Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
relationships, social networks, schools, victims, popularity
As highlighted in the media, it is clear that the mean girl phenomenon is becoming a dangerous and growing trend in schools around the country. While girls are less likely than boys to engage in physical fights, they fight within friendship networks to damage relationships and reputations. Within these friendships, the “queen bee” is the girl holding supreme power and influence over the rest, using a combination of charisma and manipulation to keep absolute control. This study examined who these queen bees are and why they negatively dominate schools by asking females in grades six through college senior to discuss hypothetical vignettes involving queen bees and their victims. Participants also completed measures of their observations and own experiences of relational aggression. I hypothesized that girls would choose to trade places with the most popular girl if given the chance, and that girls would rather identify as the queen bee than the victim. In addition, I hypothesized this mean girl phenomenon would be reported as a relevant and problematic trend at all ages. Findings show that girls would rather identify as the victim than the queen bee, as the queen bee is consistently negatively characterized, and that relational aggression is a significant issue across all ages. Our results further the understanding of this phenomenon and help us create solutions for ending relational aggression among girls in schools for the future.
Ayers, Danielle, "Queen Bees: An Examination of the Mean Girl Phenomenon" (2012). Honors Theses. 767.