"White Girl Bullshit": The Case For Lady Bullies to Just Calm The Fuck Down, Already

I’m super sick of bullies. Lady bullies in particular. Lady bullies who can no longer be called girl bullies because they are old enough to know better. They’re in their 30’s or 40’s and they’re still peacocking around town, Heather Chandlering all over other women by whom they feel threatened for some reason (usually *SHOCKER* a boy is involved), with one fatal flaw: Heather Chandler would NEVER act trashy. You were nothing before you met her! You were playing Barbies with Betty Finn. You were a bluebird, you were a brownie. YOU WERE A GIRL SCOUT COOKIE.

And yeah, I’m aware of the fucking name of my web site, relax.

Bullying comes in many flavors, and we all do it at some point during our formative years, to some degree. In grade school, I read some kid’s book that involved a group of girls forming a club, and that sounded cool to me, so I endeavored with a few girls from my class to start one too. In emulating the story’s parameters, we excluded some girls in the class from joining. AND THEN IT GOT BACK TO OUR PARENTS THAT THIS WAS HAPPENING and I don’t really remember what form the reprimand/punishment took, but I do remember how fucking awful I felt that I had made those other girls feel bad, and how searingly pissed off my mother was at me for being a privileged little dickhead. AND how my friends’ moms threw shade at me for a good amount of time afterward for spearheading the whole ordeal. I still feel bad about it, and it happened in, like, 1985.

That’s what’s supposed to happen with shitty behaviors before your frontal lobe finishes developing - you try it out, you find out it makes you suck and it makes people not like you, and then you just don’t do it anymore. I’m no childhood development specialist, but it seems like a logical process.

But some people slip through the cracks on that, don’t they. Through some combination of intellect, upbringing, cultural influences, experiences and who the fuck knows what else, bullies are bred and then as adults, they’re just… still bullies. The fateful turning point of “oh, I’m supposed to act like a person now” just doesn’t happen for some reason. And the thing about an ADULT bully is that they really suck the fucking air out of a room. They need attention so bad, and it’s like, ok Pam, well I was just over here enjoying my own stuff and now I’m like, sucked into your stupid vampire void of emotions and I just… fucking hate you. I hate you for - basically - stealing from me. Theft of energy, theft of attention, theft of comfort, theft of safety.

I really fucking hate bullies, and I hate myself for every moment I’ve been a bully in my life.

I attended a pretty sweet show last week. Three bands played, and those three bands had five women in them! I know, can you believe it?! Every band had at least one lady! They raised some money for Planned Parenthood and rocked it. Should have been an open and shut case of awesomeness, and it basically was. UNTIL a Local Lady Bully got drunk enough to emotionally machete her way through the proceedings, and threw a shroud of negativity on the whole fucking thing. I’m STILL feeling the psychic impact of it, days later, because the Local Lady Bully (who we will refer to from here on in as LLB) tried to drag me into her schemes, and I am not even showing up for any of that, like, do the fucking reading, you don’t even know me.

So I had arrived at the show as it was already underway. I had taken a walk with a pal to Monument Square and returned, hung around outside for a bit and then I went inside and thought I might get myself one of those alcoholic drinks people are always telling me about. I order my shit, and then I get it, and I’m standing by the bar while the bands are on set break, sipping my drink, just sort of staring into space and entertaining myself with my own stupid thoughts. Suddenly I see LLB, who had been sitting at the bar with her boyfriend, get up, stumble over to me and then she starts LOUDLY “whispering” in my ear almost incoherently about “that bitch Sarah behind me” who has been “making fun of her all night” and other assorted comments intended to frame this terrible person who had the audacity to merely exist as a “bitch” who is “attacking me” for “no reason.”

Anyway, so I turn around to see who LLB is talking about, and it’s not a person named Sarah. Rather, it’s an acquaintance of mine with another name entirely that I had seen IRL a couple of times, but had never met outside of the Internet. At this point, LLB and Internet Acquaintance (IA from now on) are looking right at each other, and IA says, “do you have a problem with me?”

So I turn around fully now to face IA and say to IA, “just ignore her, she’s drunk, I don’t know why she’s doing this.” But LLB isn’t having it and is looming behind me and continues to needle at IA. I don’t remember what she was saying, but it’s the same shit that drunk bullies who make no sense ALWAYS fucking say. You know, just name calling and poorly thought out bullshit engineered to make themselves feel better. AND THEN, OMG OMG OMG this is my FAVORITE PART. Peep this:

LLB says, “You wanna take it outside?” (wait, like, what? You’re trying to fight now? Good lord)

IA goes, “uh, why would I want to do that?”

OMG, HILARITY! IA, you are the wind beneath my proverbial wings. Classic retort, and of course LLB gets even more riled up at this response.  

So I turn around now to LLB and I’m like, hey girl, just leave her alone, what is even going on here she wasn’t bothering you. Something to that effect. I’m 99% sure I used the phrase “just chill out, she didn’t do anything.” I thought the whole thing was some kind of meta joke I wasn’t in on. So LLB gets super close to my face (why are bullies always getting so close to your face?) and literally sneers at me - mouth all twisted to the side, eyes narrowed to little evil creases - and goes, “oh really? Mmmmm hmmmm. OH yeah, I’m sure. OH I’m SURE she’s not doing ANYTHING.” She’s not even listening to me try to talk her down, she’s just talking over me.

