and she's putting me down for hanging out with her." There is great pressure for girls not to "stick" with the friend who has been publicly shamed. One way to give the message of permanent exclusion is to not say " h i " anymore when the person is passed in the hall or seen outside. Though this sometimes results in the forsaken  86 girl realizing who her "real" friends are, a girl who has lost a fight is often abandoned by the wider peer group to which she belongs. In a worst case scenario, she may experience schoolwide ostracism. Not only has trust been broken, but she also realizes that she must begin anew the arduous task of finding a place within a different peer group.  4.4.3 Intimidation Threats, it's like um, part of everybody's daily life here. I mean you come here, people give you dirty looks and you give them dirty looks back. They threaten you, you threaten them....It's pretty normal. A lot of people fight. -Kelly, I Fear is a subordinating force that acts as a major constraint to challenging the dominant group. The ability to plant fear in someone or a group of people represents social power. Bullying by intimidation is a means of controlling another person. It can be achieved by indirect means, such as B i l l i e ' s , Jaymee's, and Dawn's "reputational bullying", being seen with tough people, or even just been "built" like a fighter. Most often, however, deep fear enters a girl after a direct confrontation. Such encounters can take several forms: attitudinal, verbal, and physical. One-14-year-old girl wrote a vivid account [ N D O C 10] of her long-term intimidation owing to a single unlucky encounter during grade 8 (see Appendix F). The denigrating looks of attitudinal intimidation send threatening messages that signal to a girl that she is being marked as a potential target. They fall into two basic categories: (a) "deadly" (threatening) and (b) "dirty" (contemptuous, accusatory or dismissive). Such looks may precede or follow verbal bullying. Verbal intimidation (reported by nine out of the fifteen girls I interviewed) consists mainly of both legitimate and unfounded accusations ("I heard you said I was a snob/bitch") and threats-often spoken between gritted teeth or screamed at close range. A t this point, there are no hard and fast rules for the recipient of the remarks. Girls are basically at the mercy of the accuser's mood. Denial or deflection is no guaranteed defense. Threats may be symbolically life threatening. These can be terse ("You're dead bitch!") or longer tirades ("If you ever say anything about me again, T m going to take a gun to your head!"). Verbal intimidation sometimes accompanies the wielding of weapons. One girl burned a hole in Nicole's jacket, tried setting her school bag on fire, and then stuck the lighter in Nicole's face. A s Nicole backed away, the girl mocked her threateningly: " A r e you afraid of it?"  87 A special distinction between "fights" and "warnings" came up in B i l l i e and Jaymee's interview. Warnings may combine both verbal and physical tactics. They are used specifically as threats and can consist of slapping a girl across the face, pushing her around or punching her once. The girl is then told that she'll get it worse i f she continues whatever it is she has been accused of. Twelve of the fifteen girls interviewed reported experiencing or witnessing physical assault amongst girls. Physical intimidation usually combines verbal and physical means. It can range from bodily restraint while another girl hurls verbal abuse or throws punches or kicks, to the more rare "hospitalization"  (i.e., severe bloodletting, dislocated or broken bones, the  designation of "barely living"). This is the realm of "fighting". A fight can occur between two individuals or include enough people to extend to a "rumble". B i l l i e had the experience of ten girls coming up to her with the challenge to get all her friends together and then meet in a park for such a rumble. B i l l i e ' s group won by sheer numbers: "a hundred of us and twenty of them". Once an accused girl is confronted (and disbelieved i f she tries to defend herself verbally), she is provoked to make a physical "first move". If that is not forthcoming, then someone w i l l likely grab or push her, and an all out fight ensues. B i l l i e and Jaymee claimed that as long as the target is "getting it bad enough" none of the other by-standers join in. However, in some cases, i f the original target is beating up the initial perpetrator, then the former is pulled away and hit by the others until she stays down. According to the girls, fights are played out in two ways. B i l l i e beats a girl only till she's down (lying there), perhaps giving her a final kick before she walks away. But i f the girl really "deserved it", she could still be beaten for up to twenty minutes after she's down and bleeding. Following any experience of having been beaten up even once, caution is a watchword for the girls. The uncertainty experienced by Leah led her to be in a constant state of fear: " A s far as I know, she's still after me, but I ' m not sure." In her case, the use of humiliation intimidated her and left a long-lasting residue of pain and anxiety. Below I describe in some detail part of her story as a target of humiliation, but begin with a description of another humiliating incident from the point of view of a by-stander/perpetrator.  88  4.4.4 Humiliation Forced abasement "Come here!" I go. A n d then Wendy stopped. Then I go, "Don't you E V E R walk away from me when I ' m talking to you!" and my friend walks over and goes, " Y a , you called my friend a horse!" A n d Wendy goes " I ' m sorry." (...) Then [my friend] goes, " Y a , well..." and gave her a shot to the head. She goes, "Say sorry." A n d Wendy goes, " I ' m sorry, T m sorry", and [my friend] goes, "Say it again!" and [Wendy] goes, " T m sorry [and I'll] do your science homework for a month." (...) A n d I go, "I can do my own science homework." A n d then she goes, " W e l l , I ' l l give you money or something." (...) A n d then my friend gave her another shot to the head and then told her to lick the ground and she goes, " N o . " A n d [my friend] goes, " D o it!" and Wendy goes, " N o . " A n d [my friend] goes, " D o it!" and gave her another shot to the head. A n d Wendy got down and started licking the ground. It's like, oh, all gravel, and I almost threw up all of a sudden and then [my friend] goes, " D o it again! I didn't see you." A n d [Wendy] goes like, " O h G o d ! " and she licked it again, and she got up and like her tongue was full of gravel and it was like, "Oooo, that's gross!" and [my friend] gave her a shot, uh, she kicked her a couple of times....Then I go, "If you rat, you are going to be even more dead" and we took off. -Dawn, I In this off-campus episode, the target was the same age as the perpetrator: thirteen. The latter, however, had Dawn (from Mountainside), her fifteen year old protector at her side. Humiliation is particularly apt to occur in a "more against one" scenario. B i l l i e (from Oceanside) had also played the role of by-stander in a surprisingly similar incident. The pulley effect is strong here as belittling others and making them feel bad about themselves makes the humiliator and all others seem and feel bigger and better by comparison. The consequences of this type of bullying go beyond mere embarrassment in that the pain to the target is intense and lasting. When a slight of sorts comes to the attention of a girl inclined or ready to bully, she seeks out the rumoured initiator. Offended and enraged, she gathers two or more friends and seeking out the girl, verbally confronts her with the evidence. Truth is usually not clearly determined (there is always the possibility that she might be lying or not mean it because she is just scared) and thus, the girl who issued the threat must follow through for the sake of appearances. Someone must be publicly shamed, made to pay for the alleged crime. Leah's case was the most poignant. Leah bore the brunt of someone's anger about an insult spoken by one of Leah's friends. Below is a portion of her story: M y friend said [to Jesse, the angry girl], " N o ! T m the one who called you the bitch...and Jesse [said to me], " W e l l , S H E called me a bitch, but Y O U ' R E the one  89 I'm going to kick ass." (...) Then she goes, 'Get on your knees and say, " T m sorry." A n d I go, 'But it wasn't me!" She slapped me across the face and then she goes, "Get down on your knees and say you're sorry!" So, okay, I kneeled down and I was like three feet away from her and she says, "Come closer!" So I go like maybe a foot closer, and she's like, "Keep coming closer. Closer! Closer!" and then finally I was about half a foot away from her and I go, " I ' m sorry that I called you a bitch." A n d I went to stand up and she kicked me in the stomach....She had steel-tipped Doc (Martens) on....And uh, I stood up and I slapped her across the face a couple of times and then her friend jumped i n and that's when I really got hurt. Forcing someone to apologize before she is ready to do so is degrading. Leah and Bonnie were pushed to their knees and made to beg other girls for forgiveness for something they did not even do. Not an atypical event according to Samantha: "That's the popular thing now. G o on your knees and beg for forgiveness." Commands like "Kiss her feet and say sorry to her" were commonplace. Melissa reported that: "Everyone always makes you apologize...then they'll go, ' W e l l , i f I find out you do it again, next time you're dead.'" Whether she had done something or not, once the girl does apologize, "that doesn't end it," claimed Bethany.  Spitting Humiliation has many faces. K e l l y told of a girl who was pushed into an alcove and "they just smashed her up, and put gum in her hair, and spit on her." Spitting on another individual signifies both personal and corporate disgust and rejection. In our interview, Samantha and I discussed the step-by-step progression of a typical bullying episode amongst girls. In contrast to boys, she said that girls don't just "punch 'em, get it over with", but they wait until "everything" is i n place and make the person "feel as bad as they can." S: They'll push them or spit on them. Something like that... K F : D o guys spit? S: D o guys spit? I don't know. N o . They just punch him, I think. They don't have time to spit. The girls. I guess it's 'cause they're more cruel than guys... K F : Cruel, how? Punching seems cruel, but what do you think? S: I don't think it really matters i f a guy gets beaten up because it's just their ego that gets crushed....When a girl bully, like she does something, right, like you're a total social outcast, you know? She makes you feel weird. She makes you feel like everyone's looking at you, you know. It's different when you get bullied and they're looking at you because you got beat up, right. It's something else. They're looking at me because they think I said stuff about her. They're looking at me because they think T m a bitch.  90 Here, cruelty was equated with "making" another girl feel as though all her peers were aware of her perceived shortcomings. For this reason, they could and would reject her. Feeling ostracized and abnormal was seen as the ultimate in feeling "bad". Looks, tones, and names There are "dirty looks" that intimidate, and there are dirty looks that can humiliate. The latter looks of disdain that are often accompanied by furtive whispering dismiss the recipient as of lesser or no worth. In the same rejecting vein are critical or contemptuous looks and voice tones, as well as name-calling, teasing, and verbal harassment. Although these are the more obvious examples of bullying with the intent to humiliate, the less obvious, but no less painful ones include playful teasing or "bugging". Perhaps because its physical counterpart "rough housing" is commonly accepted, most adults do not recognize verbal jesting of the hostile kind as a form of bullying. Teasing: Jibe or jab? In one Home Economics class, I observed two Caucasian girls bantering with each other. I remember feeling surprised at how friendly it all seemed even though the words I was jotting down were cruel (i.e., "Shut up!" " Y o u ' r e a geek" " Y o u ' r e so ugly"). Finally, when one finally asked her classmate, " W h y do you write so neatly?" during notetaking, I wondered at what point these so-called jokes become stinging insults [ F N (4), 11/2/93] and to what extent the hurt they caused were unintentional. K e l l y described how, within some peer groups, people say mean things to you and expect you to "laugh it o f f . She reasoned that they want someone to "suck up to them" and feed their egos. Girls can humiliate a friend by telling her about a rumour circulating about her. They might parrot the rumours and then laugh, telling the infuriated girl, "Don't worry about it!" or " Y a , whatever!". The assessment of such playful jibes and conflict talk can be very difficult. It takes considerable social skill for a young adolescent to be able to judge which friend to w h o m she can respond, " Y a , shut up!" and to whom she dares not. She must wade her way through the ambiguity and determine the friend's underlying intention by the quality of her tone and her nonverbal gestures. Is her friend "just talking" or "only kidding"? Or is she humiliating her deliberately? Moreover, the problem of interpretation of insults as serious or playful is often  91 compounded owing to exogenous variables such as ethnic and social class differences amongst participants (Garvey & Shantz, 1992). Though it does not have the serious ring of the terms "bullying" or fighting, "making fun o f , as well as "being picked on", were mentioned all too often in written accounts and interviews as painful recollections of bullying. In the name of fun, individual girls are disgraced in front of their peers or cut to the core in the midst of a trusting relationship. This type of teasing masquerades as joking around. In North America, witty sarcasm and playful "roasting" amongst friends are deemed "fun". Yet, when out of the context of true intimacy, or when a particularly sensitive area in the individual's life is touched, a misplaced or ill-timed " d i g " hurts badly. A s well, teasing of this kind can be dangerous. There is always the risk that the amusing element might be misinterpreted as criticism or condemnation. A look of feigned anger or physical "play fighting" can turn sour when annoyance or pain are incurred. A friend who bruised B i l l i e during a mock fight consequently paid a painful price for her "fun". The ways in which male peers "joke" in front of girls parallels sexual harassment in that societal support for this type of humour makes it difficult for females to draw lines of resistance and call the perpetrators on it without being labelled a killjoy or a bitch. If girls object to this 26  intention to amuse, they are advised to lighten up. W i t h these attitudes so widespread in our culture, girls and women are often left feeling guilty and even more ashamed, yet confused about their pain. Wrote one girl: "I've never had any major problems before, but I guess the only thing that sometimes bothers me is that when people pick on me it's always about the same things, and even though they're my close friends and I know they're only joking, it hurts" [S D O C 4]. Clues as to some of the ways in which girls view their relational challenges are in the ways in which they talk about painful incidents. The girl above reduced the magnitude of her troubles with words like "major", "I guess", "sometimes" and even "bothers". A l l types of bullying are admittedly very hurtful, but some, particularly the ones causing emotional damage and those seen by society as harmless or paltry, were definitely shrugged off as of less  Interestingly, in the written documents requesting stories of same-sex bullying, two girls wrote of boy-girl sexual harassment. These were the bullying incidents in their lives that stood out prominently.  92 consequence. There seemed to be a hierarchy of validity even in the ways in which the girls could bully each other. A l l the methods described above, with the exception of those that would fall under the heading of "fighting", figure at the bottom of a larger hierarchical scheme. The methods located at the lower end pose the greatest definitional problems when it comes to deciding what counts as bullying for girls. Teasing is one example that illustrates well how the lines between the acceptable and the unacceptable are not uniformly clear to all participants (e.g., Swain, 1998). In the following section, I continue to examine the significance of power differentials in bullying amongst girls. Once the opportunity presents itself, a given girl's ability to succeed in bullying another girl inevitably rests on her use of any number of reputational and physical weapons she possesses or to which she has access.  4.5 Weapons: Opportunity resources Parents and teachers may tend to rely on profiles of typical "victims" and "bullies" in order to make sense of how and why their daughters and female students are involved in interpersonal violence. However, based on my glimpses into the lives of the girls, I suggest that whether or not a girl is bullied or bullies has as much to do with the combination of the resources at her behest and the very context in which she finds herself as with who she is. Here, I examine some of the resources or sources of "strength" young adolescent girls can possess. Not only do these strengths challenge the dominant notion that women are weak and not to be taken seriously, but they can help keep them safe from harm or can be used by them to overpower others having less or no resources, depending on the context. Important assets that can accord the girls power in given daily situations include a veritable arsenal of weapons. These weapons are used defensively as shields or offensively as a way to hurt individuals emotionally and physically or to damage personal effects. Even "sabre rattling" can cause emotional harm as girls use the prospect of injury to intimidate and harass others. T o a limited degree, they may wield and employ instruments such as knives (Swiss army and the like), lighters, scissors, and guns. From the evidence gleaned in my study, however, it seems that girls primarily use their mouths and other body parts as weapons. Less obvious are the ways in which they use their reputations as fighters and their training in fighting as safeguards against violence.  93  4.5.1 Her body bespeaks power Girls give the looks of death...and just make the victim feel like a piece of, well, you know. - [ N D O C 8] (Being called names) ruined the way I wanted to live my life. - [ N D O C 18] [Some girls are] built like guys and...I have seen them hospitalize girls. I've seen them break girls' arms. I've seen them break almost every bone in a girl's body before." -Billie, I When we touch, look at or speak to someone affectionately or aggressively, we are making contact with more than just the body; we touch the person. Hands slap, hit, punch, pinch, scratch, and pull hair. Feet prod and kick. Eyes can shoot looks and reject. Mouths not only spit and bite but also form words that can stab the back or beat someone over the head. A girl may use many parts of her body or even her whole body in trying to overpower another or protect herself from harm. A t the time of puberty, girls, in particular, use social discourse-both "good" and malicious-to establish where they stand in comparison with others (Besag, 1989). Words, in the form of insulting labels or accusations, can be powerful weapons to cut others to pieces. M a n y girls fear being "shot down" by words. According to them, put-downs can leave a more lasting imprint than a slap i n the face. A Caucasian Drama student's written account of bullying during grade 8 mentioned that an Asian girl had tormented her with the barb: "Stupid blond slut!" (See Appendix F.) Not only can words be used to express racism in the short term, but they can also have long-term effects on the recipient's self-image. A target may believe other peers see her in the same way from that time onward. The descriptors in question eleven on that particular girl's cover sheet revealed that, even though she was now in grade 9, she felt "others" saw her as "stupid" and "blond". Epithets such as "stupid", "slut", "bitch", and "boyfriend-stealer" make a mockery of sexuality and intelligence. Accompanied by derisive laughter and meaningful looks, words can mortify even i f they have no factual basis. Christine, a straight A student and competent athlete was called "retard" by peers. Later, when she came out of a school washroom with a friend, girls labelled her "queer". Both incidents left her feeling bewildered and deeply hurt.  94 Derogatory comments based on appearance are commonly hurled: "flat" for the girl who is not showing "enough" evidence of her womanliness; "Mount Everest" for a girl who is "too womanly" at this stage of puberty; "feeble" for a very thin girl; "you're gross" and "you gross me out" for being "fat" or for wearing clothes that are either too tight or too big; and "freeze" for a girl not showing overt interest in boys, but "slut" for looking too interested.  