The words "girl gang" conjure up images from 1950s pulp novels and drive-in movies, where teenage hellions and "lust-cats of the gutter" clawed at each other (sexily) and every now and then someone almost got stabbed. But in today's New York Post , Brad Hamilton writes, "Sister gangs are popping up all over Manhattan, Brooklyn and The Bronx with names such as the Harlem Hiltons, Hood Barbies, Billion Dolla Beauties, Gun Clappin Divas and 2 Gurl Gunnas, police say." This is no sexploitation B-movie; the violence is real and deadly. And in some cases, the internet is where the fights start. The Post also ran a first-person piece from "Kim," a 16-year-old, about her life in a "crew" (headline: "Confessions Of A Switchblade Sister"). Kim says:
After my mom kicked me out, I joined up. If you want to get by, you do. To be a part of the crew, you have to get beat up or cut someone. Then you're protected. They're your family.
I got into some fights. Some girl was talking about me online. She called me a punk and a slut, so I decided to fight her. I was in this building and somebody called and said she was on the block. I thought she would come after me. I ran outside. I pulled out her tracks [hair extensions] and made her body hurt. Everyone said I beat her up. But I was scared - I thought she would come after me.
Like Mean Girls! But so much scarier. Gossip has been around forever, but now, online beef is turning into real-life violence. And there's another layer to the girl-on-girl violence: A former cop and youth mentor tells the paper that guys are to blame. "[Girls] are in this because of the boys… They'll hold a gun for a male gangbanger, but they generally won't shoot."
Inner-city violence isn't new, but it's interesting to think about the effect technology can have on rivalries. I've heard teenage girls in my neighborhood discuss another girl who was "talking shit on Twitter." Unlike talking shit in homeroom, what's posted on the web has the ability to go far and wide (the Amber Cole video, for instance). And as we all know, people will write things on the internet that they would never say in real life. With Facebook, FourSquare check-ins and Twitter, girls are finding new reasons and ways to hurt — and sometimes kill — each other.