What you should know about a girl’s world


CBC Newsworld and the National Film Board (NFB) offer a glimpse into the world of girls who indulge in social bullying, and their victims. “The Passionate Eye” presents It’s a Girl’s World, an NFB documentary that exposes the hidden culture of girl cliques. A York researcher, who studies children at risk, is one of several experts interviewed in the film.

The film will be aired on Sunday, May 2, at 10pm, and will be accompanied by a three-part radio series to be broadcast on consecutive Wednesdays, May 5, 12 and 19, at 9pm on CBC Radio One’s “Ideas”. CBC is also making a CD version of the program available for teachers, and has developed an extensive educational Web site with links to resources for parents concerned about bullying.

In the film and on “Ideas”, York professor of psychology Debra Pepler, a researcher with the University’s LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution, discusses social bullying among girls. Pepler spoke briefly about It’s a Girl’s World at its premiere on April 19, at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

                                                                    Right: Debra Pepler

Here is an abstract about the film:

“At first glance, it’s about sharing secrets, giggling over boys and carefree fun. However, lurking beneath this façade is a hidden culture of nastiness that pits one friend against another. It’s a Girl’s World ultimately shatters the myth that social bullying among girls is an acceptable part of growing up.

“Award-winning filmmaker Lynn Glazier takes us on an insider’s journey into the turbulent social world of girls, exposing the complex power relationships among a clique of 10-year-olds in Montreal. While the girls use stabbing looks and biting words to inflict emotional wounds, their parents struggle through denial and disbelief to come to terms with their daughters’ behaviour.

“Glazier’s examination of the highly publicized Dawn-Marie Wesley case, in which the 14-year-old BC girl killed herself to escape the social torment of her friends, underscores the tragic costs of social bullying.

“It’s a Girl’s World is written and directed by Lynn Glazier and produced by Gerry Flahive (Shinny, The Next Big Thing). Catherine Olsen is executive producer of documentaries for CBC Newsworld.”

Since its creation in 1939, the NFB has produced more than 10,000 films and won over 4,000 awards, including 10 Oscars®. For more information about the NFB, click here.

CBC Radio One’s “Ideas” is a program about contemporary thought. For details about “Ideas”, click here. To learn more about “The Passionate Eye”, visit this site.

More about Debra Pepler

The May 5, 2003, YFile carried an article about York’s LaMarsh Centre receiving $600,000 under the federal goverment’s National Crime Prevention Strategy to create a national policy on bullying to make Canada a safer place for children and youth. Pepler, lead researcher in the centre’s project, noted Canadians’ growing concern about bullying, particularly in relation to a number of cases where children died or were seriously injured.