27  In contrast to fat or thin girls who are devalued owing to their physical attributes, those who are "built" are highly esteemed by some girls. Roland (1989) claimed that physical strength in regard to girls is "irrelevant". In this study, however, visible muscularity appeared to be one way of contesting traditional views of privileged femininity. Amongst the girls in my study being well muscled was less an issue of increased health and energy than it was a means to visibly intimidate either in or out of fights with other young women. Based on my data, the girls valued strength-perceived strength or even better, repeatedly proven strength. The best way to give one's peers evidence of this was through provoking and winning fights. It meant having a body that spoke of latent power and strength. Being "built" was highly touted by B i l l i e in particular. She had great respect for girls who could literally throw their weight around and intimidate by their very presence. Girls who were built might not even have to prove themselves by actually engaging in fights because the assumption would be that they could w i n if'they fought. Hence, they were safe. Yet, even though being "built" is an important resource, formidable physical size does not seem to be the most significant factor in a girl's acquisition of power. For girls who cannot hope to achieve that level of muscularity and physical strength, other substitutes for "bigness" are found. Another equivalent for being big is "being k n o w n " - k n o w n for having a successful personal fight record, but also knowing a lot of key people and being known by those key players.  ^'The girls felt that boys who did not conform to acceptable norms in appearance were seen in a different light than girls. I tended to agree with Tanya who claimed that heavy boys are socially accepted far more than heavy girls: I have a guy friend who's a little taller than me, but he's 200 something pounds. He's big. But nobody bugs him about his weight because that's him! If he lost his weight, he would not be Doug. He would not be the same person. He's cuddly, you know. Her perception was that, in contrast to her own experience, even when Doug got teased, he knew it was all in fun and was not bothered by it.  95  4.5.2 Notoriety In their study, Rigby and Slee (1991) found a general admiration for school bullies. Girls who were perceived to be "bullies" leaned heavily on their reputations as such. Merton (1997) found that a reputation for meanness tended to act as a deterrent to competition, thereby safeguarding (for the most part) a girl's hierarchical position, popularity and vulnerability to attack. Indeed, a girl's reputation can be her most valuable resource. This "rep" differs markedly from the concept of "having a reputation" (a "bad rep"), the latter implying condemnatory sexual activity with numerous males (being a slut) or boyfriend stealing. B i l l i e ' s rep was for scaring people both older and younger than herself, for being "a fighter", and of course, for winning many fights both in and out of school. Sometimes a rep can be gained by winning only one fight (as in Jaymee's case), thus evoking uncertainty and fear in others. Another way is simply through the rumour m i l l . If a girl fights other girls from different schools: "One person sees. They tell another person and then it just gets around" [Billie, I]. Closely tied to infamy are other crucial assets such as "being tough", and "having connections". Not only do these resources connote an ability to "stick up for h e r s e l f in physical conflict, but they also imply the "harsh protection" of others, seen as crucial to a girl's survival. Cultivating a false image as a survival resource is seen as part of being female (Brown, 1998). Samantha mused: Maybe it starts at an early age, when you have to impress everybody so your family w i l l be proud of you as a girl. If you're not this and that, you don't get married [and then you have to] prove yourself to your boss that you're just as good as this guy. When I asked i f a girl could be her "true s e l f with her friends, Samantha was candid: " Y o u can be half and half. Just don't show too much of yourself. Or else it turns against you. Show what everyone wants to see." What everyone (meaning peers, not adults) wants to see is toughness.  Being tough Popular was in elementary school. Tough is in high school. -Bonnie, I I've been in the situation of having a girl after me. She thought I said something about her. I did what most girls do, get somebody bigger after her - [ N D O C 8].  96 The pivotal importance of a "rep" for toughness (which is not to be confused with "coolness") appeared to be the common denominator i n all my contacts with the girls whether formal or informal, written or verbal. Although it is not easy to draw crisp lines between being "popular", "cool", and "tough", being cool seems to have more to do with smoking, swearing, wearing a certain style of clothes, not doing homework, skipping classes, and the like. Popularity is a deeply classed and cultured concept that is pivotal i n the establishment o f social stratification systems like cliques (Eder, 1985). For the girls in my study, popularity was signalled by peers not being embarrassed to say hi to you, or to be seen talking to you, for example. Popular girls were usually liked by their peers. Paradoxically, tough girls are not always liked, but also are not necessarily socially rejected by peers (Dodge, 1991). This is understood by Elaine, the main character in Atwood's (1988) Cat's Eve: Strangely enough, my mean behaviour doesn't result in fewer friends, but, on the surface, more. The girls are afraid of me but they know where it's safest: beside me, half a step behind....And yet it disturbs me to learn I have hurt someone unintentionally. I want all my hurts to be intentional, (p. 252) Similar to "controversial children" (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995), tough girls are not necessarily "mean" (Thompson, 1994). They may even be deemed "nice" by girls who have not crossed them. What then is "tough" amongst girls? Romance novels often idealize the tough male. H i s appearance or performance, his goodness or badness, is not as important as his response to being challenged by others. "He isn't afraid of pain; he doesn't shun a 'necessary fight'; he can't be pushed; he perseveres in his w i l l ; he wins" (Ruth, 1995, p. 55). Indeed, his appeal to the other sex flows from his toughness (equated with his capacity for aggression) in the face of adversity. Christine, who considered herself and her friends "average people", was "terrified" of tough boys and girls: "They have the most power over everybody....it's the people who think they're cool-the people who walk like it, talk like it, act like it and bully other people." Toughness for girls is demonstrating the "acting tough" attitude and offering proof, at least once, through personal action. It means being willing and proven able to fight and win, particularly i f one is a member of the lower social classes. T o avoid the label of "wimp", sufficient strength must be demonstrated on some level. Girls must be able to stand up for themselves, i f not by physical prowess then by the verbal ability to retort effectively or even by  97 making firm eye contact-perhaps matching a dirty look with one equally dirty-at the risk of getting beaten up. Toughness of character can count for a lot, as does being seen as "a fighter" by nature. Thompson's (1994) girlfighters saw fighting other girls as commonplace-an ordinary part of growing up female. Fighting was a peculiarity of character, something beyond control or comprehension, "a tendency to fits, like epilepsy" (p. 230). B i l l i e ' s bad temper was essential to the fleshing out of her "rep". Her peers accepted it as part of her, and even though they feared being the target of that temper, they came just short of excusing her aggressive behaviour because of it. Dawn saw her peer's safety from her temper as easily assured: "They just know not to get on my bad side. I don't know. I can just raise my voice and people just listen." A s Christine pointed out, not everyone can own the label "tough". In that case, K e l l y advised to have popular friends, to hang around with people who are tough, or at the very least with those who are "not enemies with the tough". Hanging around with them usually elicits assumptions of one's toughness-by-association, as well as being assured of their protection. In my interview with Bonnie, she described B i l l i e as someone so " b i g " that i f B i l l i e were mad at her, Bonnie's closest friends would turn against her. "That's how everything works at [Oceanside]." She went on to say that, particularly in grade 8, "you're either ' b i g ' or 'small'....It's who you are. It's who your friends are....You're either a big person's friend or you're small and you don't hang out with them." She attributed B i l l i e ' s ability to "rule" other girls to B i l l i e ' s older sister who was firmly connected to many tough people. The power of the name One of the best ways to gain a name or rep was to piggyback on the existence or "name" of one's siblings. Even the mere presence of an older sibling i n the same school is sometimes enough. For one thing, most siblings w i l l not "just stand there" and watch their younger sisters get hurt. Because Tanya had an older sister, no one really "touched" her in grade 8. Angela had no fear of threatening or punching either male or female peers because of the protection having an older brother afforded her. Familial connections in the form of a tough, older female or male sibling were a key asset in earning a girl's own reputation for toughness and in keeping her safe. K e l l y confirmed that even i f a girl were a geek, nobody would bug her i f she had a tough older sister. Jaymee reported that: "Some girls are like really puny and everything, but they have brothers or sisters who are  98 like tough and who are like very 'known' at school...so the girl gets a lot of protection." N o other girl would touch her "unless they're stupid" because her siblings would come after the other girl immediately. In some cases, older siblings have gang connections to which girls in the early years of high school have not yet had access. Both B i l l i e and her friends could draw on her older sister's friendship network and her older brother's reputation for toughness and gang affiliation: "If anything happens to me, my brother says just to use his name and people w i l l leave me alone." Being connected ("having back up") One of a girl's most powerful resources is armour in the form of "a lot of backup", as Leah calls being connected to the tough outside family members. In the British Columbia Lower Mainland, however, the sufficiency (that is, the quantity and quality) of one's back up force has much to do with ethnic membership and affiliation, some of which were labelled "gangs" by the girls. Hispanic, Native or Asian group protection was particularly feared. Sometimes this form of relational power was distant or invisible, to be used merely as a scare tactic or as personal comfort. Trembling with fear, Bethany boasted that i f she was bullied again, she could call on her mother's ex-boyfriend's extensive "Spanish" connections: "It does make me feel safer, but I still worry about what happens during school." Most of the time, this type of relational resource seemed more immediate. Dawn's confidence rested heavily on her widespread First Nations network. Jaymee boasted of her Korean connections that penetrated across schools and municipalities into other Asian groups (in her case Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese). Jaymee's Korean heritage allowed her the confidence of saying, " Y o u ' r e not just messing around with me, you're messing around with my friends who know people who also know people who know people." B i l l i e elaborated, specifying " i f somebody did something to her, you're not just screwing around with her, you're screwing around with every Oriental person." Furthermore, B i l l i e believed that her close friendship with Jaymee meant that she herself could claim the protection and help of all Jaymee's Asian contacts. Drawing on connections primarily identified by their ethnicity reflects an unconscious racism. Jaymee claimed: " A lot of people are afraid of me because you know like I ' m Korean." Her Korean friends knew "people who are Chinese, who are like harsh tough." H a d she been non-Asian, Asian peers might easily have interpreted Jaymee's remark as racism. When I asked Samantha about racism, she said, "If you're racist, you're in big trouble." M a k i n g fun of  99 someone's country was equated with making fun of what the individual was like, who the individual was. It showed total disrespect. " T h e y ' l l throw 'racist' at a white person, because i f they say something about a Chinese person, they say it about all Chinese people." One girl wrote of her difficulties in gaining access to any of the popular groups in her school. It seemed in order to get in, "you had to be a person other than white" [S D O C 3].  4.5.3 Training Training in martial arts and "guy-fighting" is a socialization issue worthy of investigation when examining the weaponry employed by teenage girls. The adoption of martial arts in North America is another way in which females can access masculinity for themselves, as this is traditionally seen as a war-like male activity. When I asked Tanya about the things in society which contribute to aggression amongst girls, she spoke of the attitudes fostered by more women learning self-defense: That's a bigger thing now, women defending themselves. They might think that that's a good thing for chicks to start getting stronger and defend themselves. They might kind of think, " W e l l , I ' m a chick and I ' m strong." Thus, a given girl's sociometric status (i.e., reputation and "back up") combined with her ability or inability to fight back can mean the difference between protection from and vulnerability to attack. A n y of the weapons considered above form an inextricable part of particular contexts that enable bullying to take place. The availability of and skill in wielding them mean that ordinary circumstances or settings can turn into dangerous ones.  4.6 "Bully", "victim", "by-stander": Fluid classifications Most school bullying research estimates that one in ten children in both elementary and secondary schools are involved in bullying as either victims or bullies or both (Besag, 1989; Wilson, 1992), with about three times as many boys involved as girls (Arora & Thompson, 1987; Olweus, 1991). Olweus (1978) and Roland (1989) noted that about one quarter of victims also act as bullies. In Artz and Riecken's (1995) study, all six "violent girls" were both perpetrators and targets. There is no denying that labels are convenient, but most bullying/victimization studies draw clear conceptual lines between "bully" and "victim" (see Besag, 1989 pp. 18-26 for a review of characteristics) without questioning them. They make no assessment of why individuals might have an overlap in their roles. M a n y of the adults I spoke to informally in the field liberally designated specific girls as either "bullies" or "victims", as though the two were absolute or mutually exclusive. Based on  100 my data, however, I found that, as contexts change or contextual factors impinge on the lives of girls, individuals may find themselves in unexpectedly vulnerable or advantageous positions and play different roles. If we insist on slotting a given girl into one camp or the other (perhaps even after only being involved in a single incident), she may identify so closely with the paradigm that she might have difficulty extracting herself from it. After reading autobiographical accounts and progressing through the interview process, I began to realize that individual girls did not fall neatly into the categories into which I (and others) had put them. I found that the lines distinguishing one girl as a bully and another as a victim were sometimes blurry, although one role could predominate i f an individual had greater or more intense experience with bullying as one or the other. Table 4.1 gives the reader a picture of the range of bullying experiences of the girls I interviewed. A l l fifteen had experienced bullying at home or school, or both. A l l had been by-standers. Eleven of the fifteen girls had bullied others once or more often. Ten (all but one of whom had bullied before) said that they would bully someone (again) i f provoked. T w o girls declared they would definitely not bully another girl. Significantly, eleven of the fifteen had played the role of both "bully" and " v i c t i m " at one time or another. Thus, as the project evolved, it seemed appropriate to speak less of bullies and victims, and more about "bullying" or the absence of it. Although they tended not to use the terms "victim" and "bully" themselves, the girls in my study had specific conceptualizations of these terms and their own, using them as a means to their own political ends. In this section, I highlight some of the girls' definitions of perpetrators and targets. In contrast to Roland's (1989) assertion that bullying is a one-way form of violence against a psychologically helpless victim, the girls who had been bullied in my study gave me no reason to believe that they saw themselves as essential "victims". Being a victim seemed to be more a matter of disadvantageous timing or circumstance, or lack of survival "smarts". Furthermore, some of them were able to deliver their own physical or verbal blows during an episode, and gained some sense of agency from this. Ziegler and Rosenstein-Manner (1991) suggest that children feel that occasional bullying is not a character flaw and thus hesitate to admit to more frequent bullying because "being a bully" is an unacceptable identity to have, particularly for girls. In their random sampling o f elementary students, no girl over the age of 12 identified herself as "a bully". (Boys, however,  101 continued to self-identify as bullies well into their fourteenth year.) If being a bully implies frequency, then girls who bully frequently would contravene the dominant ideal for girls. Certainly, girls as "bullies" challenge traditional gender norms. Thus, on the one hand, it is conceivable that some girls might hesitate to report honestly on questionnaires i f asked to selfidentify as bully or victim. O n the other hand, however, Samantha claimed that being a bully is a form of security for a girl's sense of identity; it could even raise one's self-esteem. A girl buying into this view might present herself as a bully on a questionnaire. Bullying can be a reflective practice in that "bullies create victims, victims create bullies" (Stainton Rogers, 1991, p. 6). Sometimes a girl who has bullied someone is cognizant that the friends of the girl she harmed could extract retaliatory violence or vengeance. In that case, she could find herself in the position of victim within hours or days of her assault. Girls can move in and out of the role of "victim" or "bully" by virtue of contextual changes. Jaymee and B i l l i e , reputed "fighters", were very aware that they could receive far worse than they could deal out in a 28  different power context (for example, in an encounter with "big girls from downtown"). Samantha, whose full interview revealed that she had yanked another girl's hair and made threats on at least one occasion, had also experienced a profound degree of pain when she was called names and excluded from her peer group in a completely different situation. Bully, victim, both or neither? Her opinion after much reflection: " U m , I guess I'm kinda a bully." Perhaps she identified herself as a bully because, angry and hurt, she felt she would likely bully again, given the right circumstances. Melissa, Nicole and Amber said they would bully other girls i f the situations were right. A t the time of our interviews, none of these girls considered herself a bully even though their transcripts revealed that two of them had bullied in the past. Bonnie, who classified herself as a by-stander on the day I interviewed her, had no idea that she would become a " v i c t i m " the following day, bullied by the very girl she thought was her source of protection. Dawn considered herself a bully and was considered as such by school staff. Nonetheless, she could be considered a victim and a by-stander as well given her individual  Billie was considered a bully by school staff, her peers, and herself. She can be likened to "Cara" in Sharon Thompson's (1994) study of girls who feared girls and girls who fought girls. Cara had the "whole school wrapped around [her] finger" (p. 232) and sent a girl who might have looked wrong "to the hospital" (p. 233).  