What exactly is bullying? Is it a harsh comment in the workplace, a threat of violence in the playground or is it simply a manager forcing you to do something you don’t want to do.
I guess a bully thinks they can influence or intimidate someone into doing something because they are generally bigger or perhaps more powerful. See, I think most people think of bullying as something that happens to children at school, but it’s not, bullying can take place in any point in your life. Bullies thrive on those that are different.
It’s like that scene in Mean Girls, Hands up those that have had something bad said about them behind their backs at some point, most hands go up, and then it’s asked if they’ve personally said something bad about someone and again most hands go up. People get bullied and some of us were bullies. I myself had a rather terrible time at school with bullies, being overweight and shy made me a target to others, never physical bullying but I guess words hurt just as much.
Although, I do think that this bullying made me the person I am today, I lost (most of the) weight, became more confident and generally don’t really take shit from anyone these days. So I wonder, would I have become this person if it wasn’t for the bullying? Or would I have been different entirely.
Bullying however had an adverse effect on me too, I sadly became the bully!! See when you’re getting targeted yourself, it became a case of survival for me by trying to pass the attention onto someone else, and at the time it was the only Gay guy in the school.
At this point in my life I didn’t know I was Gay, heck I don’t even think I knew what being Gay meant, but I knew that it made you different and that it was my way out of the bullying I was facing, taking advantage of someone else’s differences made me less noticeable. It made me invisible.
…taking advantage of someone else’s differences made me less noticeable. It made me invisible.
Now I think back I can’t believe I took part in the name calling and taunting, just because of someone else’s differences and because it took the heat of me for a little time. It’s quite ironic now thinking back how I myself am a proud Gay person, but at the time of me being bullied, I mocked the person for being Gay and didn’t stand up for them.
What I guess my point is, is that no one deserves to be bullied for who they are, and we need to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. No one stood up for me, and no one stood up for the Gay kid who I let be bullied and mocked. I just wish that there had been someone to stand up for us, all it takes is one person.
Most recently, I saw the video of a man being racially abused on a tram in Manchester by two local youths. Taunts of ‘get back to Africa’ were made to this individual on the tram and what I found interesting was nobody said anything in his defence until the youths throw beer on the man and it hits a baby!
Now, am I wrong but why should it take an act like this for people to say something, or stand up for the man? Intimidation or a perceived fear of violence towards them? I guess this is the similar point that I myself practiced over 10 years ago at school, you don’t want the bully to pick on you and as long as it’s not hurting you then you pretend to ignore what’s taking place right in front of you. Right or wrong this seems to be the world we live in currently.
…you pretend to ignore what’s taking place right in front of you.
Today’s #Standuptobullying campaign is great, and important people like Prince William speaking on behalf of the charity is a great start, similar to the recent Attitude Magazine work where he met with people from within the LGBT+ community to discuss the issues of bullying and mental health. All vital steps to end hatred and bullying.
However, I think there is a much needed debate on us as a country, the #Brexit vote recently seems to have provoked radical hatred and racism in small minorities of the country and I think it’s a sad state of affairs when a girl at school is getting asked by her class mates when she is going back to her own country.
Children aren’t born homophobic, zenophobic, racist or intolerable of other peoples differences, these are thoughts’ instilled into them from family members, friends and the world around us, breeding a new generation of hatred.
Let’s try to remember difference is good, if everyone was the same life would be boring. Maybe standing out isn’t so bad after all.
Until next time…