Although bullying in Illinois is often associated with the physical harassment and power play that is common among males, females also bully one another. Indeed, bullying may occur as frequently among teenage girls as it does among teenage boys. The difference lies in the form of harassment. Girl bullies tend to use verbal insults and social alienation, rather than physical abuse, against their victims. This type of harassment is termed “indirect bullying”, and it comprises roughly 18 percent of all bullying cases, according to the Bullying Statistics website.

Why girls bully

As with all bullies, girls who harass others are doing so in order to demonstrate their own power. They target their victims with the intention of showing them that they have less social status. The motivations to do so may spring from jealousy or the desire to be popular. Girl bullies tend to be socially accepted and are often surrounded by large groups of supportive friends.

Forms of girl bullying

In the case of teenage girls, bullying can be quite subtle and difficult to detect from the outside. Females are quite adept at using group dynamics to damage their victims’ emotional well-being. Following are a few strategies that females use to harass others.

  • Social alienation – For teens, social acceptance is one of the most important things in life, and perhaps the most important of all. By openly rejecting a peer, girl bullies can inflict significant damage on victims’ self-esteem.
  • Spreading rumors – Girl bullies often use the rumor mill to damage another’s reputation, such as fabricating stories of sexual activity or other embarrassing matters.
  • Faking friendship – Teenage girls sometimes befriend a peer with the intention of digging up dirt on the person. They subsequently ditch the person and use the information they gained to harm the person’s reputation.
  • Cyberbullying – Today’s technology offers numerous ways for girls to harass people in their school or neighborhood. Female bullies might spread rumors online, create a website victimizing other teens, or find out someone’s social networking passwords in order to post embarrassing content.
  • Hazing – Females have been known to engage in forms of hazing that involve forcing others to perform activities that are embarrassing or uncomfortable.

In addition to these strategies, girl bullies may also try to manipulate or control their victims in an effort to remain in a position of power over them.

Dealing with girl bullies

Because female bullying is covert and subtle, it can be quite challenging to deal with, and can cause significant psychological injury to victims that might not heal for many years. Parents can help their children pull through the challenging teenage years by reinforcing their sense of self-esteem. By reassuring their children that they are beautiful, smart and likeable, parents can make them less vulnerable to negative group dynamics.