102 history of bullying experiences. During a confrontation in elementary school, she was threatened. W h e n friends gathered to torment another girl down the street from Mountainside, she stood by and watched the girl submit to humiliation tactics. According to Nicole, a bully or "tough person" is "one of those people who don't take anything". B i l l i e says, "If something makes them mad, then they'll do something about it." Bonnie felt that bullies are those who have a bad side to them. " B a d " infers that they think that they're "above others" [I D O C 5], that they're "better than you, better than every single person [Samantha, I]." Some look like and are "really nice people once you get to know them", but some do not smile a lot. They have a straight face and glare at people they do not know-they have "an attitude". A tough person wants to prove something, achieve something. What is that? B y picking fights, "smart bullies" gain respect and popularity by appearing cool and tough. Nonetheless, given the right conditions, a bully can become a victim i f outnumbered, outsized or unprotected. Samantha claimed that bullying was an effective way to "brand" someone. A s such a form of social contagion (Olweus, 1978) which causes normally neutral children to harass someone who has been bullied may occur. In contrast to fights amongst boys, a single involvement in a girl fight usually results in a girl (either the perpetrator or the target or both) getting a label. The winner is thus seen as "tough", hence, not to be messed with. The loser's designation "wimp", or even "bitch", implies that she is weak and not to be trusted nor is she worthy as a friend. Leah said that once this happens, people take advantage of you and start 29  beating you up even more.  Labels such as these may not be shaken for months or even years.  According to the girls, a victim is someone "stupid". A wimp is someone who refuses to or cannot give or take pain. Wendy, a girl I observed over a period of days at Mountainside, was severely condemned by her peers for having tried to commit suicide over a boy. It seemed that she could not overcome her label as a loser and wimp, and so others felt free to torment her whenever the mood overcame them which was at the very least weekly.  Leah was considered a victim by school staff, her peers, and herself.  103 But who is bullying whom is difficult to measure. Cowie and colleagues (1992) call this the phenomenon of rationalized group violence. There are those who bully joyfully and those who have reservations. Thus, the lines of demarcation between bully and by-stander can be very fuzzy. The term "by-stander" is as problematic as bully and victim. It suggests that the individual is simply an impassive observer. It says nothing of the degree to which that individual collaborates with the attack or is desirous of offering helpful intervention. N o r does it tell anything about the level of enjoyment or distress witnessing a bullying event may give that individual. If those levels could be determined, could one not also call the by-stander a bully or a victim, respectively? Furthermore, the label "by-stander" says nothing about that girl's own prior history as either a perpetrator or recipient of aggressive lances. O n one hand, a by-stander could be someone who has played the role of bully or victim before and is simply bound by guilt, shame or fear not to participate in that particular situation on that particular day. Yet, Melissa, who felt that she was a by-stander because she had never hurt anyone and openly admitted that she would certainly slug someone who tried to attack her should she ever be in that situation, was not captive to any feelings of guilt or fear. Still others might be considered "passive bullies" (Besag, 1989; Olweus, 1994) who collude and support bullying activity by their presence at the scene of a fight. On the other hand, by-standers can be "those not-yet-bullied", often scared, sometimes falsely confident. They are girls who are safe for the moment. Witnessing a bullying incident between individuals of either sex can leave them shaken and feeling frightened [ N D O C 9]. Besag (1989) calls attention to this "ripple effect" which occurs when a number of by-standers are also negatively affected, fearing potential future bullying which may never happen. Bonnie spent much of her interview outlining the strengths of her friendship network that included an intimate link with B i l l i e , the "queen" of bullies at Oceanside. The very next day, she was beaten badly by B i l l i e , betrayed by her "best" friend Andrea, and accused falsely of having slandered B i l l i e ' s name. A s can be grasped from the stories above, the girls' lives are unpredictable for the most part. Many of the contexts that circumscribe their daily lives, such as family, friendships, peer groups, schools, and ethnic communities, are i n flux. When the girls unexpectedly find themselves in various situations within these changeable contexts, they must wear different hats,  104 surviving and adapting however they can. Labels such as "bully", "victim", and "by-stander" are mutable over time and circumstance, not mutually exclusive, as their typical use would lead us to believe. The same caution applies to the interpretation of survey results that report numbers of bullies and victims as though two entirely different groups of children are being discussed. Results can be misleading without an analysis of possible role-overlap or misidentification by "by-standers". Attempts to classify and categorize others are rampant in the North American context. When designations such as rich or poor, strong or weak, powerful or powerless, leader or follower, winner or loser, nice person or troublemaker, bully or victim are taken out of context, positive or negative value can be attached to individuals, locking them into social and psychological prisons from which they may have trouble escaping. In the next chapter, I call attention to three particular labels commonly assigned to girls i n our culture and analyze them i n relation to girl-to-girl bullying.  105  Chapter V: Beauties and beasts While revisiting my data, I found myself musing over three terms some of the girls assigned to themselves and "other girls": angels, cats, and bitches. This nomenclature for girls deserved attention, especially as the use of social-type labels has such a great impact on identity formation during the teenaged years (Kinney, 1993). A s an adjunct to ethnographic inquiry, discourse analysis can be used to focus attention on certain forms o f language and social interaction (Atkinson & Hammersley, 1994). Here it is used as a critique of related dominant discourse in our society in general and amongst the girls in particular. In this chapter, I deconstruct each of the above dehumanizing labels by listing the attributes that characterize the types of angels, bitches, and cats girls are purported to be. I also analyze the connotations of these sexist notions and how the girls seemed to promote or contest them.  5.0 Angels In contrast to "cat" and "bitch", the label "angel" arose only three times in my interviews. Yet, given its widespread and uncritical use in the dominant discourse of our culture, this term, smacking of class and race, still warrants scrutiny. In patriarchal societies, there exists a spoken and unspoken expectation that girls ought to behave like non-human persons-angels. This unattainable standard is one that is not only beyond their capabilities but is obviously out of the reach of any other human being in this world. The level of beauty and exemplary conduct implied by this classification-summed up by the middle class notion of perfection-is a significant identity marker for girls and their measure of acceptance by adults. During our interview, Christine and Amber illustrate the degree to which girls can equate what they do with who they are: C : Grade seven especially, I know I was very successful. I got pretty much top marks. I was president of the student council. I knew who was who, what was who, what was going on around. I was in public speaking contests-everything that was looked on well by adults, I H A D D O N E . I mean, it was, I don't know I was the kind of kid who-that was what I wanted right? That's what I did. A : They must [have thought] you were an angel. To the girls, being an angel not only meant that one had to achieve in areas that adults valued, it also extended to specific requirements for appearance and comportment. B i l l i e ' s comments illustrate her awareness of inequitable social expectations for girls in the areas of dress and aggression:  106 B : L i k e some people think it doesn't sound right for a girl to be called a bully. K F : Does it sound like a guy thing? B : Y a . A n d lots of people think that G I R L S shouldn't be like that. Girls should be like perfect little angels who wear skirts and dresses and like put their hair i n bows and stuff like that, you know. That's why people say stuff like "That's girl fights" and stuff like that, because they think girls shouldn't be like that. None of the girls in my study wore a skirt or bow in her hair. Nine of the fifteen I interviewed admitted to having bullied or fought others. H o w they think others think they "should" be and how they really are, is obviously not the same. But, whether they were adapting dominant ideologies or contesting them, the girls did have specific expectations to which their female peers felt constrained to aspire. A t Mountainside in particular, it seemed that the "right" look was not dictated so much by fashion magazines as by a desire to appear wnangelic, to be perceived by peers as "tough". This might range from the more common wearing of unisex jeans and baggy sweatshirts to an extreme Melissa described: It's how you dress, like i f you wear like little dresses and little ankle socks (and sit with your legs crossed the way girls are supposed to) then they kind of know you're not tough. But say you wear your jeans and your vest with like written all over them, then you look like a harsh gangster or something like you wear your head shaved or dyed green or something like that. O f a friend of hers with purple hair: " N o one messes with her! (...) Her nickname's 'Butch'. K i n d of gives her identity away." She believed that i f she herself dressed like that "people" probably wouldn't "touch" her. Thus, some girls rebel against conventional notions of femininity such as those embedded in "perfect little angels" by admiring or emulating girls who are metaphorically "big" and more akin to the masculine in the sense of being tough and strong enough to overpower others. Ironically, angels as described in various holy books, are spiritual entities who are more powerful and intelligent than humans. Although they possess no biological sex (Kreeft, 1995), much artwork portrays these angels as tall, muscular male adults in a protective stance. The attributes of those grown-up, mature male-type angels, however, are not at all implicated in the culturally constructed ideal of "perfect little angels". Not to be confused with high-ranking Biblical "cherubim", the latter host is known in our culture as "cherubs".  107 Popularized through various art forms during the Baroque period, conventional representations of cherubs show them as white, curly-haired, bewinged, naked babies clutching musical instruments or arrows of love in their chubby little hands. In North America, cherubs cavort on many a Valentine's Day card, carrying with them the message of cuddly love untainted by intellectual or sexual appetites. Thus it would seem that cherubs speak to matters of the heart and not the mind. Small wonder, then, that young adolescent girls would reject the angelic standard. Feminizing labels such as "angel" impose the norms symbolized by the label onto the object so called. In this process, not only are critical differences i n the ethnicity, social class, and sexual orientation of girls muted, but the individual girl is also lost. A s an aspect of privileged femininity, the concept "angel" is further rendered impossible by the terms "perfect" and "little" so often attached to it.  5.0.1 Little The "little" angels of cherubic proportions are small, too immature, and fragile to take care of themselves. The assumption is that one is dealing with those weak and vulnerable to attack, hence those in need of protection. One girl attributed the verbal abuse and slapping in the face by popular girls she experienced in grade 8 (the worst year of her life) to her 4 ' 8 " frame: "I was bothered for a month. I got into about seven fights" [I D O C 5, 10/22/93]. But both Jaymee and B i l l i e , two of the toughest girls I interviewed, were very short in stature. They defied the stereotype of weakness by dint of numerous fights. Still, they did make frequent use of the "selfdefense" claim which always points the finger at someone supposedly stronger attacking them first. Nevertheless, most young adolescent girls cannot use small size and the helplessness it implies to their advantage. In many societies including our own, those of small stature (usually the younger) are treated in an inferior manner to those who are bigger and taller (the older), or are outright rejected. Children, for example, are routinely exploited and mistreated all over the world. Where boys are preferred, girl children are often fed and educated less or not at all. They are married off quickly or sold into prostitution at a very young age. In our society, children are generally not taken as seriously as adults. M e d i a images, traditions, religion, economics, politics, and laws all serve to perpetuate the inequitable treatment of females based on attitudes about their lesser worth (Kupp, 1994).  108 When girls are slotted into the "little angel" mould, their presence is less felt. They are not noticed as much as the "big", nor are they taken as seriously. A s a parallel to the girls' frustrations over not being taken as seriously as boys are when they were caught for bullying (see Chapter Three), there can be a tendency to minimalize and hence trivialize the individual and her problems. In the girls' descriptions of past and current episodes of having been bullied, I noticed an almost apologetic quality to the accounts of painful incidents that were not physical fights. M a r i a called these "small" or "little" problems or trouble, even "silly stuff, which makes them sound unimportant. Christine initially minimized what she later labelled "emotional abuse" at the outset of our interview: "I mean a lot of stuff individually seems very juvenile, you know. Y o u walk by and they make a funny face, like big wow, right?" Previously "chunky" Tanya accepted disparaging comments and sexual innuendo in mixed-sex peer groupings. "It's like I ' m this little thing that they make little cracks about...you know, it's just like a joking thing, right? (...) They're harmless, right?" She told me she preferred hanging around with boys: "(...) Sometimes they're just a lot better 'cause girls are so, I don't know-[laughter]-lots of them are just so...you know, they're not serious, they're all like into their own make-up things, little dressing perfect, and everything, right?" 5.0.2 P e r f e c t  Notions of perfection amongst the girls are tied very closely to their outer appearance and notions of beauty. Tanya lamented the unfairness that, "Guys can be as gross and greasy as possible but they want their chicks to be perfect and all curvy." When I asked her to define "perfect" she said: " W e l l , there isn't a 'perfect'! It's just like what's in the media and in the magazines. What they want now is it's basically, they look underweight. They are very thin." Firestone (1993) has commented on the "sexploitation" of women as a class which renders them invisible as individuals both to their own and male eyes. The distinguishing characteristic of this exploitation is sexual. Both men and women regard females as erotic images differentiated by superficial attributes such as eyes, hair, lips, hips, breasts, and dress. Beauty ideals in all cultures are usually modelled on rare attributes. A look at the teen magazines read avidly by the participants in my study (e.g., Young and Modern ( Y M ) and Seventeen) reveals current body ideals which define the pretty, hence the desirable-impossibly thin bodies with large breasts attached to impassive, heavily made-up faces, and sculpted eyebrows. Because racist tendencies to judge based on outward appearance abound in our culture, most young teens  109 cave in to deceptive forces that encourage them to cultivate a false image in order to please and be accepted by others. But they are not always content about this state of affairs: It bothers me because this is the image that I've created for myself. So, when I try to be different, they laugh. So, I go back to being "myself'....I have to dress a certain way just because that's how everyone knows me. There are some people who can wear anything and look good without getting picked on. I wish I were like that! There's a lot more to me than a skinny, loud, funny girl, and I wish people would recognize that. These are sometimes my reasons for wanting to move. So I can create a new "image" because once you've created one image for yourself, it is very, very hard to change [S D O C 4]. The theme of perfection in connection with looks came up with Samantha as well. She admitted to being "a bit of a snob" after have told me about some people that she thought were "low lifes". When I asked her i f she thought she was somehow better, she said yes, but acquiesced: S: T m not the most perfect person. I ' l l never be perfect. I K N O W I ' m not perfect. I: Is there anybody perfect? S: N o ! N o ! Everybody has a bad part. I: Is there some kind of push among girls to be perfect? S: Y o u try to be. I think most of it's clothes. Y o u see someone with really nice clothes and you think: " O h , everyone admires her so much because she looks so pretty, the way she wears her make-up, the way she cut her hair"....[the way] girls try to be individual is to pick things that look good. It comes as no surprise that looks are one of the main ways in which not only the girls' measure of perfection, but also their femininity, were assessed. Dress codes reflect an unconscious classism. Used to monitor adherence to shared group sanctions, they can protect or condemn a girl. Wearing "the perfect clothes" [N D O C 17] can be a measure of social power even i f it means compromising her individuality. Baby doll style clothes, including tight ribbed T-shirts that expose the navel and short skirts and dresses, accentuate the body parts which signal differences between the sexes and reinforce gender stereotypes. However, sporting an outfit perceived by peers as "slutty" or "skinky" elicits the castigating labels of bitch, whore, slut or hoe. A girl had best go home and change or risk getting bullied. Looking "pretty" can be a double-edged sword. Samantha mentioned that being pretty would garner peer's admiration. O n the other hand, being pretty had a price. Ironically, the beauty the girls strive to achieve for social acceptance can also be used against them. In my study, "cuteness" (which hints at smallness) was reportedly okay, but pretty was often not.  110 Prettiness sparked jealousy as girls moved into the realm o f sexual attraction. Jaymee and B i l l i e elaborated on these dynamics: B : Even i f they are popular and have lots of friends, lots of girls who are very pretty and have nice bodies and stuff get beat up because they're like that to girls who aren't as pretty as they are. J: (...) because they think they're so great, you know, like....They think they're so pretty. They think they're so, you know, sexy, that guys all fall for them and everything. So that's why they get an attitude. They think they're the top of the world or something. It would seem that having a "nice" attitude or personality is preferable to having a "nice" body. But amongst young adolescent girls the attribute of niceness is not as straightforward as it seems at first glance.  