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Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  4,155 Ratings  ·  462 Reviews
HELPING GIRLS HANDLE THE DANGERS OF LIFE ONLINE When Odd Girl Out was first published, it became an instant bestseller and ignited a long-overdue conversation about the hidden culture of female bullying. Today the dirty looks, taunting notes, and social exclusion that plague girls' friendships have gained new momentu
ebook, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Mariner Books (first published December 31st 2001)
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I picked up an audio book at the library the other day; primarily for my wife. On my way to work on Monday, I realized I didn't have anything cued up in my shuffle, so I grabbed Odd Girl Out on my way to the car. As the father of a new baby girl, I thought it might me interesting to find out about female "alternative aggression". Interesting is not the word. I am down right frightened. It isn't popular to say this, but I had a relatively idyllic childhood. I wasn't one of the Popular kids, but I ...more
Jan 14, 2009 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I honestly think everyone should read this book – especially parents of girls. It’s about the ways in which girls deal with anger and aggression, as opposed to the ways in which boys do. The premise is that boys tend to be more direct in their aggression - physical confrontation - while in contrast, girls use an indirect approach known as relational aggression. Wikipedia's definition of relational aggression is a form of aggression where the group is used as a weapon to assault others and others ...more
Dec 30, 2011 Veronica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The newly revised and updated edition of Odd Girl Out is a must have for every person who is parenting or educating a girl.

This was the first book I grabbed once my fall classes were over. Why? I think it's because I have a daughter. She's eight and in the 3rd grade and we've already had two incidents involving bullying. The first was in preschool and the second was last year. Both incidents were handled by teachers are administrators in a manner that Simmons suggests in Chapter 12: the road ahe
Mar 07, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every mother with a pre-teen or teen girl needs to read this book.

This book was disturbing for me, both as a parent and as a former girl. I clearly recognized myself as a victim of bullying throughout the book, but it also made me realize that, as a kid, I was also sometimes a perpetrator, which I had never thought about before.

Unfortunately it does a much better job of outlining the problem of girl bullying than it does at presenting solutions. That said, it is helping me better understand my
Rebecca McNutt
I still remember the "mean girls" when I was in junior high school. There were three of them, who for some unknown reason made it their mission to make getting an education a living hell for everybody else. If they weren't throwing old food at me during recess, they'd be passing notes about me to other kids, throwing rocks at my little brother, or pushing me down the staircase on the way to class. Their proudest moment was locking me in the janitor's closet for a whole day. To be honest, I don't ...more
Feb 13, 2009 Ellyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
This book was recommended to me by my supervisor at my field placement at the Shaker Heights schools. It suggests that girls in our society -- particularly white, middle class girls -- have been socialized to believe that they must be nice and sweet at all times, and consequently, a culture of hidden, silent aggression has developed, often called relational aggression. The author interviewed hundreds of girls and adult women, and their stories are told throughout the book. It was painful to read ...more
Feb 21, 2009 Andrew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rosalind Wiseman's book is far better.

Simmons performs a whole bunch of interviews, but fails to develop anything more than a shallow theory of stunted expression-of-aggression that ticks all her ideological boxes. The purple prose and emotive language made the book seem like a tendentious polemic.

Simmonds filters the information through her theories and personal experience; I've tried to keep an open mind but don't trust that she's given all of the information. Furthermore her theories are root
Sep 20, 2010 Lynn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
I consider myself to have been an outcast and a victim of bullying through grade school, but am having trouble relating to the stories in this book. Maybe I'm part of the problem from this author's point of view, because I wouldn't call these scenarios bullying at all. The people she profiles are friends, but there is a lot of emotional blackmail in these relationships.

On page 106, the author says:
"...I'd planned to organize [the girls'] stories according to the qualiites I assumed girls got pu
Apr 19, 2016 Devon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who has survived middle and high school years has had some direct experience with how girls negotiate relationship conflict. It's vicious and covert. Simmons does a very comprehensive job laying out all the ways in which this happens and how we set them up with this conflicting message that they must always be "nice". No wonder they take all their aggression underground.

