Girls Bullying Girls Who Are “Too Pretty”

Lady Gaga says bullying is for losers

Lady Gaga says Bullying is for losers

I’m told I’m good-looking, but I think I’m more average. But that could be a remnant of how often I was bullied in middle and high school.

That’s from a woman who commented on my blog.

But being bullied doesn’t mean you aren’t attractive.

Plenty of women are bullied because they’re “too pretty.”

In fact, the more beautiful a young woman is, the more likely she will be bullied.

Paula Porizkova, teased for being so ugly.

Paula Porizkova, teased for being so ugly.

Paula Porizkova was relentlessly harassed during her childhood in Sweden. And then she moved to New York and became a supermodel.

At a homecoming rally kids held up a giant poster with Brittany Mason’s picture and chanted, “You are ugly.” Years later she was named “Miss Indiana.” And then she became a model/actress. (Years after she had contemplated killing herself.)

Brittany Mason, teased for being so ugly

Brittany Mason, teased for being so ugly

In high school Lady Gaga was thrown into a trashcan, among other things. “The scars don’t go away,” even with stardom, she says.

Why are attractive women so often the targets of girl-on-girl bullying?

A woman’s worth is often tied to her appearance. Perceived success with men and with life are tied to her looks, too.

Next to “goddesses,” the bullying young women don’t feel so great about themselves. So they seek to diminish her status and her self-esteem, too.

Bullying is never about you. It’s about the harasser’s own issues.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on January 20, 2016, in body image, feminism, psychology, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 90 Comments.

  1. Nancy Costanza Davis

    ive dealt with bullying for being pretty. I am in my 50s and it is still going strong. I have been verbally assaulted in social situations and in the work place. Try telling someone about this and you get a reaction of poor thing your beauty is your curse? The mistreatment I have received from women has left me depressed, feeling I dont fit in and lonley. I have a couple close women friends that love themselves and do not look at me as competition and compare themselves.They know me for the humble, kind, person I am. Far from self confident I am very insecure by how I am often treated. If people knew what I have going on in my life they would see being pretty isnt everything. As a matter of fact, I would gladly blend in and not be noticed and attract this bullying.

    • Thank you for sharing your story about the trauma of dealing with this problem. I’m sorry that you have had to go through this. People need to understand that bullying hurts, regardless of the motivation behind it.

  2. I agree with your article. I noticed that the most popular girls at my highschool would pick specifically on pretty girls. I agree that this is out of jealousy and the inability to see that not everything in life is a competition. So often you see girls pushing other girls down thinking it would get them more male attention.

    However, this was the opposite of the case at my school. Groups of girls began standing up for the bullied girls and completely overthrew the popular girls. We ended high school with the “popular girls” being anyone who wasn’t those first, mean popular girls. My high school had a ‘raise your fellow female’ mentality where girls supported other girls and everyone cared about how we treated each other. I think this really added to my high schools social experience as girls of all social groups would chat and enjoy each other in their classes. These initial mean girls ended up keeping to themselves as they were never strong enough to get over their jealousy and hatered.

    I realize this is a rare case, but I went to a very small high school with a graduating class of aroung 200 kids.

  3. I definitely agree with the statement in the post about how a woman’s success is directly correlated to her perceived success. Growing up women are taught from a young age, by the media, that we have to be pretty in order to get what we want. This is shown in princess movies as well as TV shows I watched as a kid. Everyone in the shows and movies had the perfect hair, body, and face. People casted in these movies and TV shows were often not average looking. Even if the sentiment that women have to be good looking in order to have success in life is not directly said, it is implied through the countless shows and movies we grew up watching. The bullying of girls who are pretty stems from a societal expectation that women need to be pretty to be successful. Take Cinderella: she was made up by the fairy godmother in order to attract the attention of a man. She needed to be pretty in order to get what she wanted, the prince. Bullying pretty girls is a way for the average-looking girl to put her own self-esteem issues onto someone else. This, of course, does not mean it is okay for the girl to bully someone else.

  4. Bullying, especially among middle school and high school aged girls, destroys self-esteem or self confidence for any victim. However, this article takes a different perspective which is really eye opening to the audience. Growing up every story about bullying has a stereotypical bully and victim, this stereotype already sets young kids out on the wrong foot. The truth is, a bully will target a target for a variety of reasons; maybe they are an easy target, maybe they truly dislike them, or maybe they are jealous. The issue of pretty girls being the victim of bullying is likely because of jealousy, in my own opinion. As the last line of the article states, “Bullying is never about you. It’s about the harasser’s own issues.” In this scenario, the harasser is likely jealous, insecure with their own looks. The culture that girls grow up in today fosters a competitive and comparative nature. Social media is the biggest culprit. Teenage girls compare themselves to instagram models constantly, but they also compare themselves to their peers and friends which breeds a hostile environment amongst girls. The bullying today is likely less physical than in previous generations but rather over social media or through less direct, but just as hurtful tactics. It is crucial, as women, or as bystanders, to support one another and create environments of love rather than hate and jealousy.