5.0.3 Nice Trite as it is, the term "nice" (defined most simply as "pleasing") is used by girls in a variety of contexts. A nice body is one that conforms exactly to the current beauty norm for women and is meant to please men. Being "nice" in the attitudinal sense implies that a girl does not look down on others, and as a "good" friend, she is able to protect others. She pleases her peers. In my interview with K e l l y I revealed that girls were admitting to me after some thought that they were indeed "bullies" and asked her to comment: K : Sounds awful, doesn't it? It's like girls are supposed to be like, like quiet little things...ya, nice and quiet and there's supposed to be something about them that keeps their temper down. But it's not like that. Her response revealed her beliefs about social requirements for niceness in girls. Eternal equanimity pleases adults. Admittedly though, girls are not always nice. But in the world of young adolescent girls, the significance of the perception of niceness can never be underestimated in matters of personal safety. People-pleasing behaviours are required of females in our society. Young girls may rationalize that they themselves must not be "nice", otherwise their peers would not bully them (Friend, 1992). Amazingly, a couple of the participants in my study seemed to cling to the illusion of the "niceness" of other girls who were known to have bullied-as long as they had not bullied them personally. Not only were the girls who bullied others reputed to be "nice" despite their violent actions and negative character traits, but also their harmful behaviours were often excused. What was likely the result of power differentials was attributed by the girls to a "rough homelife" or "bad moods", for instance. H o w then did the girls themselves define "nice"?  Ill Likely owing to their youth and inexperience, some of the girls seemed to hold a "just world" belief, naively thinking that i f one is good, then bad things w i l l not happen. "Being nice" as a deliberate action, rather than having the character trait of being nice was deemed more important. Bonnie felt certain that i f she herself was "really nice to everybody" (that is, staying on the tough people's "good side"), she would stay protected. One way of being nice was to recognize that a tough individual was in a bad mood and stay out of her way. Melissa from Mountainside and Bonnie from Oceanside summed up the social dynamics with which they were familiar, respectively: "They can be nice, but i f you just hit 'em in a bad spot or i f you catch them at a bad moment, it's like you'd better watch out"; " Y o u ' r e nice, you keep your mouth shut...then you'll be okay, and nothing'll really happen." Bonnie did, however, reveal a flaw in this thinking, when she added: "There's a lot of good people that w i l l be nice to you as long as you're nice to them. But they'll still be backstabbers." Sadly, this proved prophetic as B i l l i e (whom she had designated "nice" and her "friend" and protector) viciously attacked her the very day following our interview. When notions of cherubic or angelic purity are linked to sexual activity, "nice girls" refer to those who do not show by thought, word, deed, or by their developing bodies that they are maturing sexually. Those who do are "sluts" and "hoes". Sexuality is strongly tied to identity, particularly among girls. In my interviews, two of the girls proudly announced their virginity, and most openly scorned (in either hushed tones or loud proclamation) girls who were overtly sexual, drawing attention to their sexuality by displaying "hickies" or "sleeping around". Even though none of the girls I interviewed admitted to it, I wondered to what extent they marginalized girls who did not display angelic purity while at the same time not living up to it themselves. Because boys are generally allowed to be "little devils" (i.e. fallen angels), they are exempt from social pressures to be sexually pure and good at all times. They are thus also exempt from the pressures of a dualism that requires women and girls to exhibit "niceness" even though they are not nice at all times. The first time I met Jaymee to see i f she would agree to be interviewed, she mentioned that my project was "important 'cause everyone thinks girls are just good, and guys are bad. A n d stronger. N o w things are different. Girls are sometimes stronger than guys" [ F N (5)]. The girls seemed to want the world to know that they do not conform to social pressures that would inform their identities, and yet sometimes, they too would tear down girls who were not "good" or "nice".  112 When girls act contrary to the conventions of niceness as defined by the angelic category, we feel disappointed at their inner weakness, consider them over-emotional, and suggest counselling or therapy. B i l l i e felt that school administrators at Oceanside treated boys involved in bullying differently than girls because "they think it's normal for a guy to fight. If a girl gets into a fight, they'll put her into counselling because they think she has a problem." Girls then, are perceived as having difficulties adjusting socially and emotionally when they are caught bullying each other, whereas boys, stereotypically viewed as more physical, are given more tangible consequences such as suspensions and expulsions to curb their "boyish" behaviour. Even the language of the girls echoes these perceptions, for example, the refrain: "What is your problem!" so often heard by someone giving the wrong look or saying the wrong thing. From the above, one begins to ascertain how much a sexist label that is endorsed by a society can affect the individual behaviours and identity of girls, whether they adopt it or contest it by behaving aggressively toward one another. Next, I scrutinize the labels "cats" and "bitches" respectively.  5.1 Cats A few girls, even though they themselves did not use the expression "cat fight" during our interviews, knew immediately what I meant when I used it and did not comment in a way that made me think the term was novel to them. In one interview, however, "cat fight" did not seem part of the participant's repertoire, yet she [Nicole] embraced it enthusiastically when I mentioned it: Y a ! that's kinda like what girls do. 'Cause they like to slap and that. They don't like really punch and that. They just like slap, slap, like cats, you know, use their paws, right? I guess, they scratch. Y A ! ! That's one thing, i f they have long nails, they S C R A T C H ! So, I guess that's what you could call it. The other girls I interviewed initiated the descriptor themselves in the course of our discussions. The extent to which these participants had adopted cat-related metaphors in relation to girls can best be illustrated by quoting their own statements. Angela equated catfights with "nail fights". Bonnie called them "little kitty fights". B i l l i e ' s illustration was graphic: "Usually when you see girls fight, you think 'cat fight' right? Some girls scratch, and pull hair, and bite, like I got into a fight where a girl bit me on the back, scratched me down the side of my face, and pulled half my hair out." Tanya's comments further illustrate one of the misogynist ways in  113 which females are viewed: "Catfights are sort of, 'cause you know they say that girls are so wicked, they just kinda claw at each other, a bit like a cat, right?" "Cat" and cat-like terms for women, girls, and their behaviours are so pervasive in our 30  society that they have moved beyond mere metaphor to have become cultural icons.  The use of  animal images for people carries many layers o f meaning. What is most disturbing about the assignment of feline images to girls' fights is that those fights are perceived as inferior to "real fights". Speaking in terms of "cat-fights" and "spats" mainly draws a parallel to the predatory nature of cats, but it also extends the application of other stereotypically feline features to human females. In their definitions of the word "cat", many dictionaries include "a mean, spiteful woman", and even "prostitute" (e.g., Brown, 1993). In this section, I explore in some depth the roots of these animal/human comparisons particularly with regard to girl-girl bullying. People are rarely indifferent about cats as a species; they tend to feel strongly about them one way or the other. Historically, culture, time, and place, as well as individual preference, have influenced whether these somewhat enigmatic creatures are worshipped or feared, venerated or persecuted, loved or hated. M u c h of this ambivalence is due to fable, but a great deal of cats' reputation or notoriety hinges on human experience that suggests that cats are not always what they appear to be. A t first glance, the average cat looks soft and elegant-cozy, inviting touch. Yet, without warning, it could extend hidden claws, scratching and biting the hand that strokes it. Many have likened these characteristics of cats to women for so long that those qualities have become firmly ensconced i n the collective mind of patriarchal societies such as ours, so much so that we barely question the analogy. But what are cats like? H o w do they fight? A n d are women and girls, as opposed to men and boys, like them?  5.1.1 Unpredictable Cat-lovers accept the cat's independent, dignified, and intuitive nature. They see them as the furry, puny pets of the hearth and home, and value them for their comparative quietness and cleanliness. Not only individuals, but also entire nations such as Egypt, Thailand, and Myanmar, have long-standing traditions of revering their most sacred of pets. M a n y people today tend to  Since girls and even grown women are often referred to by men as "my pet" (expressing ownership) or "kitten" (implying cute helplessness and playfulness when fathers use this for their daughters, and sexual appeal when used in pornographic contexts), I make the assumption that the cat-related terms associated with teenaged girls refer to domesticated rather than the much larger, stronger wild cats.  114 select pet cats based mainly on their appearance and are not aware of the enormous differences in characteristics of personality and temperament (Karsh & Turner, 1988). This emphasis on the pleasing nature of their physical traits directly parallels some of the limited ways in which women are assessed in our culture, both by males and by each other. The girls in my study were no exception. Cat-haters, on the other hand, hold up as evidence that cats cannot be trusted their seemingly manipulative behaviour. Members of this group see felines as haughty and cruel. They are the demon-possessed beasts of North and South American superstitions, the black associates of witches that mean bad luck i f they cross one's path. Cats may draw innocent humans in with their sensual wiles, use them for food, shelter, and affection, then in an act o f betrayal, wound them physically or emotionally, only to discard them on an unknown whim. From evidence gleaned from my data, an analogy to teenaged backstabbers would seem apt. I suggest, however, that boys could and do use similar tactics. Seemingly remote, cats are inscrutable and unpredictable. Their reputations for stealth and jealousy give rise to the gendered application "catty" for spiteful women and girls, as though the male heart never gives rise to such impulses. In patriarchal societies, the feminine mystique ("Women, who can understand them?") is supported by negative allusions to women as cats. M e n are alternately conditioned to be attracted to, and fearful of, that dangerous creature, woman! Physiologically, cats have keen senses of sight, hearing, and touch. The most important of a cat's features are its paws. They are soft and padded for silent pursuit but conceal the cat's secret weapons. L i k e the long fingernails which girls are encouraged to grow and paint as a symbol of female beauty and use as weapons, a cat's sharp and curved retractile claws are ready to flash out at lightning speed at the moment of attack. 5.1.2 Predatory Physically, domestic cats' bodies are made to serve their chief purpose: prey detection. Silently, they exploit local cover and stay out of sight. Predation involves: (a) the roving search for potential prey (opportunistic) or a sit/lie-and-wait tactic (ambush); (b) the hunting sequence which includes stalking, chasing, pouncing, grasping, catching, and killing; and/or (c) a renewed search for other prey items (O'Farrell & Neville, 1994; Turner & Meister, 1988). Prey-handling or dispatching of prey ranges from on-the-spot killing and consumption to playing with the prey  115 before killing it likely to tire it out and reduce its ability to defend itself. Cats are also known to sometimes stalk and k i l l animals they do not eat (either for practice or the pleasure of the hunt). A s opposed to the goal of hunting, which is to eat, the object of aggression between cats is to communicate annoyance or offense. Males fight for supremacy and rank rather than for territory. Females defend their territories more fiercely (Hart & Hart, 1985). Characteristic of intermale (and occasionally interfemale) fighting is a "threat ritual" which may last far longer than an actual fight. In confident cats who stand their ground, this intimidating ritual consists of: (a) becoming " b i g " (fluffing up their fur and arching their backs); (b) growling, hissing, spitting, and miaowing; and (c) making movements toward the other cat. The fight (if it occurs) is comparatively brief but is dramatic, accompanied by screaming or high-pitched yowling, biting, and raking with claws. There may be several rounds of threat-and-fight before the encounter is over (O'Farrell & Neville, 1994). To be sure, parallels can be drawn from both the hunting activities of cats and their threat rituals to several of the ways in which the girls in my study experienced bullying. Off-site bullying of the tracking kind was reported as having taken place at bus stops, skytrain stations, at malls, municipal swimming pools, and restaurants. Sometimes transferring out of a particular school or moving did not insure safety for a target. Dawn told of one girl she and a large group of friends tried systematically to find even though they ho longer knew where the girl lived. They knew where she used to hang out and began searching for more than an hour and a half one evening until they found her and did what they had set out to do. One written account from the Drama classes told of the grave mistake the writer made in talking badly to a new girl at her school about a mutual acquaintance. A week later, seven girls from the new girl's previous school came to her school to find her, including the girl the writer had "badmouthed" (Beth). She escaped through a side door and ran home fast, only to turn around and find them almost at her door. One grabbed her by the hair, some others grilled her verbally, and spat on her, two others restrained her by holding her while Beth called her a liar and kicked her in the stomach. Retaliation came through the writer's older sister, who in turn found Beth a few days later and kicked her in the stomach as a pay back [S D O C 12]. But what of boys? I submit that the notion of tracking someone down for the express purpose of threatening or harming her or h i m is not at all limited to girls. One need only watch evening television serials to see the ways i n which both male and female police and F B I agents  116 mimic killers in hunting down their prey, for example. The fact that boys also fight to "defend their territories" like female cats do, and girls also fight for "supremacy and rank" like the males do renders the stipulation that "cat fights are girl fights" problematic. In conclusion, although the girls in my study did not articulate that they found their female peers unpredictable and predatory like cats, they did agree that many girls' physical means of acting out aggressively resembled that of cats. Most significant, however, was the low regard in which they unanimously held "cat/girl fights" as discussed in Chapter Four. When they share a disapproving view of cats and the way they fight and in that process feminize them, they too play a part in perpetuating negative stereotypes of themselves. In our interview, Samantha never used the word cat. However, she too had a negative feline image of girls: K F : Guys call each other wimps. In the same situation, would girls ever call another girl "a wimp"? S: N o . I can't picture that. They would call them "pussy" or something like that. Eder and colleagues (1995) found that boys who failed to meet certain standards of combativeness were insulted by male peers with "pussy", "girl", and "wimp". Directly associated with femininity, these terms are used denote weakness and a lack of toughness. In this study, girls used both "wimp" and "pussy" for girls they deemed cowardly or weak. "Pussy" as an epithet deserves special note as it also doubles as a crude reference to the female reproductive organs, particularly in male discourse. This links it to the epithet "bitch", another sexually loaded term for girls and women that I explore next.  5.2 Bitches In our culture, women and girls are more often likened to cats than to dogs. The virtues of fidelity, obedience, and friendliness attributed to " M a n ' s best friend" are not metaphorically applied to females. If, however, a girl is directly referred to as "a dog", the reference is mainly directed at the perceived ugliness of her face. Amber experienced the pain of being labelled a dog by both male and female classmates when she needed to wear braces in the form of "headgear" in grade six: I looked so horrible....that was incredibly humiliating. Because they called it a muzzle...I still cannot say that word or hear it without thinking of that. 'Cause I mean I got that at least 50 times a day. A t least. Every other word. They used to call me muzzle or they would call me dog. Or they would call me bitch because  117 I ' m a girl. U m , for the real meaning of it I go " W h y are you calling me that?" Because you are; you are a dog; you wear a muzzle. Y o u ' r e a girl; you're a bitch. Not only was Amber's femininity rejected for not being physically attractive (a "dog"), but the linking of the murky label of "bitch" to her gender caused Amber to be rejected for something she could not possibly change or grow out of-her sex. Artz and Riecken's (1995) participants agreed that "bitch" (and its stronger cousin "slut") was the worst of insults as it called into question one's personality, one's sexual mores or one's status in the school. Although they saw the unfairness of the designation applying only to girls, they used it pejoratively with each other as a powerful means of denigrating other females, as did the girls in my study. 