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Jealous teens lashing out at pretty faces

Wellington, Sun, 22 Apr 2012 ANI

Wellington, April 22 (ANI): Teenage girls are attacking the faces of pretty victims as jealousy, boys and violent films drive fighting among women.

In a recent school attack, students allegedly assaulted and threatened to scar an attractive classmate.

Nelson-based social anthropologist Dr Donna Swift said the level of violence attributed to women was increasing.

Girls who lash out at each other often attack the face, possibly to take away from the victim's good looks, she said.

"Punching, pounding to the face, ripping at the hair, slapping across the face - girls seem to go for the head and face rather than a punch to the stomach," quoted Dr Swift as saying.

Alleged "dorm raids" on girls at a Waikato school hostel this month highlighted violence among young females.

In the attacks, groups of girls allegedly broke into rooms and assaulted other students at an Otorohanga College hostel.

A mother of one of the victims told the Waikato Times her 15-year-old daughter was bullied because she was pretty, and she had feared the attackers would scar her.

"She was asleep and woke up to girls beating her, and what they do is they put sheets around their fists so as they don't leave marks," the mother said.

The mother said the attackers were jealous of her daughter's looks, even though it wasn't her fault she attracted boys' attention.

"We get a lot of comments about how stunning she is from many people, but they fail to realise it is causing her more pain than you would believe," she said.

A British woman also received a torrent of abuse recently after writing a controversial article for the Daily Mail about being hated by other women for being beautiful.

Samantha Brick wrote that other women were mean to her because they were jealous of her good looks, and Swift said being seen as the pretty, trendy or new girl could all make people a target of physical violence and bullying.

Late last year Swift released the findings from her two-year study into why girls engage in violent and antisocial behaviour.

"If you unravel a girls' fight it usually goes back to popularity, or fighting over boys. If she's attractive or she has money or status ... it means she stands out among other girls and is seen as a threat," she stated.

Swift said attacks among girls were also sexualised in the sense that they draw male attention, and boys often encouraged fighting.

"It's a vicious circle and sad that girls are attacking girls for the sake of male attention. That was not what we were expecting when we said girls could do anything," she added.

The media was also partly to blame for normalising and glorifying violence among young women, she said. Popular movies, television shows and video games celebrated violent but gorgeous lead female characters, a trend that was continuing in the latest hit novel and film 'Hunger Games', in which the lead character, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, is selected to compete in a televised battle to the death with other teenagers.

Swift said Hunger Games put the emphasis on aggression, rather than working out differences. "The acceptance of difference is missing in our society."

Prison staff recently warned female inmates were getting younger and more aggressive. The number of women behind bars has increased 27 per cent, from 437 to 555 in three years.

Meanwhile, Otorohanga College has launched an inquiry into the violence at the hostel.

Board of trustees chair Sonya Hetet confirmed three students had been stood down from school, and meetings with their families had been held.(ANI)


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