Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cause we believe in you

There’s been a quite heated discussion on another site about the subject of what constitutes bullying, and what should be done in certain situations. I was brought up with the mantra “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”, so to me, verbal teasing doesn’t constitute bullying. Just say “yeah whatever” and the meany-pants soon gets bored and goes to find someone who’s willing to become a victim.

However there was mention of a particular situation which I find very worrying. A 12 year old girl was teased about having ginger hair, and got very upset, and her mother allowed her to have her hair dyed brown. Apart from the fact that this fosters the belief that ginger hair is freakish and something to be ashamed of, this girl doesn’t actually have ginger hair; it’s already naturally brown! As I see it, not only has this mother allowed her daughter to feel victimised, she’s also encouraging her to feel that problems can be solved by altering her physical appearance - and look how successful that’s been for Michael Jackson. Instead she should be shoring up her daughter’s self-esteem on the bedrock of truth and not settle on the shifting sands of a lie. I know that children's egos are very fragile but to allow her daughter to over-react to another child's poor joke is in itself a form of abuse.