Posted: October 7, 2010 in Bodies, Gender, Racism, Sexism, Sexuality
Tags: , ,

Trigger warning for various forms of -ist/-phobic bullying

Bullying is wrong. Whether it’s homophobic, racist, ableist, classist, transphobic, sexist, sizeist or anything else, it’s still wrong. Whoever does it, whoever is the victim. Whether the involved parties are children, teenagers, adults. It’s still wrong.

It’s stupid to claim that any kind of bullying is ‘worse’ than any other. It’s all bad, it’s all wrong. All people have the right to live their lives free of it. It’s another part of kyriarchy. It’s a symptom of cultural attitudes and how they’re wrong. And have I mentioned that it’s utterly wrong.

I’ve been on the receiving end of some of it. Not severely, although I did spend many lunchtimes and breaks crying behind the bike sheds in primary school. Once I was involved in a rather massive fight, which basically consisted of half my school trying to beat me up. I can’t even remember why they disliked me in primary school – because my accent was different, because I didn’t conform to their gender norms, because I wasn’t ashamed of my brain, perhaps. Also because I was a crybaby and it was ‘fun’ to wind me up.

More recently, I’ve had things that could have been classed as bullying – based on sex, on the fact that I don’t conform to gender norms, on the fact that people often perceive me as gay. I don’t personally use that label because I don’t feel comfortable labelling my experiences that way, but in some ways I think I should.

Bullying is, however, not a great term. It gets used to override words such as ‘sexual abuse.’ Spreading sexual images/videos without consent is sexual abuse/assault, not bullying. It gets used as shorthand for racism and other -isms/-phobias. A child calling another child ‘nigger’ is being racist. They’re being a bully as well, but they’re also being a racist. And I think these terms need to be used.

Bullying, abuse, -ists/-phobes are wrong. They hurt, they kill. These things reduce those who participate in them, and hurts the society. Nobody should have to suffer.


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