Appearing in the most recent issue of the University of Richmond’s undergraduate journal Digital America, “Invasion of the Betches: Repercussions of Mean Girl Culture” by Morgan Gilbard ’15 explores the pervasiveness of “mean girl” culture and the effects of its associated “bullying and superficiality [and] capitalist ideas like consumerism and social stratification.”
“What we consume growing up plays a dramatic role in how we interact with the world thereafter,” explains Gilbard. “Mean girl culture has become so pervasive because at face-value, humor seems to be the only component at work. However, when an ideology as dominant as mean girl culture constantly marginalizes certain groups, it promotes a racism, classism, and sexism that ultimately disservices society as a whole.”
Gilbard’s cultural critique began as an assignment for the Writing and Rhetoric course “Rhetorical Bytes.” She pursued publishing the essay at the encouragement of Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Ben Ristow, who guided Gilbard through the editing and submission process in the fall of last year.
“I’m incredibly thankful for Professor Ristow’s help and instruction,” says Gilbard. “He creates a unique learning environment conducive to exploring uncharted territory, which was essential to this topic in particular.”
Gilbard is majoring in English, while minoring in political science and media and society. She served as editor-in-chief of The Herald for two years. During her editorship, she served as a student panelist at last year’s President’s Forum event, “The Real House of Cards,” featuring New York Times and Vanity Fair journalist Todd Purdum; and facilitated a Leadership Institute workshop on the influence of the media on real-world issues. For the past two summers, Gilbard has interned at prominent public relations firms in New York City, including Rubenstein Public Relations and LFB Media Group. She is currently working on her honors project and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in journalism after graduation.
The full text of “Invasion of the Betches” is available here.