Bullying sucks

Every so often one of those Facebook status spams annoys me enough that I can’t keep ignoring it. Tonight’s gripe comes to you courtesy of the spate of anti-bullying sentiment doing the rounds in response to the video of a bullied kid lashing out at his tormentor.

Here’s the status spam in question:

The girl you just called fat, she is starving herself and has lost over 15kgs. The boy you just called stupid, he has a learning disability and studies over 4hrs a night. The girl you just called ugly, she spends hours in the mirror putting on makeup hoping people will like her. The boy you just tripped, is abused enough at home. There is more to people than you think. Put this as your status if you’re against bullying.

This makes me really uncomfortable because there’s an implication that it’s the acts of losing weight, of studying many hours, of trying to fit the beauty ideal and of being already abused that make it not ok to bully these people.

No, no, no, a thousand times no. 

It’s not ok to bully anyone irrespective of whether they perform conformity or whether they have an otherwise happy existence and it disturbs me to see something like this being posted and reposted without any questioning of the assumptions that lie behind the argument.

We need to do much, much better than this.

9 thoughts on “Bullying sucks

  1. abosultely.and posting a status doesn't do anything useful either which is another reason why it is so pathetic.

  2. Hell yes Mim.I don't like chain statuses anyway in general because I don't like having a cut-and-paste attitude to personal ethics, (That said I do in fact absorb a lot of ideas from blogs and Mum and Dad and tend to parrot a fair bit)But you are so right.It IS good to practise an attitude of mindfulness that what you see is not necessarily what is really going on, and so I can see the superficial appeal of such statements, but when you rightly challenge the assumptions then made, it doesn't look so nice.Really, the logical conclusion to that statement is that it IS ok to trip someone who ISN'T abused at home, etc.I came from a fairly ordinary middle-class family, both parents public servants, (although now Dad is a massage therapist and has a world music radio programme on community radio! – we lived in the suburbs and we stuck out like sore thumbs. For some reason, we just ate slightly differently? Dressed slightly differently? Thought differently? Or SOMETHING indefinable and so a few of my brothers and sisters and I were bullied. Some were lucky and just made good friends and kept them. But I without being fat, without being uglier than the next skinny freckled gawky kid with a bad haircut, without having a learning disability, without having an abusive family, was bullied and beaten up to the point where I truly loathed myself and it has taken me until pretty well NOW to finally accept that people spend time with me because they enjoy it, and not just because they are being polite or feel sorry for me.So yes, I really appreciate what you have written.

  3. I certainly expect my own 12 and 13 year old children to grasp it. Not knowing who the original author was I can't say I expected anything of them in particular but as the people I saw posting the status were neither 14 years old nor unaware of 'that kind of discourse' I stand by what I've said.

  4. Seriously, you can't honestly expect the 14 year old who originally wrote this with GREAT intentions to be able to grasp that kind of discourse. This post is ever so slightly elitist; I hope the irony is not lost on you Miriam.I think 'dont judge before you know' is what this post gets at, a lovely sentiment and your 'no no no' is unnecessarily negative and condescending.

  5. I absolutely agree with you and felt the same way when I saw this status. It definitely isn't something I wanted to repost in solidarity with bullied people.It's like it means it's okay not to bully somebody if they are trying their hardest to conform to the arbitrary standard set.No thanks.

  6. I thought the same thing when this meme was making its way through my Facebook wall. Thank you for putting why it discomfited me into such eloquent words.

  7. Mim, I have just found this…I've been away from the blogosphere for a while! Just wanted to add my voice to those agreeing with you. And to add that I too would expect my 11 and 15 year olds to grasp this concept. My 8 year old may struggle a little, but that is why we discuss these types of issues with him.On a different note – I soooo hate chain statuses no matter what the topic. I'm not interested in reading the same thing posted over and over. I want to read my friends' original thoughts. I also hate the emotional blackmail/ guilt factor of such things. I hate the implication that those of us who choose not to repost don't care about cancer/bullying/love our kids etc. I know I can choose to ignore but it still really bugs me! Vent over!!

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