Daria and other rebels

In comments to Lauredhel’s post about the princessification of Dora the Explorer, Helen and I have been discussing other animated girl characters whom we enjoy. We’re both fans of Daria, whom Helen epitomises beautifully as “dry as dust”.


Daria is enduring high school until she can get away to further studies outside her conformist suburban community. She’s not into fashion enough to be either goth or emo, but she’s far more in sympathy with those kids than with the princess crowd of cheerleaders and ruthless fashionistas. She has a wide range of pithy putdowns for those sort of pretensions, although the show makes sure that Daria doesn’t have all the answers herself, and is occasionally embarrassed by her own assumptions. Well balanced show in my opinion.

Anyway, I’ve just suggested it to my daughter the tigling as an antidote to the popular-girl(PG) clique that she’s finding an irritation at school. They are annoyingly affected (they all screamed recreationally during the thunderclaps yesterday) and now one is mildly bullying her verbally.

See, the tigling took some bubble mixture into school last week, thinking to have a little fun in some class where they were going to have some free time, and this popular-girl(PG) freaked out about being allergic to the mixture. Tigling is skeptical, as none* of PG’s friends backed her up about this being a known allergy. Since then PG has asked Tigling every day “did you bring in that bubble mixture today? It could kill me you know” with an accusatory sneer. Tigling says she’s just been shrugging it off with a polite negative (after the first “of course not, you told me you were allergic”). I suggested she practice the following line to her mirror, utterly deadpan:

“Yes, I’ve brought a litre of industrial strength concentrate so that I can cover your entire body with bubbles and (widen eyes and lower voice) watch you die.”

Do you think that this might effectively convey to PG the idea that she’s been milking this allergy claim just a little bit too long?

* Perhaps the rest of the PG clique aren’t agreeing with her choice of tigling as a target of PG disdain with a probably bogus allergy claim, and this lack of approval has made her stubborn, thus she’s still clinging to the daily reminder. If this is the case I’m glad that the tigling is not widely viewed as ripe for bullying, but sad for whoever the clique will target instead.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, relationships, Sociology

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27 replies

  1. I love the comment about the industrial strength bubble mixture but be aware that PG sounds like just the sort to report the Tigling “threatened to KILL me”.
    Many elementary educators would have to listen as there seems to be an official no-irony policy working most places.

  2. Thankfully in Australia we have a tradition of larrikinism which has largely inoculated us against such no-irony policies, and such a line would be generally appreciated enough that the PG would be too embarrassed to report it with such a spin, because if she did would get The Look of Exasperation from the principal.

    As the tigling would not,in fact, have a litre of bubble concentrate in her bag, that would be the end of it.

  3. Yeah, while the ‘watch you die’ would be very satisfying, I suspect it could land the Tigling in hot water. Maybe a “No, are you still going on about that?” or something similar might be effective? Or the perennial ‘build a bridge and get over it’. Or even ‘grow up’. But I do like your suggestion.

  4. Glad to hear that schools are more progressive these days then.

  5. Well, I’ve never heard of someone getting into trouble for something ludicrous like threatening someone with bubbles (people don’t have anaphylactic allergies to detergent, do they? Skin rashes, sure, but anaphylaxis? With none of her friends supporting her that she does in fact have such a lifethreatening allergy?).
    Anyway, the tigling thinks just ignoring her is getting the PG’s goat sufficiently for the moment, and she’s not happy enough with her delivery of the line yet, but likes the concept of having it in reserve. So I don’t think there’s much danger of her delivering the line today.
    If I’m wrong about the possibility of anaphylaxis I’ll advise her not to use the line, but even if it’s theoretically possible I’m pretty sure the PG’s alleged allergy is entirely fictional.

  6. That’s a great line. 🙂 And as you’ve pointed out already, it’s quite culturally appropriate here in Australia.
    My favourite Daria line: “I don’t have low self-esteem. I have low esteem for everyone else.”

  7. There was an article recently about how a lot of bullying is either tolerated or ignored – especially girl-girl bullying
    Good to see your daughter standing up for herself and knowing that she should pick her battles.

  8. that is, tolerated or ignored by school staff.

  9. Beppie, that is indeed one of the best lines. HOWEVER, in order to get the Daria style right you have to be naturally QUICK in thinking which, unfortunately, was never my case. I would get bullied and then, after days have passed, a response would finally come to mind, though it would usually be along the lines of
    “Oh… yeah?”

  10. Good on her for having the skill of ignoring someone at such a young age. Ignoring bad behaviour is probably the most potent weapon a teenager has, but also the most difficult to master. But when you do, god it’s satisfying to see the bully seething. Makes you feel so much more empowered. From then it’s reasonably easy to get to the ‘really don’t care anymore’ nirvana. Go the Tigling!

  11. Daria is my absolute favorite! Yessss.

  12. Tigtog, I wouldn’t advocate that approach at all. Larrikinism might be an accepted thing in Australia, but not (from my experience) amongst teenage girls. While she might well escape adult wrath, the PG would be happy to watch her have to explain herself. Fabulous entertainment!
    One of my offspring experienced some grief earlier this year after she repeated a conversation we’d had at home about young girls in sexualised clothing being at risk of unwanted attention, and about keeping safe in mixed groups or on unsupervised Thursday night shopping expeditions (paraphrased: if you dress like a slapper you might be taken for one). The PG in question passed this one to her own father who rang the school wanting to know why my family had it in for his daughter and why my husband had said she’d be pregnant at 14. Which, of course is not what was said. It took a whole week of principal-parent conversations to finally agree on that, but the PG-queen had a wonderful time basking in the attention of the other PGs.
    If you think the tigling’s PG wouldn’t repeat the line to an adult you’d be mistaken.
    I’m with Mindy – hard as it might be, ignoring the princess is the best weapon, short term and long term.

