Marrina is my latest contribution to The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Reduxe Edition blog. There are many amazing renderings of all the popular and not-so-popular Marvel characters on there. I recommend that you check it!
Visit the site of the remarkable Joe Rubinstein also! He’s the man whose pen made the original Official Handbook to Marvel Universe possible!
Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!
Love you all,
There is a topic that falls under the umbrella of bullying that I don’t want to talk about. That topic is sexual harassment. There are a couple of reasons why I want to avoid this topic and those are:
- Sexual harassment is defined differently than bullying
- Male privilege
Is Being Called “Fat” Bullying?
As previously mentioned, “bullying” has the troublesome definition of being aggressive and repetitive. “Sexual harassment” is defined as being romantic/sexual and unwanted. I really like that it features the word “unwanted.”
People can make the argument that calling someone “fat” isn’t bullying. Some say that it isn’t aggressive enough. Their intention was to shame someone into adopting healthier eating habits or start exercising. That they are just expressing a truth. But I believe that it is disrespectful and most likely unwanted.
Sexual harassment has the benefit that it doesn’t require a greater severity before it counts. Although, sexuality can be a bit of a trigger itself and make it instantly severe.
Regarding Male Privilege
I saw an Occupational Health & Safety video that provided an example of sexual harrassment. In the video, an office worker received a bouquet of flowers from an ex-boyfriend. The video mentioned that since the bouquet was unwanted that it was harassment and recommends that workplaces impose a ‘no gift’ policy.
When I first saw this, I was stupefied. I understood that the office worker didn’t want the gift but how was it considered harassment? The ex-boyfriend made a sweet romantic gesture. Maybe he’s trying to patch things up. There are people who would love to get gifts. As much as receiving gifts have nothing to do with getting work done, why should there be a policy in place to remove potential joy?
As a guy, I didn’t realize that the interpretation of the gift was a creepy, “I know where you work. I can surprise you anytime I choose.” Her ex-boyfriend could be a predator.
It’s easy for me to empathize with a good guy who is dealing with romantic rejection but I have to temper that with the disheartening fact that there’s one sexual assault every two minutes and 90% of the victims are women. I’m not as worried that I’m at risk of being assaulted as women are. That’s my privilege.
It’s not that I think that the topic of sexual harassment should never be discussed but that there are other people who are more suitable to discuss it. In order to not blunder and stick my foot in my mouth, I’d rather not talk about it.
In last week’s post Bullying Over-defined, I wrote about calling 911 for something that wasn’t emergency-related and I questioned the idea that the word “bully” is over-used. Perhaps I can provide a breakdown of the example and explain it further.
In the BurgerKing 911 call example:
- Entity A experiences wrong-doing from entity B
- Entity A stands up for herself and requests the wrong-doing be corrected
- Entity B either repeats the wrong-doing or ignores the request
- Entity A feels frustrated that resolution is not achieved and seeks help from someone in authority
- Someone in authority states that the wrong-doing isn’t severe enough to involve them.
I would say that the above breakdown represents a “crying wolf” example that was condemned when Ross Ellis wrote Overuse of the word “Bully”
By definition, In order for the above breakdown to be considered bullying, you would need aggressive intent. Intent is difficult to prove and so I assume that the severity of the wrong-doing is used as a measurement instead. I can imagine that people in positions of authority can get annoyed if they field numerous complaints of incidents of low-severity.
However, I caution that sensitivity needs to be maintained. The person will feel frustrated if a resolution cannot be reached with the help from a person in authority and may lose confidence in seeking help altogether even if the severity increases.
Other options are available with varying success, as related in the informal poll:
- coping/dealing with the situation
- seeking a different authority
- renegotiating for a resolution in a different environment
- ignoring and going elsewhere
- continuing to stand-up for yourself
In the BurgerKing 911 call, the person chose to call 911 because she was unwilling to sacrifice. She was unwilling to accept the incorrect burger as it was made for her, unwilling to park and take the time to renegotiate, unwilling to take her money back and start again elsewhere and she didn’t want to wait anymore. As much as I admire her willingness to stand up for her principles, she needed to be willing to give in somewhere.
Maybe you’ve heard this story: A person calls 911 and when asked the nature of the emergency, the answer was that their order was wrong at the drive-thru!
There are some things that are considered an emergency and that is most definitely not one of them.
Definition of Bullying
Back in November, the Alberta government had a recorded discussion on bullying and one of the items that was brought up was an official definition of bullying. It was repeatedly stated that in order to be considered bullying, the behaviour is aggressive and features two things:
- an imbalance of power (real or perceived) and
But something didn’t sit right with this definition and every instance where it was repeated bothered me. Maybe I didn’t like that aggressive and disrespectful behaviour has to be repeated in order to be considered an offence. Does the aggression have to be repeated on the same target more than once or twice – or can the aggressor spread out the misery and target many people once each? Does the aggression need to be repeated over a long period of time or can the escalation of aggression happen within a 10 minute window to qualify?
The imbalance of power seems easy enough to understand when you think of a big kid on the playground picking on the little kid, a group of popular teens making fun of the awkward teen or a boss to employee relationship – but there are other power-imbalances that aren’t that easy to distinguish. Maybe in a group of friends there is a pecking order and rather than be treated as an equal, someone is just barely tolerated as long as they’re willing to endure some abuse. Being excluded isn’t always bullying but what if the exclusion is the result of malicious gossip being told behind your back?
Perhaps bullying is too much of an umbrella term. It describes assault, lying, pettiness, rudeness, vindictiveness, poor-sportsmanship, sexism and more. Maybe there exists a spectrum of aggressive behaviour. It can be from one extreme of severe and frequent aggression down to minor and infrequent aggression. There will be a line of tolerable aggression and anything that goes above that line would be labeled bullying.
Of course, the tolerance line would vary depending on the individual.
When Ross Ellis of Stomp Out Bulling wrote about the Overuse of the Word “Bully”, she took somewhat of an insensitive approach. She labeled what many people have described as bullying to be “DRAMA” and warned that by crying wolf too many times, people who are really victims of bullying will get ignored.
But here’s the problem that I see: If people are facing unusually aggressive situations in scenarios that would not normally be aggressive, who do you bring this to? What are they supposed to do?
When the customer was asked why they didn’t talk to the manager of the fast-food restaurant when their order was messed up, the answer was they did but the manager said “I’m not dealing with you,” and walked away.
What Would You Do?