5.2.1 Female When I asked Dawn to define bullying amongst girls, she listed both being "pushed around, and pushed around" by one or more people, and "being called a bitch". One of the most common epithets assigned to disliked or disapproved of girls and women, "bitch" is usually accompanied by dirty looks or is sometimes paired with other descriptors (e.g., lying bitch, fucking bitch, stupid bitch). It can also be used as a verb and an adjective. "To bitch" ranges from complaining to cutting others up. Angela used the verb during her interview as an equivalent to yelling. "Guys just punch in fights, but girls yell first-bitch, bitch, bitch-then they pull hair" [ F N , 11/26/93]. A s an adjective, it seems to denote specifically female involvement. In her interview, Tanya spoke of catfights in close association and possibly equivalency with what she termed "bitch fights". Her emphasis lay more in the verbal abuse rather than the clawing, although she readily acknowledged the physical aspect of girl-girl fights. A "real bitch slap", said Bonnie, is not just any slap, but a very hard whack across the face. " B i t c h " can be a warning signal to the target that danger threatens. Bonnie recounted how B i l l i e stormed up and down the corridors for two days ranting about a former best friend Bethany whom she accusing of ratting her out: "I hate that bitch. I fucking hate her. I ' m going to kick her ass so fuckin' bad. L i k e she's such a hoe." Hearing this, Bonnie repeatedly warned Bethany: " G o home, just go home". Murderous expressions such as: " Y o u ' r e dead bitch" are commonly hurled threats or warnings. This vicious term is often employed as a prelude to the physical part of a fight i f an altercation gets to that point. Melissa said of girl-girl bullying: "They won't always just go up to  118 her and pound her in the face a few times. They'll go and talk to her first." Such "talking" usually includes one or both girls accusing the other of being a bitch, often met with a demand for clarification of the term. Having been called a "bitch" by another girl, either to one's face or behind one's back, a girl can never be quite sure of the implication. Is she being accused of being sexually active? A backstabber? Mean? Or simply a grump? Calling another girl a bitch is the most versatile weapon in the girls' verbal arsenal. Its use is dependent on context and on the range of definitions individual girls are able to assign to it. Younger teenaged girls likely have limited sexual maturity and experience and may be inclined to use it more generically or in situations of betrayal. A s well as the obvious ability of this curse to wound and condemn, it can also be a toolof-the-tough used to impress those higher up in a hierarchy. If winning physical fights can actually secure entry into the upper echelons, using this term frequently and skillfully, can at least gain their respect. Most often though, some specific meaning lies behind the accusation. It is up to the recipient to figure out just what that might be. In the girls' accounts, it was evident that they use the concept of bitch in a number of situations, and in ways that reflect real experience or mere supposition. Amongst young adolescent girls, sometimes name-calling using "bitch" has no rational basis, nor is there a specific definition behind it. Leah told of a friend who had been being called a bitch by another girl as a generic insult, for no reason: "Just because she didn't like her". In another scenario, a girl who imagined that Leah had "stolen" her boyfriend called Leah a bitch. She in turn called that girl a bitch for being spiteful and malicious toward her. But even i f a girl has not been called a bitch to her face, she may assume that she is perceived as one by the other girls. Amber felt as though her former elementary schoolmates still thought of her as a bitch because she got good grades and kept to herself after numerous betrayals, even though they were now in high school. The term usually refers to the absence of a certain degree of niceness. Bonnie's former friend called her and some other girls bitches and hoes, which was "like totally untrue 'cause none of them are mean to her. They're all nice to her, but she just said that". Tanya mused: "But some people, I don't know, they would say that T m really bitchy, really moody, you know. Like, who isn't moody?"  119 5.2.2 Sexual The profligate use of the expression "bitch" by both males and females implicates, at least at the biological level, female dogs. Female dogs are most often specifically spoken of in terms of their reproductive capacities. In the context of canine breeding, it is the bitches that are in estrus. Female dogs have behavioural patterns related to estrus that males do not. A female dog usually moves about more, vocalizes more frequently, and may act nervous or even aggressive toward males and other females during estrus. Furthermore the female's urine and vaginal secretions are highly attractive to males in the vicinity and even beyond (Hart & Hart, 1985). When applied to female humans, these bitches " i n heat" become the conniving "boyfriend stealers". One of the most common definitions applied to bitch is framed in disloyalty or betrayal. If you become friends with a bitch said Leah: "she'll stab you in the back....You tell her a secret about a guy that you have a crush on and then she'll go and tell all of her friends then everybody w i l l end up knowing and...you end up getting really embarrassed." In many cultures, women are seen as threats attempting to lure men away from their happily independent lives and from other women to hook them for themselves. Notably, in its definitions of "bitch" and "bitchy" (and its synonym "catty"), the Oxford Dictionary includes "a prostitute" and "sexually provocative" respectively (Brown, 1993, p. 234). Jaymee confirmed this view of girls who act outside cultural restrictions on their femininity: " A lot of parents think that i f their boys fight, it's okay because they're guys and they're growing up and everything. A n d i f a girl fights they think they're some kind of gangs or some kind of prostitutes who are all tough and everything." It would seem that "slut" and "hoe" are often used as insults interchangeably with bitch especially by girls more sexually in the know. Not all the girls I interviewed agreed that the designations "slut", "hoe", and "bitch" clearly meant a girl had actually "slept around". Used as an insult of the highest order, those terms also target a girl's dress and attitude, either of which (or both) imply that she sleeps around, even i f she has not. Samantha's words illustrate the murkiness of the definition: S: When say they're a bitch, it kinda sometimes means you're sleeping around and stuff....Like you're a R E A L bad person. K F : 'Cause I thought bitch didn't mean that, that only slut did.... S: It does sort of. Y o u never know. 'Cause like slut you don't worry about it 'cause everybody knows what it means, but when they say "bitch", it's like "what do you mean by that?"  120 K F : People call other people sluts even though the girls aren't sleeping around, right? They just sort of throw that in the air. S: W e l l , usually they don't throw that in the air. But i f they had like boyfriends before, like say, um, i f your good [friend?] goes: "Get away from my boyfriend, you slut, or else I ' l l k i l l you." It's really bad. 'Cause it kind of doesn't mean sleeping around. Sometimes it means a flirt. Someone who looks like a flirt, who acts like a flirt. It's not as bad as when someone says you're sleeping around. These terms, especially bitch, are so routinely used, however, that a girl does not even have to dress or act as though she is sexually active. They are goads, also hurled intensely at other girls without evidence. Below, in an excerpt from my interview with Jaymee and B i l l i e . W e had been discussing girls with a "bad rep", and they were using terms like "slut" a lot. K F : What's a "hoe"? J: Hoe? It's like a bitch. B : It's like a whore. A prostitute. K F : A n d you say "cow" too, right? J: C o w is just like they're calling her a dog. B : L i k e you're ugly. Y o u look like a cow, right? (...) A n d sometimes i f you're fighting with somebody, like you're having an argument, and i f a girl called me "slut" right, I'd go, " D o you know what a slut IS? W h y are you calling M E a slut?" A n d i f a girl says, "I call 'em, like I see 'em.".... A s soon as she said that that's when I first start getting pissed off, 'cause I don't dress like a slut. I don't act like a slut. A n d I am for surely N O T a slut, right? 5.3 C o n c l u d i n g comments During my foray into the field, the three terms were used as measuring sticks by which the girls evaluated each other's behaviour and character. Only the term "angel" seemed to be directly contested by the girls, while both they and others socially sanctioned "cat" and "bitch". The girls I interviewed employed "angel" more as a means of describing adults' expectations of, and false notions about, them, rather than as a way to portray girls they actually knew. The contrast between angels and bitches serves to underline the contradictions inherent in being female in a society grounded in patriarchal notions. O n the one hand is the "perfect little angel", on the other, the competing image of the "bullying bitch". Sadly though, the latter does not even bully well; she engages in mere catfights. Restricting their use of feline terminology to negative references to females makes girls complicit in perpetuating exclusive notions about females and their altercations. Perhaps owing to its broad application and fuzzy definition, bitch was the term the girls used most liberally and uncritically to designate either themselves or other girls they knew. In an  121 ironic twist, the girls seemed to view this term as apt in describing any unangelic display of character. Despite the fact that many of the girls' fashions, behaviours (e.g., fighting), and desires to be " b i g " ideologically opposed the angelic designation, i f a given girl came up wanting in any of the angelic attributes listed above (no matter how unreasonable such qualities might be), she might arbitrarily be considered a justifiable target for bullying. In the end, it was not clear i f the girls I came to know bought into the dominant discourse fully. The fact that they bully each other frequently and some of the things they inadvertently said in their interviews about "girls" revealed either a deep disdain of females or, alternately, what might be construed as a bridling against or resistance to angelic stereotypes (e.g., Brown, 1998): "Girls are jealous"; "They're not serious"; "They just like to change friends"; "Most people [i.e. girls] think they're ugly. A s far as I know: all girls do"; "Girls are good liars. They say girls don't lie; but that's a lie....We're real good at it-better than anyone, right? A n d you go home and act all sweet and everything". It would appear that the links between animal labels and girls' sexual appeal to and activity with boys are so closely welded that any girl may fall under their rubric and their attendant connotations. The use of metaphor or analogy for human behaviour or attributes is to be expected, but the exclusive feminization and mingling of angelic, feline, and certain dog-like behaviours leads to debilitating and limiting stereotypes of women and girls. Stereotypical representations of girls and women as angels, cats, and bitches are at best sometimes fitting. A t worst, however, they not only distort by their very feminization but also hint at underlying beliefs about the dual nature of womankind: nice, but potentially dangerous; a cross between supernatural being and animal. Labels such as angel, cat, and bitch even where they contradict each other hint at superficiality, powerlessness, and dishonesty. Because they are not equally applied to boys and men, the use of words such as cat, bitch, cow, chick, and thing reveal a sexual double standard. Used readily in conflictual settings by females against other females, they reinforce patriarchal notions of the devaluation of women as a sex.  122  Chapter VI; Conclusion and Recommendations In this study I found that: 1. The majority of girls I interviewed had played more than one bullying role, rendering the mutually exclusive labelling of any one girl as "bully", "victim" or "by-stander" problematic. 2. Definitions still widely used to frame most bullying research are gendered and inadequate. They ought to be extended to include: (a) verbal, physical and attitudinal methods of betrayal, humiliation, and intimidation that are specific to girls' experiences, (b) one-time incidents, and (c) bullying of the joking kind. 3. Bullying amongst girls is context-bound. Most girl-to-girl bullying appears to be located within their friendships and peer groups. In addition, schools, family, and communities represent influential contexts that can shape the girls' views about the acceptability of bullying and perpetuate interpersonal aggression amongst them.  6.0 Limitations of the study This thesis is relevant not only to researchers, girls, their parents, teachers, counsellors, and school administrators, but also to educational policy makers. This work is not politically neutral in that it makes political statements on behalf of girls who have not been given sufficient voice in the context of our school system as to their perceptions of inter-female aggression and how it has been handled within that setting. Though my findings cannot be translated directly into policy recommendations, they can inform and improve existing policy and practice. Although it does not provide the breadth of scope a comprehensive questionnaire could, this study does hint that the problem of bullying could be much more pervasive than we currently surmise, but in no way measures the extent to which this might be so. Neither does it come to any firm conclusions about how to stop bullying in schools. This inquiry can lay no claim to widely generalizable truths about girl-to-girl bullying to and across all pertinent populations and settings. Most of study's data are suggestive of the reality that frames the girls' lives. Using the participants' own perspectives and opinions of what counts as bullying and some of its underlying causes offers some fascinating insights into a complex phenomenon and extends existing understandings of female aggression as revealed by other studies. The girls' descriptions allow the reader an inside peek at the "uglier" side of young teenage girls' lives, one that society would perhaps rather not acknowledge because to do so would challenge dominant notions of femininity, and thus rattle the stability of gender relations  123 as they currently exist. Their reports lead us to question which bullying behaviours we have been excusing or dismissing in the past, and to question the accuracy of reported rates of bullying in given student populations. Owing to the small sample o f participants and limited time i n the field, a clear pattern o f the ways and frequency of overlap i n roles between bully, victim, and by-stander did not emerge. I urge longitudinal study to test the notion that these three categories are too dichotomous and to show more conclusively that a significant number of girls play dual and even triple roles over time and i n varying contexts.  6.1 Suggestions for additional research Knowledge gleaned from exploratory studies such as this ought to be treated as a resource for further, perhaps more extensive, research of the ethnographic kind. The questions it raises may also provide quantitative researchers with a wider scope from which to formulate hypotheses and causal models.  6.1.1 Gender considerations Not only is there great variability in the extent of bullying from school to school (Ziegler & Rosenstein-Manner, 1991), but there are also discrepancies, sometimes by gender, i n the reported numbers of bullies and victims. This may, i n part, be due to the fact that bullying and aggression are not defined the same way by youth who experience it i n a wide range of ways (Eagly & Steffen, 1986; Siann et al., 1994). Besag (1989) concluded that 1 i n 10 children are involved in bullying, as either victim or bully, but Smith and Thompson (1991) reported 1 i n 5 for being bullied and 1 to 10 for bullying others. Johnstone and colleagues (1992) and Whitney and Smith (1993) found that boys were more likely to admit to bullying than girls by as much as four to one and two to one, respectively. Yet Perry and colleagues (1988) and Ziegler and colleagues (1992) found that boys and girls reported similar frequencies of being bullied. Most studies have restricted their gender analysis to comparing bullying amongst boys and that amongst girls quantitatively-for example, boys use physical means more than girls to aggress; girls are more verbal. Some studies assert that girls' aggression is different from that of boys-more relational (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995; Lagerspetz, Bjorkqvist & Peltonen, 1988; Rigby & Slee, 1991) and one even asserted that only boys use physical means (Roland, 1989). F r o m the evidence i n this study, it would seem that girls bully all the same ways boys do, and then  124 some. Girls punch, kick, and hospitalize. But girls also scream, pull hair, bite, and "shoot" each other with a variety of dirty looks. It appears that using physical means to bully is becoming increasingly socially acceptable for girls (Galen & Underwood, 1997). Furthermore, leaning on verbal vs. physical, overt vs. covert, direct vs. indirect distinctions without considering psychological damage related to bullying, may not be the best indicator of what distinguishes female from male aggression (Lagerspetz et al., 1988). Hazier and colleagues' (1991) findings suggest that there are more commonalties than differences between the sexes in that both used "sufficient" amounts of physical and verbal means of bullying to overpower and harm others. These commonalties may be located in the emotional responses of targets and those who witness aggressive acts against their peers. Kinney's (1993) study of male and female "nerds" and their transition from middle school to and through high school revealed that boys' self-perceptions were deeply affected by verbal abuse such as name-calling and teasing during early adolescence. Issues such as peer group membership and prestige were pivotal matters. Social exclusion or ostracism owing to excess weight or high academic achievement for example (that is, being perceived by peers as being "different" or a loser, or of not having a "life"), produced powerful emotions in the boys as well as the girls. Hence, more bullying studies framed by the female experience are needed. W e need to know how boys also betray, intimidate, and humiliate each other by verbal, physical, and attitudinal means. To what extent do reasons for bullying overlap in the sexes? T o what extent are they gender specific? Similar to the girls in my study, boys interviewed by Junger (1990) linked reasons for being bullied to personal characteristics ("because I am shy") and appearance (e.g., "the way I look", "because I am fat"), or to the characteristics of the perpetrators (who "want to bully someone", "are bored"). In contrast, however, as members of a superordinate group in society, boys are not motivated by an equivalent of misogyny the way girls can be. They may, however, be motivated by homophobia (Askew, 1989), which is not so much hatred of maleness as it is contempt of the feminine and non-heterosexual. Combined with the complications of race and class, this too is an area much in need of further research. Boys also report a need to be careful amongst peers (Askew, 1989). The demands of the hegemonic masculinities of our culture are sources of tension for many boys (Connell, 1996).  125 Because males are socialized to internalize their feelings to the point where they may not even be aware of them, it may be difficult to determine the extent of feelings of fear in boys in comparison to girls. But girls do have more to fear from violent encounters (rape and pregnancy, or the alteration of their physical appearance). Such vulnerability may enable them to use the excuse of self-defense more frequently than boys do. Some very interesting data came up in the submitted written accounts and skits performed by the boys in the two Drama classes. Although the scope of this study did not allow for a comparative analysis, it would form an interesting study in and of itself. In her work, Crick (1995) submitted that bullying of the relational kind is more distressful to girls than to boys. In their study of 4th, 7th, and 10th graders, Galen and Underwood (1997) found that girls viewed both physcial and social means of aggression as more hurtful than boys did. Regardless of measure, I submit that the boys who are bullied in relational ways feel the pain of such bullying intensely enough to warrant consideration of their suffering in this regard. Being called, "Bubble butt, fat ass, fag, and fuckin' asshole" by one's peers does not leave the receiver unscathed emotionally [B D O C 3]. Confided one 14 year old boy: (...) most of my life I've been made fun of, and after a while you get used to it, but not totally. There are always some people who know what to say that w i l l make you feel like exploding into crying [the word "sobbing" was scratched out here], and I think that bullying really makes you emotional. Some people bully other people because they act different, and I don't think that's fair. People bully other people because they're not in a group. People don't act natural because they don't want to be made fun of. Life is not fair! - [ B D O C 1] Another boy wrote, "Even just by watching those people who get called names and bugged I can see how they would start to feel left out and useless". Five boys out of ten who wrote stories for me, agonized over their feelings of powerlessness when they felt they should have helped male peers who were being bullied, but did not.  6.1.2 An extended definition of bullying O f interest to those preparing questionnaires or surveys is my proposal to extend traditional definitions of "what counts as bullying" to include one-time episodes, "unintentional" incidents such as misinterpreted jesting, and tactics which fall within the scope of betrayal and humiliation (such as those listed in Figure 4.1). Existing self-report instruments focus primarily on bullying of the intimidating kind. I suggest that researchers consider listing on their  126 questionnaires examples of physical abuse specific to girls (such as pulling hair and biting) as well as the usual punching and kicking. Furthermore, more comprehensive definitions of bullying ought to consider the significance of specific "weapons" at the students' behest, as they are so often used in conjunction with their aggressive acts. Future studies in all these areas are recommended. Using surveys or scales, researchers who desire a more accurate picture of the types and amounts of bullying going on in a given student body need to account for different sets of understanding according to respondents' age (Swain, 1998), gender, social class, and ethnicity. In this study, the lack of clarity and consistency in some of the girls' conceptions of bullying was salient. For instance, Bethany (known in the school as a "fighter") admitted to having been "involved with fights" but had never been " i n a fight" before. Melissa claimed that girls do not "really hurt" others but just bug them and probably start punching them. M o r e in-depth ethnographic studies are necessary to probe more extensively into the girls' lines of demarcation of what they do and do not consider bullying. 