The XX Factor

The Mean Girls Stand Out

Vanessa, I agree that we don’t gain much by adding the office bitch stereotype to the working woman’s repertoire. And like you and lawyer-mom, one of our first commenters, who writes astutely about her bullying female boss, I also have a story of an older and more experienced woman who put me down rather than pulled me up. I wonder, though, if we notice these failings more in a women boss or professor or superior more than we do in men. Do we call out the women we look up to because we expect more from them, and then nurse our justifiable grievances, when they turn on us, with especial vigor? I tell my female bullying story more often than I tell one of the many I have about a male former boss, now that I think about it.

Also, even if women bully women more often than they bully men , as the survey stats that Meghan started us out with showed, they’re still less likely to bully than men are. If 40 percent of office bullies are women, than 60 percent are men. I suppose women could still be disproportionateloy represented in the bullying ranks since they probably don’t comprise 40 percent of bosses and supervisors. But I still wonder if we’re extra preoccupied by our disappointment in them.