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October 20th, 2010

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03:44 pm - Musings On Being Bullied
There's been a great deal of discussion about childhood bullying, from the reports of far too many GLBT teens committing suicide in response to various sorts of constant bullying, to this excellent post bycatvalente, and so I thought that I'd add my own perspective. I was bullied extensively in school. As an exceedingly geeky, skinny, seriously non-masculine, non-athletic child and teen who was both smart and completely unafraid of demonstrating this fact, bullying was a regular feature of my life. Fortunately, once I got past early grade school, where thrown rocks, hurled umbrellas, and similar things were occasional hazards, bullying became far less physical and was largely confined to the rare push or shove, along with a multitude of verbal comments and regular attempts to steal or destroy my possessions.

However, I had one distinct advantage, I was a white, male, child of the upper middle class, and thus has the support of an entire culture as to my intrinsic worth. As a result, my reaction to this bullying was somewhat different from most other people's. Being bullied deeply sucked, it made me afraid and upset, but it never made me doubt my own worth. All through my public school days, I was firmly convinced that the people who bullied me were less worthy both intellectually and as human beings than I was. Given the distinct lack of geeky intellectuals among the people who bullied me. I'm fairly certain that this feeling was part of the genesis of my general contempt for socially mainstream culture and society. Ultimately, I consider myself to be exceedingly lucky, I was in schools which the average income and social position of the students was such that both the funding and the necessity (to avoid lawsuits) to prevent physical bullying was present and my social position largely helped insulate me from the long-term psychological problems often associated with bullying. However, I know quite a number of people who were not nearly as fortunate.

On a related note, here's an utterly brilliant response by Dan Savage to a claim that fundies aren't to blame for LGBT kids being bullied.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 20th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
> it never made me doubt my own worth.

It never occurred to me to doubt my own worth either. My Dad laughed when anyone attempted judge him and he was born lower class but made Middle Class income in his middle age. On top of that, I suspect my Aspieness made me far more focused on self than tribal approval.
[User Picture]
Date:October 20th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC)
Bullying didn't make me doubt my own worth, but it left very serious long-term damage of other kinds.
[User Picture]
Date:October 20th, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
Of what sort (if this isn't too personal a question).
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
Actually, no. I typed out a reply, but I deleted it because I don't feel comfortable talking about it in public. You can ask tangyabominy for my email and ping me there if you want to know.

Edited at 2010-10-21 12:30 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:October 21st, 2010 12:50 am (UTC)
I accepted bullying as the natural penalty for being female, ugly, and socially unacceptable. Even now, I still assume I am not welcome around strangers unless I am explicitly invited to be with them.

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