  5. I experienced bullying as a child up to my teenage years from my peers and family members. I remember my aunt calling me an ugly duckling because I had not grown into my facial features. While reading this article, I felt so bad for these women and could identify with their experiences with bullies. Being bullied based off of their looks is not something that everyone can deal with. It is hard to have hear someone talking about you and know you cannot change your face,height, weight, and lastly skin tone. How self-hate for your self can be reflected onto others and have a lasting effect on them just because of your insecurities. Its very upsetting that girls and women have to experience these issues of hate from Womankind. we should embrace each other and tear each other down, this article was by far a good read, and I enjoyed the continent.

    • I am so sorry that you, and so many of us, have to go through bullying. But it’s not really about us. It’s about the insecurities of the bully who projects it onto others.

      And looks are such a superficial thing, just the outward shell. Nothing that is substantial, nothing that really matters. There are lessons about learning what is real and what is just illusion there.

  6. Self image was something that I really struggled with when I was younger, and there are moments today where I still feel uncomfortable in my skin. From a very young age I was incredibly conscious about my outward appearance, I did not think I was attractive at all. And after having such negative thoughts about my self-image, it eventually turned into anger. I remember vividly being angry at girls who were considered to be beautiful. While I never turned to bullying, I do admit that I would sometimes talk badly about some of these girls. Now that I’m older, I understand that this stemmed from the fact that I was extremely jealous of these girls, and do regret the fact that I looked at these ladies so negatively. I definitely agree with the fact that women are still being valued by their appearance, even at a young age I was heavily conscious on my physical appearance. It saddens me to see that women on women bullying like this still occurs because in a society that is arguably patriarchal, we should stand together. However, what is great is that there are all these movements centered around body positivity and not conforming to typical beauty standards. The attitude towards what is considered “beautiful” is definitely changing and I hope that it continues grow and become more inclusive.

  7. Sadly we now live in a society that bases the characteristics of a woman on their looks. I believe that this is very toxic because it can break a person, even if their looks benefits them. For instance, if a woman has a certain look (such as confident and strong), it can help build her character. However, the downside is that her looks are not what determines her abilities. There is more to life than just looks. It is important that we spread the idea that there is more to a woman than looks because it creates a toxic environment, especially for young women. The downside of having “the look” is that it can bring down the confidence of others. Sadly, oftentimes women base their value by comparing themselves to others. This is toxic because it does not allow a woman to be a strong individual, who does not need to compare themselves to other women to see their self-worth. This toxic environment can also cause bullying. Bullying is often the way someone with low confidence copes, which it creates a very unstable environment for the bully as well as the victim. Whether or not the victim has a strong character or not, it still scars them because whether or not they realize it, the victim will question the validity behind the bully’s statements. Nowadays, social media allows bullying to happen at a much more rapid speed because the bully can hide behind the screen. In order to change this issue, it is important that we empower one another and call others out when they are not being humane. By doing so, we can empower others as well as build our true character.

  8. This hits home for me, not that I think I’m very pretty or anything. But I was severally bullied in middle school by this group of girls. They would literally push me into these sharp jagged walls we had on the outside of our school, they would pass me notes in class telling me horrendous things like how ugly, annoying, and stupid I was. They made my life hell, and I did almost take my own life for it because it wouldn’t stop. Thankfully I didn’t, certain things happened, and the school ended up finding out about everything and called my parents. The girls were eventually suspended and transferred out of all my classes and were ordered to stay away from me. But to this day I still have scars from it, it went on for almost my whole 8th-grade year. I came to find out that the girls were just jealous of me, and didn’t like that I was such a happy person. It’s sad that people don’t teach their kids to be cruel to each other. That they should lift each other up instead of bringing them down because it is already hard enough being a girl in today’s society.

  9. I was bullied through out high school and even after high school. I made a conscious decision to never attend any of my high school reunions. It was telling those hateful girls that I can function in life without having them around and I have. I’m still standing even after suffering the hateful and evil ways of the jealous girls I attended high school with. I have even friended them and told them off on social media and then blocked them. I found that was therapeutic and even though those girls/women were sneaky about the bullying, I let them know that I was NOT affected in any way.

