Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family and Consumer Sciences

First Advisor

Yvonne Gentzler

Second Advisor

Francine H. Hultgren

Third Advisor

Beverly Kruempel


In this hermeneutic phenomenological study, I explore the lived experience of 5 middle school girls in grades 5-9, who have experienced bullying. My question for this study asks, "What is the lived experience of adolescent girls who have experienced female bullying?" The metaphor of queenbees and wannabees has helped me understand adolescent ways of being in the world as they have been bullied. In addition, understanding the lived experience of female bullying is developed through the exploration of the phenomenological life-world themes of body, time, space, and relationality. The theme of body is examined through physical being, emotional being, and intellectual being. Lived time is explored as these females experience bullying and their perception of bullying. The theme of space surfaces from where and how they have been bullied, to the spaces in which they feel threatened or safe. The life-world of relationality is explicated through the peers and adults who surround these middle school girls. The in--depth conversations with the researcher focused on the continuing, daily experiences of these female adolescents.;Themes that emerged from the text of the conversations disclose deeper meanings of what it means to be bullied: the deep desire to belong to a group; the feeling of being invisible, which includes the longing to have "new stuff;" the exclusion that accompanies being different; the helplessness of being cyber-bullied; the mighty sting of the queenbee, and the silent code language. These adolescents are, indeed, swimming in uncharted waters. I admire these brave adolescents for sharing their stories with me.;And as busy as teachers may be, they need to recognize female bullying and the many forms of it hidden under the radar. Educators should encourage students to tell them when they have been bullied, or when they have been a witness to a bullying incident. Bullying occurs primarily at schools: the hallways, the classrooms, the playground, and while riding the bus. It is left to the legal system to answer the questions that arise from cyber-bullying that is meted out by the bully from home. Educators need to take action regarding the bully; middle school girls have the right to feel safe at school. Without the feeling of safety it will be difficult for adolescent females to reach their full potential. This study has created new pedagogical possibilities for viewing the experience of female bullying including implications for teacher in--service and school bullying policies.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

DeAnn Valorie Miller



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

212 pages