GS: If we’re a culture with few outlets for boys’, we’re a culture with zero outlets for girls.
GJ: There are people who are arguing that the greater verbal and social nastiness of girls in elementary school and middle school may be partly a product of that, that they still have the aggression, they still have the frustration, but they have fewer ways to process that in fantasy. Boys may slam into each other, but girls are more likely to do the excluding and gossiping. Then another aspect of that is that girls tend to be more interested in social systems, relationships, subtle cues between people.
Part of it has to do with definitions. This word violence is rather old, but the way we use it now to mean physical damage to someone’s body is pretty recent. I think that a good verbal drama has its own psychological violence. And of course, we’re talking generalities. There are women who love violence. My next-door neighbor plays Halo; that’s just how she unwinds. But with girls there’s the tendency to take aggression to a verbal level, where with boys there’s this fascination with bodies flying around.
Pretty early kids are getting this message that there’s a boy way to be and a girl way to be, and one of the positions we adopt is that girls are squeamish about blood and boys like blood. When we’re talking about defining maleness, part of that is saying, I love gore, and therefore loving these games. What’s interesting though is how many adolescent girls like horror movies.
(Via Heroine Sheik)