  10. Laura Trujillo

    I believe kids start bullying other children when they start feeling some sort of jealousy towards them. Maybe the girl getting bullied might be a little prettier and the girl doing the bullying is filled with anger because she might believe that she’s not as beautiful or even as smart. I feel like younger kids, such as 5 year olds might start doing the bullying because they’re parents might not tell their kids their beautiful, smart or amazing. So they start bullying other children as a way to cope with their emotions. When I was in kindergarten my best friend was always getting bullied because she was “too smart”. The girl doing the bullying didn’t think she was very smart herself. She just wanted that little boost of self confidence. In order for bullying to be prevented we need to start teaching our kids to be confident in their own skin. A child should never have to put another kid down to feel better about themselves.

  11. This post “Girls Bullying Girls Who Are “Too Pretty” made me really sad because it breaks my heat knowing people can be this cruel. Although I agree that “pretty girls” are bullied, I don’t agree that they are the biggest target and that this happens with most frequency to only pretty girls. I have worked with teenagers for a while now and I often do get to see clicks and how popularity affects girls in a different way that it does men. Girls are always in competition with one another wether they realize half the time or don’t. I don’t understand the need to feel superior or the need to hurt someone else for something that they have absolutely no control over. More often than not though, girls who do bully other girls because another is too pretty is only a manifestation of poor self esteem or self image. When one feels like they lack something, they will turn to someone who they see has what they with they did too and turn that insecurity into bullying.

  12. Our society is very unfair to women, and a girl bullied by other girls because she was “too pretty” is an example of that. We don’t see the same case happening in the opposite sex, boys bullying other boys because they are “too handsome”. Women have been associated with the body historically, as the men with “self” what affects directly how women are valued and treated. The sexualization of woman transforms them into a bin for sexuality rather than a human being with will and desires. This sexualization leads into objectification of the women, that become a men’s propriety – and more pretty, more desired she is, and more easily will find a husband. Unfortunately, the media amplifies this condition of women as an object and the treat that a beautiful woman is to the others, instead of terminating it.

  13. As an individual who works teenage girls, I have seen the bullying of prettier girls firsthand. I often overhear the conversations of these girls who have jealous and envious feelings towards the prettier girls and will go out of their way to say destructive words whether in person or online. It is truly sad to see – I would always hope for girls to encourage and uplift not another, but just as the blog mentions, most of the bullying is simply a reflection of the person that is bullying and has nothing to do with the victim. These girls will often feel self-conscious of their looks and when they see someone who they believe is better looking than them, they will create harm just so that they can feel better about themselves. I was so shocked to read that individuals such as Lady Gaga and Brittany Mason had been victims of bullying from other girls due to their looks. I am glad they were able to surpass the negative comments and behavior towards them and become successful in their career. They become prime examples and role models to other young girls who may be experiencing the same type of bullying that they experienced and overcame.

  14. I think bullying behavior is one of the important learning to grow up for children even though bullying is absolutely wrong and anyone who got bullied is so much pain. I got bullied when I was a 5th-grade student. At first, I could not understand why my friends didn’t say hi to me, and I was struggling for 3 months. And then, finally, I got the reason why no one didn’t say hi to me, and play with me. The one of my male classmate whom my friend liked to, like me. I was shocked because I did not do anything to her, but the point is she had power at my class. However, after 3 months she suddenly apologized to me and gave me a reason. I know children are difficult to control their emotion, and sometimes they decided to do some cruel things for other people. Also, people want to get attention from other people, especially when they are adolescents, they want to show to the other people that they have power. Children are jealous easily of the other people who have something that they do not have. These 10 years, technology improved a lot, then a lot of children have their own phones, and the smartphone makes complicated for a lot of relationships. Parents do not know what happened for their children, and they do not know what kind of communicate their children have with their friends. Even though people became a more convenient life, they lost a lot of chances to learn what is good behavior from their parents or neighbors.

  15. I think when it comes to bullying, it is important for the victims and even those doing the bullying to realize that bullying another is a symptom of a heart issue, whether it be insecurity or dissatisfaction with oneself. When reading this blog posting, I thought it made a lot of sense when it suggests that it is often the girls who are deemed the prettiest, most talented or the biggest threat to other females who become the victims of senseless bullying. In my opinion, this happens because girls, especially at a younger age, where bullying seems to be most prevalent, girls see one another as competition. Girls will see another female who may be more attractive, more successful or even more talented and view them at a higher level than they view themselves. When girls take on this point of view even at a young and impressionable age, the automatic response is to do or say whatever is necessary in order to bring the victim down instead of responding to their feelings in a more productive way, such as bettering themselves.

