Bullying and How We Deal with It

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The war on bullying is no longer one fought only by parents and teachers. Our society has come to seek out and identify bullying in more places than just on the playground. We now see many other sorts of disapproval as some kind of “shaming”. Whether it’s over someone’s race, gender, orientation, body type, or any other trait, a lot of people just won’t have it when they hear of someone being picked on. This awareness can be helpful to many people, needless to say. No one enjoys being the brunt of bullying and ridicule. But, how did people survive in the past without anti-bullying pacts or their parents creeping on their Facebook?

Henry Bowers from It bullying
Henry Bowers, the sadistic bully from the movie It.

I never encountered one personally, but what about the knife-wielding bullies from some of those movies set in yesteryear? The movie It comes to mind, for example. The mean kid who looked like The Fonz threatened to slice those poor kids with his switchblade. Were bullies back then really that dedicated? They were willing to murder someone to prove a point? Pretty pathetic, sure. But with metal detectors in schools today and the report options on social media how could it go that far? Obviously, no one deserves to be seriously hurt over a dumb disagreement. School sucks enough, kids shouldn’t have to spend their finer years running from bruisers with small brains too. But haven’t things changed since Henry Bowers?

Bullying as I Remember It

I got a lot of guff as a kid. I was picked on almost incessantly in my early years because of how I dressed. Now, looking at how some kids and even adults dress today might make your imagination run wild. But, I didn’t wear saggy pants, anything skin-tight, or girls’ clothes. A suit and tie was my outfit of choice. I didn’t sport a wild hairdo in rainbow colors, wear makeup, or paint my nails either. I was just a kid who liked to dress up. You would have thought I was a second-class citizen – I was called “suit boy” for years and kids of all ages and genders constantly hassled me. Sure, in the beginning it was bothersome, but I quickly realized that they were the one’s with the problems – not me.

I Survived

Long story short, I always fought back and people eventually got over it. But my point is that I was treated like dirt for many years and no one fought my battles for me. I stood up for myself and didn’t need a school assembly to tell everyone to accept my “lifestyle”. The teachers barely even stood up for me, and a couple singled me out just like the kids did. One lousy principal used to call me to her office and have me searched any time I’d tell someone off for bothering me. There weren’t a lot of physical fights, but I smacked some people around when I needed to defend myself. No one tweeted me insults, though. Even if they did, I would have shrugged them off. Does that mean I was “better” or “special” compared to other kids?

Where I’m Going with This

Bullying sucks, but is it really a bigger threat than ISIS? Why can’t people just take stupid insults with a grain of salt? Just visit a mall nowadays to see the range of abnormal clothing and overall appearances of some people. Expressing yourself is important, but how is it that someone can go out of the house any day like it’s Halloween and be completely protected from any disapproval? I couldn’t wear a tie to school as a kid but people can now do whatever they want to their life and appearance and be called “brave” or “artistic”? What’s so bad about building character and a thick skin for adulthood by standing up for yourself when people put you down? Your boss one day isn’t going to find it “artistic” when you show up at the office wearing footie pajamas and sucking on a pacifier.