Somewhere along the line girls are taught that conflict will result in relationship loss, which is the worst outcome, s
I grew up reading stories about (and trying very unsuccessfully to emulate) girls sent to live in attics by evil boarding school head mistresses, but who nonetheless made the very best of their circumstances and were steadfastly good and angelic--never bearing a grudge that they lived in a cold attic with rats as their only friends, wore rags, ate gruel, and performed hard labor. So, this study about girlhood aggression was a refreshing change; disturbing because the aggression is more often tha ...more
Nov 14, 2010 Ciara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book was pretty awesome! my expectations weren't that high, so i walked away more impressed than i expected to be. it explores the uniquely girl ways that girls are aggressive to one another, contrasting against previous research on aggression & bullying that has been male-dominated & male-focused. at no point does the book devolve into making biological essentialist arguments about female brain chemistry or anything like that. it's all about the way that girls are socialized to be ...more
May 11, 2015 Eilonwy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book provided some really interesting insights into how girls carry a lot of pressure to be "nice" and "likable" (hmm, sound like critiques of fictional heroines anyone has read lately?), and how that pressure has the insidious side effect of crippling girls when it comes to handling conflict. The belief that one is supposed to be loved by everyone, all the time, is of course completely incompatible with the need to address differences or express one's own feelings or wishes. When differenc
Aug 17, 2011 Julia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In Rachel Simmons' book, Odd Girl Out, she describes some of the stories that she heard while going from school to school to talk about girls who were "bullied." The entire thing is impossibly melodramatic, including Simmons' account of her own "bullying"--one day, one girl told the other kids not to play with her. Despite the fact that this is what to normal people would be a minor incident and the fact that it happened in the third grade, this is something that apparently haunted Simmons for h ...more
♥ Marlene♥
Oct 29, 2008 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ♥ Marlene♥ by: Nwpassage
This book did open my eyes and not in a positive way. To be honest I was kind of shocked but the author is right about lots of things. Especially how girls use each other and how they do not want to confront others.
Very interesting read.

Update May 20 2014.

Changing this rating from 3 to 4 because I cannot stop thinking of this book (read in 2009!)and last year I even tried to get my bookcrossing released copy to a friend back but never received an answer. (I of course offered payment for shippin
May 11, 2012 Bora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who has bullied and been bullied the book was a fascinating look and visit back to the world of teenage girls. Many factorsand theories have been given as drivers of female bullying and this book goes into depth about how we as a society do not allow girls to adequately and healthily express their anger. And moreover that we perpetuate antiquated notions of how girls should behave despite fighting on a daily basis for women's rights in the workplace. Though well intentioned and well r ...more
A month or so ago I heard a news story about a girl bullying episode that ended in tragedy, both for the victim who committed suicide out of despair, and the perpetrators, who were tried in court for their aggression. This haunting story was what made me request several books from interlibrary loan on the subject, and this one was the kind I was most interested in reading -- not a self-help or counseling so much, but written investigatively from an extended series of interviews with girls of var ...more
May 08, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology

