I've been posting a lot of articles about bullying over the past four months. It wasn't until I read Single Dad Laughing: Memoirs of a Bullied Kid
in close proximity with Geek Feminism: Connecting with female characters in geek television that I realized just how predictable, monotonous, and uncreative bullies tend to be.
Because the insults used in both posts, slung at the young Single Dad Laughing, and at the female TV characters, tend to be the same ideas: Fat. Ugly. Soft.
Or sometimes several of them together.
I remember the day I realized that my younger sister was growing up pretty. I made a comment at lunch, and later that day my mom said to me "You have that same beauty. It's just hidden under the excess weight."
What's so important about pretty, anyway?Anti-Bullying Starts in First Grade
. Or even in Preschool, judging from our experience so far. And, like First-grader Katie in this article, Society tried to tell me that science fiction was for boys. Baloney. As you'll see by the MANY comments Katie's received over the two articles, we are FAR from the only girls who like Star Wars and other SF.
A few weeks ago, a friend posted a comment, and I shared a couple of other experiences I had with bullying.
See, when we first moved to Nebraska, my parents made arrangements for my sister & I to walk to the neighborhood pool, where we would catch the bus that took us straight to our school. I was in the 2nd grade at the time. There were four students on the bus: Me, my sister, and two sixth-grade boys. While we waited, the boys liked to stop by the Shoppette in the area, and pick up magazines. Playboy magazines, to be specific. And then they liked to call my name, and flash centerfolds at me when I looked.
Several guys came back with the "You deal with bullies by fighting back" response.
Well, here are two articles with good answers:Geek Feminism: Why don't you just hit him?Rachel Manija: Why didn't you kick him in the balls?
In the case of the boys four years older than me, I recall it going more like this:
It might make the victim more of a target. Maybe it was a weak slap and made a weak sound and the harasser smiled through the whole thing. Or the harasser caught the victim’s hand as it came up and is now holding her wrist tightly and grinning at her. Or the harasser pushed at the victim as her knee came up towards his groin, and she fell over.
Hitting does not necessarily make a situation end and it does not necessarily make the physical aggressor look strong and in control.
I posted this video once before, but it's worth repeating. If the people in your life sound more like "according to you" than "according to him," then it is time to find a different circle of friends/relations.
The summer between 8th grade and high school, I stayed with and Aunt & Uncle who lived in Florida, as an au pair for my cousin. We got to tour Kennedy Space Center, and my uncle gave me his sticker for STS-38
. The nose-on mirror-image of the orbiter inspired me to join my young cousin in her coloring. I proceeded to draw six panels, with all six views of orbiters, over and over again. I was still trying out those six-panel scenes, sometimes with graph paper, when I started high school a few months later. A handful of my classmates spotted the drawings, and every time they saw me in the hallway, they started a countdown.
That one... was odd. I'm quite certain that they intended to make fun of me... but it tended to encourage a bit more than it discouraged. It tended to remind me why I was studying so hard.
Within a few weeks, the Science Club held their initial meeting. The topic? Two of the older students had gone to Space Camp over the summer, and they talked about their experiences. It was awesome.
You matter. And when, in time, you find your supportive community, then you'll find the spark of your own original gifts: