ENG101-Social Injustice: Bullying and Discrimination based on societies definition of “The Norm”

I start this post on the premise of “what is normal”.  Who decides what is “the norm”?  Society? Peers? Race? Religion? I believe all of these factors play a role and when there is conflicting opinions or attitudes it spurs all kinds of trouble.  Bullying is at the top of my list.

Society tells us through all forms of media what is normal and acceptable on the scale of normalcy.  We see it on tv, movies, commercials, magazines and even childrens’ toys.

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Although media sends mixed messages all the time about what is socially acceptable and what is not. Society as a whole tends to view anything that doesn’t “conform to the norm” to be target for ridicule, discrimination, and unfortunately bullying.  IMG_0432homedepotbarbieThis is me when I first started working for a large corporation 5 years ago.  I loved the way i looked and I was excited about my new job!     I worked on a team of 37 people of which 5 were women.  I was bullied and judged based on my appearance starting on my very first day.    50 year old women talking about me, starting rumors about me, making fun of me, and stereotyping me.  THEY nicknamed me “Barbie” and I was fine with that.  I mean honestly, if the shoe fits…. I didn’t set out to “be” Barbie but I wasn’t mad about resembling her. I love Barbie!  They took the stereotype way too far though.  They assumed because of my bubbly personality I was flirty and trying to be the center of attention. They assumed since i had worked at a bar in my past that i was also a whore and lived an immoral lifestyle.  They assumed if they continued to treat me this way that I would quit.   OBVIOUSLY they didn’t know who or what they were ACTUALLY dealing with!  Long story short, I am none of the things they fabricated in fact I had been sober and not touched a drop of alcohol in 13 years.   After a year of torment and filing complaints I went on a leave of absence.  Their actions affected me mentally, physically, and emotionally. Even as a grown woman, trying desperately to pay no attention to the jealous, mean, and hateful treatment I was dealing with 8 hours a day, 5 days a week- it was too much. However, I NEVER quit that job because for me, quitting is never an option.  Upon returning from my LOA, the company moved me and my abuser to different stores in different counties.  My recovery from the abuse I encountered was immediate.

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My 13 year old nephew Hunter experienced bullying at school because of his weight.  They implied that because he was overweight that they were better than he was.  These kids told Hunter that because he was fat he sucked at everything. Including football where he plays left tackle and nose gaurd positions.  A skinny kid playing either of these positions would get crushed but they had him believing that he was worthless and as a result he began to suck at football.  He suffered severe anxiety and suffered silently. As the school year went on, my nephew stopped being the happy, outgoing, fun loving kid he has always been.  He reached out to tell the authorities what was going on and just as it did in my situation, the bullying got worse.  One day Hunter texted my sister in law (his mom) and said you need to come pick me up from school before I end up hurting this kid very badly.  The principal took action and reprimanded the bully but it only made things worse!   My nephew was now physically impaired from stress, his grades and behavior were affected and the counselor at school called a meeting with him.  The counselor was confused as to why he was still being bullied and Hunter replied, “because you guys stink at handling these situations” . The counselor said, “ok, well how can we fix this”?  My nephew said, “SEPARATE US!”.  The next day they were in different classes and his recovery was immediate.

Sadly, for lots of people of all ages this is not the case.  People are bullied in a lot of different ways and most suffer in silence for fear of “rocking the boat” or drawing even more attention to themselves.  I was raised to respect and trust authority figures and not question. Had my nephew not spoken up and suggested a solution where would he be now?  This suffering takes a toll physically, mentally, and emotionally and creates low self esteem and in some cases suicide.  No matter how much “bully awareness”  we have this abuse continues.  After experiencing being bullied as an adult and listening to my nephew and other peoples stories, some in this very class, this issue is alive and well in our schools, workplace, and community.

How can we as a society- starting small as in this English class do our part to start the snowball of change?  Perhaps we remind ourselves of what we were taught in kindergarten- If you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all?  Is it possible to think outside the box and look deeper into a person than what we see on the outside?

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Lysa Dilley

Exploring Lungs For Lysa. What it was like, what happened, and what its like now.... Hang on cause its a wild ride!

6 thoughts on “ENG101-Social Injustice: Bullying and Discrimination based on societies definition of “The Norm””

  1. I was bullied, as a child, because I was ‘ different ‘. Painfully thin, I was teased by my peers. Not knowing how damaging and painful the ” labels ” they gave me hurt me, my own siblings participated in bullying me.
    They called me things like boney maroney, chicken legs, and worse. They would point their fingers and laugh at me. They would tell me ” you’re not one of us, you’re adopted! ” I had long blonde hair, green eyes, fair skin. My siblings had olive skin, dark hair, brown eyes.
    I went experienced this abuse through my entire childhood, never once telling my parents. I was afraid of my own shadow. I was afraid of people for fear I would be judged and ridiculed again. I hid inside and withdrew into myself.
    I used to cover up my legs with knee highs and wore long sleeved shirts , even during summer. I thought if I covered up, I may not look so thin and people wouldnt make fun of me.
    It was a lonely, scary, painful existence.
    Bullying is something that is age old, timeless. It’s been going on forever. What is the answer ? I wish I knew. The best we can do is to teach our children to be kind to others. Kindness begins at home.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I agree, KINDNESS begins at home. My bully had 9 siblings and it is my assumption that she was bullied at home as a kid by her 9 brothers which in her mind made it either fun or normal as an adult. I also believe that her being hassled by siblings is also the reason for her low self esteem. By putting others down or making fun of them it takes the focus off of her and in a weird way makes her feel better or superior. In my opinion this is a FALSE sense of security and self esteem but in the mind of a bully it is justified.

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  3. My mother always said “To speak ill of others is a deceitful way of boosting ones ego” How true is that?
    I remember what you went through when you came to MET and shamefully I also remember talking in a not so nice way about those that treated you bad, but in my defense I was just so frustrated and mad that I didn’t think too clearly. Looking back it still angers me.

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  4. Bullying is a horrible thing, and action needs to be taken to reduce and prevent it. It’s also not uncommon for people with a disability – mental or physical – to be the subject of bullying in particular. Some people are just unpleasant in general, and they need to be separated from the people they target as their victims.

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  5. Bullying is a horrifying experience, no matter what your age. I just sat here and listened to my 21 year old daughter tell her uncle about her being bullied at work. Was she born a girl? No. Does she look like a girl? Sometimes. Is it anyone’s business what she prefers or how she dresses? Does it make her do her job differently? The questions to ponder are endless. Unfortunately, they become the reality for someone who is different. A transgender person has thoughts, feelings and passions just like anyone else. And what right does anyone have to judge a person on what they look like, instead of getting to know them and finding out who they are. Bullying is senseless and has caused my child to be depressed and suicidal. There is nothing in this world worth making my child, or any other human being another statistic due to the insecurities that live inside bullies. Thank you for sharing your experience. God Bless You…

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