"Sugar and spice and everything nice. That's what little girls are made of. Right?
Not quite, say the experts.
Mean, spitting spleen, and torment in between might more accurately describe the ways of many girls during adolescence. Four new books have appeared on the topic of "relational aggression" - the henhouse behaviors psychologists claim girls exhibit as they establish the pecking order of popularity.
"Those who have experienced dismissal by a junior-high-school girls' clique could hardly, with a straight face, claim generosity and nurture as a natural attribute of women." If you've ever watched ducks peck one another bloody in the struggle to establish clearly defined hierarchies, you know where Fox-Genovese is coming from.
Any middle school girl can tell you - most likely in vivid, unsettling detail - of the inspired, vindictive cruelty of which her kind is capable. It's not pretty, it's not nice, and it can make the shenanigans of the Lord of the Flies boys seem like the Teletubbies."