A few months ago, I asked people for ideas on things they’d like to see me write about. Every person who provided some input mentioned “bullying”. Recently, schools nationwide have been trying to do more and more to eliminate bullying as much as possible. October is National Bully Prevention month. With the recent death of Amanda Todd (whose story you can find here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/bullied-teen-amanda-todd-leaves-chilling-youtube-video/story?id=17463266#.UHrkD1GZEUQ ), I felt the final push I needed to start writing on this topic. As a very broad topic, there are many different things I could talk about when it comes to this subject. I’m going to narrow it down to three big parts, breaking this up into a three-part series. As part one, this entry will attempt to define the types of bullying that exist today. Throughout the series, I will be including facts from recent studies as well as incorporating some of my personal experiences.
My first understanding of what a bully was came when I was around five years old, watching the TV show “Arthur”. One of the characters, Binky Barnes, stands out as the bully of the show. As soon as Binky enters the scene, the music gets darker and a large kid with clenched fists and a scowl on his face stomps into the shot. He grabs people by their shirt collars, demanding lunch money or other goods/services. This idea of a bully was engraved into my mind, and hadn’t changed until around fifth grade. In fifth grade, I was transitioning to the next level of schooling and was worried I’d meet a true bully like I’d seen in the show. When I didn’t see a hefty bully stuffing people into lockers, lifting someone up by their shirt demanding lunch money, or standing in the corner with a velvet jacket and a toothpick in their mouth, I realized my perception of a bully was too narrow.
The truth is, bullying and therefore bullies are everywhere. As a child, I pictured a bully as a big kid who stole toys from kids and kicked dirt in their face. But as I grew up, I realized just about anyone, regardless of appearance or size, could have bullying tendencies. People of all ages and background can be involved in some sort of bullying actions. But what exactly is bullying? According to stopbullying.gov, bullying can be divided into three different classifications: Physical, verbal, and social bullying.
Physical bullying is the bullying I saw on TV as a child; generally the most easily identifiable act of bullying and is sometimes, though not always, the type that can most easily be stopped by bystanders. This includes, but is not limited to, taking and or breaking things of other’s, hitting/pushing, and making rude hand gestures. Growing up, I was only physically bullied on a few occasions. For instance, in elementary school, I once was pinned and held to the school-bus floor against my will. My way of dealing with it at the time was laughing, a seemingly appropriate defense mechanism. Growing up as a guy, I’ve pushed and been pushed around by other guys in a joking matter, not actually trying to start anything. There have been instances, however, where I was on the receiving end of a few physical acts of violence that were much more hostile than your average joking shove. It gets the adrenaline going but, in my experience, nothing traumatic enough to make a lasting impact. Of course, this is nothing compared to the kid who gets jumped every day on her way home from school or the kid who doesn’t want to go to school because he knows the same kid is going to beat on him like every other day.
Verbal bullying is generally the second most easily identifiable act of bullying. Such instances include teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, and threatening to cause harm. One of the best examples of verbal bullying can be found in this clip from the movie, The Sandlot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVscCNZsYSY . This clip shows two kids name-calling and insulting the other back and forth. Most of the time, verbal bullying consists of one person insulting and the other taking it or trying to defend themselves. In order to defend themselves, some people choose to dish the bullying right back in what becomes a vicious cycle. We will save that concept for another day and, instead, continue focusing on merely defining the types of bullying. I’m sure we’ve all heard, been a victim, and/or been guilty of verbal bullying. This type of bullying is not just limited to direct statements, i.e. “Your mama’s so fat…” or “You’re so retarded, go kill yourself.” Most of the time, verbal bullying is done out of sarcasm. When a rather obese person mentions “I think I’m going to go to the gym today,” a sarcastic remark of “It’s about time” can be considered verbal bullying. It’s not the traditional name-calling (The victim wasn’t directly called fat) or teasing (The victim wasn’t directly insulted on his weight), instead it was implied that the man was being indirectly insulted by a sarcastic remark. All of the above examples are classified as verbal bullying.
The type of bullying that tends to be the least obvious to identify is social bullying. Though generally most popular with females, this type of bullying affects both genders of any background. The intent is to hurt someone’s relationships or reputation. Examples of social bullying include purposely leaving someone out of a group, spreading rumors about someone, and embarrassing someone in a public light. I’m sure if any of you have watched the movie Mean Girls, you have an idea of what I’m talking about. This tends to be one of the most indirect forms of bullying in which the bullying is not always done to the victim’s face; it can be done behind one’s back. Cyber-bullying is a big problem and falls under social bullying. Making insulting comments on Facebook or sending a hurtful text message either to a victim or about a victim to another person is not done face-to-face, but is still considered bullying. It seems these days that social bullying has become one of the most popular forms of bullying among younger people.
Bullies are no longer the hefty kid demanding lunch money. Bullies are everywhere, bullies can be anyone, and bullying can take on many different forms.This blog post was merely a building block post to set the foundation for upcoming posts. In a very basic manner, I have summarized the major types of bullying that we can find in society today. In my next post I will elaborate on the why factor, discussing motivations behind bullying and how we are influenced and pressured to be bullies every day. I hope you will continue to follow along as I attempt to share with you some very important concepts about bullying.
Part 2 found here: https://kevinwojo.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/bullying-part-2-2/