  16. Genevieve Escobedo

    The issue with bullying isn’t the victim themselves. It’s the insecurity that is found within the bully who “cannot live up to”, the “standards of beauty” that society imposes on them. If girls practiced more to self-accept their own flaws and insecurities then maybe there wouldn’t be a girl on girl bullying. There should instead be a girl on girl teaching to grow as individuals and learn that projecting their own self-doubts that are habitually remaining from within doesn’t help anyone. We’re programmed to tear other girls down because of a deeply rooted sense of threat but when will women join together to mend our uncertainty. If girl on girl bullying was wiped out, thus maybe the submission from the harsh components of our culture too be scaled down.

  17. One of the many reasons on why a girl is being the bully is because insecurity and jealousy. I must admit that I felt my moments of insecurity when I would see a pretty girl throughout middle school because I didn’t know what self love was at the time and was very unhappy with my appreance, therefore thinking a pretty girl was ugly made me feel better. Fortunately I am no longer like that now but I did learn that the only reason why I was like that because I had very much to work out within myself. “Bullying is never about you. It’s about the harasser’s own issues” is very much true and stood out to me the most. Bullying makes people feel superior and they aren’t dealing with their issues properly and have to release it on someone else, pretty much the saying “misery loves company.” Also, it seems that girls are taught to always be in competition with one another and that no one can be better then them. Therefore, when a pretty girl comes along it can be threatening because in middle/high school being pretty can be seen as a high social status and they don’t want that to be taken away from them.

  18. Reading this article was extremely comforting because this is something I deeply relate to and have struggled with my whole life. Before reading this post I have never been able to identify this as bullying without feeling over-confident. This article is eye opening and I wish more of the general public would see it. This post exemplifies the key fact that bullies often pick on others because of their own insecurity. I have often dealt with this being told that I look to pretty and that it is my fault that I gain unwanted attention from men. As a result I have often noticed a lack of self esteem when I feel I look good, as well as I often intentionally attempt to diminish my looks. This article reminds me of the whole idea of what is known as “skinny shaming” which is a similar idea to bullying girls that are pretty. Bigger people often diminish skinnier people and make remarks about how skinny or sick they look. Without realizing the effects of these comments they hurt skinnier people and make them see faults with themselves for uncontrollable things. Much like bullying girls for being pretty, people bully the skinny for their weight. People think that because being skinny and pretty are socially desirable that it is ok to make harsh comments about people with those attributes. The fact is bullying is bullying no matter what the comments are. 

  19. I have never been bullied in my middle or high school because it was not a normal thing in thirty years ago. But in the recent decade, bullying at school is a normal thing. As a mother, I was worried when I saw something about school bullying. A few months ago, I saw a news about a thirteen-year-old girl who committed suicide because of bullying in social media by classmates. in my time competition was mainly focused on learning, but now it more in the social actives. The pretty girl who always the focus of attention, so it is more likely to cause jealousy and become a threat to other girls. It seems to be innate for women. In my experience, young pretty can bring some advantages in work, usually male will offer to help and a male boss will more friendly. But if you meet a female superior, the advantage is a disadvantage because in her eyes the pretty girl is her greatest threat. I think it is human nature. Female hope to get more attention and recognition, and beautiful women can easily get men favor and attention, so it is very easy to become the greatest threat to other women, bullying also occurs naturally.

  20. Although I’ve never experienced this, I agree that women tend to have this behavior. This type of bullying is quite common and I have saw many of them in my life. I think the reason why girls bully other girls for being too pretty is that they are all insecure and jealous of other girls. Girls who are very pretty in my opinion sometimes get picked on by other girls because they are insecure about their own looks. Usually they are jealous of the pretty girls looks so they put her down. If someone feels that they are not attractive enough, they have to make themselves feel better about themselves. Everyone needs attention and sometimes, those who don’t get enough will turn into bullies. This post also made me realize that I had a stereotype that only girls who are considered unattractive get bullied. But this is not the only case. I think girls always compare their looks with others’ and this is because that “A woman’s worth is tied to her appearance.” As a woman we should learn how to love themselves to lift each other up instead of putting someone down because that doesn’t help us to feel better about ourselves at all.

  21. Pretty girls always get bullied simply because they are attractive and haters wish they’d look like her. The bully is insecure and not happy with how they look so they want to bring down others with them. Just like the post stated, “ It’s about the harasser’s own issues.”, meaning that there’s always something deeper to why the bully is bullying, in this case they’re not self-confident. I’ve been a bystander of seeing this happen when I was in elementary/ middle school. It would always be a new girl and right off the bat she would catch everyone’s attention because she’s a new student, but if she’s pretty then now girls want to start already judging her based off her looks. My peers haven’t met her yet, have never talked to her but are calling her names and assuming her life story. It’s completely obvious that they’re jealous and want to knock the pretty girls self esteem down along with the bully’s. I’ve been bullied in middle school for having a big butt and a lot of girls would make remarks but in a jokingly way and I would always laugh and brush it off but in reality it made me self conscious about my body. There’s always competition between girls, but I’m happy that now women empowerment has been talked about more, and more women want to support each other and raise us up instead of bringing each other down.

