Female Bitchiness and Unsisterly Behaviour – An Evolutionary Explanation

This is an interesting look at a very real problem…. what do you think?



“Bitchy” girl behaviour is hard-wired in the female brain according to a study by Psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt  from University of Ottawa in Canada.

Young women are innately bitchy and behave badly towards other women they perceive as sexy. Instead of physically confronting a rival, however, they use verbal war-fare and petty vendettas. They give their opponent withering glances; incite other women to make bitchy comments behind her back; humiliate and belittle her; spread rumours about her; suggest they’re promiscuous and try to socially exclude her.   This behaviour is well known in culture and literature, for example by Jane Austen and Shakespeare, but why does it happen?  It seems this indirect aggression — what we call “bitchiness” — has an evolutionary origin.  Women have to learn ways to compete with other females to find suitable males with whom to reproduce. “Bitchy” behaviour is hard-wired in the female brain.

In Vaillancourt’s study, 86 women aged…

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  1. It all rather makes sense. I didn’t “get offended” at any of it, though the part ‘Women will also dislike other promiscuous women because they have a general interest in increasing the scarcity of sex, which increases their negotiating power with men.’ was a bit disappointing. I’ve always disliked the idea of using sex as a tool. At least this gives a evolutionary reason.

    • Yes, I thought it gave an interesting explanation to several behaviors which have been perplexing to me before… Glad you were not offended. and I agree, sex should not be used as a tool…

      It should be noted that sex as a tool is a perfectly natural thing to do according to this article: http://www.zmescience.com/research/how-scientists-tught-monkeys-the-concept-of-money-not-long-after-the-first-prostitute-monkey-appeared/

      • Now, that is fascinating. Along with the stealing. We sure haven’t evolved very far, have we?

        • Some days I plant my face so hard into my palm it hurts. I truly believe that we have a couple of recessive genes which intermittently throw our brains back in time by 115 thousand years… once it’s caused us to do something truly stupid, it reverts back to normal.

          • Ha! I’ve done some dammed stupid things myself, does that mean there is no hope for me? 🙂

            • I don’t think we’re hopeless… just not often headed in the right direction, or not often enough. War instead of space explore, business success instead of global welfare excess… the list goes on. We still often act like we’re afraid there won’t be enough bananas or good places to sleep if we don’t lie, cheat, and steal….

              • I know chimpanzees have wars. Do any other primates, other than humans?

                • http://athena09.hubpages.com/hub/War-and-Terrorism-in-the-Animal-Kingdom

                  Violence and war for turf and food and survival are common among all life forms on this planet. No species voluntarily submits to death or starvation in deference to another.

                  The ocean floors and oceans are nothing but war, one species upon another and against their own.

                  Life eats life eats life eats life and this is very necessary.

                  It is we enlightened apes who claim to be better than this then demonstrate quite the opposite.

                  To define war as only the organized way in which human apes fight is to incorrectly understand war. This is the planet of the apes, the hairless apes.

                  The difference is that humans learned to group better, use tools, and seek to grow larger groups requiring larger territory… this tactic meant better survival for the groups who could get larger and leads to warfare as we humans know how to do it… wholesale style.

                  • But…it’s the ones with loads of bananas who seem to want more these days. Sigh.

                    If I take this opinion on ‘bitchiness’ as fact, I wonder how wars would be if the females were in charge? Be an interesting science fiction story idea.

                    • Indeed it would, and has been over the years. There are a few examples in real life of female leaders on the world stage. I like stories like that…

                    • Me too! I’m just wondering how that ‘bitchiness’ would equate to a normal use of power. Hmm.

                      I never got given that attitude much, by the way. Not sure why. Did you?

                    • I’m not actually in the target group. I’m just observant of the people and world around me. I see it all the time… it is an integral part of social interactions that most people simply overlook.

                      Ever see the movie ‘mean girls’ ?

                    • But how do other women know you aren’t part of the target group without knowing you personally? I know why not, but only because you told us 🙂 I used to be really pretty and disgustingly thin, but I still don’t recall being treated that way. Maybe I’m just oblivious.

                      Hell no, I avoid that type of film! Should I have?

                    • You wanted to know what women would do if they were in charge of wars? They are certainly no better than men… this is just a sample of how women can think and behave…

                      In most cases it’s quite subtle in modern civilized life. You can research it, but most of the preening that women do is not for men… it’s to avoid negative attention from other women.


                    • I’m confused a bit. The article said the woman who was dressed provocatively got negative comments. So why would women dress up for other women? Maybe only as safety in a group doing the same dress? I’m afraid I’ve never had much experience in doing any of that.

                    • My understanding is that social status is linked to dress in common social settings. ‘She doesn’t even try’ or ‘look at her’ is the attitude from others they try to avoid. To be in public and not dressed for ‘success’ is seen in a negative light, so women will dress up to run to the corner store for a gallon of milk or stay home and do without if dressing is too much effort. The papparazzi have ensured that looking frumpy is a no-no. I also see that women judge others on social interaction… any breach of etiquette is noted. A delicate dance for those trying to participate. Those that dont’ care to participate are noted also, and negatively as well. It makes being around a group of women a general pain in the ass, and not really worth the efforts taken or required… at least IMO.

                    • Yikes. I’m pretty crap at any sort of social skills. I’m so happy to be working with all men where we call each other assholes all day and no one gets offended.

                    • Indeed… the social dynamics get messed when there is a certain mix of genders… good that you are happy where you are

                    • I’m just crap at that sort of thing. Do your observations help you, or do you observe fora different reason? I think I just miss things.

                    • Being observant, it is how I ‘judge’ a person, by watching their interactions and focus. You can tell a lot about someone by what they focus on and how they interact with others… if the cost of a latte is their main focus they are in a shallow state and focused on themselves… for instance. If their conversation is mostly about what they think bad of others, they’re likely to have low self esteem and so on. Observing people can tell you a lot at times. Finding the interesting conversations takes a bit of being picky…

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