I had mixed feelings about this book; but it shed so much light on how I felt in 4th and 5th grade, and to a lesser extent later times in my school years. So much else has happened in my life that dissecting what it is that is still under my skin to be dealt with and heal is often a tall order to sift through. Often the greater issues come up first - such as the loss of my father to cancer. But all of this, being a social outcast, the alternative aggressions I experienced - that all got swept un
Sep 17, 2008 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: educators/parents of girls, observers of social dynamics, book clubs
Recommended to K by: NPR
In this book, Rachel Simmons argues that girls are socialized to be conflict-avoiders and have limited outlets for expressing their anger or aggression. Instead, they work at appearing "nice" and "sweet" and express their aggression in subtler ways that float beneath the radar of those around them -- rumor-spreading, alliance-building, using body language to exclude others, etc. Girls form large cliques and will often choose one of their own to scapegoat for no apparent reason -- a little like " ...more
Dec 06, 2007 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As anyone who has been anywhere near me recently is undoubtably sick of hearing, I just read this really great book. It's called Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls. Basically, a writer took the time to talk to a bunch of groups of elementary-to-high school aged girls about how and why they are mean to each other. Teaching girls not to be aggressive, the author postulates (and I think she's right), backfires into girls putting their aggressions into all of this underhanded, b ...more
Mar 18, 2012 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Nicole by: my Aunt Kathryn
A must-read book for anyone with daughters, nieces, sisters, friends, girlfriends and also for any teachers in any capacity, basically anyone who'll every come in contact with a girl/woman. My aunt recommended this book to me after my daughter had a girl from school texting her really mean things. This book deals with regular everyday face-to-face and other social interactions girls have with each other, as well as the technology interactions, and how they impact their relationships and the form ...more
Jayme(the ghost reader)
It was painful to read this book. I have been a victim of bully for 20 years. For me it started in first grade and went up through my junior year in college. many of the situations in this book I have also experienced. My tormentors weren't just girls but guys as well. I wasn't just getting kicked or hit by boys and the girl aggression from just girls. It was a good mix of both. I got quite a few kicks and spit at from girls as well. For a long time, I didn't know what to do about it. Teachers c ...more
Alison C
Apr 09, 2012 Alison C rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had mixed emotions about the novel "Odd Girl Out" written by Rachel Simmons. I enjoyed how the book went into depth about such a unique and overlooked topic of aggression in girls. Rarely do we get the chance to learn about bullying or aggression in girls because it is more of a mental game compared to the more physical bullying amongst boys. I enjoyed being able to relate to a lot of the stories told about young girls in school, such as how girls can mask their cruelty under a "good girl" ima ...more
An enlightening read. Simmons traveled all over the country doing in-depth work with girls of different races and social classes and religions. She says that girls are sometimes sneaky and gossipy and cruel not because that's how females are hardwired but because our culture punishes girls who are openly aggressive (verbally or physically) or who seem confident. Because most girls don't learn to work things out when they have a conflict with someone, they tend to rely on subtle forms of aggressi ...more
Mar 06, 2014 Misty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! It is a must read for any parent with daughters, teachers, or anyone who will be working with girls. Rachel researched this for 3 years, interviewing girls and women who had experiences with "alternative aggression" (her term for non-violent aggression that girls use). It was a little frustrating, because I just kept thinking, "What is the solution?" Sadly, there is no easy solution. As with many complex issues, there is a lot of work we need to do in society about ideas of fe ...more
Jul 21, 2009 Tara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this book, but under conditions. I recently graduated from an all-girls high school and we were asked to read this book one summer. That was the summer going into my junior year. The book is entirely accurate. During my teenage years, I have encountered all the forms of "violence" that the book details. However, since I was living the experience at the time I read the book, Rachel Simmons did not teach me anything that I did not already know, nor give me advice I had not already heard. My ...more
Oct 17, 2013 Monika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that you think you should read especially if you have a daughter but you read it with a lot of dread and discomfort. I think what the book reveals about girls being passive aggressive and taking out their aggression by being mean and nasty to their friends is not a big surprise but her numerous interviews are very interesting to read. It is depressing that so many girls are not comfortable with their emotions and can not have nurturing and loving friendships with other ...more
Kylene Jones
Dec 31, 2011 Kylene Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Definitely an interesting book. I haven't had to deal with this too much with my two girls but I do know that this book is right on. My one daughter does things to make herself different and is a protector of kids that are bullied. This does help me accept that she is fine not being in "the group". She sees they are fake already and does not want to be part of them. She is definitely more confident than I was at 14. My other daughter probably dealt with this more but karate helped lift her self ...more
Nicole Otting
Jul 07, 2011 Nicole Otting rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In high school I attended an All Girls Catholic School. Issues with girls were multiplied by 100 being in that environment and for the most part, I graduated unharmed. ha ha My mom bought this book for me one year when a huge fight of gossip and rumors came out about a girl at my school. We weren't friends and we barely knew one another but my mom was concerned that I would let the behaviors of girls around me to impact my own personality and ways of dealing with my friends. This book is great t ...more
Jul 17, 2007 Kimberly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women
This book was so hard to get through but extremely important to read. It draws from interviews with girls who were bullied by other girls and mixes the interviews with factual writing. Some of these girls were scarred for life by quiet abuses inflicted by their peers as early as elementary school and as late as college. Girl bullying (aka relational aggression) is a huge problem in schools. We tend to dismiss it as "girls being girls" and teachers look the other way because it is not physical vi ...more
Mar 08, 2013 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book in attempt to help my daughter deal with the girl bullies in her class. Every scenario illustrated on how girl aggression slips under adult radar was I read about it, I shared the information and incidents with my daughter's teachers, only to watch their faces pucker in surprise and denial. In the end, though, it worked out. The teachers paid closer attention, the bullies were brought to task and the entire grade participated in an event they labeled Black Out B ...more
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“There is no gesture more devastating than the back turning away.” 71 likes
“Girls may try to avoid being alone at all costs, including remaining in an abusive friendship.” 2 likes
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