The Mean Girl Motive

Negotiating Power and Femininity

By Nicole E.R. Landry  

Paperback $21.00

Prior to the 1980s, girls were completely excluded from research on childhood aggression, presumably because their ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’ made them averse to aggression. Not only were girls missing from research, their voices are frequently absent in current ‘girl aggression’ discourse. Despite this, ‘mean’ girls have received growing attention, especially in psychology. Besides conclusions that boys and girls aggress differently, much work has only offered a means of labelling, identifying and further problematizing girls’ so-called mean behaviour. This book moves beyond the superficial to explore the social context of mean behaviour. It examines the intersection among structures of class, race and gender in the production of girls’ aggression and draws on first-hand knowledge and experiences for a candid glimpse into a culture that raises critical questions about our ‘taken for granted’ knowledge of girls’ meanness.

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  • Preface
  • Introduction—Where Have all the Good Girls Gone?
  • Girl Aggression
  • Defining “Class” in Girl Culture
  • Methodologies for Girl Talk
  • Girl Talk: Popularity and Power
  • Girl Talk: Race, Class and Gender
  • Implications of Girl Talk
  • Discussions and Conclusions
  • References


  • Nicole E.R. Landry

    Nicole Landry has a Masters of Arts, in Criminology, from Saint Mary’s University. Her Masters research aimed to understand how structures of gender, class and race/ethnicity influence the production of aggression and violence in girl culture. In 2006, she presented a workshop at the National Boys and Girls Club of Canada Conference, attended by staff, administrators and volunteers involved in various levels of the development, modification, evaluation and delivery of programs and policy. The objective of this workshop was to find ways to enhance positive outcomes for girls’ programming within the organization. Nicole also has experience working on research projects related to school violence and bullying, youth crime and delinquency, as well as juvenile justice policy and programming.

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