Girls can be mean, nasty little things. I am not sure exactly what age it starts. I don't remember. But I do know by High School it is full blown in your face bitchiness. Girls are jealous, competitive, vindictive brats. Most of the sugar and spice has disappeared, replaced with catty remarks and insults towards other girls. This doesn't mean true best friends don't exist as a teenager, it just means that motives are questionable. Even the girls who "have your back" can mislead you.
There was an acquaintance freshman year who had long, thick blond hair. All of the boys in school noticed and commented on it. One day during gym class she told me she was thinking of cutting it. I encouraged her, and told her it would "show-off her pretty face better". Petty, right? But really a minor indiscretion in the world of HS girls. (She didn't cut, it by the way.) Smart bitch.
Boys were the major point of contention. They could make girls tear each other apart. Turn on each other. Ruin each other's lives. So sad to look back on. Very few of those teen-age boys were probably worth it. And at the same time, those teen-age boys sometimes made much better friends than a lot of girls. Boys are not petty, jealous or vindictive. They are not nearly as calculating or dramatic. They get pissed, they get over it. They don't wage verbal assualts and nasty lunchroom wars that can span over 4 (or more) years.
We moved to a new state late in my High School career. I was devastated, because life was pretty good and I didn't want to leave. And I certainly didn't want to start over. But I had no choice, so I put on a brave face. I made my first close friend soon after we moved in. He lived a few houses down the street, and offered me a ride to school. He and I stayed close friends the remainder of high school, much to the chagrin of his on again/off again girlfriend.
A few girls reached out to me, offering hellos or directions to classrooms. But mostly it was the boys who were helpful, nice, accomodating. And this was my downfall. I was unknowingly making enemies...girls who were dating, had dated or wanted to date these guys who were driving me to school, walking me to class, calling me in the evenings. I was naive, and I shouldn't have been. Most of these kids had gone to school together since kindergarten, and I was an outsider. It wasn't long before my house was toilet papered on a regular basis. Plastic Forks decorted my yard. "Bitch" scrawled in shaving cream on my car. And all the while, I just wanted to make friends. Sure, I was still on the homecoming court, still made cheerleading at the new school, but every victory also brought me another round of vengeance for the perceived wrongs I had done these girls. By moving there, by flirting, by trying to fit in. I had a few girl friends, but they came and went with the everchanging wind of anger at the school. Or they had boyfriends of their own that consumed most of their social lives. Pretty soon I knew I just had to ride it out..graduate and get the hell outta Dodge.
College was much better, although it was still the norm to watch young women tear each other apart if they got the chance. True friends seemed more true as maturity prevailed. I made friends there I still love today. But there was always an underlying current of competitiveness. Whose grades were better, who got engaged first, etc. Some women could use this competitiveness to motivate them, while others let it consume them.
Unfortunately, adult women in the work place are not immune from the cattiness and drama we indulged in while teens. Before I had kids, when I had a "carreer", I would witness women tear each other apart in the workplace, usually back handedly and in a duplicitous manner. But there were women who were good and true friends. Women who supported each other and cheered each other and revelled in each other's successes. But if there was drama and pettiness going on, you could almost always contribute it to a group of women clucking like hens.
Moms are a different story. I think there may still be underlying competitiveness. Still criticising and complaining behind one another's backs (mostly to one's husband), but that is human nature. I think in a group of moms, you can find more support and empathy than any other group of women around. Because being a mom is hard, yo. And we all want what is best for our kids. Maybe we can unite in the fact that we all want what is best for our babies, rather than fight over "that cute boy" or "that promotion". Maybe loving someone else so whole heartedly more than we love ourselves let's us put the cattiness and competitiveness aside. Well most of it at least. I still think people with long gorgeous hair should cut it off, because it is just too distracting. And if you look better than I do in yoga pants, you should stop wearing them and buy mom jeans. And if your house is spotless, you must be ignoring your kids..and so on, and so on.