Since today is Wednesday, as well as Back to School Season, I thought what better title than the iconic quote from the movie Mean Girls. However, at first I found myself torn with which topic I wanted to talk about more….mainstream media and its effect on the youth of today, some favorite ways to rock pink on Wednesday or bullying in school, how it’s not okay, and what to do when you find yourself in a situation where you or someone you know/care about is being bullied.
I decided that I was going to focus mainly on bullying, but then I realized that what someone is wearing can be one of the biggest reasons why people are bullied. I also wanted to discuss how I would personally handle these “types” of situations or individuals. Furthermore, I thought it tied together perfectly with something I briefly discussed earlier in the week; when I mentioned the concept of “fitting in” and “cliques”.
Between getting good grades, participating in extracurriculars, balancing everything, and just trying to be a “regular/normal” kid/teenager in today’s world, makes school stressful enough as it is. The last thing we need is having to worry about what we are wearing and if it will result in us getting bullied; (especially with all the different dress codes there are now). It may seem like something so minor (to some), yet it can end up making school so incredibly painful for others.
It is my personal belief that unfortunately, our society is very label oriented and this leads to all sorts of problems that may arise. For example, something as minor as your shirt or pants not coming from a certain store could possibly lead to the classification of your socioeconomic status. Which in return, translates to who you can and can’t talk, sit, or associate with; I know it’s crazy right?! Luckily, fashion trends right now are all about finding great pieces from your local thrift stores, and designer inspired looks; so some of the problems I may have faced while I was in school, aren’t the same problems that our youth may face today.
However, it is also in my personal opinion, that I think the forms of bullying that may follow certain situations, are much worse nowadays. Social Media is a gift and a curse all in one, specifically with bullying. I’m not going to focus on cyber bullying and how awful it can be in this blog post, but I may touch on it more at a later date. I just wanted to point out that although cyber bullying is the most dominant form nowadays, it’s certainly not the only. It pains me to see that we are not more united and that there is still such a divide amongst the people. It hurts me, even more, to know that others are okay and don’t see how wrong it is to break someone down, just because of how they are dressed, or how they may talk, or a whole list of other reasons/excuses. But that’s all they are, excuses for uncalled for, incredibly cruel behavior that is often overlooked.
I don’t really want to get into the politics of bullying; how it is often excused for certain individuals, while others suffer horrible and unfair consequences. That is another highly controversial and sensitive subject matter. I simply want to point out the importance of being more aware of what is really going on, and the difference we can make by doing just that. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a friend, or just aware of what is going on, if you know of someone being bullied, you should do something about it. That brings me to my next point, which is how I would handle a bully or being bullied.
First off, never resort to physical or verbal abuse back to the individual who has done so towards you or someone you know/care about. Adding anger or hate to an already aggressive situation, will not help or make anything better. In a situation like this, you want to go and notify someone in a position of authority; and yes, I’m fully aware that this may result in you now being bullied in some way as well. But please try to keep in mind, that that is exactly what the individual who is doing the bullying wants. They want you to get upset and angry and to“fight back”; but I promise you that that will only result in more trouble. After finding someone who is in an authoritative position, explain what has gone down, and then at that point, the bullying “should” end and the proper disciplinary actions “should” be issued to all those involved who were responsible for bullying. While for those who were the victims in the situation, “should” begin to experience some level of relief. Now I chose to put the word “should” in quotations because each bullying circumstance is different, and requires different levels of disciplinary action to take place. I do NOT suggest at any point and time for you to take on the role of rectifying the situation unless it truly deems necessary, and even then there is a thin line that is often open to interpretation.
At the end of the day, bullying is a very big issue for not only today’s youth but is also very prominent amongst adults. Whether it’s at school, work, home, or anywhere else….bullying is NEVER okay. I know that when you’re right in the middle of everything, it may not seem as easy to be rational and level headed about how to handle the “situation”. I also know that if you’ve ever been bullied, the pain that may follow can be unreal. However, the next time you find yourself in something similar, I’d like you try and tell yourself this: “I don’t deserve any of this, this is not right by any means, but I will NOT let it destroy me and break me down, because I am ME, (then insert name), and I AM GREAT”!