Among many, the tripod’s mean-girl antics include: Romy bitching to the Honey Badger’s sister Bernadette about Cass, their continual nastiness about Vanessa Sunshine‘s hair, face and personality, Romy bragging about ‘kissing’ the Honey Badger on her single date, all three forever referring to Cass as desperate, Cat and Romy calling Blair a bogan, starting cat fights at every cocktail party, oh and um, borderline sexually harassing the Bachelor…
The list goes on.
We know the show is edited, we know they’re pushed and prodded by producers to say certain things, and we know they’re probably not as nasty as they’re made to look on screen (even though Romy previously revealed she is ‘totally fine’ with being depicted as the villain…)
But the ‘mean girl’ representation in this year’s Bachelor, edited or not, brings up a question, and it’s not whether they wear pink on Wednesdays.
Why do mean girls always seem to travel in packs of three?
Hear me out:
While watching this week’s episodes of The Bachelor it struck me: the tripod remind me of something, or someone or…WAIT.
THREE PEOPLE. Three girls, in fact, who bullied me so viciously at school I was forced to move. (Side note: this was 11 years ago, so I’m sure they’re much nicer now).
While the 'rule of three' is a common literary device used in storytelling to engage a reader or viewer (shout out to my year 11 English teacher), bullying expert, author and psychologist Evelyn Field says there is some truth behind my theory that real life mean girls come in threes, too.
"There's something about the number three," Evelyn said (see!), "Three is always a crowd and girls tend to feel more powerful in groups if they're excluding one who they feel doesn't fit in - whether it's two, three or four."
Let's take a look at these movie examples where 'the rule of three' applies:
Okay, this is an obvious one. Karen, Regina and Gretchen - three girls who were definitely mean.
The cult Winona Ryder flick (which if you haven't seen yet you definitely should) is centred around three mean girls named Heather. Boom.
Three high-school aged witches use their powers for evil in the '90s horror film. THREE.
The Princess Diaries
Mandy Moore and her cronies (two of them) were MEAN to poor Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries.
We could go on, but you get the idea.
Evelyn says the pack mentality of real-life mean girls is all about strength in numbers.
"This is about mobbing, about people ganging up on somebody else, and people always feel more able to assert power when they have others around them," she said.
She added that "mobbing" is common amongst women in schools and workplaces, and says in every group of 'mean girls' there's a ringleader who sets the tone.
"How many people make up a mob depends on the personality of the bully, how many people she needs to adore her and make her feel in a position to bully others, and it's her charisma that attracts others to bully with her," she said.
"People tend to follow a leader. It empowers the bully, because they've got the witnesses there who can say 'this person's tough because they bully others, so we'll suck up to her'," she added.
Cut to every time Romy is being unpleasant and Cat or Alisha leap to her defence, telling the camera she's "just telling it how it is". Um, no. She's mean.
So how does one deal with a pack of bullies?
The Vanessa Sunshine approach works a charm, according to Evelyn.
"The simplest option is not to play the role of the target or victim," she said, which we are interpreting as 'hairflip and never give a single f*ck' ala our queen Vanessa, who told Mamamia earlier today that Romy, Cat and Alisha 'belitted, berated and bullied' girls in the house.
"If you show a dog that you're sad or angry it will attack, if you show you're neutral it won't."
She also said that in social situations, women attack in 'subtle' ways...(like, um, telling your shared boyfriend she's not attracted to you?)
"There's always something in the target that threatens the others, they might be jealous of her because she's more successful, more attractive or has a nicer family, whatever it may be, they don't want to accept that they going to be 'loser' in that capacity, so they want to make her feel bad," Evelyn added.
"An ordinary person doesn't need to make someone feel worse to make themselves feel better - they're doing it to make themselves feel better and that's not a nice social skill."
But, why, Evelyn?
"That's just people. That's the way it is in workplaces in schools, people are threatened by people who are hardworking, go on nice holidays, or whatever it is. If you're seen as being different, people who are insecure feel the need to try and bring you down.
"Bullies are always under threat themselves, they're feeling bad for some reason or another, so they want to act out on someone else. They'll always find another person to pick on."
Be strong, Bachie mansion.
Evelyn Field specialises in workplace and schoolyard bullying. Her website bullying.com.au offers bully blocking strategies.