Peacegal's Reviews > Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence

Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
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Mar 19, 2011

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Queen Bees is more directed toward the parents of teenagers than Reviving Ophelia, but don't let that scare you off if you are a bullied student or interested in combating bullying from a sociological perspective.

Queen Bees was a helpful resource for me, who was bullied by mostly female peers from early adolescence into early adulthood with varying degrees of visciousness. I occasionally return to materials on bullying to help me understand what happened to me and how it still shapes my personality to this day, and to help me be a better resource for patrons who may ask me about classroom cruelty.

Wiseman helpfully categorizes the various players in cliques as Queen Bees, Sidekicks, Bankers, Floaters, Torn Bystanders, Pleasers/Wannabes/Messengers, and Targets. Humorously, I also categorized the cliquey girls in my high school lunchroom as "Class A's" (Queen Bees), "Class B's" (Sidekicks), and "Class C's" (Wannabes/Floaters). I fit into none of these, because, well, I was a textbook Target.

Wiseman writes of the Target:

-She feels helpless to stop the girls' behavior.
-She feels she has no allies. No one will back her up.
-She feels isolated.
-She can mask her hurt by rejecting people first, saying she doesn't like anyone.
She feels ashamed of being rejected by the other girls because of who she is. She'll be tempted to change herself in order to fit in. She feels vulnerable and unable to affect the outcome of her situation. She could become so anxious that she can't concentrate on schoolwork.

Yep, that was me, all right. Queen Bees hits the nail on the head when it informs readers that teens will rarely tell their parents the whole scope of what's going on. The insidious thing about bullying is the way it takes control of your brain: "Are they seeing something I'm not?" "There must be something really wrong with me." "I can't let my parents know I'm such a loser, they would be so ashamed." Although my parents were aware I wasn't treated well, they had no idea of the true scope of it all. I honestly wish this book would have been available to them when I was starting junior high and high school.

Wiseman also categorizes students outside the social cliques. I imagine I would have best fit into the "Quiet, Morose Girl/Loner" mold in high school...and, well, as an adult, for that matter. I do wish Wiseman would have talked more about how our social roles in youth often influence the development of our personalities as adults.

The author spends much time discussing the crucial aspect of boyfriends and correctly states that a relationship is a "crucial validation" for a girl that "increases her sense of self-worth." What she does not state is that this value explicitly takes its cues from adulthood. We are not a culture that holds singledom in high regard. Even though I was very much an adult when I entered into my first serious relationship, I too felt the rush of validation when I could finally say I had a boyfriend. Most females in our culture look to males for feelings of belonging and self-worth, and this is a problem of society in general, not just youth culture.
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04/08/2016 marked as: read

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