  22. I admit I have been guilty of talking badly about a girl that I thought was pretty. A lot of my friends did it as well almost every girl at school. I have also been the victim of bullying when I was in middle school people would call me names and guys would also bully me all the time in class but now I realize they did it because they supposedly “liked me.” How did guys learn to be mean to a girl they like? Why do girls put down other girls for being pretty? It’s a combination of things. A lot of times I will hear girls say, “look at that hoe.” Just because someone is pretty doesn’t mean you should put them down to make yourself feel better. Many times, I’ve noticed that the prettier girls may seem like they have it all but underneath they are battling with their own issues. The world we live in is an unfair place but if you try and think before you say something we could make life a little better for everyone. Who knows what you say to someone might stay with them forever so don’t be someone else’s bully.

  23. Sorry I’m commenting on an old post.

    I just wanted to add that I believe pretty girls being bullied stems from this notion that prettiest girls are bitches, fake, airheads. A girl that is very pretty can’t also be kind, smart, and genuine. This puts us in a double bind. Girls are supposed to be pretty most importantly but also nice, yet if you’re too pretty people may not take you seriously or assume you’re not a good person, therefore don’t care about hurting your feelings. Resulting in bullying.

  24. I was was bullied for being a dark beautiful and afro latina . people felt like I was supposed to be ugly because of my skin

  25. I have always seen the interesting situation of bullying the prettiest girl, and the simplest way of depiction is reading the last line!! Beautiful females are always objectified and put atop this target that allows others to bully them, this obviously is an insanely childish thing to do. Yet according to the article and throughout the media, it is inherent that an extensive amount of adult women are still affected by situations similar to this. I’m saddened to see how people’s insecurities are so strong that they feel the necessity of covering their own by demoralizing another’s self-esteem/well-being/feelings.

  26. Like other comments, I also agree that the reason why girls who bully other girls for being “too pretty” is because they have their own insecurities. The only reason how I could understand is that maybe young girls (or any girl) put other girls on some kind of scale of being better than each other and in my opinion, “beauty” is a top (or one) priority as a young insecure individual. As for the bullying, I feel like it’s a way of putting the other down so you feel “better” or “higher” than that person. It’s also a possibility that some men are a factor as to why women need to feel “superior in beauty”. Young women are exposed to ads and media that over-obsess over women that are beautiful, products that can make you “beautiful”, and also clothing that can make you “beautiful”.

  27. I feel that those type of girls who bully other girls about being “too pretty” are obviously because they have insecurities themselves. They make fun of other girls beauty to basically put a bandage over their insecurities. I totally am against bullying, I love to help others and help make them feel loved and help them love themselves and focus on bigger and brighter things and not just worrying about how they are going to get past the next day without breaking down because they already know they are bound to get bullied about something no matter what. Kids who bully I feel have had been raised poorly, without love and given minimal attention from their family. Girls always need more attention and always need to be complemented and reminded how beautiful they are constantly because sooner or later they will just feel unnoticed and begin to isolate themselves. Girls really need to learn how to become respectful and caring for each other because it just gets worse each day.

  28. AWESOME POST! I absolutely love it!!!!!!!! Bullying is something that irks me to my core. Growing up I was always teased for having big lips, and big butt, and breast (because I was the first to develop in my class). It was horrible. I would always try and laugh it off but inside I was so self conscious. I use to wear overalls to cover my breast and tie a sweater around my waist to cover my butt. I couldn’t really do anything about hiding my lips. Now everyone is getting fillers and butt injections and breast implants. Ironic? I love how this post mentioned that the people doing the bullying are really the ones with the insecurities. I always tell my daughter that when she deals with a jerk at school. One of her friends is so beautiful. She transferred to the school last year because she had to leave her other school because of bullies. She was being teased because she has green eyes. How crazy is that. These kids tortured her because she has big beautiful green eyes. I am forwarding this article to her mother so she can read it. There is too much “girl on girl” bullying. Why do you have to put someone down to make you feel better about yourself? As women we should be lifting each other up, empowering one another, and accepting each others differences.

    • I am glad you liked the post, and I hope that it can help as many people as possible. Too bad that the people who put others down in hopes of building themselves up so often can’t figure out that it’s not having the desired effect. Their self-esteem is no higher afterwards.