6.1.3 Recognizing the affective dimension of b u l l y i n g Amongst both girls and boys, bullying represents a socially legitimated illegitimate use of power over others-a power not always recognizable to adult witnesses like teachers and other school personnel. Perhaps because so much of the original research on bullying was grounded in studies of boys, the more affective dimensions of the problem-the longer-term anxiety, fear, and pain associated with the bullying experience-were not emphasized. Lasting only seconds or perpetuated over years, bullying is an intensely personal experience; it can never be seen or interpreted objectively. For some girls, a time gap of a certain length meant that they made an incident seem less serious than it was at the time it occurred. Still others remembered painful events in small detail as though they had happened the day before. Individuals' inevitable subjectivity colours their understanding of the term "bullying" and their very experience with it (Siann et a l , 1994). For a more complete picture of bullying amongst girls, I suggest a minimum one-year case study in one school charting various events related to bullying, such as falling from grace and rising to power, amongst individual girls throughout the school year. Tracking the long-term effectiveness of peer mediation programs from the viewpoint of the girls could also be undertaken at that time.  127  6.1.4 The roots of bullying H o w much of a role do misogyny, racism, class inequality or homophobia play in the girls' perceptions of what happens to them? Some trivialized their bullying experiences, while others exaggerated their involvement or that of others in fighting. One girl i n my study equated bullying in the form of "rude remarks" with sexual harassment: " W e l l , this goes on A L O T with girls. It is usually about our F E A T U R E S . Our looks, size, shape, clothes, you know, all the important s t u f f [ N D O C 8]. M a n y more qualitative studies of girl-to-girl bullying, including social class and gender analysis, must be undertaken before questionnaires are worded in better ways. Alternatively, bullying may not be the best way to discuss these issues with girls. It may tend to eclipse other important roots to the violence, as the girls themselves are likely unaware of these shaping forces. A s far as I could ascertain, just how institutional and wider contextual factors shape and perpetuate bullying amongst girls and boys remains largely unexplored in the bullying literature. Noguera's (1995) critique of school responses to violence provides an excellent starting point. In the following section I weigh some responses to bullying common to British Columbia secondary schools in light of my findings and analyses.  6.2 An evaluation of some school responses to bullying Bullying is a prominent dimension of violence that occurs daily in the life of girls. In the shadow of generational, commercial, and community violence, girls are exposed to harm, pain, and fear in the very schools that attempt to provide solutions to conflict amongst students. M a n y young teens have a pessimistic view of the ability of schools to be effective and consistent i n dealing with bullying (Ziegler & Rosenstein-Manner, 1991). Ignorance of the girls' perspectives means that school personnel cannot fully understand the nature or the extent of the problem of interpersonal aggression amongst girls. W e ought not to treat highly publicized acts of violence amongst a handful of girls as shocking anomalies and in the process overlook the quality of life for all girls in those early teen years. The world according to many of the girls in my study was a competitive and unpredictable place. In the perceived absence of a safe haven, and bombarded by cultural messages glorifying the use of aggression as one means to an end, they adopted defensive patterns of relating to others and sometimes felt justified in taking matters of protection into their own hands.  128 Young adolescent girls live a life of intense social scrutiny (Brown, 1998). Their business really is everybody's business. Their behaviours and appearance are severely proscribed (Artz & Riecken, 1995) and monitored by society and by each other. Even though some of the girls in my study challenged existing standards of angelic perfection by flaunting their own imperfection and strength, most of them acted insulted at the thought of being known as a bitch. Girls want to be taken as seriously as boys, hence they sometimes felt compelled to be even tougher so that their fights would not be labelled mere "cat fights". In sum, they are caught in a paradox of resisting negative stereotypes about girls while at the same time perpetuating those notions as they bully and label each other. A set way of getting the bullying to stop did not emerge from the data provided to me by the girls. For them it is a waiting game-waiting for the more powerful girl to lose interest or refocus her attention on a different girl. Owing to the frighteningly unpredictable and almost inevitable nature of bullying, the girls appeared to have little control over their personal safety with a few exceptions. Most girls accept this as a fact of life. "It's just the way things are," said too many of them. Following are three expressions of those feelings of powerlessness: So it's kind of maddening. It's really annoying because I don't even remember why she's so mad at me. I don't remember what her problem is and I wish she'd just shut up and stop, but there's nothing I can do about it. I feel like i f I say something, i f I do something, she's gonna start up again....I'm really frustrated about it. -Christine, I For some reason, she has held a grudge for three years and has not let up. I can't do anything right. She frowns at me, sticks her tongue out, makes funny noises at me. I am sure she has spread rumours about me too....There is nothing I can do about it, it seems. She really hurts me. - [ N D O C 19] The school can't avoid [bullying] as much as they try. I mean, what are you supposed to do? Put a little cell around every person while they're walking around? Besides, that would be more like a jail. Y o u know, you're supposed to be how you want to be. Everybody should be themselves and do what they want. W e l l , not exactly do what they want. -Tanya, I  6.2.1 District and school level initiatives One strategy to counter bullying considers the highly complex and delicate undertaking of school-family-community partnerships. B y extending invitations for collaborative partnership in  129 the awareness raising and resolution of bullying problems to students themselves, their families and community members at large ( Epstein, 1995), schools hope to demonstrate that they do care and are committed to addressing inter-student aggression. Casanova (1996) warns, however, against over-romanticising inter-institutional linkages between home, school, and community. The potential for anti-democratic consequences exists i f a minority of parents or community members misinterpret partnership as an opportunity to seize hierarchical control, undermining the authority of school staff and, ironically, exacerbating an atmosphere of conflict, competition, and mistrust in their very efforts to address bullying! Moreover, social class and ethnic group membership shape the resources parents and community members have at their disposal to comply with requests for cooperative participation (Lareau, 1987, 1989). Not only would differences in the valuing of schooling, English language proficiency, and time management impede equal representation, but the social misalignment of values between home and school (e.g., bringing up children with physical abuse, having home rules incongruent to those of the school, and actively supporting and supplying self-defense training for one's children) can also provide barriers to the success of the process. A second strategy many British Columbia schools and districts have taken to counter or prevent on-campus violence is that of promoting "safe and healthy schools". A s a variant of school-family-community partnerships, models for school-based health and safety strategies are generally concerned with the physical and emotional health and safety of students and staff. Ideally, this would translate into a caring and respectful environment where all individuals feel valued and safe. The Teaching in the 90s survey asked over 700 British Columbia teachers i f they felt their schools had been effective in preventing on-site violence. Although the overall response was positive, only a slight majority responded positively at the secondary level (Malcolmson, 1994). In November 1993, the district in which my study took place instituted the board-wide distribution of an open letter to parents of all students-with an urgent note in ten languages to have the letter translated-detailing the content of three district policies on positive school climate, the possession or use of weapons on school premises, and portrayals of violent media or  130 behaviour, and the consequences for infringement of those policies. District efforts to contact parents to keep them informed, however, are not sufficient.  31  Despite clearly defined and consistently enforced rules for acceptable behaviours and the administering of pre-set consequences for unacceptable ones, school staff at both schools commonly experienced difficulty in protecting the girls from bullying of various kinds. One reason may be students' ability to read unintended messages into the rules. The wording of our written and spoken expectations to students is important. When communiques express such things as " N o fighting on school property", students simply move their fights off school grounds to avoid punishment. Given the vast range of district- and school-wide anti-violence campaigns (such as Healthy Schools, School Watch, Personal Safety and Decision M a k i n g , Safe Teen, and Second Step) hailing "zero tolerance" and "therapeutic curricula" which promote empathy, impulse control, anger management, conflict management and resolution, expanded life skills, caring, and school wellness, one might expect to see the virtual elimination of interpersonal aggression i n our schools.  32  Yet, from what I gathered from the girls' stories, the effectiveness of such  programs is limited. It may be that these programs treat only the symptoms of violence rather than addressing root causes specific to girls. However, one longitudinal study of two Winnipeg elementary schools has suggested that violence-prevention curriculum (such as Second Step) is not sufficiently sensitive to gender, hence unevenly effective in decreasing conflict amongst all students (Bergsgaard, 1997). Through existing program strategies, more covert aggressive behaviours amongst girls may not be detected, thus not mediated. Therefore, assessments of such initiatives may incorrectly conclude that girls are involved in fewer conflicts and that programs are successfully addressing school problems in this area.  6.2.2 Peer mediation One counselling-type method used to reduce bullying i n schools is that of peacemaking or peer mediation. In this process, perpetrator and target are brought together on supposedly neutral  Only 57% of British Columbia schoolteachers reported awareness of district policies and practices regarding violence in the Teaching in the 90s survey. The awareness level for school policy and practice in this regard was not much higher, tabulated at 68% (Malcolmson, 1994). For an evaluation of successes and pitfalls of one Canadian antibullying project, see Pepler and colleagues (1993). 32  131 ground with the third party acting as mediator, until resolution of the conflict occurs. These specially trained third party mediating agents are ideally unbiased and represent a wide crosssection of students i n a given school. In my study, only Oceanside had a relatively new peer mediation program in place at the time. It was not easy to get a clear picture of how the girls viewed the peer mediation process because their stories did not always coincide with other information available to me. When I interviewed her in November, B i l l i e claimed to have been in about five or six fights and in peer mediation about ten times since September. Yet, the Oceanside counsellor responsible for grade 8s told me that there had only been five mediations thus far, with only three girls having been involved repeatedly. Too, despite this exaggerated boast of having to go through so many mediations, both B i l l i e and Jaymee scorned Bethany for getting involved in peer mediation as well as going to the office for "fun" and attention. Likely, peer mediation itself was not held in high regard, but the fact that Jaymee and B i l l i e were involved in fights serious enough to warrant mediation was. When I asked some of the girls directly i f they found peer mediation helpful, they gave mixed responses. Some thought it worked well. Bonnie, for instance, found it useful " i n ways. 'Cause there's always two sides to something." In one of her cases, the girls became friends again (which apparently does not often happen) because they were both willing to "start clean". Notwithstanding, there are apparently two sides to mediation. A t least two girls considered the process a futile effort: I think it's okay [but] sometimes I think, "What is it?" Y o u talk to the person you got into a fight with. It doesn't really change anything, right?... .Like I went into a peer mediation with a girl I got into a fight with at the beginning of the year. I said, "I don't like you. I don't hate you. I don't want anything to do with you whatsoever"....All it changed was that we got to talk about what happened and we got to say our side of the story and that was it. It didn't help. -Billie, I It doesn't change anything. Y o u still hate them. -Jaymee, I Bonnie continued to explain that for "a lot of people, it makes it worse because they just want to leave it alone and the other person doesn't, and so they just get mad at them." The danger exists that the person unwilling to mediate w i l l beat you up later for not "forgetting about it". This code of silence implied by "forgetting" is buoyed by either the belief that other people  132 no longer care about the incident once it is over, or by the taboo against ratting. If the conflict is resurrected by peer mediation, then that code has been violated and "the whole thing starts again" On the one hand, in a process where one relies on the perpetrator's change of heart, power differentials tend to remain the same. Even with the support of empathy building programs (Dykeman, Daehlin, Doyle & Flamer, 1996) such as "Values i n Action", peer-mediation as a process does not affect the power dynamics at play in the largely unpredictable wider social context to which the girls must return, adapt and survive in after leaving the counselling room. On the other hand, reduced effectiveness in peer mediation programs may stem in part from student mediators not actually being representative of their peers who generally need mediating. The girls I interviewed did not always perceive the school's mediators, who were outside their group membership, as neutral and fair [ F N (2A)]. In any case, the girls' mixed views merit consideration in any studies that would follow up peer mediation sessions. 6.2.3 T h e m e d i u m of peer theatre L i v e theatre is a powerful tool used to interpret and magnify social issues in sensitive and stimulating ways. A s actors step into another's shoes or relive a private experience on the public stage, the resulting performance can penetrate deeply into the emotional lives of observers. Student written and directed skits or plays can be a venue for the in-class or school-wide exploration of themes not always presented on the professional stage. The following sketches below represent a few examples of writings by Mountainside and Oceanside girls that preceded more elaborate performances:  Sketch One The rejection of an Indo-Canadian girl by female peers. Whispering and statements such as, " Y o u ' r e the different one."  Sketch Two A bumps B in the hall. Swearing, dirty looks and name-calling by A .  Sketch Three Girls rumour mongering about another girl who was suspected of sleeping with someone else's boyfriend. "Slut!" uttered with vehemence. Another girl walks in " D i d I miss anything?"  Sketch Four X forgot the test was "today" and did not study. Y , the smart, studious one, is not fazed. X criticizes Y : " Y o u care so much about your grades." When Y refuses to share her answers or let X look at her test, X hurls: "What a geek!"  133  Sketch Five A mother favours her sweet high-achieving daughter over her "rougher" one. Mother calls the latter "slut". Daughter responds in kind. Mother kicks her out of the house. Switch scene. The rough daughter bullies other girls at school, and the same day experiences rejection from a friend. The play-building method used in this project was a way for students to role-play their own or other peer's experiences. This may have proved cathartic for some of the actors and allowed observing peers to experience vicariously the pain of fellow students. When students see segments of their lives and others' portrayed so vividly by others, they may feel less alone in their own suffering or, conversely, may feel repelled by violent and invasive acts for the first time. A time of play-debriefing where the audience gets to ask the actors personal questions is also useful in engaging students more actively i n the theme. "Forum Theatre" is another such participatory model. It is pedagogical theatre that involves the audience as "spect-actors" who help the actors on stage find solutions to political or social "errors" and new ways of confronting oppression. During these performances or workshops, controversial, but concrete, situations (such as same-sex bullying) are analyzed. A protagonist and supporting actors set up the basic story only to the point of conflict, clearly delineating character and plot; this is the "world as it is". When the play is then stopped, one option is to ask for a volunteer from the audience to step in and replace either the protagonist or another actor and continue to move toward a "world as it could be" scenario. A t the end, the audience is asked i f they agree, and i f not, how they would challenge the actors to bring the play to a different conclusion. In this way, various models for future action can be proposed and 33  debated at length with the spectators participating actively.  6.3 Concluding remarks Bullying has got to S T O P ! - [ N D O C 8] To borrow an analogy from L y n M i k e l Brown (1996), who calls the "madgirls" in her study of young adolescent girls "stones in the road toward idealized femininity (p. 229)", not a few of the girls in my study represent stumbling blocks in the closely scrutinized path of "acceptable" behaviour for girls. Not only were some of them involved i n physical and verbal  For an excellent discussion of forum theatre as it is used by the Brazilian Theatre of the Oppressed see Boal (1994). Secondary teachers wanting to explore other ways of using drama in the classroom might also refer to Cassady (1993).  