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Exploring the curious subculture of Facebook girl groups

Words by Nicole La Ruffa
Illustration by TWYLAMAE

We keep our friends close, and 137,000 strangers even closer.

Times are a changin’. Our problems are getting too tricky for our best friends, work pals, mums or dogs. It seems instead, we’re either growing more bewildered or life is getting much, much harder (I’ll let you decide on that one).

And that’s okay, because girl groups aren’t just for our Spotify playlists, or epic four-person Halloween costumes. Facebook girl groups are a thing, and they’re thriving.

And by thriving, I do mean thriving. Some groups boast up to 137,000 members.

I’m not going to expose the ins-and-outs of these groups, mainly on the grounds of snitches get stitches (and I’ve been stitch-free since ‘97). But for the uninitiated, it’s like every single member holds the key to world knowledge.

So, we must ask ourselves: Are there any problems that our Facebook gal pals can’t solve?

Let’s discuss.

At surface level, female-only discussion pages are a collection of every single drama you could ever conjure up. A giant sleepover with 10,000+ guests that all use Bondi Sands and need tips for removing it from the sheets.

And that’s not to discredit the real dramas and life problems that people face, just the ones that could probably be answered by a quick Google, or a text to mum.

Imagine a dreamy compilation of all the hard-hitting questions you’ve always wanted to know:

Do nipple piercings hurt?

How much gluten can my body take? (I’m coeliac)

Outfit pic number 1 or 2? (Important)

If you’re already opening up the Facebook app to jump aboard this revolutionary question-and-answer train, you better put on the breaks. Despite the rainbows-and-sunshine inclusiveness that these groups promote, they need to consider granting you access first. In fact, some require you to fill out a mini questionnaire for them while your membership request is pending. It’s pretty much the virtual equivalent of having to tell a fun fact about yourself at a group interview, and we all know how that goes down.

I must admit, I am a liiittle bit hurt by the rejection that I’m sometimes met with, especially when that rejection is based on not enjoying pineapple on my pizza (don’t even get me started).

Grab a megaphone and shout it from the rooftops, people: Girl-power and exclusivity don’t go hand-in-hand.

For all the closed-book kind of gals, the thought of turning to the public about a weird mark on your left boob probably makes you very, very sweaty. And posting it in such a large forum might just have you stuffing tissues between your ’pits.

Why do people do it, then?

Psychology Today explains oversharing as a boundary overstep by people with a false sense of intimacy. I think it’s ’cos it reels in the likes, and we all know that likes and validation helps keep Tinkerbell alive.

So, what are the downsides? If you’re in one of these groups, you may have scrolled past the odd controversy, or two. On the more disturbing side, the privacy line has been blurred with not-so-user-friendly images.

Last year, the ‘Bad Girls Advice’ group received some media backlash for sharing graphic dude pics, and way-too-specific sexual recounts about easily-searchable people. According to news.com.au, these images were posted without consent, ‘many of them the subject of ridicule by the female members’. Now, you’ll find many of these pages governed by a set of rules to keep it a strict dick pic-free zone. The consequences of breaking these? Banishment and shame.

Another thing that doesn’t fly in girl land, is ‘posting for a friend’ without scrubbing out the name that appears in the screen capped Snapchat conversation. You gotta protect the privacy of the girl asking whether Donald Glover and Childish Gambino are the same person, otherwise, she’d probably be pushed off the face of the earth.

However, you can always expect to find a post about someone’s relationship drama, which typically ensues a 500-word scrutinisation in the comments (complete with Harvard references).en

‘Cos if the Spice Girls taught us anything, it’s that you’ve gotta get with my friends. Now, you’ve got to seek the approval of Melbourne’s entire female population, whose job is to decipher your 3am drunken message.

Are we oversharing? Yes, without a doubt. But in hindsight, there’s probably nothing wrong with it. As long as you’re following girl-code, and not dragging anybody down with you in the process, keep being open and honest about your feelings. More power to you.

Just stop talking about the pineapples on pizza thing.

They don’t belong.  

 

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