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Mean Girls Have Been Around for a Long Time

Mean Girls Have Been Around for a Long Time

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I saw the trailer for Mean Girls being promoted. Twenty years after its original release, it is now a musical adaptation promising to be a production extravaganza with easy-to-remember tunes and spectacular choreography. It got me thinking that we do have a fascination with mean girls, the popular bullies who make life miserable for others.

People have contradicting feelings toward mean girls. Just think of the Mean Girls movie set on a campus. The stereotypical mean girls are the cheerleaders, walking around in their cute uniforms. They are the high school’s team spirit generators. Many admire them, but many hate them too. They are admired because they usually are good-looking. They have the power to get what they want and even influence some administrators. But they also make life difficult for the underdogs.  

In a 2018 article she wrote in Psychology Today, Katie Hurley said, “The ‘mean girl’ narrative is so ingrained in our culture that many consider it a ‘rite of passage’ of sorts when it comes to surviving girlhood.” That means one must grin and bear the existence of and maltreatment by these power-tripping girls and pray they get out alive! And if you suffer from poor mental health from constant bullying, well, you can seek treatment to “get over it.”

Kirsten was the guest speaker at a women’s event. She admitted to exhibiting mean girl behavior in the past. She said, “I created pain in others!” This aggression resulted from losing her mom when she was only 12. Unable to properly process her grief from her loss, and without a mother to guide her to womanhood, she started watching how other young girls and women behaved. Her young mind was impressed by the beautiful, popular, mean girls at school. They got the best of everything and everyone. She decided that becoming one of them was her key to happiness. No one needed to know that she was in pain. She would cause the pain!

“There’s a complex web of insecurity, anxiety, and conditioned attitudes that underlies the mean girl stereotype,” a Newport Academy article said. This means the power-tripping mean girl is basically like any other teenager—an immature individual going through self-esteem issues. There’s a lot of growing up and navigation happening within this person’s body, physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. And left to her own whims and fantasies, she can choose to be part of the “queen bee” group and make life a living nightmare for someone else to mask her own difficulties. 

The Mean Girls of the Bible

As Solomon says, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Mean girls have been in existence for thousands of years. Some of them have grown into women, yet never learned to shed their ugly behavior to do the right thing. Let’s look at some of them.

“Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel before him” (1 Kings 16:29-33). 

Here’s Ahab, who was influenced by his wife, Jezebel, to turn away from the One True God of Israel to become an idolater. Knowing how much God hated graven images and their worship, Ahab provoked his own King.

Enter Elijah, God’s prophet, who came to Ahab to let him know that God spoke of a drought. During the dry years and while Elijah was away, Jezebel had killed most of God’s prophets except for the 100 hidden away by Obadiah (a man who feared the Lord and oversaw Ahab’s household) in caves.

In the third year of the drought, there was an “accidental” meeting between Obadiah and Elijah. Elijah, again, was bringing the Word of God to Ahab. This was the message: “You have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18:18-19). 

God made it known who He was and that Elijah was His mouthpiece through a miraculous battle. And all the prophets of Baal were slaughtered by Elijah:

“Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.’ Then [Elijah] was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life…” (1 Kings 19:1-3). 

Perhaps cowering in fear of Jezebel’s wrath, Ahab decided that it was best to break the bad news of the slaying of Baal’s prophets to his mean-spirited wife to stir up her anger. Then, there’s Elijah who allowed a bully’s message to extinguish the fire of God’s victory. He succumbed to becoming a mean girl’s emotional and mental hostage.

Then there’s Herodias and her daughter’s story. They used their influence to send someone to die.

“For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been saying to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’ And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.’ And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent had John beheaded in prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.” Matthew 14:3-11

An adulterous relationship was confronted by John and the involved parties didn’t like the message. The mean girls’ team of mother and daughter worked together to execute a perfect death plan. “Off with John’s head!” was the special request to the king. And then there was no more voice of righteousness to convict Herod and Herodias of their affair.

Evil Begets Evil!

Why is it so important to be the top dog? Kirsten, the guest speaker, said she used to scope out the room to find the current reigning “queen” and strategically planned her fall. Kirsten needed to be the alpha female and did everything in her power to make it happen!

A mean girl’s desire to control everything begins when her life is in chaos! Jezebel’s prophets of Baal were dead, and she needed to punish Elijah for this. Herodias didn’t want to be reminded of her sin, so she needed to remove John from the picture. James said, “Sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (1:15).

Let’s wake up and see the truth! Mean girls are not worth emulating, even if they are portrayed as the popular people in society and are sometimes celebrated on TV, film, and social media! Mean girl motivations are wrong, and they need to be corrected before they destroy others. Just think of the influence of Jezebel to her husband and Herodias to her daughter. Not good at all! 

The Apostle Paul said, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful to even speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you’” (Ephesians 5:11-14).

In the end, mean girls will also destroy themselves. Just watch the ending of the Mean Girls movie, if you get the chance. The Apostle Paul encourages us to “look carefully then how [we] walk, not as unwise but as wise!” while there is still time (Ephesians 5:15).

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/MangoStar_Studio

Luisa Collopy is an author, speaker and a women’s Bible study teacher. She also produces Mula sa Puso (From the Heart) in Tagalog (her heart language), released on FEBC Philippines stations. Luisa loves spending time with her family over meals and karaoke!



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