The Meanest Girls At School Are Often The Most Popular

A recent story out of Florida concerns six teenage girls — cheerleaders — who lured a former friend to a home where they beat her for 30 minutes while videotaping the entire act. They wanted to post the footage on YouTube and MySpace; according to the local news outlet in Orlando, a girl's voice can be heard on the tape saying: "There's only 17 seconds left; make it good." The victim in the attack suffered a concussion, loss of hearing in one ear, damage to her left eye and numerous bruises. And the footage being aired on news outlets is what happened after she was knocked unconscious. But guess what? The girls who participated in the attack probably have more friends than ever. Because new research shows that "Mean Girls" are the most popular girls in school.

Though the attack shocked Sheriff Grady of Polk County — "That is animalistic behavior. It's pack mentality," he says — it's probably not that shocking to anyone who has witnessed a roving pack of schoolgirls firsthand. Growing up in New York I learned that girlfights were almost always scarier than any rumble the guys could muster up. Scratched eyes, pulled hair, ripped earlobes from snatched earrings — girls can be vicious. And the victors in these battles gain respect and support, as scientists have now "discovered."

According to the Telegraph, more than 600 students were asked to rate their school's cliques on popularity. Casey Borch, a professor of sociology at Alabama University, who worked on the study, says, "A lot of popular kids may not be well liked, but they are relationally aggressive and their peers think that they are popular." He also noted that girls as young as nine learn that being nasty can boost their "social visibility" and that girls are more likely to use aggressive behavior than boys.

And it's not just aggression: In a savvy marketing move, the Florida cheerleaders intended to post the video online, where it would not only serve as a testament to their dominance, but as a warning to others. Sheriff Judd says, "When we had them in custody at the station, they were laughing about it, saying, 'Well, I guess this spring break we won't go to the beach.' One of the suspects asked the detective, 'Am I going to get to go to cheerleading practice tomorrow?' They showed absolutely no remorse at all." Maybe because they were so secure, so sure that nastiness and treachery would earn them respect and recognition — and it has.

Cheerleaders Pummel Girl For 30 Minutes In 'Animalistic' Ambush Attack, Police Say [Local 6]

Cheerleaders Tape Themselves Giving Former Friend 30-Minute Violent Beat-Down [Breitbart]

Teens Arrested Over Filmed Beating [CBS News]

'Mean Girls Are The Most Popular Students' [Telegraph]