Tag Archives: antibullying

Facebook Anti-Bullying Statuses and Imagining People Complexly

A little while ago I critiqued the anti-bullying statuses that are often circulated on Facebook. I got a lot of responses to that post and would like to share a little bit more about what I think should be a greater alternative to the proposal  that anti-bullying statues make. 

I found the above response to a Facebook anti-bullying status on Tumblr. The problem with these statuses is that they create certain ways in which we are allowed to bully people. These statuses suggest that bullying a pregnant teenager is not okay because she might have been raped and that is beyond her control. The problem with defining bullying situations so specifically is that is simultaneously says that is is okay to bully a pregnant teenager for “being a slut” if her own choices got her pregnant in the first place.

One of my favorite writers, John Green, often uses his books and video blogs to encourage people to imagine others complexly. For those who haven’t read John’s books, here is a good explanation of what that means:

“Literature is in the business of helping us to imagine ourselves and others more complexly, of connecting us to the ancient conversation about how to live as a person in a world full of other people… Let me tell you what is, in my opinion, the central problem of human existence: I am stuck in my body, in my consciousness, seeing out of my eyes. I am the only me I ever get to be, and so I am the only person I can imagine endlessly complexly. That’s not the problem, actually. The problem is you. You are so busy taking in your own wondrousness that you can’t be bothered to acknowledge mine.”

Rather than leaning on extreme examples suggested by anti-bullying statues in order to imagine why another person is who they are, we need to attempt imagine people complexly by looking beyond stereotypes whether they be bound by gender, sexual orientation, fashion sense, intelligence, or appearance. Literature and stories are a major tool in fighting the narrow stereotypes and beginning to imagine people complexly.

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Filed under cultural anthropology, school

What Facebook Anti-Bullying Statuses Get Wrong

I’m sure we have all caught a glimpse of a status like while mindlessly scrolling through our Facebook feeds:

“That girl you called a slut in class today. She’s a virgin. The pregnant girl walking down the street. She got raped. The boy you called lame . He has to work every night to support his family. That girl you pushed down the other day. She’s already being abused at home. That girl you called fat. She’s starving herself. The old man you made fun of cause ugly scars. He fought for our country. The boy you made fun of for crying. His mother is dying. You think you know them . Guess what? You don’t! RE-POST if you are aqainst bullying.”

“A 15 year old girl holds her 1 year old son; people call her a slut. But no one knows she was raped at 13. People call a girl fat; no one knows she has a serious disease that causes her to be overweight. People call an old man ugly; no one knows he had a serious injury to his face while serving our country in Vietnam. Re-post this if your against bullying and stereotyping!!!! I bet none of you will post this!!!”

Statuses like these have been the standard of what many call “slacktivism,” Continue reading

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Filed under children, cultural anthropology, gender, human rights, identity