OK FIRST OF ALL, don’t try to out-sarcasm me, you fucking turkey-in-a-maxi-dress, I’m a professional. But also I’m like, “... what even is this?” I literally don’t know what to do with this person. We’re almost strangers, so I’m not going to grab her by the ear and drag her outside for a hard talk like I would with a friend. Her boyfriend, of course, is just sitting at the bar doing absolutely nothing to intervene, but watching the whole scene go down and letting all of us strangers be responsible for his partner, who is attempting to start an actual physical fight with a person whose name she doesn’t even know. Cool, cool. What a stand up dude you are. Fuck you too.

IA and her companion had smartly chosen to dip out to another part of the venue while LLB was distracted by me, and a small group of helpful people had gathered because, my dears, this was now officially “a scene.” The imminent threat of a fight neutralized, I went to look for IA and apologize to her, but also to make it known to her that - despite LLB’s attempt to get me to bully alongside of her - the views expressed by LLB in no way reflect the views of my own organization.

Where did I find IA? Fucking hiding in a corner with her companion because, just like in rape culture, the onus of staying safe is on the victim instead of on the perpetrator of violence. THAT SUCKS. Her evening was robbed from her. She was there to see a kick ass feminist rock show, and instead of joyously celebrating her sisters’ victories through the power of rock and roll, she had to hide in a goddam corner. Because another woman had threatened her with violence.

The next morning, various reports on the situation noted that some texts had gone out from LLB to friends of IA attempting low-impact slander, and I myself bore witness to a retelling of the events from LLB herself that had edited me out completely, framed IA as the instigator of the event, and then called IA’s (fake, nonexistent) instigation “some white girl bullshit.”

OH. FUCKING. KAY.  

From LLB’s various social medias, I know her to have avowed publicly that she is an intersectional feminist. Hm. Ok, but, like, how does that work though? Because if you are willing to threaten violence on a member of the same group of ‘oppressed’ people to which you yourself belong (IA and LLB are both straight white women in their 30’s, so your mileage on ‘oppressed’ may vary here), how do you fancy that you’d be any different to a member of a different ethnic group, race, gender identity, etc.? If the answer is “well I’d never act that way toward a black woman,” then you’re not a fucking feminist, you don’t actually want equality - you’ve got White Savior Complex, and that is real goddam gross.

And, hey, fellow white women? Can we not, like, align ourselves with another race when we want to call each other out on stuff? Not liking another white woman’s actions does not give you carte blanche to suddenly become black for a day in order to separate yourself from what you’re trying to attack, sit back and smugly apply the label “white girl bullshit.” YOU ARE A WHITE GIRL. And guess what? You’re also acting like an asshole. No matter what color your skin is or what kind of blackwashing you do on your thoughts so you can feel vindicated and “above it,” you’re being a fucking asshole. And also kind of a racist. STOP IT. THAT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE WHO YOU ARE.   

Here’s some wisdom from a black person that I feel like this conversation could do with: “you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.” How about that?

Look, it’s not like LLB didn’t leave behind a little precious gem for me among her trail of turds: I finally got to meet IA in real life, I like her quite a bit, and this whole thing brought us together in a way that would not have been possible otherwise. Cool. Will LLB be gunning for me now that I’ve outed her on my stupid web site? Maybe, I don’t know. What, she’s going to say that I’m talking shit? YES, THAT IS CORRECT, YOU ARE READING IT RIGHT NOW, so, confirmed. Maybe she’ll tell you I have some “shameful” STI or that I fucked someone’s boyfriend or that, I don’t know, I have a third boob or whatever (that last one would be cool tho, I’d be so popular). I would obviously care if there were lies about me out there, I’m not made of wood, but ultimately what bullies teach us is that it’s our struggles and how we react to them that define us, it’s those struggles that help us to find our creative energy and grow as people.

And you guys know my policy on mistakes, of which I’ve made so, so goddam many: forgiveness is good and beautiful, and it’s a gift that can redeem and enrich both the forgiver and the forgivee. I make no claims on the core emotional content of any bully, lady or otherwise. But what I cannot abide is pretending this problem of adult, woman-on-woman bullying doesn’t exist, because it definitely exists and is pervasive throughout all kinds of groups of women, from strangers like in this story, to church groups, yoga culture, mom groups, workplaces and even the closest friendships and families.     

And so, Lady Bullies of all ilks, I say to thee: YOU ARE NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT SLICK, WE SEE YOU. We see what you do, we see the effects, and most of us are TOO NICE to say anything about it because we’ve been brought up to be polite at all costs. But I am not too nice to say anything about it. FUCK POLITENESS. I am not one of these people that believes we should all be friends and support each other unconditionally. BUT. It’s time to grow up and be the true feminists that we say we are, be the change we want to see, be impeccable with our words and actions, be GOOD to each other, even when we’re not friends. Be truthful, be honest. Even when we’re jealous. Even when there’s a dick we covet that currently rents a summer home in some other lady’s orifices. Even when someone has pissed us off or makes us feel insecure. STILL BE GOOD, even during those times. You’ll feel better about everything, I swear.

OK, that’s it. I’m gonna go be sanctimonious somewhere else now.