134 fights to varying degrees, most of them felt obligated to prepare themselves for the eventuality of fighting. These were not girls merely interested in looking good in front of others, but were persons concerned for their very survival as they worked out their identities under the microscopic lens of high school. Here, in this thesis, accounts of their perceptions of social reality and their pain and feelings of powerlessness ought to impel parents, school and district personnel, and concerned citizens to take them and their not-so-little problems with bullying more seriously—seriously enough to find ways to make schools and our communities a safer place for them. I suggest that bullying amongst girls at the brink of adolescence is truly everybody's business and that we need to take a closer look at the lives of girls and see past erroneous appearances which suggest that mostly all is well despite a few little spats here and there. W e must all give pause when labels of "bully" or "victim" are bandied about as though any given girl was definitively one or the other. Neither should we dismiss the "by-stander" as though she has somehow not participated in or been affected by what she has witnessed. What the girls show of themselves in public is not always true to the private self. Moreover, the girls and their behaviours are inextricably bound to their contexts. Just as their environments influence them, they, too, have a profound effect on the ecology of their attendant settings and the people within them. Addressing the problems of bullying amongst girls must be done in all seriousness as they form an integral and influential part of our social tapestry. In closing I include a poem written for me by a 14-year-old girl who, from all appearances, led a charmed life-academically and athletically [ N D O C 19]: The Colourless V o i d TerrorA seizure Grasps my heart M y legs freeze, M y brain pounds A s I take the Risk  ShameBurns my cheeks A raging flame Forages for my Person Horror!To think that this What happens Everyday A s I go to school A n d walk D o w n the hall To my Locker.  136  REFERENCES Arora, C . M . J. & Thompson, D . A . (1987). Defining bullying for a secondary school. Educational and C h i l d Psychology, 4, 110-120. Artz, S. & Riecken, T. (1995). A study of violence among adolescent female students in a urban school district. In Stopping the Violence: Changing families, changing futures (pp. 53-71). Victoria, B C : British Columbia Ministry of Education. Askew, S. (1989). Aggressive behaviour in boys: To what extent is it institutionalized? In D . P. Tattum & D . A . Lane (Eds.), Bullying in schools (pp. 59-71). Stoke-on-Trent, England: Trentham Books. Atkinson, P. & Hammersley, M . (1994). Ethnography and participant observation. In N . K . Denzin & Y . S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 248-261). Thousand Oaks, C A : Sage Publications. Atwood, M . (1988). Cat's eve. Toronto, O N : McClelland-Bantam. Baker, R. L . & Mednick, B . R. (1990). Protecting the high school environment as an island of safety: Correlates of student fear of in-school victimization. Children's Environments Quarterly, 7(3), 37-49. Belle, D . (1989). Gender differences in children's social networks and supports. In D . Belle (Ed.), Children's social networks and social supports (pp. 173-188). N e w York, N Y : John W i l e y & Sons, Limited. Bergsgaard, M . (1997). Gender issues in the implementation and evaluation of a violenceprevention curriculum. Canadian Journal of Education, 22(1), 33-45. Besag, V . (1989). Bullies and victims in schools. M i l t o n Keynes, U K : Open University Press. Boal, A . (1994). Games for actors and non-actors (A. Jackson, Trans.). N e w York, N Y : Routledge. Bogdan, R. C . & Biklen, S. K . (1992). Qualitative research for education: A n introduction to theory and methods (2nd ed.). Toronto, O N : A l l y n and Bacon. Bonenfant, C . (1997, January 6). Four-season games for girls. The Globe and M a i l , p. A 1 4 . Braddock n, J. H . and McPartland, J. M . (1993). Education of early adolescents. A E R A Review of Research in Education, 19, 135-170. Brown, L . (Ed.) (1993). The new shorter Oxford English dictionary on historical principles: Vol.1 ( A - M ) , V o l . 2 ( N - Z ) . Oxford: Clarendon Press.  137 Brown, L . M . (1996). Educating the resistance. The H i g h School Journal, February/March, 221230. Brown, L . M . (1998). Raising their voices: The politics of girls' anger. Cambridge, M A : Harvard University Press. Brown, L . M . , Way, N . and Duff, J. L . (in press). The Others i n my I: Adolescent girls' friendships and peer relations. In N . Johnson, M . Roberts and J. Worell (Eds.), Beyond appearances: A new look at adolescent girls. Washington, D . C : American Psychological Association. Bryman, A . and Burgess, R. G . (1994). Developments in qualitative data analysis: A n introduction. In A . Bryman and R. G . Burgess (Eds.), Analyzing Qualitative Data (pp. 1-17). New York: Routledge. Burgess, R. G . (1984). In the field: A n introduction to field research. Boston, M A S S : George A l l e n & Unwin. Cairns, R. B . , Cairns, B . D . & Neckerman, H . J. (1989). Early school dropout: Configurations and determinants. C h i l d Development, 60(6), 1437-1452. Cairns, R. B . , Cairns, B . D . , Neckerman, H . J., Gest, S. D . & Gariepty, J. L . (1988). Social networks and aggressive behavior: Peer support or peer rejection? Developmental Psychology, 24,815-823. Cameron, E . , deBruijne, L . , Jones, D . , Kennedy, K . & M o r i n , J. (1994, January). Task force on violence in schools: Final report. Vancouver, B C : British Columbia Teachers' Federation. Campbell, A . (1984). The girls in the gang: A report from N e w Y o r k City. N e w York, N Y : Basil Blackwell. Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women (1991, February). M a l e violence against women: The brutal face of inequality. A brief to the House of Commons Subcommittee on the Status of Women: Violence against Women. Casanova, U . (1996). Parent involvement: A call for prudence. Educational Researcher, 25(8), 30-32, 46. Cassady, M . (1993). Acting games: Improvisations and exercises. Colorado Springs, C O : Meriwether Publishing Limited. Collins, W . A . & Laursen, B . (1992). Conflict and relationship during adolescence. In C . U . Shantz & W . W . Hartup (Eds.), Conflict in child and adolescent development (pp. 216-241). Cambridge, U K : Cambridge University Press.  138 Connell, R. W . (1987). Gender and Power: Society, the person and sexual politics. Stanford, C A : Stanford University Press. Connell, R. W . (1996). Teaching the boys: N e w research on masculinity, and gender strategies for schools. Teachers College Record, 98(2), 206-235. Cowie, H , Sharp, S. & Smith, P. K . (1992). Tackling bullying in schools: The method of common concern. B P S Education Section Review, 16(2), 55-57. Craig, W . M . & Pepler, D . J. (1992). Contextual factors in bullying and victimization. Paper based on presentations at the University of Waterloo Conference on C h i l d Development and the Canadian Psychological Association Conference, Y o r k University, O N . Crawley, M . (1995). Schoolyard Bullies: Messing with British Columbia's education system. Victoria, B C : Orca Book Publishers. Crick, N . R. (1995). Relational aggression: The role of intent attributions, feelings of distress, and provocation type. Development and Psychopathology, 7, 313-322. Crick, N . R. & Grotpeter, J. K . (1995). Relational aggression, gender and social-psychological adjustment. C h i l d Development, 66, 710-722. Crick, N . R. & Ladd, G . W . (1990). Children's perceptions of the outcomes of social strategies: D o the ends justify being mean? Developmental Psychology, 26(4), 612-620. Cullingford, C . & Morrison, J. (1997). Peer group pressure within and outside school. British Educational Research Journal, 23(1), 61-80. Curtis, B , Livingstone, D . W . & Smaller, H . (1992). Stacking the deck: The streaming of working-class kids in Ontario schools. Toronto, O N : Our Schools/Our Selves. Davies, C . (1996, December 21). Slugging it out for position. The Financial Post, p. 5. Delamont, S. (1992). Fieldwork in educational settings: Methods, pitfalls and perspectives. Bristol, P A : The Falmer Press. Denzin, N . K . & Lincoln, Y . S. (1994). Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, C A : Sage Publications. Dodge, K . A . (1991). The structure and function of reactive and proactive aggression. In D . Pepler & K . Rubin (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 201218). Hillsdale, N J : Erlbaum and Associates. Duffy, A . (1996, M a y 21). Girls', violence reported on rise. The Vancouver Sun, p. B 6 .  139 Dykeman, C , Daehlin, W . , Doyle, S. & Flamer, H . S. (1996). Psychological predictors of school-based violence: Implications for school counsellors. The School Counsellor, 44, 3545. Eagly, A . H . & Steffen, V . J. (1986). Gender and aggressive behavior: A meta-analytic review of the social psychological literature. Psychological Bulletin, 100(3), 309-330. Eccles, J. S., Midgley, C , Wigfield, A . , Buchanan, C . M . , Reuman, D . , Flanagan, C , and Maclver, D . (1993). Development during adolescence: The impact of stage-environment fit on young adolescents' experiences in schools and in families. American Psychologist, 48(2), 90-101. Eckert, P. (1989). Jocks and burnouts: Social categories and identity in the high school. N e w York, N Y : Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Eder, D . (1985). The cycle of popularity: Interpersonal relations among female adolescents. Sociology of Education, 58, 154-165. Eder, D . , Evans, C . C . & Parker, S. (1995). School talk: Gender and adolescent culture. N e w Brunswick, N J : Rutgers University Press. Epstein, J. L . (1995). School, family, community partnerships: Caring for the children we share. Phi Delta Kappan, 76, 701-712. Firestone, S. (1993). The culture of romance. In A . M . Jaggar & P. S. Rothenberg (Eds.), Feminist frameworks: Alternative theoretical accounts of the relations between women and men (3rd ed.) (pp.448-453). Toronto: M c G r a w - H i l l . Friend, B . (1992). Blighted childhood. Nursing Times, 88 (25), 18, 19. Galen, B . R. & Underwood, M . K . (1997). A developmental investigation of social aggression among children. Developmental Psychology, 22(4), 589-600. Garvey, C . & Shantz, C . U . (1992). Conflict talk: Approaches to adversative discourse. In C . U . Shantz & W . W . Hartup (Eds.), Conflict in child and adolescent development (pp. 93-121). Cambridge, U K : Cambridge University Press. Goffman, E . (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. Woodstock, N Y : The Overlook Press. Goldin-Meadow, S., W e i n , D . and Chang, C . (1992). Assessing knowledge through gesture: Using children's hands to read their minds. Cognition and Instruction, 9(3), 201-219. Gram, K . (1997,December 5). Bullies: Dealing with threats in a child's life. The Vancouver Sun, pp. F 1 , F 2 .  140 Hammersley, M . & Atkinson, P. (1983). Ethnography: Principles in practice. New York, N Y : Routledge. Hart, B . L . & Hart, L . A . (1985). Canine and feline behavioral therapy. Philadelphia, P A : L e a & Febiger. Hartup, W . W . (1992). Conflict and friendship relations. In C . U . Shantz & W . W . Hartup (Eds.), Conflict in child and adolescent development (pp. 186-215). Cambridge, U K : Cambridge University Press. Hazier, R. J , Hoover, J. & Oliver, R. (1991). Student perceptions of victimization by bullies in school. Journal of Humanistic Education and Development, 29, 143-150. Hoover, J , Oliver, R. & Hazier, R. J. (1992). Bullying: Perceptions of adolescent victims in the midwestern U S A . School Psychology International, 13(1). 5-16. Hoover, J. H , Oliver, R. L . & Thomson, K . A . (1993). Perceived victimization by school bullies: New research and future direction. Journal of Humanistic Education and Development. 32, 76-84. Hyle, A . E . , B u l l , K . S., Salyer, K . & Montgomery, D . (1991, April). School dropouts: What agenda do administrators see for dealing with the problem? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Hymel, S , Comfort, C , Schonert-Reichl, K . & M c D o u g a l l , P. (1996). Academic failure and school dropout: The influence of peers. In K . Wentzel & J. Juvonen (Eds.), Social motivation: Understanding children's school adjustment (pp. 313-345). N e w York, N Y : Cambridge University Press. Johnstone, M , M u n n , P. & Edwards, L . (1992). Action against bullying. Drawing from experience. Edinburgh: The Scottish Council for Research in Education. Jones, A . N . (1994July/August). They get right in your face: A r e girls turning meaner? Utne Reader, pp. 54-55. Junger, M . (1990). Intergroup bullying and racial harassment in the Netherlands. Sociology and Social Research, 74, 65-72. Karsh, E . B . and Turner, D . C . (1988). The human-cat relationship. In D . C . Turner. & P. Bateson (Eds.), The domestic cat: The biology of its behaviour (pp. 159-177). Cambridge, U K : Cambridge University Press. Kelly, D . M . (1993). Last Chance High: H o w girls and boys drop in and out of alternative schools. N e w Haven, C T : Yale University Press.  141 Kelly, D . M . (1994). School dropouts. In T. Husen & T. N . Postlethwaite (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Education, V o l . 9 (2nd ed.) (pp. 5224-5228). Oxford, U K : Pergamon Press. Kelly, D . M . with D . Purvey, K . Jaipal and D . Penberg (1995). Balancing diversity and community: A large, urban high school adopts the mini-school approach. Exemplary Schools Project, Case Study of Vancouver Technical Secondary School. Ottawa, O N : Canadian Education Association. Kinney, D . A . (1993). From nerds to normals: The recovery of identity among adolescents from middle school to high school. Sociology of Education, 66, 21-40. Kreeft, P. (1995). Angels and demons. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. Kupersmidt, J. B . & Coie, J. D . (1990). Preadolescent peer status, aggression, and school adjustment as predictors of externalizing problems i n adolescence. C h i l d Development, 61(5), 1350-1362. Kupp, D . (1994, Autumn). Growing up a girl: A tough life. Voices, 1. Mississauga, O N : W o r l d V i s i o n Canada, Development Education Department. Lagerspetz, K . M , Bjorkqvist, K . & Peltonen, T. (1988). Is indirect aggression typical of females? Gender differences in aggressiveness i n 11-12 year-old children. Aggressive Behaviour, 14,403-414. Lareau, A . (1987). Social class differences in family-school relationships: The importance of cultural capital. Sociology of Education, 60, 73-85. Lareau, A . (1989). Home Advantage. Social class and parental intervention in elementary schools. Philadelphia, P A : The Falmer Press. LeCompte, M . D . & Dworkin, A . G . (1991). Giving up on school: Student dropouts and teacher burnouts. Newbury Park, C A : Corwin Press. Lee, V . E , Bryk, A . S. and Smith, J. B . (1993). The organization of effective secondary schools. A E R A Review of Research in Education, 19, 171-267. Lieberman, A . (1992). The meaning of scholarly activity and the building of community. Educational Researcher, August/September, 5-12. Malcolmson, J. D . (1994, February). Teaching i n the 90s. Report N o . 3: Teacher Perceptions of Violence in B . C . Schools. Vancouver, B C : British Columbia Teachers' Federation. Marano, H . E . (1995, September/October). B i g . Bad. Bully. Psychology Today, pp. 50-57.  142 M c M i l l a n , J. H . & Schumacher, S. (1989). Research in education: A conceptual introduction (2nd Ed.). Toronto, O N : Harper Collins Publishers. Mellor, A . (1990). Bullying in Scottish secondary schools. Spotlight, 23, 1-8. Edinburgh: The Scottish Council for Research in Education. Merton, D . (1997). The meaning of meanness: Popularity, competition and conflict among junior high school girls. Sociology of Education, 70, 175-191. Niks, M . I. (1995). Teaming up in collaborative ethnographic research. Unpublished master's thesis, The University of British Columbia. Noguera, P. (1995). Preventing and producing violence: A critical analysis of responses to school violence. Harvard Educational Review, 65(2), 189-211. O'Farrell, V . & Neville, P. (1994). Manual of feline behaviour. Gloucestershire, England: British Small A n i m a l Veterinary Association. Offer, D . & Schonert-Reichl, K . A . (1992). Debunking the myths of adolescence: Findings from recent research. Journal of the American Academy of C h i l d and Adolescent Psychiatry, 3_i(6), 1003-1014. Ogilvie, C . (1994, August 24). Violence among girls on rise. The Province (Vancouver), p. A 4 . Olweus, D . (1977). Aggression and peer acceptance in adolescent boys: T w o short-term longitudinal studies of ratings. C h i l d Development, 48, 1301-1313. Olweus, D . (1978). Aggression in the schools: Bullies and whipping boys. Washington, D . C : John W i l e y & Sons. Olweus, D . (1984). Aggressors and their victims: Bullying at school. In N . Frude & H . Gault (Eds.), Disruptive behavior in schools (pp. 57-76). New York, N Y : John W i l e y & Sons. Olweus, D . (1991). Bully/victim problems among schoolchildren: Basic facts and effects of a school-based intervention program. In D . Pepler & K . Rubin (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 411-448). Hillsdale, N J : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Olweus, D . (1992). Bullying among schoolchildren: Intervention and prevention. In R. D . Peters, R. J. M c M a h o n & V . L . Quincy (Eds.), Aggression and violence throughout the life span (pp. 100-125). Newbury Park, C A : Sage Publications. Olweus, D . (1993). Victimization by peers: Antecedents and long-term outcomes. In K . H . Rubin & J. B . Asendorf (Eds.), Social withdrawal, inhibition and shyness in childhood (pp. 315-341). Hillsdale, N J : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.  143 Olweus, D . (1994). Annotation: Bullying at school: Basic facts and effects of a school based intervention program. Journal of C h i l d Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 1171-1190. Olweus, D . and Alsaker, F. D . (1991). Assessing change in a cohort-longitudinal study with hierarchical data. In D . Magnusson, L . R. Bergman, G . Rudinger & B . Torestad (Eds.), Problems and methods in longitudinal research: Stability and change (pp. 107-132). Cambridge, U K : Cambridge University Press. Parker, J. G . & Asher, S. R. (1993). Beyond group acceptance: Friendship and friendship quality as distinct dimensions of children's peer adjustment. Advances in Personal Relationships 4, 261-294. Patton, M . Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). Newberry Park, C A : Sage Publications. Payne, L . (1985). Crisis in Masculinity. Westchester, I L L : Crossway Books. Pearson, P. (1997, November 29). Y o u ' r e so cute when you're mad. The Globe and M a i l , p. D 3 . Pepler, D . , Craig, W . , Ziegler, S. and Charach, A . (1993). A School-based antibullying intervention: Preliminary evaluation. In D . Tattum (Ed.), Understanding and managing bullying (pp. 76-91). London, England: Heinemann Books. Perry, D . G . , Kusel, S. J. & Perry, L . C . (1988). Victims of peer aggression. Developmental Psychology, 24(6), 807-814. Pikas, A . (1989). A pure concept of mobbing gives the best results for treatment. School Psychology International, 10, 95-104. Punch, M . (1994). Politics and ethics in qualitative research. In N . K . Denzin & Y . S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 83-97). Thousand Oaks, C A : Sage Publications. Purkey, S. C . & Smith, M . S. (1983). Effective schools: A review. The Elementary School Journal. 83(4), 427-452. Reid, K . (1989). Bullying and persistent school absenteeism. In D . P. Tattum & D . A . Lane (Eds.), Bullying in schools (pp. 89-94). Stoke-on-Trent, U K : Trentham Books. Reissman, C . K . (1987). When gender is not enough: Women interviewing women. Gender & Society. 1(2), 172-207. Rigby, K . and Slee, P. T. (1991). Bullying among Australian school children: Reported behavior and attitudes toward victims. The Journal of Social Psychology, 131(5), 615-627.  144 Robins, L . N . (1986). The consequences of conduct disorder in girls. In D . Olweus, J. B l o c k & M . Radke-Yarrow (Eds.), Development of antisocial and prosocial behaviour (pp. 385414). N e w York, N Y : Academic Press. Roland, E . (1989). Bullying: The Scandinavian research tradition. In D . P. Tattum & D . A . Lane (Eds.), Bullying in Schools (pp. 21-32). Stoke-on-Trent, U K : Trentham Books. Ruth, S. (1995). Issues i n feminism. A n introduction to women's studies (3rd ed.). Mountain V i e w , C A : Mayfield Publishing Company. Schatzman, L . & Strauss, A . L . (1973). Field research: Strategies for a natural sociology. Englewood Cliffs, N J : Wadsworth. Schonert-Reichl, K . A . & Hymel, S. (1996). Promoting social development and acceptance in the elementary classroom. In J. Andrews (Ed.), Teaching students with diverse needs (pp. 152-200). Toronto, O N : Nelson Canada. Schoolland, K . (1986). Ijime: The bullying of Japanese youth. International Education, 15(2), 528. Siann, G . , Callaghan, M . , Glissov, P , Lockhart, R. & Rawson, L . (1994). W h o gets bullied? The effect of school, gender and ethnic group. Educational Research, 36(2), 123-134. Smith, P. K . & Thompson, D . (1991). Dealing with bully/victim problems in the U . K . In P. K . Smith and D . Thompson (Eds.), Practical approaches to bullying (pp. 1-12). London, U K : David Fulton Publishers. Solin, S. (1997, April). H o w mean can you be? Seventeen, pp. 168-171,179. Spradley, J. P. (1979). The ethnographic interview. N e w York, N Y : Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Stainton Rogers, R. (1991). N o w you see it, now I don't. In M . Elliott (Ed.), Bullying: A practical guide to coping for schools (pp. 1-7). Essex, U K : Longman Group. Swain, J. (1998). What does bullying really mean? Educational Research, 40(3), 358-364. Tattum, D . (1989). Violence and aggression in schools. In D . P. Tattum & D . A . Lane (Eds.), Bullying in Schools (pp. 7-19). Stoke-on-Trent, U K : Trentham Books. Tesch, R. (1990). Qualitative research: Analysis types and software tools. London, England: The Falmer Press. Thompson, S. (1994). What friends are for: O n girls' misogyny and romantic fusion. In J. M . Irvine (Ed.), Sexual cultures and the construction of adolescent identities (pp. 228-249). Philadelphia, P A : Temple University Press.  