The Power of Global Networks - Blog Series

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Welcome to the Bad Girls Club

CBS News recently ran a story about a series of videos that have become the latest YouTube phenomenon. However, this time the innocent interest in videos featuring Susan Boyle or little Charlie biting fingers does not apply. With over 8 million hits, the latest on the YouTube scene is videos featuring teen girls in fiercely violent interactions.

The teen girls in these videos are nothing short of outrageous, but perhaps even more disturbing is that we actually are amused by their behavior! These girls are seen brutally attacking one another with no sign of physical regard or caution. One girl is actually shown sitting on top of another girl attempting to rip her adversaries hair out while repeatedly pounding the teenage skull into pavement.

Parents, children, peers are present in these videos but choose to watch the “show” instead of intervening on the cruelty occurring only steps away from them. Gerry Leone, District Attorney of Middlesex, Mass., said recent reports indicate that 80 percent of physical violence that happens on school grounds occur between teen girls. In fact, recent statistics show 1 in 4 girls have been involved in at least one violent interaction at work or school. What has caused teenage girl violence such an entertaining trend?

My thoughts immediately go to the popular Oxygen channel reality show Bad Girls Club. The series, which just began its fourth season, has a pretty basic plot. The network casts the seven most aggressive, shallow, rude young women they can find (the age group is early 20s), strap them into the most revealing satin mini dress on the market, throw them into a house together and have them fight it out. The housemates of the Bad Girls house frequently resort to violence or verbal assault when faced with any grain of antagonism. These women pride themselves on their vicious nature and sometimes suggest that those characteristics make them more of a woman. The Bad Girls Club is being broadcast on a channel that is directed towards women's interests. The Oxygen channel is promoting this vision of women today.

Now just for a moment, try to see this from a teenage girls perspective. These women are sexy, trendy, popular, and lively, they live in a mansion in Los Angeles, and no one would ever think of crossing a Bad Girl. Now I’m not suggesting that the Bad Girls Club is the cause of the up rise in teenage girl violence, but the hit series is definitely an example of how today’s society is popularizing the image of the violent young woman.

By watching these YouTube videos and reality shows are we promoting violence in our girls? This type of violence does seem to be getting massive attention, and what does a teenage girl crave more than attention? Could it be that the increase in teenage girl violence is perpetuated by our desire to watch it?

I suggest that if a network, such as Oxygen, decides to found their network on the issues of women today, they need to present a more positive outlook. Our teen girls are constantly being pummeled by the media's image of women. Let's give our young women a sense of self-worth by promoting positive attention based on education and intellect rather than negative attention based on trendy viciousness. Contact Oxygen and let them know what you think about the representation that they are giving our young women.


  1. I totally agree and have said so in my comments online via Facebook and Oxygen. However, my-er , excuse me- our pointview and those of like minded women who also have seen this show appears to be in the minority. Instead, I get nasty responses from young women who seem to want to engage me in the same ways these young ladies do in the house. I take that as further proof that these images in the media are perpetuating bad behavior for entertainment- which is being adopted by the trendy public. I wonder ofter if any of these people have ever lived in an enviroment that is not safe physically and emotionally and then lived in one that was. If they had I find it hard to believe they would prefer the former or wish it on anyone else.

  2. In my view, these shows reflect the dumbing down of America, whether we're discussing men or women. It's also just a mirror image of what our society perpetuates, doing what feels good, no matter what the outcome or how it affects another human being.
    It's sad and shows a lack of compassion in our society.
    I'm all for change in this area, anything I can do to influence it I'll do.

  3. great article, i though this show was supposed to be something that would encourage the girls to stop being bad...but you forgot one other element that goes into the bad girl mix, plenty of gratuitous drinking. they supply these girls with so much liquor because they know they will get drunk (with nothing else to do) and go after each other. oxygen should be ashamed and you can bet your last five bux i won't be watching them.