The interesting thing here is that this was effective, because, as a girl, she was expected to play by girl fight rules. Well, Girl Fight Rules SUCK.
I’m not adverse to an intellectual debate. I DO, however, despise whiny girly fight tactics. (Not all participants utilizing these tactics are girls, mind.)
Girly fights require that you do subtle, nasty things, preferably with a horde of cronies nearby to back you up and you get bonus points if you gesture towards your victim a lot. Say, they’ll pointedly gossip about the victim–who is RIGHT THERE–and then, if confronted, claim that the victim is being egotistical and paranoid. It’s gaslighting and cattiness. It’s not fighting an honest battle. Girly fights require emotional and psychic assassinations, not being able to trust your “friends” and the primary bully is always gathering forces around herself through the collective fear of her posse that the next victim may be one of the current “in” crowd.
Girly fights are lame. It’s all about being fakey-nice while in reality being a conniving shrew beating up on others with innuendo and rumor and shunning and stomping off in a huff and dropping drama bombs and crying and using emotional blackmail instead of, say, fists. Not that fisticuffs are better. But girl fighting is all about fighting indirectly and with a pack of harpies at your side, rather than sorting things out directly one on one.
Note that homophobic boys ganging up on less-than-jock-like peers and torturing them for real or imagined “gayness” is, in truth, a girly kind of fight.
Boy fights are more direct. First of all, the insult that triggers the fight must be rather grave. Mothers or girlfriends must be insulted. Property damage might have occurred. The offense is never “you looked cuter than I did today, so I hate you” or “I am secretly horribly insecure about my own popularity status, and how better to maintain it than by making everyone around me quake in their shoes?” or “you defended an unpopular person I was picking on and revealed me to be the ass I truly am, and now you must pay”.
Boy fights may involve a quick tussle or fist fight. Afterwards, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that two guys who were eagerly bashing each other into concrete walls and trying to kick each others’ gonads concave (low blow that it is) a few hours ago might wind up sharing a couple of beers later on. Boys are generally direct, if slightly more violent.
Internet fights tend to be girl fights. Take a typical forum fight. There is a lot of frenzied IRC chatting and PM-ing and whinging on other fora. There’s the archivist, digging up past hurts and fights from whatever cobweb-strewn corner of a dead thread they were buried in. The pissheads who claim to be all in favor of peace, love and understanding, and then (often within minutes or hours) start “calling people out” and “naming names.” There are the backstabbers revealing personal information designed to embarrass former friends and then swearing anew that they really, really, really want a shiny, happy forum. There are idiots who just won’t leave even if they hate the way the forum is run by the owner and have other places to hang out, and lamers who create sock puppet accounts and bitch and whine and complain that others are shit-stirring, and…well, if you aren’t somewhat exhausted after just reading that shit, then you are better than I am.
Girly fights are doomed to fail where I am concerned. You pull that shit, you immediately lose as far as I am concerned. I label you as a jerk, and have no more interest in your arguments.
This is not to say that boy fighting ranks any higher, but, on the Internet, there are no real fists. Also, I may be a cat, sitting here typing. You don’t know. That’s the beauty of the Internet. P.S. Please send tuna, KTHXBAI.
There’s always the adult fight technique, where you stick to the disputed issue at hand, back your opinion up with facts, and don’t take a difference of opinion so darn personally. You don’t poll your buddies before you form your opinion. If your buddies disagree, so what?
Girl fights failed with me in high school because I was blithely unaware of them, more often than not. Someone not liking me (or liking me) was not my problem. I didn’t share any secrets I didn’t want to risk having leaked far and wide, so there was nothing to embarrass me with (and it was already becoming more and more impossible to embarrass me, even then). If someone was being shunned by a pack of she-wolves, I either didn’t know or care. People from all groups were welcome to sit with me at any time, and they did. Lunch hour was pretty rockin’, what with the diverse group of folks at my table every day.
I still seem to be the recipient of everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets (because I don’t tell them) as an adult. I still stay out of fights that involve shunnings. When it was supposed to be my turn to be shunned by a group of much younger folks in Atlanta–and I still don’t know why, or really give a shit–I felt slightly hurt (“what did I do?”) and a bit put-upon (“I wouldn’t treat other people like I am being treated”), but that didn’t last long at all. I didn’t depend on only one small group of friends when I wanted to socialize, after all. My self-worth was never really diminished. If anything, I felt a little indignant because I hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had I behaved any differently from before. Once I identified to myself that I was displeased, and what behavior was annoying me and why, that was that. I decided the situation sucked, and moved on, and thought little about it thereafter. When the same group apparently decided the shunning was over and done with, it took me months to figure that out…because I wasn’t paying much attention to any of them any more, even when we attended the same events, other than to be polite as always, but preoccupied with other people or things. I didn’t trust them not to pull the same stunt again, and made no plans that depended on any of them to follow through.
Often I spend far more time trying to figure out what, precisely, I am feeling about a situation, because I am very much a Think-y type and any kind of new or unexpected emotion that is less than pleasant sometimes takes me a minute or two to define and analyze. If the behavior I’m irked about is illogical, I sometimes just have to give up figuring it out. Odd, but true.
Then I rant for a while, if still annoyed, which often made my former roommates laugh more than anything else, and then I’m done.