The Amy Joyner-Francis Attack And Our Culture Of Competition, Bullying Between Women For The Affection Of Men

May 10, 2016  |  

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After three weeks of investigation, police in Delaware have decided to charge three teen girls for their roles in a high school bathroom beatdown, which resulted in the death of Amy Joyner-Francis late last month.

According to NBC 10 Philadelphia, one of the girls has been charged with criminal negligence homicide while the other two girls will be charged with criminal conspiracy. As reported, only one of the girls actually fought Joyner-Francis while the other two were involved in the planning of the attack.

Investigators with the Delaware Department of Justice said Joyner-Francis died from cardiac arrest due to large atrial septal defect with a contributing factor of “physical and emotional stress due to the fight.” They also said the Medical Examiner’s autopsy did not detect any internal injuries or significant blunt-force injuries.

According to the NBC affiliate’s report, “In layman’s terms, the Medical Examiner determined that Amy died from a cardiac incident that she was vulnerable to because of a pre-existing heart condition, but the cardiac incident would not have occurred if she had not been assaulted.”

I know a lot of people are pleased with this update. What happened to Joyner-Francis was nothing short of an ugly and preventable tragedy. And to think that it all (allegedly) started over a boy.

Still, I don’t know if I can celebrate the news – like so many have been doing – considering that there are four lives that have been destroyed behind this incident.

Yes, I am counting the perpetrators as victims, too. Yes, I know they were culpable in her death. Yes, I believe there should be consequences. But I also believe the teen girls who viciously attacked Joyner-Francis are victims, too.

How Sway? I’m glad you asked.

Well, because we live in a culture that regularly perpetuates both competition and violent bullying between women for the affection of men.

I’m talking about the never-ending side chick vs. main chick wars.

We see it on reality television. We watch it in movies, too. Heck, we even preach it in church.

It’s almost fashionable to hate the other woman for allegedly messing with “our” men. I would even go as far as to say that it is even expected.

We take glee in calling her out for being a “slut.” We ostracize, plot and will eventually carry out physical harm to her. We even make hour-long music videos with special segments where we debase her. Hello, Lemonade.

And we enlist others to gang up, ostracize and attack her as well. Let me say that again: Hello, Lemonade. We literally spent an entire two weeks applauding and signifying what basically amounts to a main chick anthem centered around giving “dust” to the “Becky with the good hair.”

And yet, many of us do not see the irony in condemning these young women to long prison sentences for basically doing what we culturally are taught to do.

Again, I’m not saying that the girls are without fault here. There are consequences. I’m just saying that before we pass around this story, talking about “When will these young girls learn?” remember who they are watching and learning from.

Charing Ball is a writer, cultural critic, free-thinker, slick-mouth feminist and bonafide troublemaker from Philadelphia. To read more of her writing, visit

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