  29. As a male, I never even thought about women being bullied by other women for being “too pretty”. Within males, I have never seen an instance where someone was bullied for being “too handsome”. No doubt, there can sometimes be envy between males, but even that is uncommon as far as my experience goes. Personally, I see better looking males as more of a “goal”, especially since there are always ways to improve myself (exercise, eating healthy, etc.)
    But after reading this article, I can see how bullying between females can happen. The “too pretty” females are constantly pushed to higher and higher expectations, in effect lowering their self-esteem because the people around her are never satisfied. This is also accentuated by the fact that in our society, females are more expected to maintain good looks than are males. Jealousy between women also is a factor, since some women might develop some dislike or hate against other women that are “better looking” than them. If society lessened the amount of value they put on good looks, it would definitely decrease the intragender bullying.

  30. I’ve personally seen this a lot in today’s society as social media has become so popular everyone has opinions on everything and aren’t afraid to comment hateful or diminishing things under women’s posts. I truly do believe it is stemmed from low self-esteem, that it comes from a place of envy. Take for insistence make up and being a MUA (make up artist) has become such a huge thing on Instagram and contouring your face or wearing false eye lashes etc, women have to have such negative opinions like “you wear way too much make up, such a cake face”. Or just plain bringing them down because they don’t wear make up or they prefer the natural look. It could be because they want to look like that or they wish they knew how to blend eye shadow so effortlessly. It’s sad because women wear make up because it makes them feel good about themselves or it is therapeutic to some, its a shame that women feel the need to bash other women and make them feel bad for doing something they really enjoy doing.

  31. I’ve personally seen this a lot back when I was in High School, when I would walk through the halls and classrooms, I would hear girls degrading other girls. Groups of girls gossiping about how “ugly” someone is. I really don’t think it’s right, I feel like anyone who bullies another person just has a lack of confidence in themselves, and don’t know how to love themself. I feel like girls are always trying to compete with one another, which I think they do to make themselves “feel better about themselves”. I do think that people who bully have been bullied at some point in their life by someone. Which is why they do what they do, to feel strong, and in control. I think it’s important to value ourselves and love one another, because no one is perfect and no one will ever be, we all deserve to be respected by the people around us.

  32. Leanna Candelaria

    I’ve seen this happen before, numerous times, and I find it very sad. I have a friend who was model when we were both in high school and she was always bullied in class for wearing too much makeup or showing people her pictures. I was with her at one of her shoots when she got an anonymous text from someone telling her to kill herself because she was “ugly” when I always believed her to be very pretty. I definitely agree with the statement that women who are seen as more attractive tend to get bullied just as much, if not more, than women who are seen as less attractive in society. I think that insecurity and jealousy has a lot to do with why girl-girl bullying exists. Those who feel inferior might experience a short-lived sense of empowerment over the attractive women whenever they bully. It’s really sad to think about how often it has happened to girls who don’t deserve such horrible treatment.

  33. I have seen women bullied time and time again because of their looks. A common misconception is that only women who are considered unattractive or socially awkward are bullied. This is simply not the case. In middle school my best friend was considered popular and pretty. She stood out because of her looks and received a lot of attention from the opposite sex. I think this made the other girls feel jealous and insecure. She was bullied mercilessly by her female classmates. Even though my friend was kind and beautiful she would get called names like slut, anorexic, ugly, and bitch. I think she was bullied because she was too pretty.

    • I think that attractive women get overlooked because of the stereotype that is only unattractive girls that get bullied. But it’s really harmful, regardless of how good-looking you are. Thanks for sharing about your friend.

  34. I see this a lot in society today and I don’t see any point in it really how can making another human being feel awful about themselves make you feel good about yourself? My “friend” tries to do this to me all the time to try and make herself feel better or look good to somebody else luckily I’m pretty unflappable. One situation stands out in my mind, we decided to get tattoos she went first and got it on her arm I wanted mine on my hip so I had to slide my pants down so the artist could get to the spot I was basically hanging out in my underwear for two hours which I had no problem with it comes with the tattoo territory you are going to see skin and many parts of the body while other people get theirs done. Well my friend was the only one in that whole shop that had an issue constantly making jokes at my expense for two hours finally towards the end of my session my artist told her to get out of his shop because she was being really rude I agreed and she left very hurt. I’m slowly distancing myself from her because the bullying just hasn’t stopped and only so much can roll off your back. I love the last line in this post its something my parents told me all the time growing up which still holds true today.

    • Well, it only creates the illusion of superiority, nothing substantive — which is why they have to keep doing it: because it doesn’t create anything real.

      And bullies are often supersensitive about insults towards themselves, even if deserved, as reflected in this:

      “my artist told her to get out of his shop because she was being really rude I agreed and she left very hurt.”

  35. Competitiveness among woman, especially when it comes to what might be perceived as a limited number of men to go around can turn hostile, which is unfortunate. Another reason it’s important that we stop to value ourselves according to how much we are desired and focus on satisfying our own desires.

