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Byline: Kathy Flanigan
In the final episode of "Ally McBeal," the fictional Ally quit her law firm and moved to New York because her fictional daughter was being verbally assaulted by fictional classmates and it was painful for Ally to watch.
It's even worse in real life, where mean girls rule.
Mean girls, alphas, queen bees of the clique and the classroom, are getting much buzz. "Oprah" has aired two shows on the subject. Time magazine spent several paragraphs dissecting the culture of mean girls. In early spring, three books were published, each dealing in its own way with the issue of girl aggression _ the needling and the damage done during adolescence.
Any female survivor of junior high knows the drill. While boys punch and get over it, girls manipulate. Plot. Backstab. And destroy.
"I didn't understand why I was so unhappy in sixth grade. I couldn't have told my parents that girls were being mean to me. _Erin, 17, quoted in "Queen Bees and Wannabes."
"I can remember when my daughter was in fifth grade _ my daughter's 26 now _ each week one of the girls would be left out of the group, ostracized. We even went into the school to talk about it. The girls wouldn't change. It was worth being in this peer group," said Linda Babcock, school social worker for several high schools in the Milwaukee area.
Even then, getting kicked out of the clique was simply a rite of passage and those who complained were being dramatic. Kids piled on more ridicule. And the outsiders usually ended up carrying the hurt well into adulthood.
But a generation of young feminists …