Girl-on-Girl Crime

Class was over. The little girl grabbed her dance bag and ran from the studio. When she found her mother outside waiting for her in the lobby, tears were streaming down her face. She wanted to go home. And now.

The mother stood bewildered. Her daughter had never left dance class before in such a state. She followed her daughter out of the studio. [Continue reading to find out what happened in this scenario].

Girl-on-girl crime can creep its way into many situations. Today, we will examine how girl-on-girl crime finds itself in dance studios and dance relationships; the effects of girl-on-girl crime, and how it can be prevented.


What is girl-on-girl crime? Any remark or action that comes from a potentially unknown place within one girl and is meant to strike against another.

The Economist ran a story just this year on the findings of two Israeli researchers, Bradley Ruffle and Ze'ev Shtudiner. They wanted to see what would happen if men and women included photographs with their resumes. Their hypothesis was simply: Resumes with attractive photographs of the applicant, would result in a response from the employer, or potentially a job.

So they set out to answer their question: Would attractive photographs help them secure jobs faster? They sent fake applications out to over 2,500 employers with job openings. Some of these included photographs of the applicant, and some did not. They counted which resumes received responses. Their research showed for men, their hypothesis proved correct. The more attractive men received a higher number of inquiries from the employers. For women, however, the hypothesis was turned upside down.

"An attractive woman would need to send out 11 CVs on average before getting an interview; an equally qualified plain one, just 7," The Economist reported.

So the researchers dove deeper. It's already known that "attractive" women make more money and tend to receive advancements faster, so something was going on here. What was it? Girl-on-girl crime.

The researchers found 93% of those tasked with choosing applicants to be called in for an interview were female. Leaving the researchers to make the...

"unavoidable - and unpalatable - conclusion that old-fashioned jealousy led the women to discriminate against pretty candidates."

Picture 269

In our earlier scenario, the young girl left the studio in a rush and in tears because another girl in the class called her "fat." The two girls are 6 years old.

The Effects of Girl-on-Girl Crime

One: It hurts. Mean words that come from a dishonest place hurt people. It hurts their feelings, and it hurts their vision of their personal self-worth and self-esteem. No one person has the right to shut someone else down or cause them not to believe in who they are.

Two: It is dangerous. When feelings are hurt, and someone's personal vision of their self-worth is changed for the negative, this is called bullying. Bullying can lead to very dangerous places, such as suicide or eating disorders or promote further bullying.

Three: It is actually bullying (even if it's passive). Various researchers have agreed on the following definition of bullying: "Bullying is a specific type of aggression in which (1) the behavior is intended to harm or disturb, (2) the behavior occurs repeatedly over time, and (3) there is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one. This asymmetry of power may be physical or psychological, and the aggressive behavior may be verbal (eg, name-calling, threats), physical (eg, hitting), or psychological (eg, rumors, shunning/exclusion)."

Four: It creates distrust among females. It sends the message (to men and women) that women are not in this together. Women against women! It makes the world think women are out to bring each other down instead of building each other up.

Five: It lets insecurities win. If a mean comment like "you are fat" comes from a 6-year-old dancer who feels fat, there are two insecurity issues here: 1) Dancer A set out to hurt Dancer B because Dancer A may feel insecure about something, 2) Dancer B gets hurts by Dancer A's comment because Dancer B may be feeling insecure. Either way, insecurity wins if we allow girl-on-girl crime to continue.

In Dance Studios, girl-on-girl crimes can look like this dancer-to-dancer:

  • Rolling of the eyes
  • Encouraging other dancers "to ignore" a dancer, or "not be friends with" a dancer
  • Ganging up on a dancer (ex: "Don't laugh at her jokes. They aren't funny. She isn't cool.")
  • Mean comments - words like: fat, ugly, bad, stupid, wrong, always
  • "Staying away" from a dancer, or "not wanting to dance by" a dancer
  • Not inviting someone for group events after practice or shows

Prevention of girl-on-girl crime is possible. Here's how:

One: Create an environment where positivity rules. This does not mean abandoning all feelings of competition (because competition can be healthy), but create a happy, learning space where everyone is welcomed and everyone promotes kindness. This can be done by having group talks or debriefings after class. It can be done by suggesting activities that mix up the "typically drawn together" groups of dancers. It can also be done by encouraging compliments, constructive criticism, kind words and healthy progress.

Two: Help students understand their behavior. This can be time consuming, but it will help the students grow as individuals and as a group in the long run. If something is hurtful is said, it needs to be addressed. You can ask the student in private: "Why did you say that? What did you hope to accomplish by saying that? How do you think that made him/her feel? What do you see happening next?" Then have the dancers discuss what happened, why it happened, and how everyone can move on from it.

Three: Encourage openness. If a student is having a problem with another student, encourage them to talk to a teacher or a parent. Encourage them to ask for help, should they need advice. Encourage them to be honest with themselves and honest with others. Help them understand that this does not mean spreading rumors or harmful words.

Four: Be clear about what you want for them. If students understand what the teacher or studio wants from them, they are more likely to behave in that manner. Explain the difference between: Harmful words and kind words / Rumors and open discussion / Truth and lies / Honesty and tattling / Progress and stagnation. If the students know what you're trying to build, they will help you build it.

Five: When you see your students exhibiting a behavior you want to promote, don't be afraid to acknowledge it. It always feels good to know you're on the right path to greatness.

Question for Our Readers: Have you ever experienced girl-on-girl crime? If so, how did you feel? How did you handle it? What are your opinions on girl-on-girl crime?

Please note: We understand bullying as well as crime (physically, emotionally, psychologically) happens also with males and male dancers. We encourage all educators and dancers to be aware and alert someone of authority if they think any type of crime is happening.



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Design & Development by Shane Jeffers