These chapters focused on the lives of teenagers fifteen and sixteen as issues stayed mostly the same, but as I noticed, many of the girls are beginning to understand better what’s happening around them and why. The main trend that was discussed in these chapters was the “Mean Girl” myth and the catty fighting that many believe to have become more and more viscous through social media. As Sales describes, many girls in recent years have committed or attempted suicide because of online bullying, commonly known as cyber-bulling. Social Media has created a space where all sorts of people can share their ideas and opinions, even the negative ones. And this space has given bullies a whole new range, making it easier for them to comment nasty remarks because they’re behind a screen. And even more negative impacts have aroused because of social media bullying as Sales discovers from interviews with many girls, that many boys will get girls to send them nudes and post them on Instagram accounts. Then, as Sales describes it, in a very puritan style girls lives are ruined and they are shunned for one scandalous event. Sales also begins to delve into the idea of girls posting provocative pictures of themselves online, supposedly to get attention from boys. She suggests that this may commonly stem from girls who are cyber-bullied and have had their self-esteems destroyed, so they turn to easy approval from boys by objectifying their own bodies. And in the end of Chapter 4(Sixteen) she discusses the common sexualization outside of social media with street harassment and cat calling and the damaging effect it has on, particularly, young girls. An issue I know to be a huge problem and have had experience with too many times.
Within the fourth chapter, Sales tells the story of Hannah Anderson who was kidnapped by a family friend and whose mother and brother were killed by him as well. She lives in Lakeside California and went to El Capitain Highschool. This was extremely interesting for me to read as I live in a neighboring city of Lakeside and my parents and I recall hearing this story. When I asked my parents if they remember this story because it was in the book I was reading my mom immediately mentioned the backlash the girl received for her social media presence. It was a great shocker to hear about a story so close to home, that really reminded me that this is something so real that is happening everywhere. Sales also discusses hashtags used by many girls and women to take a stand and raise their voices about street harassment. Hashtags include #catcalling, #streetharassment, #notjusthello, which reminded me of the new story about #notokay. This was started on twitter by Kelly Oxford as she asked her followers to describe their first sexual harassment story after Donald Trumps controversial conversation about women that he chalked up to “locker room talk”. Quickly her post exploded as, unfortunately, hundreds of stories came in, many extremely tragic and many happening at such young ages like eight and even four years old. The brighter side to this was the great attention it received, sending a message to the world that this is an epidemic.
Sales discusses numerous times the idea of girls becoming more violent and how “girls are mean” has become just a common phrase to excuse their behavior. She quotes Laura Bates, who is head of the Everyday Sexism Project as she debunks the “Mean Girl” myth.
“So many of these instances where there is this kind of competitiveness and girls are being mean to other girls,” Bates says,”it’s being driven by societal messages of who they are and how they’re supposed to be. It’s caused by sexism–but then people try to turn it back on women and use it as a reason not to support feminism. In a world where there is such a sexualization of women and oppression of women, it just feels too easy to blame girls for meanness. And it’s such a clever attempt to create a diversion. Why is it that everybody loves to talk about ‘mean girls’? It’s another attempt to stymie the feminist movement.” pg 168
Sales also quotes Kathryn Stamoulis a psychologist specializing in treating adolescents who is also a psychology professor at Hunter College when discussing the extreme effect that common cat calling and street harassment has on girls as they are sexualized at young ages.
” I think [street harassment] makes girls hyper-aware of their bodies at an extremely young age”…”A girl’s confronted with this idea that a women’s body is a an object or a tool for a man’s arousal or amusement; she becomes very conscious of ‘how am I appearing to men.’ The her value can get very tied up in that once she starts looking at her body as a means for somebody else’s pleasure. This is tied to lower self esteem, anxiety, depression–it’s all related to not valuing all of the good things a person has to offer and placing all of her value on her sexuality or appearance. Teenage girls are already navigating their emerging sexuality with their peers–to then have unwanted and outside sexuality thrown at them in this one-sided way with street harassment is just really heartbreaking on a lot of levels.” pg 228-229
Cyberbullicides(n)-“suicide indirectly or directly influenced by experiences with online aggression” pg 129
Finstas(n)-fake instagram accounts without the users real name so they cannot be found by parents pg 134
Sink Shot or Belfie(n)-pictures taken to show off your butt, sink shots specifically are taken sitting on a sink and were popularized by Kim Kardashian pg 148
Relational Aggression(v)- actions taken almost as revenge that threaten or hurt someones social status pg 164
Cutting(v)-self harm which is typically done by taking a razor and slicing cuts along the wrist pg 169
Turntup(adj)- state of being where a person is very drunk or high (or possibly both) to better enjoy a party pg 172