  36. You have an impressive and inspiring blog. So glad we found you xx

  37. I understand why so many girls feel like they are being bullied by other girls because I myself have been bullied before. In 5 grade, i was bullied by a group of girls, all because of one girl. She did not like me because the boy she liked had a crush on me. At that time i didn’t really understand way she didn’t like me, because I was really shy and didn’t really talk that much but now I think i know why she didn’t really like me. After reading this blog I feel like because the boy she liked didn’t like her she felt like she wasn’t pretty enough that’s why she had to pick on me, to make me feel bad about myself. “Bullying is never about you. It’s about the harasser’s own issues. Next to “goddesses,” the bullying young women don’t feel so great about themselves. So they seek to diminish her status and her self-esteem, too.” Understand if you are getting bullied, the most be something you are doing right.

  38. I do agree that, “Girls bullying girls who are ‘too pretty’” I had a same experience that when I studied in a private lesson.One girl who was same class with me bullied me after she made a group with 2 more girls. She was jealous then made gossips then spread to other 2 girls. I was not close with them, so I did not have the chance to tell true. Therefore, the gossips become true for them. She just bullying that in class one guy liked me and I used better stuff than her. I did not show off my stuff, but she saw my stuff then she always undermined me whatever. At that time, I really harassed, so I had a depressed disorder. I strongly agree that not only girls, the women tend to bullying women who are too pretty or better than her.

  39. Matthew Cleveland

    I think you’re extremely right about bullies acting out because of their own insecurities. However I don’t think that it only goes the jealousy route. I have noticed that I tend to be meaner to people who exhibit qualities I dislike about myself. I think that insecurities really fuel bullying of almost all kinds, it’s easy to redirect one’s own self-loathing towards others, either those who have what you want, or those who remind you of yourself. It’s really sad to think about how we often put people down for no fault of their own.

  40. It’s true that this typical type of bullying is often seen among girls, and I’ve seen the situation one of my friend was bullied for being attractive. She was the one who was being noticed first and even some guys were so crazy about her, and then that made her such a figure that everyone disliked. I think there is no reason to bully an attractive girl at all except for just being attractive and pretty; yet, there is nothing she can do with that. We are told so many times that looks don’t matter, but we know that it’s fact that somehow they make a change among girls like you said, “A woman’s worth is tied to her appearance.”

    • It can create a huge double-blind for women: damned if you don’t look beautiful and damned if you look too beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

      • It’s exactly how you said it. I wish I could see more women lift each other up instead of making it into a competition. If a woman meets another woman, whom she believes to be more beautiful than herself. Then that thinking process of how people are going to compare them will start kicking in because we are so focus on judging one’s beauty appearance. This eventually makes herself feel more insecure and “threaten” by the other so, they end up “hating”(as we seem to call it nowadays) the pretty woman and bully her so that she doesn’t get to feel pretty if the other doesn’t. I think it’s pretty messed up. Any woman should be able to feel pretty in their own skin and not bring down others just because of their own insecurity/or other reasons(i.e. jealousy,etc).

      • Luckily, many women do lift each other up. But unfortunately, there are still too many who Bring each other down.

  41. Having had two sons go through high school without much difficulty, I have been shocked to see the differences with girls that my daughter is now experiencing. There seems to be a constant competition to be the most beautiful – and there is a lot of nastiness that goes with it. Thirteen year-olds at school with so much make up on they are practically unrecognisable.

    A friend of mine commented on how they all look identical – their individuality covered up by layers of foundation, black eyeliner and mascara. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with make up, but being naturally pretty doesn’t seem to be enough.

    It seems to be less about attracting the opposite sex as it is about popularity. If you want to be part of the popular crowd, you have to step into line and look and behave in a certain way. Those that don’t try to keep up with the expectations are teased and bullied or – worse – ignored!

    • The extent to which girls are bullied for being “too pretty” probably varies from place to place. But a number of supermodels were bullied. I wrote about a few in this post, I was recently listening to Gisele talk to Charlie Rose about being bullied before she was a supermodel. There is such a fine line for many women, trying to be attractive but not so attractive that other women get jealous and angry with you. It’s a difficult double bind!

  42. Isn’t usually the heavier children, with glasses, shy, not very social, good students (nerds), probably unattractive. with a reserved behavior that get bullied?

  43. In humanities class, we used a film that discussed “beauty.” (Then we moved to truth and goodness.) But the images and comments by Paulina were so poignant, about trying to find the “perfect” beauty. She ended by saying (and showing) that by taking the most commonly accepted standards of “beauty” and fashioning or finding the PERFECT example was really telling that “beautiful” was thus “average.” Like pieces of everyman/everywoman. I ponder this: the cheekbones of each “perfect” one, the breast size, the height, the weight, the chin–all leading to ONE COMMON DENOMINATOR. And that we call “beauty.” Neat, huh? It makes all those models, she quipped, “common”–or average.

