The concept of women bullying women and girls bullying girls has been an interesting one for me because I have been bullied a lot during my life for various reasons and I admit often have inadvertently bullied others as well. The reason anyone gets bullied in general is that they are different, isolated and perceived as weak. Then the victim does something that goes against the, usually, unspoken rules of the group and they get descended on.
I was always particularly vulnerable to being bullied due to my absolute obliviousness of non-verbal communication. In other words, I am not a mind reader. Why do all you women think that I am? I can not fit in because I cannot perceive the groups reaction to what I do. This is combined with my uncool interests and abrasive sense of humor.
One reason for being bullied in a group of women is jealousy. I can not claim that is the reason I was bullied most often, in fact I cannot remember any times that that was the case. I did read a Dear Prudence chat transcript on slate.com that talked of a classic case of being bullied due to jealousy. I can not believe that neither Prudence or other chatters picked up on this. An American woman living in Switzerland was the only woman in her office not on a diet because she did not feel like she had to be. She felt like she ate healthy and exercised and was not over weight so there was no logical reason to deprive herself. Her female coworkers implied that she was a cow and as an American did not know how to eat healthy. They also said that her eating habits were responsible for hunger in third world countries. You might say, that sounds unbalanced, well that tends to happen when you are hungry, it makes you a bitch. Prudence and the other commenter kept blaming it on her being an American but she was not being made fun of because she was an American, that just made her different, isolated and vulnerable. She was being made fun of because the women were jealous that she could have the piece of zucchini bread with out guilt or excuses.
It is a classic tactic of female bullying to never keep on topic, even when you have a specific agenda. They were not going to say " Confirm and starve like the rest of us. Quit rubbing our faces in your mastication." Saying it directly and working out your differences like grown ups is just not feminine.
One time I became very much a target of 100% untargeted bullying for a righteous cause. When I was in college my joking and lack of ability to read non-verbal cues and general obliviousness had once again made me an unintentional bully. I had been making some hurtful remarks at a very nice over weight fellow on my dorm floor. I now deeply regret my oblivious callousness. One evening I was sitting around in one of the common areas with some of my floor mates, my unintentional victim was not there. Now let me let you in on a pertinent secret, this will be just between us, no spreading it, okay? I do not shave my legs by choice, and yes my husband is fine with it. One girl remarked to another girl that she wanted to braid her hair sometime. Another girl turned tome and out of the blue said to me "Skeptigirl, I could braid your leg hair for you sometime." The comment made a silence fall. It was awkward, I had no idea why she had said that. There was no provocation in my leg hair. I had said nothing and sat silently. It did not really hurt my feelings because I had no problem with my leg hair, I really did not care what she thought about me and no one else joined in. He righteous attack had absolutely failed to hit its target. I only in hindsight figured it out when someone actually got the ovaries to talk to me about it woman to woman instead of sending me psychic waves. Of course the bullying could have been for no reason at all and maybe the girl was just a raving bitch, I don't know, I have no psychic powers to discern motive.
I usually avoid spending time with women because of our social discrepancies and maybe this has been one of the reasons I have adopted a more androgynous manner. I do not feel like I belong into the female gender at all, neither do I feel male and I am very comfortable being who I am. So, if I ever inadvertently bully you, remember this post and get a pair and tell me directly or just remind yourself that I most likely have no idea I am doing something to offend you and try not to be too offended.