Queen Bees & Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman
Although this book is directed to parents of girls, it’s a great book for the girls themselves to read (as it is for anyone who deals with girls such as teachers and counselors). It is the basis for the movie Mean Girls; in fact, the Queen Bees in the book are sometimes referred to as the RMG (Really Mean Girls).
I’m afraid that the introduction to the book—in which Wiseman establishes her credentials as someone who is a natural to author such a book (she’s spent years teaching classes for girl and started Empower, an organization for girls)—will be a bit off-putting. But keep reading. You’ll recognize yourself and your friends (both true friends and those that you are afraid will ostracize you). You’ll recognize the roles that girls play in their cliques (although they many not call them cliques)—The Queen Bee, the Sidekick, the Wannabes, the Messenger, the Banker, the Torn Bystanders, the Target. And you’ll get a lot of good advice about how to navigate these shark-filled waters of teen girlhood, about recognizing the patterns of behavior in cliques.
Wiseman also discusses boys, boyfriends, parties, drugs, sexuality, and homosexuality. She also has a chapter on the roles of guys in their cliques (again, they’d never use the word ‘clique,’ even though that’s what they are). She shows how easily something can go wrong for a girl, wrecking her reputation or putting her on the bottom of the social ladder. She quotes many teen girls and points to parenting styles that work and don’t work. (The best style of parenting teens is “The Loving-Hard-Ass Parent.”) Finally, she talks about getting professional help for girls when it is needed.
I picked this book because I wanted to read some non-fiction that I might, in turn, recommend to you. It’s amazing how quickly it brought me back to the days of Queen Bees and the struggles to be happy when the RMG’s are calling all the shots, deciding who they will invite to parties, who will be able to sit with them in the cafeteria, who will be the Target and isolated at any particular time. The good news is that the social hierarchy of teen girls loses all power in adulthood. It’s very rare to find an adult Queen Bee, and if you do, you’ll probably be able to ignore her. But in the meantime, Queen Bees and Wannabes will help you to stand up for yourself without leaving you to stand alone.
You’re right–now I have to buy it for the library because we don’t have the newer version!
There’s actually a new version of this book that just came out in October. I’ve now read both and you should definitely recommend the new version to people. The cover is different and it’s a lot more spot-on with how things have changed re: technology, sexting, cyberbullying, etc.