bullying and the 105%
Bullying happens for lots of reasons.
- bullies choosing to bully.
- cycles of abuse.
- biological impulses towards hierarchy.
- cultural glorification of violence.
- cultural shaming of various traits and interests.
- adults who look the other way.
- childhood and adult fears about identity and fitting in.
- features that people who are bullied can’t change.
- features that people who are bullied shouldn’t be asked to change.
- features that it may be reasonable to suggest people who are bullied address.
But when I was bullied as a kid, and prank calls came to my house calling a “cock-sucking whore,” let me tell you the right response, when I was TWELVE and at an all-girls school, was not for my father to ask me what I had done to deserve this.
I’m one of those people who tries hard to live life at 105%. I realize that’s a privilege to a given degree, but I do also think — perhaps wrongly and ruthlessly — that everyone’s always got another tiny, extra sliver of fucking effort to give.
But it’s not a damn obligation.
And while I am also always about strategy and pragmatism and survival, because those are my choices and my nature, victim-blaming is always wrong.
Which is why I find this post from theferrett upsetting. And his response to my (very possibly distressing for many) comment even more so.
I have made the choice, more literally than most people, over and over again, not to change my name, not to change my face, and not to run away from home.
Would you like me better if I was named Heather? How about Aleksandra? Andrea? Jenny? When I joined SAG, I thought long and hard about these things, and it was a terrible moment. Look, it’s my actual job to make people like me.
You know who doesn’t have that job? Some random eight-year-old who isn’t beautiful, who has “weird” interests, who’s a different race than her classmates, who has non-gender confirming hobbies, who’s too smart, who has a difficult home life, who lives with a disability, etc., etc., etc.
So don’t fucking tell me I didn’t work hard enough not to be bullied. Or that I should have just worn a pretty dress. Or not been sick. Or tried not to learn things. Or made my parents name me something else.
I lived. That was, in this regard, all the work I was ever supposed to have to do.