Odd girl out: The hidden culture of aggression in girls. Simmons, R.

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Simmons, R. (2002).  Odd girl out: The hidden culture of aggression in girls.  San Diego, CA: Harcourt.

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This is a fascinating look at the culture of girls in schools and how they deal with anger, aggression and bullying.  This book takes a look at this gender difference from the learned or social side of the coin, but Simmons premise is that girls are encouraged to be “nice,” which means, “Not aggressive.  Not angry. Not in conflict.”  She has traveled the country talking to girls about these issues and found a very secretive sort of culture in which girls are sneaky about their aggression—bullying by strategically and systematically separating and tormenting another girl.  With girls, it’s all about the relationship.

Simmons relates Carol Gilligan’s work describing how relationships play a much more important role in girls social development than boys.  She found that girls see danger “ . . . as isolation, especially the fear that by standing out they will be abandoned.”  Boys see danger as entrapment or smothering.

And they can hold a grudge forever.

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