    • That’s a good point. It’s kind of boring when everyone looks the same. Variety should be the spice of life. In her book, The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf points out that we don’t expect children to all look the same in order to be beautiful.

  44. Brittany Mason is from my area and I was fortunate enough to meet her a couple years ago. She’s still killing it within the modeling industry and it’s been eight years since she was Miss Indiana. The fact that people bullied her so much blows my mind. She’s very sweet, humble, and compassionate.

  45. I do agree that girls tend to have this bullying behavior. I have seen it happen in high school. The most attractive girls had the most problems. There was girls who were bullies but people preferred to call them “haters”. It was girls hating other girls for being pretty and finding excuses to put them down. Maybe putting others down made them feel prettier than them? Whatever it is, its as if girls are in a competition with each other and it should not be that way. Guirls are always trying to be better and prettier than other girls. You can see it happen on television. In beauty competitions they often put each other down rather than lifting each other up. The same is with reality TV shows and social media. You don’t really hear much about boys bullying other boys for being attractive, I wonder why that is. Maybe media has influenced too much of this bullying behavior within girls?

    • Good question. I suspect it’s largely because men aren’t judged as much on their looks, so that attractive men aren’t as resented by other men.

    • @Karina…I think you nailed it. We are often taught that if a girl is “prettier” she is better…more worthy of love and attention, more deserving of all the finer things in life.

      This can create all kinds of problems with self-esteem in girls/women, both pretty and not-so-pretty.
      In my opinion, women hurt one another because of internalized sexism. I recall a case where this girl was murdered by her two friends because they were jealous of her beauty and because boys liked her more.
      Instead of trying to work on their insecurities, they killed her because she was “competition” for male attention.

  46. Though I have never actually experienced a first-hand account of this happening – I can understand the reasoning behind it. Girls typically make fun of other girls for being too pretty by degrading the threatening girls with negative comments that aren’t true. This, at some mindset, makes them feel better about themselves – showing they have some self-worth. In the movie, Mean Girls, Regina George constantly puts down her “friends” by telling them they can’t do something like wear hoop earrings or telling them they’re stupid – essentially putting down their self-confidence in order to be at the top of the food chain. The issue with Regina was that she put them down in order to always feel like she’s more superior.

    • I’ll have to watch that movie again. Thanks for your thoughts!

    • This is so true. I’ve had some terrible experiences with this in my life. It makes me sad that people treat one another so badly.
      I remember people saying things to me that looking back, were all LIES intended to make me feel bad about myself and it worked unfortunately.

      It’s a shame that so many of us can’t love ourselves and one another like we should.

  47. Yes, that’s quite common, not only in high schools but also in workplaces. You’ve perfectly pointed out the reasons…”A woman’s worth is often tied to her appearance. Perceived success with men and with life are tied to her looks, too.” Harsh truth.

  48. Good post! Seems as though many folks (most to some degree?) feel a need condescend to someone else as a means to mask their own insecurity/inferiority complex.

    I recognized that in myself years ago and deleting it from my personality is still a work in progress–but there has been much progress, mostly as a result of research for the writing of my novel. I now try to have empathy for everyone, but it’s still damn hard and frustrating at times.

    • “many folks feel a need condescend to someone else as a means to mask their own insecurity/inferiority complex.”

      Too bad they don’t find more constructive ways to love and empower themselves. Because bullying doesn’t help with the root problem.

    • I appreciate your open response. As someone who gets all sorts of condescending remarks thrown at her, I can say that I feel people pay more attention to tearing me down than trying to actually build themselves up. Ironically, I am the sort of person who offers praise and compliments without reserve. Why would anyone want to interfere with a source of goodwill? Humans are mysterious like that. Best wishes on your novel.

      • “I feel people pay more attention to tearing me down than trying to actually build themselves up.”

        I guess it’s easier to tear people down. But it doesn’t solve the root problem, does it?

        “Why would anyone want to interfere with a source of goodwill?”

        That happens a lot with feminists and trolls. And it happens a lot with women and trolls.

        Sounds like an interesting topic to write about. Just off the top of my head I’m thinking about how a lot of men don’t feel that good about themselves, the only thing they can hold onto is “Male supremacy.” And how do you create a sense of yourself as being “male superior”? Put down women.

        Of course, in their bullying, They are actually being an inferior human being. Hardly human at all.

        It’s about the bully. Not about the person who is their target.

      • @Sabiscuit…you and me both! I can definitely relate to you. All I can say is, try to stay strong, my friend.
        You are wonderful the way you are. 🙂

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