Mean Girls: Viewer Reactions
By SDM Staff & ReadersI recently asked our SD Team and readers for their thoughts on the cheerleader beating incident on March 30, 2008 in Lakeland, Florida. You can comment your thoughts on what happened using the feedback form below. To learn more about the incident, please read my article or check out national news websites like CNN.com. Here's what you all said:
* SDM staff members
I think that today in our society, there are so many ways that teens can humiliate each other. In this case such websites as MySpace and YouTube are becoming the perfect sources to advertise violence. Plus, the media influences a lot of teen behavior with movies such as Mean Girls and shows like Gossip Girl. These people are creating worlds that don't exist, and many girls fall for these "media trends".
Socially speaking, these girls are going to be disliked for what they did, especially among other girls. I think that the fundamental problem is the parenting received at home. It really comes down to what your parents teach you, like morals, or even what you practice in your religion. I myself have grown up in a household where fighting or using violence is not the answer, and I am still a true believer in that even at 17 years old.
Mayra, 17, California *
I think they deserve more than 6 months in jail. They deserve life. How could anyone do such a horrible thing? The poor girl wasn't even defending herself. What is this world coming to?
Ashley, 13, Pennsylvania
I believe that the girls shouldn't get punished. Everyone makes mistakes and they have probably gone through a lot already, but life in prison is not even called for. So that means they should put everyone on YouTube in prison? Sometimes you have to forgive and love your enemy just like your friend because even though they did it I know that they are sorry. But life in prison is not the answer.
Kindra, 18, Florida
That still makes me mad. We're supposed to be nice to our fellow man / woman.
Raven, 15, Nevada *
What happened with those cheerleaders is absolutely sick. I think that they should be in jail for a very, very long time. No one deserves a beating like that poor girl got.
Emily, 19, Newfoundland *
I'm absolutely sickened by it! That's terrible! I think they should get years in jail, not months. They really humiliated and hurt that girl! That's a serious attack/assault they committed.
I would like them to get some severe punishment, even if that means life. It will teach other teens to not do the same thing, or life in jail will be their future too. People are so cruel these days.
Danielle, 16, New York *
Yes, I heard about that. In fact, there was a big debate type thing at my house about it. I personally think that it was very wrong. No matter what someone says about you or to you, you have no right to punish them physically!! I was so upset when I read the article about it, and I almost cried when I watched the video on YouTube. But also when I watched the video on YouTube, I thought, This is what they wanted! They wanted to be "MySpace famous" and "YouTube famous" - that was their point in making the video. So it also made me upset at the fact that they got what they wanted.
As for the mom of one of the girls who was being rude about the entire thing, that was absolutely shocking. I knew that some adults acted like kids, but never in my life did I think not only an adult but a parent would support something as terrible as this!
Also, people say that MySpace and YouTube should be responsible and that they should be shut down. But no they shouldn't, because it's not all the teenagers on MySpace and YouTube acting this way - it's some of them! And if parents took control and checked after their kids and taught them how to handle situations like someone talking about them or whatever, then it wouldn't happen. I'm not saying parents are to blame, but I do think they are partly to blame! That's my opinion on the matter, and it's crazy because every time I talk about this event, it makes me upset because look at what our world is coming to!
Tramaine, 13, North Carolina *
I think that it wasn't Victoria Lindsay's fault. Who in their right mind would do this to a person? I know we all have people we dislike or maybe even hate ... but to go to the extreme of this is too much, and over a MySpace comment. What is the teenage world coming to?? If anyone can answer that for me, please do.
Lorimar, 17, California
I am a cheerleader, and I think those girls were wrong for doing that. People already think of cheerleaders in a bad way, and that is just making it worse. Cheerleaders are supposed to be role models for the school, not going around beating the crap out of someone.
Amanda, 15, Arizona
Seeing that I am closing my freshman year in high school, I find what those cheerleaders did to that poor girl TERRIBLE! Going to a coed Catholic school, I have experienced so much drama. Girls can be fake, but so can boys. They can be mean and rude for no reason at all. Reading a book by its cover is what it's all about in high school. You look at someone and immediately you hate them. It's a vicious cycle.
Most likely the girl who was beaten was a victim of this cycle. The cheerleaders hated her because of what she wore, how she spoke, how she walked, what she looked like, who she was friends with, etc. And most likely the girl had not learned how to face such a cycle in the right way. Her only way out seemed to be revenge. Because of this cycle of hate, she probably spread nasty rumors on her MySpace, thinking the girls would leave her alone once she fought back. But the stereotype of most cheerleaders - which for the most part isn't true - is that they can never stand being called names. They can't stand to be hurt when they are the ones who are supposed to do the hurting. Though this stereotype is not usually true, these girls were most likely stereotypical. So they fought back.
I think the parents and the people who are involved should be blamed. The parents of the hazers for letting the rule of "treat others as you would like to be treated" go on deaf ears. The kids are obviously to blame, but the girl who was beaten was as well. She should have reported abuse, and she definitely should have NEVER fought back in the way she did [using MySpace].
MySpace and YouTube are not to blame. It is not their fault that someone hazed another on their sites. They have no control over what is put on someone's profile. I think it is more the people who are to blame, and that most definitely the people involved should be tried as adults. If they are old enough to make such terrible decisions, they are old enough to deal with the consequences.
Tess, 14, Florida *
I'm from a city around the Polk County area, and I remember hearing about this video the first time it hit our local news. It's amazing how [news of] such violence can spread all the way to Massachusetts!
<3 Chelsea, 15, Florida *
What are your thoughts on what happened in Polk County, Florida? Tell us!
You may use the form below to comment on any aspect of this situation, or respond to any of the following:
Has anything similar happened at your school? If so, what happened? What does this say about teen girl society? About parenting? Should internet sites such as MySpace and YouTube bear any responsibility? Has the desire for recognition for posting something outrageous on such sites gone too far? Should the girls and boys be tried as adults? What is the proper punishment for their actions? What would you say to these girls? To the girl who was attacked? Socially speaking, what do you think their futures look like if and when they are allowed to return to school? Should they be allowed to return to the same high school at any future point? Have they ruined their lives? Greatly damaged their futures?
Please be sure to provide your first name, age, and state!