Cultures have specific expectations for their members and in most there is a gender-specific set of acceptable rules to be followed. One of the primary rules of behavior tends to view females as more compliant, more social, caregiving and less inclined to violence. All that may be undergoing a dramatic change in the United States and people are asking for answers regarding why girls are exhibiting increasingly violent behavior toward others, whether it’s other girls or anyone who enters their space. There may be no apparent reason for an attack or a poor excuse, if one is offered at all.
The answers, for some, may be to blame everything from a lack of discipline in school to turning away from religion. But there are varied reasons for this new incidence of violence among girls and the forces forging it are there for us to examine.
Initially, the realization that girls needn’t be shy and subservient has led to more empowerment of them. However, this has proven to be an opportunity, too, for an expression of pent-up anger and a misguided sense of how to achieve leadership without education, skills or social acceptance in this quickly changing society that is the 21st century. Then, too, there are two forceful sources for emulation.
What are the forces? One, without doubt, is social media and the quick dissemination to the entire world of one’s actions. If you can’t become famous for using your talent or for what you have created, you can easily take a cell phone, produce a quick video and upload it to YouTube (156K+ hits).
Now, you don’t have to be known in your neighborhood as someone to be feared (the street fighters appear to be the ones doing the uploading), you can spread your notoriety throughout the state, the country and even send it via the internet to places where you couldn’t hope to be in your entire life. You have achieved immortality of a sort and it just took a quick beat down.
You, girl street fighter, have something that wouldn’t have been possible just a few decades ago. Now you count your fear factor in hits you get on your video performance. And isn’t it a performance? No doubt about it. Be sure to smile (or smirk, if you prefer) for the media as the police cuff you and take you away.
The drive to be, as Marlon Brando said in “On the Waterfront,” a “somebody” is extremely strong when there’s little else in your life. Beat up your grandmother
On the Waterfront
or an elderly person on the street or rob someone at a mall or a restaurant and it’s sure to hit the media big time. After all, there are surveillance cameras everywhere and you definitely will be caught on camera. No need for a trusty friend with a cell to be your videographer.
However, the YouTube blitz isn’t the only place where girls may be getting their cues about bad public behavior and its rewards. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the low-level to which political discourse has fallen isn’t without a receptive audience.
Politicians favoring everything from outright torture to something akin to “the good old days” when people would be taken out of a rally on stretchers hasn’t fallen on deaf ears. The battle cry is heard almost daily and the media has been quick to pick up on it and provide free airtime for the rowdy bullying rants. Why should a girl from the ghetto or anywhere be any different from someone with millions? Modeling would seem to be quite apparent here and we’re not talking about the runway type, either.
The more we see of this, the more there will be because it proves that you CAN get on TV if only you follow the new rules. And those rules are meant for everyone, including preteen, teen girls or women. Trash a restaurant and you’re sure to get on local TV. Beat someone up on a busy city street and you may get on national TV and, of course, be sure someone uploads it just to insure your exposure to the world.
Bad behavior is the stuff of reality TV (330K+ hits), so why shouldn’t you be in on the action? After all, be bad enough and you may be offered something that will make you real money. Look at the women with all the jewelry, who drive flashy cars, have expensive homes and throw glasses of wine in each other’s faces or rip a dress or do anything outrageous. And they get paid for it. Yeah, that’s the way to do it and you can too.
Violence breeds more violence when it’s being seen as acceptable behavior and girls aren’t the only ones being infected with this new virus. The antidote is there if only it would be chosen.