Nobody wants to be the mean girl…right? It’s one thing to stand up for yourself; it’s another to cut others down to make yourself feel better or to help yourself get ahead. But sometimes, the line between mean and self-confident can get a little messy.
According to a recent study, reality TV shows are contributing to the blurring of that line. The Girl Scouts Research Institute found that “girls who watch lots of reality TV not only expect a lot more drama from their lives, but they also expect bullying, aggression, and presume their worth will be measured by appearances” (source).
Andrea Bastiani, Girl Scouts of America developmental psychologist, said that “[g]irls today are bombarded with media — reality TV and otherwise — that more frequently portrays girls and women in competition with one another rather than in support or collaboration. This perpetuates a “mean-girl” stereotype and normalizes this behavior among girls” (source).
Do you expect drama in your life? Does the whole mean-girl thing seem normal to you? If so, you may be more affected than you think by these and other shows that promote drama as ordinary.
Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
God does not desire our lives to be filled with drama. It may not be possible to avoid every mean girl, but you don’t have to give in and accept that that’s just the way things are. And you sure don’t have to become one yourself.
God’s idea of normal is for each person to care about others more than they care about themselves. If you watch just about any reality TV show, you won’t see that behavior pictured. Self-promotion is valued in much of our society, but not in God’s eyes. As believers, we are called to be different from the world around us.
One way to help re-train your mind is to change the way you watch TV. I’m not saying give up all reality TV; rather, turn your brain on while you watch. Take note of people’s actions, ideas and words. Be alert to what is happening and evaluate as you watch: is that real? Is that normal? Is that pleasing or unpleasing to God? Also, keep in mind that TV is meant for entertainment, not life training. Don’t let it be your main source of information about how the world works.
Drama and mean girls don’t have to be the norm. Let your mind be transformed by God’s Word instead of being shaped by this world’s ideas (Romans 12:2), and you’ve made a good start toward pursuing God’s best for your life.