  13. Ah, you can take the woman off the standup circuit, but you can’t take the staudup out of her! Punchlines are all.
    The tigling appreciated the concept of the line, she even appreciated the concept of rehearsing it to get it down right, but that doesn’t mean that she plans to deliver it. That’s probably down to a lack of performance confidence rather than the possible consequences we’ve discussed today, but I plan to mention them to her tomorrow morning.
    Just because I, in my iconoclastic middle age, would be comfortable saying that doesn’t mean that she should be, and I totally made that clear. I came up with the line just to make her laugh about it, really.
    I don’t necessarily think that with this particular principal the consequences would be as dire as some of you suggest, but it’s a possibility worth considering, and I would be negligent not to let the tigling know about the possibility.
    If secretly contemplating the line helps her composure during the ignoring though? I’m all for that.

  14. “Did you bring the bubble stuff today?”
    “I don’t remember. It might be in my backpack. Can you hold it for me while I look? (Look) Oh, damnit, it’s leaked all over everything. Make sure you wash your hands.”
    I’ve gotta endorse the recommendation of Daria. In fact, I’ll even cop to having had a cartoon-crush on Jane. Daria’s pretty much a role model for anyone who feels like a misfit, but who doesn’t like to smoke weed and doesn’t have the musical ability or inclination to join the marching band.

  15. love daria. Love Daria. Loooove.
    Why oh why isn’t it on DVD yet? crap quality downloads just don’t do it.

  16. mela, does the quality of the DivX downloads available from stage6.divx.com not do it for you? They can be very good, depending on who did the encoding.
    Now contemplating the potential for a bubble-wand to be classed as an offensive weapon…

  17. I’m watching Daria right now. God I hate Quinn…
    As for princessifying Dora the Explorer – all I can say is ‘vomit’. God, what would you do if you had a daughter like Quinn? You’d have to kill yourself.

  18. All of this is pretty much why my friend’s niece wants to do year 9 by correspondence.

  19. Jane was even cooler, happily passing on her dorky Tom, than Daria, despite (because?) of having mostly absent hippie-dippie parents & siblings.
    Favourite quote was Daria’s “I didn’t like kids when I was a kid..”

  20. I’d say the Principal would roll his eyes and get over it, it’s the other girls parents who could cause issues. It sounds like the Tigling has her head screwed on right though. Actually, a really good coping thing I was taught was to imagine that the other person is a big angry wobbly jelly. Sounds ridiculous, but it really works. Although it is difficult to keep a straight face when they are going at you. But sucks all the power straight out of them and makes it much easier to deal with.
    Daria was on this morning when we turned the TV on at 6.20am. It will probably cycle around to being on in the afternoons again soon.

  21. Daria has been on the abc in the afternoons (forget which day) for the past couple of weeks. It must get a good response because they’ve repeated it about 3 times now. Love Daria. I heart Mr Dimartino and the headmistress is an especially fine portrait. Particularly loved the episode where the school was sponsored in return for flogging soft drinks.

  22. su, yay! I’ll have to check the TV guide.

  23. Darn it; 5.25pm yesterday. Missed that one.
    Speaking of great role models for girls, I will never forgive the producers of Dalziel and Pascoe for demonising Ellie Pascoe. I loved that woman. Don’t care if they were just scripting from the novels (I haven’t read all of them), her character was brilliant and I have had the snits with D&P ever since she left. My hardened little heart rejoices that the show took a steep nose dive afterwards.

  24. Re: Ellie Pascoe – no, Hill isn’t to blame, the writers of the TV series took a marked departure from the books in regards to both her personality and events between her and Peter. It’s a crying shame, because Ellie has got to be one of the most interesting, well-rounded female characters in popular literature, and the actress who played her on the series was (is) excellent. Silly producers.

  25. To be fair, the producers were stuck between a rock and a hard place with Susannah Corbett wanting to move on to other roles (as well as writing children’s books and doing some standup). They obviously didn’t feel they could recast the part (which would have been the better move to my eye, to keep the series more true to the books).
    They probably hoped that they’d win Corbett back to a regular recurring role, but instead they’ve only managed to get her to do a very occasional guest appearance since she quit D&P in 2000.
    It’s a hard decision when you’ve got fans of a show who’ve never read the books, have no investment in the character arc according to canon, but who are really attached to the actor playing the part. They would have been better to trust to the audience becoming accustomed to a new Ellie, in my opinion, but their options were limited.

  26. Oh- all fascinating background thanks Tynic and tigtog. The one book of the series I had read was a more recent one with a wonderful literary twist and featuring my favourite villain Fran Root. Susannah Corbett was absolutely wonderful. Will have to look around for what she has been doing since. One of the (slightly) more humorous moments of my marital tribulations occurred when my partner turned to me and said, with an accusatory tone, “You really identify with that character don’t you?.” So Susannah and her Ellie hold a special place in my affections.
    Off on a tangent; I started reading Thomas Hardy again and was immediately rewarded with this description of a young woman, once poverty-stricken, now elevated to a position enabling her to indulge in a more fashionable appearance; “… for in former days she had perhaps been too impersonally human to be distinctively feminine.”
    Of course his intended meaning is somewhat different to my interpretation but still it strikes a cord; something to do with the incompatibility of being simultaneously one’s entire self and acceptably ‘feminine’.

  27. I was googling something Daria-related and this came up! I am also a great fan and miss that gorgeous monotone. I hope all is right with your daughter.
    Chally’s last blog post..The Target Women and Sarah Haskins round-up

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