Tag Archives: insecurity

Bullying—action or Reaction?

Guidance counselors, parents, and concerned teachers have often consoled victims by saying  “s/he only picks on you because s/he’s insecure”.  Perhaps.  But is this the whole picture?  Maybe bullies aren’t acting out of their insecurity, but reacting to some other factor— physical or psychological.

In a 1988 study, Jack Katz interviewed hundreds of prisoners, and analyzed hundreds of criminal acts (from property damage to extreme violence against individuals).  In a majority of cases, he discovered that the perpetrator felt humiliated, and that the crime was caught up with this feeling.  That is, their angry, violent actions were reactions.  They were responses to the ‘inadequacies’ (and their shame over them) that the bully felt—by being ‘dis’ed’ (by their victim, or by some other, unrelated event).  Perhaps this initial action  ‘triggers’ an insecurity, a belief of how others ‘must see them’ –especially if they don’t react and ‘set the record straight’–publicly.

Bert Baruch Wylen’s Interview with his bully, in an article entitled “What My Bully Taught Me” http://life.salon.com/topic/interview_with_my_bully/ , seems to support this theory.  Think back on your own experiences—as victim, bystander, or bully.  Does this fit?  Make sense?

Rebecca Black: What’s behind the hate?

Rebecca Black:  what’s behind  all the hate?
Why the collusion between a song (which, admittedly, is not sophisticated) and its teen vocalist?
Why the criticism―vicious criticism― on a personal level?
What is it that Rebecca Black has come to symbolize and personify?  
First and foremost, she represents  that “queen bee” so many of us have a visceral reaction to―that girl who has everything―the car, the clothes, the popularity, the ‘aren’t I cute’ ditziness (“gotta make my mind up, which seat can I take ???”).
And she made herself a public figure, so she is ‘fair game.’ She said “I am this”, and hundreds of thousands of teens safely transferred onto her all  the feelings (envy, anger, frustration, insecurity, need to differentiate, need to fit in, etc.) that they must keep somewhat in check around the ‘Rebecca Black’s’ of their schools.
(Who does she think she is, anyway?  It’s our duty to take her down a peg.   Put her in her place.  She isn’t All That, she’s a wannabe―she’s just like you and me)
Instead of disappearing into the void of cyberspace (something which would mirror ‘you suck’ back to her) , her song went viral, causing unimaginable amount s of  attention to be bestowed upon her.
And attention is endorsement.  Everyone knows who she is.
The bullying and hate mail she began receiving  caused her story to make the 11:00 News.
Which leads to the second point:  Adults got in on the action.
This is a red flag―an eyeroll that can be heard down the block―and  has probably only helped perpetuate her shelf-life.
(It’s all just a joke.  Why do  adults have to  take everything so seriously?  Nobody really cares―saying stuff is just ‘automatic’―no-one ever really thinks about it―it’s just funny.  Can’t you take a joke?
But fine, if you want us to think about Rebecca Black some more, we will―and we still won’t like her, it isn’t cool to like her.)
Opinions are more about posturing to peers (especially now that the adults are on her side) than they are about their referent.

In the end Rebecca Black  seems very Orwellian―Newspeak doublethink:  simultaneously implying  her opposite; containing within her(herself as referent) contradictory beliefs.