Relational Aggression and the “Mean Boy”: Re-gendering Concepts of Aggressive and Dangerous Behavior

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Authors:
Angela Page, University of New England, Australia
Marguerite Jones, University of New England, Australia
Jennifer Charteris, University of New England, Australia
Adele Nye, University of New England, Australia
Email: angela.page@une.edu.au
Published: April 30, 2018
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijpbs.4.1.05

Citation: Page, A., Jones, M., Charteris, J., & Nye, A. (2018). Relational Aggression and the "Mean Boy": Re-gendering Concepts of Aggressive and Dangerous Behavior. IAFOR Journal of Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijpbs.4.1.05


Abstract

Relational aggression has long been considered the "weapon of choice" for young women seeking to harm others through persistent manipulation or damage to relationships. However, in recent media articles in Australia, young men have been reported to use the same aggressive strategies to target young women. This article explores the themes drawn from a content analysis of 30 newspaper articles that report an Internet website established to "trade" sexual images of teenage girls. We argue that the prevalent forms and functions of girls' relational aggression, as described in the literature, are also evident in the perpetrating behavior of boys. We contend that the expression of such behavior prompts discussion of a gendered alternative to what is considered as "mean". The reported actions of young men can be recognized as aggressive and dangerous. It is damaging to dismiss "mean boys" subjectivities as merely "boys being boys".

Keywords

relational aggression, media, gender