145 Tremblay, R. E . (1991). Aggression, prosocial behavior, and gender: Three magic words but no magic wand. In D . J. Pepler and K . H . Rubin (Eds.), The Development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 71-78). Hillsdale, N J : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Turner, D . C . & Meister, O. (1988). Hunting behaviour of the domestic cat. In D . C . Turner. & P. Bateson (Eds.), The domestic cat: The biology of its behaviour (pp. 111-121). Cambridge, U K : Cambridge University Press. Viewpoints Research (1993, April). A Qualitative Research Study on Violence in B . C . Schools. Prepared for the British Columbia Teachers' Federation. Wilson, A . (1992). Preventing and responding to bullying in schools. Canadian School Executive. 12(1), 9-12. Whitney, I. & Smith, P. K . (1991). A survey of the nature and extent of bullying i n junior/middle and secondary schools. Final report to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Whitney, I. & Smith, P. K . (1993). A survey of the nature and extent of bullying in junior/middle and secondary schools. Educational Research, 35(1), 3-25. Wolcott, H . F. (1987). Ethnographic research in education. In Jaeger, R. M . (Ed.), Complementary methods for research i n education (pp. 187-206). Washington, D C : American Educational Research Association. Wong, J. (1997, November 29). Schoolyard abuse not child's play. The Globe and M a i l , pp. A l , A6. Zarzour, K . (1994). Battling the school-yard bully. H o w to raise an assertive child in an aggressive world. Toronto, O N : HarperCollins Publishers. Ziegler S., & Rosenstein-Manner, M . (1991). Bullying at school: Toronto in an international context. Toronto, O N : Toronto Board of Education.  146 APPENDIX A: [FORM SOLICITING W R I T T E N A C C O U N T S F R O M STUDENTS]  Project: S C H O O L B U L L Y I N G A M O N G Y O U N G A D O L E S C E N T F E M A L E S Researcher: Katherine Fox [ U B C Office Phone: 8 2 2 - X X X X ] H i ! I ' m a graduate student in Education at the University of British Columbia. I ' m interested in the true stories and opinions of young teens your age who may have witnessed or taken part in what some people call "bullying" or "victimization". For my study, T m mostly concerned with being harassed or hurt in some way by friends or peers of the same sex as you, particularly during your first year of high school. Most people think of boys beating up other guys when they talk about "bullying". That word might not fit for what goes on between girls. Whatever we can call it, it is mean or vicious behaviour (sometimes N O T visible or obvious to others) that happens more than once to a victim. It can involve PHYSICAL harm such as beating up, kicking, pushing around, and so on. It also includes EMOTIONAL and M E N T A L harm like threatening, demanding money, namecalling, spreading rumours, excluding, ignoring, or things like that. I feel that it's important to learn about what Y O U have seen and experienced, and not just what adults have witnessed, heard about, and report on. If you'd like to help me, please fill out the information in Part I ANONYMOUSLY ( D O N O T write your own name anywhere because this is confidential.). In Part please take minutes to write maybe one to three pages (double-spaced please) about how Y O U or S O M E O N E Y O U K N O W was treated badly over the past 12 months at school, more than once, by someone of the same sex, because of appearance or anything else. [ Y o u might describe actions or "attitudes" that deeply hurt, and may have resulted in feelings of severe anxiety, fear, pain, or loneliness.]  n,  30-40  In case you can't think of anything to write about right away, here are some suggestions. Remember, it doesn't have to be an essay; it can just be like talking to someone or writing in a journal: 1) your O P I N I O N S of on-going peer social problems with someone of the same (not opposite) sex, especially during grade 8. 2) your own E X P E R I E N C E (invent fake names, or say " A " , " B " , " C " ) 3) bad things that happened more than once to S O M E O N E Y O U K N O W last year (again, use different names). *[Please note: you are NOT required to do this, and so may decide not to write, that's fine. Deciding not to participate will in NOT WAY affect your marks at school!!! If you do, however, participate by writing, that is like giving me permission to use your words (but not your name) when I write up my project. You should know that your work might help kids be less victimized at school as adults learn to understand some of the negative things you go through better.]  147  PARTI 1. Circle one: I am a girl / boy. 2. [Today] I am  years old.  3. M y m o m works as a  .  4. M y dad works as a  .  5. I was born in  (Country).  6. Circle one or more which describes you: I am Black / Asian / White / "South" Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Fijian, etc.) I First Nations / Hispanic / Other: . 7. The number of B E S T friends (girls / guvs) I have is around  .  8. (a) This year, my favourite magazine is  .  (b) M y favourite movies or T V shows are  9. Mostly, my favourite thing to do after school with my friends is  10. M y favourite place to hang out on the weekend is 12. (a) T w o words that I think describe me are  and  (b) T w o words that I think other people might use to describe me are  and  PART II Please write on the attached pages. As I mentioned in my explanation, for this part, you don't have to use my suggestions if you don't want to. Remember girls need write only about incidents involving female peers, and guys only about male peers. (You can look back to the instruction page for ideas to start if you like.)  148 APPENDIX B: [INTERVIEW SCHEDULE] As you know, I'm interested in your OPINIONS OF and possible EXPERIENCE with mean, hurtful behaviours between girls during their first year at high school, things that may result in a girl feeling alienated, rejected, or even afraid. Now remember, I won't be using your name or the name of the school when I write up my research, and I'll be erasing the tape when I'm done, okay? * If I ask you a question you're not comfortable answering that's okay too, I'll just go to the next one. * If you don't understand a question, just tell me, and I'll explain it. * You can stop the interview any time you want as well. * If I ask you a particular question but it makes you think of something else that's fine, just feel free to tell me anything that comes to mind. QUESTIONS 1) Can you describe what it's like in grade 8-socially speaking? (Probe: How is grade 8 different from grade 9?) 2) What group do you hang around with now? (Probe: How long have you been a part of that group? What made you join them? What are the girls in your group like in general? How are they different from your grade 8 group?) 3) Does every girl at school belong to some sort of group? Tell me about some of the groups. (Probe: Are all the people within specific groups friends?) 4) What does it mean to be popular? T o be unpopular? 5) If someone is not popular, is it anyone's fault? If someone is popular, can anyone take credit? 6) What are some of the worst ways that you are aware of that a girl can H U R T another girl really badly over and over again? (Probe: physically, verbally, or non-verbally, obvious, not-so-obvious. Why is it so bad? Why does it hurt?) 7) Is it different from what goes on between guys? H o w so? For boys, we could call it "bullying", but i f it's not really bullying for girls, then what could it be called? A n y ideas? 8) Is there any of this going on between girls that could be called racial or sexual harassment? 9) A r e girls ever targeted randomly (i.e., for no reason) for what we might call "bullying"? (Probe: Why could this happen do you think? Could you picture yourself as a target ever? Why (not)?)  10) A r e there any girls at school that you are afraid of? (Probe: Why? Are there any girls at school who are afraid of you? Why do you think they are?) 11) H o w are the girls who are mean seen by the other girls at school? H o w are the victims seen 12) Are there any girls at school that you try to avoid because they are different? (Probe: Tell me more.) 13) What is someone with an "attitude" like? Is she (un)popular? 14) What's your impression of girls who bully? H o w do you think the bullies feel about themselves in general? Or what they do it? D o you think they do well at school work? (Probe: What's your impression of victims? How do victims feel about themselves in general? What they're being hurt? Do you think they do well in school?) 15) Has anyone i n your group ever deliberately hurt anyone outside the group/ within the group' (Probe: In what ways? Who does the bullying mostly? Describe that person. Have you done anything like that?) 16) Have you ever reached out to a victim? What did you do? W h y did you do it? What stopped you from doing anything/ going further? 17) What do you think adults think about girls' bullying? (Probe: Do they care about it? Can teachers or principals do anything about it? Why/ why not?) 18) Is the hurtful stuff that goes on between girls normal? Between boys? W o u l d you call it right or wrong? Is it accepted as normal? W h y (not)? 19) If you were being bullied, would you go to a teacher or to the principal? When? W h y (not) 20) Is there anything else that I didn't ask you about, but that you think might be important or interesting to tell me?  150  APPENDIX C: [PARENT/GUARDIAN CONSENT FORM] Dear  ,  I am a graduate student in the Masters of Arts program in the Department of Social and Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. M y research has been approved by the X X X X X X X X District School Board and by the administration of X X X X X X X Secondary School. I am interested in learning about young teenage girls' knowledge and experiences of what is often termed "bullying" among their female peers particularly during their first year in high school, and how they respond to this conflict. Following some in-school observations, I w i l l be asking a small random sample of grade 8 and 9 girls from various peer groups (bullies, victims, by-standers) more in-depth questions about the above-related issues, based on their willingness to participate, and on parental consent. W i t h your written permission and hers, I would like to confidentially interview your daughter about these issues for 60 minutes at the school during one elective class (given teacher approval) or before or after school, or at lunch hour. Y O U R D A U G H T E R IS F R E E T O C H O O S E N O T TO A N S W E R A N Y G I V E N QUESTION O R STOP THE INTERVIEW A T A N Y TIME. Although the data I gather from the interview w i l l be written about in my thesis, I w i l l never use your child's name or the name of the school or the city in any of my work. * [Should you decide against allowing your child to be interviewed, allow me to assure you that her grades in school w i l l N O T be affected under any circumstances.] I hope to interview 7-8 grade eight and nine girls at the school about the above issues within the next two weeks. Therefore, it would be most helpful i f I could collect this permission form from (school personnel) by the end of this week. I have enclosed a second copy of this form for you to keep for your own records i f you decide to agree. Should you have any questions about the study, please do not hesitate to telephone me or my supervisor, Dr. XXXXXXXXX (822-XXXX) at any time. Researcher: Katherine Fox 222-XXXX (Home) 822-XXXX (UBC: Office) I consent to my child's participation in this study and acknowledge that I have received a copy of this consent form for my own records.  signature  date  151  APPENDIX D: [INTERVIEW CONSENT FORM-GIRLS]  Project: Female student perspectives of bullying by female peers  I am interested in learning about grade 8 and 9 girls' views and experiences with female peer conflict and what is usually called "bullying" (for boys) among G I R L S during their first year of high school especially. Based on your knowledge and/or experience, I would like to explore with you what sort of hurtful things can happen between girls, your opinions of why they happen, and what some of the negative results are. W i t h your permission I w i l l tape record our conversation and write my notes later from the tape, but no one else w i l l ever hear it. I w i l l not use your name or the name of your school i n my notes, and I w i l l erase the tapes after I finish using the information from my project. If you have any questions about the study, please ask me before or during the interview. It is fine i f there are some questions you do not wish to answer. Furthermore, you can stop the interview at any time. (Also, please understand that i f you decide not to participate, your school marks w i l l not be affected in any way!)  Researcher: Katherine A . Fox Phone: 2 2 2 - X X X X (Home) 8 2 2 - X X X X (Office)  I, , agree to be interviewed by Katherine Fox from the University of British Columbia during one class period for 60 minutes. I understand that our conversation w i l l be tape-recorded and written about later. Katherine F o x has guaranteed that my name, and the name of my school and city w i l l be held strictly confidential. I acknowledge that I have received a copy of the consent form for my own records.  signature  date  152 A P P E N D I X E: Remembering transition year bullying I've got a pretty good life. I ' m well off. I ' m smart, and everyone says I've got a face (you know what I mean). The girls I hang out with are pretty, actually many of them are the prettiest girls in grade 9. Being i n this group makes me feel sure of myself. I remember last year though, we had just gotten settled, knowing where we stood, who our friends were. During the middle of the school year, one of the girls was beginning to act like she wanted to dominate. She was always trying to take one of our girls all for herself. I began to get annoyed, so I told one of my friends. These were my exact words: "Don't you think " A " is always taking away " K " from us?" She replied, "What do you mean?" So I told her. A n d not once did I say the word "bitch"! Friend " A " W A S dominating us. W e sort of did what she said, laughed at her crap jokes. But I began to dislike her anyhow. W e l l , the next week, I heard them talking, " O h and S H E called all of us bitches," A said. Everybody seemed to know who "she" was. Everyone but me. I was getting restless and very uncomfortable. Finally I asked, " W h o or what are you talking about?" A looked at everyone, " W e l l , I heard you called me a bitch." She said it in front of everyone. I was stuck. "What? I didn't say that!" She stopped dead in her tracks and said, " W e l l , this source wouldn't lie to me." A n d that was that! They didn't listen to anything and just went on like nothing happened. Besides them, I didn't really want to be in any other group. One day after school, they were all sitting-I was sitting with them. Then some bitch just looked at me and said, " W h y are you with us. W e all think you're a bitch." I felt my face go red. " O h no," I thought, "She told me off in front of everyone." A s more and more people came to spectate, the more I couldn't take it. "What makes you think I said those things? D i d I say it to you? D i d I announce it to the world?" She didn't know what to say. Finally, she opened her dirty mouth and said, "Fuck you!" Was I going to stand for that? N o . So I said, "Fuck you!" She laughed, "No,no, no, Fuck you!" "Fuck you harder," I yelled. She stepped back. She knew I was ready to fight. They all walked off, leaving me alone and betrayed. I went home; I just couldn't take the rest of the day. It was a Friday. I took Monday off too. Where was I to go at lunch? W h o could I talk to? M y friends from other schools came down several times. It scared the shit out of them. They began to pay their dues. They no longer talked about me in front of me, or scowled. M a n y times they talked to me about the situation, but they never believed me. It was only three of them. The rest would smile or say hi to me privately. Dammit, why would you believe them and not me? I was a total outcast. When I talked to the counsellor, I would cry before I talked. I was in a deep and severe depression. I didn't eat much, sleep much, or talk much anymore. I felt so intimidated when they passed me thinking, "If it weren't for Y O U , I'd be laughing with them right now!" " H o w could they let rumours come between us?" I thought over and over. I desperately want to k i l l A . I would plan it out. I could get a gun at anytime too. But I didn't. I was too strong for that. Then one day, we reasoned. It was around the middle of March. W e all cried except for A . W i t h me back, her power wasn't as strong. Things were never the same that year though. Nobody called, and we just couldn't trust each other. I felt anytime my friends would turn against me again. W e l l , they did. T w o other times. But those were short and they are a different story. N o w I ' m in grade 9. Mostly everyone is intimidated by me in grade 8 and 9. People call again. W e trust each other again. Friend A is outcasted. She got beat up on the last day of  153 school. Sometimes I feel so sorry for her, I feel like forgiving her. But I can't. Forgive, but never forget? Guess again girly. Y o u ' r e lucky the girls who beat you up weren't me, or sent by me.  154 APPENDIX F:  A case of long-term bullying as intimidation It started as a normal day at school, normal classes, seeing my friends. Then it happened. It was at lunch. I was coming around the corner of the hallway and accidentally walked into one of the toughest fighters at school. She looked at me; I looked at her. I was speechless, so I didn't get to apologize. I was so scared she would hit me, but instead she just gave me a dirty look and walked away. I walked away shivering, scared but relieved I wasn't dead yet anyways. I came to school the next day trying to forget about it, hoping not to see her. I avoided the place I saw her the day before. I was walking to my first class, looked up and there she was. I thought "She won't do anything; T m with someone." So, I walked by hiding my face from her, but unfortunately she saw me. I was with one of my good friends, talking. She walked by me, bumping me, and whispered in my ear, "Fucking dead bitch!" I was so scared she would get me on the ground and hit me because after all, she's a fighter, but she just left, making me even more scared. I thought to myself, " T m going to have to change schools" i f I wanted to be safe. But I knew that was wrong. For the rest of that month, every time I walked by her, she'd elbow me hard and whisper threats or words such as, "Stupid blond slut!", " C o w ! " , "Horror", "Ho", etc. I was always freaked she would do something to me, but then I thought "If she wanted to k i l l me she would have done it by now, right?". I thought, "Good, summer's here. Maybe she'll move, forget me, k i l l me." For the last few days she and all her friends would say something to me. I knew I should've said something because most people would never dare say anything like that to me since I have so much protection (I know A L O T of people that would k i l l her), but I knew not everyone could beat her up. I mean, she's Korean, so are all her friends so they are definitely tough fighters. Finally it was summer. I was thinking gladly to myself, "She won't remember me. I ' l l never see her again." But, everywhere I went I seemed to see her. I'd run off and hide or simply look down, turn around and go the opposite way. This year I see her quite a bit, but T m friends with some of her friends, so now I just have to put up with the dirty looks she gives me when I see her. I mean, it's better than getting beaten up or killed.  


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items