Archive for the 'bullying' Category

17
Nov
14

the right to be you

the right to be youI have been on a hiatus of sorts.  It’s not because I haven’t had any thoughts, concerns or opinions about life.  I guess I just found myself coming up against the same roadblocks, questioning the source, perhaps a common one, of these consistent struggles.

Just the other night I was out with a beautiful artist.  I have seen her work many times and she is a kind-hearted, loving individual.  Yet I hear her say the very words which plague my own heart: can I do it?  Do I have any talent?  Am I beautiful?  I know the answer to all of these questions, but when we are alone with ourselves, we tend to create a comparison which always leaves us feeling less than.  Our society, especially American society, thrives on doing and results.  The expectations placed on us, especially women, make it almost impossible to find satisfaction and pride in oneself.

Society tells women that they must achieve an idyllic beauty which requires youth.  Obviously, this is impossible as we all age, but because so many others strive to reach this imposed rule, we do everything in our power to fulfill it.  Countless, beautiful, brilliant women of all ages with whom I’ve had the pleasure to know, have shared their fear of aging and remaining physically attractive.  The constant fear of gaining even a few pounds or showing signs of a wrinkle plagues their existence.

Then there’s the expectation that women should have it all; if they don’t have both a successful career and children, they disappoint someone.  Many women work hard to obtain an education and use it to compete in an unequal marketplace which not only expects them to give as much, but for less compensation.  Simultaneously, society also places pressure on women to have children whilst making it virtually impossible to maintain the same level of job performance.  Meanwhile, if they do give attention to their work, they may feel guilt or anxiety over their parental role.

As a result, society continues to place women in positions which inevitably cause them to seemingly fall short of its expectations in one area or another.  Personally, I’m tired of never feeling like enough.  No matter how much personal fulfillment I may find apart from society, as soon as I step off my island, I am reminded of my failures.

So how do we break this pattern?  How do we defy these expectations and create ones which build us up rather than tear each other down?  It is hard to walk this path against the grain alone and I don’t believe we are meant to go it alone.  Life is short.  Can we come together and simply claim the right to be ourselves?

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04
Sep
13

We need a hero?

superheroDo women need a hero or an avenger?  Or both?  For centuries women have been depicted as the helpless maiden who needs a knight to rescue her – look at Disney movies.  But what happens when prince charming doesn’t come?  What happens when those who should be “saving” start abusing, raping and killing women and no one answers the call of justice?  In the case of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a woman must rise up.

The L.A. Times reports on who they are calling a “black-clad avenger,” as killing two bus drivers in the Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.  This is a city where women have not had a voice and men, including police, have not sought justice for those voices who have been silenced.  According to the article (found at the link below), many women who work the night shift at the city’s area of industry have become victims of the bus drivers who they depend upon for transportation.  We’re not talking about a small number here – hundreds of women over the past 20 years have been attacked and killed with very few investigations turning up the perpetrators.

A note left by the supposed female avenger, identifying herself with the name of the Greek goddess Diana, the Huntress – but in this case she is the “Huntress of Bus Drivers,” reads as follows:

You think because we are women we are weak, and maybe we are. But only to a certain point…. We can no longer remain quiet over these acts that fill us with rage.

And so, I am an instrument who will take vengeance.

Why must it come to this?  In an age of superheroes, corruption and a lack of justice, it’s no surprise that society should produce an avenger or find a need to resurrect a powerful Greek goddess.  Now police are all over the murders of two men.  But what of the countless women who have been murdered over the years?  It is only because of this woman’s violent acts that attention has been brought to those who would otherwise been cast into the darkness.

Will the city respond with revenge on this female avenger/goddess?  Will justice be brought to those mothers, daughters, sisters and wives?  And if so, will it only be as a result of this equally violent incident?

Either way, perhaps this one woman has reached her goal:  justice will be served.  Or will it?

Read article at:  http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-wn-mexican-border-city-avenger-20130903,0,4220840.story

31
Aug
13

To be bullied or not to be bullied

bullyBullies.  Who are they?  And why do they do what they do?  To you?  Through the years I’ve learned that bullies come in all shapes and sizes – but in the end they have no more power than you or me.

There’s the Brawn bully who flexes his/her muscles over the less developed or the oppressed minority.  There have been countless times that this kind of bully has “put me in my place.”  Whether it be at work with a sexist boss, prospective employer who judged my appearance or simply someone whose silenced my voice;  this form of bullying is devastating, isolating and traumatic.

Then there is the Sweet’n sour bully.  This one sweetens you up, befriending and flattering you, but soon turns sour as they use you for their own advantages.  I’ve had this happen to me so many times that I got to the point I didn’t trust anyone.  I would nurture someone and see them through thick and thin, but when I needed help they were nowhere to be found.

And finally, the Intellectual bully.  These bullies can be the most subtle, illusive, and ruthless.  Not only do they use their position, but they also engage manipulative tactics to appear as a mentor or someone to admire which makes their bullying more acceptable.  However, what they are really doing is thinking for you and making your choices – they leave you feeling emotionally and intellectually powerless.

But there is good news!  Bullies do not endure.  Only we can give them the power to perpetuate their behavior by trying to stand up to them alone in the case of the Brawny bully; or never saying “no” to the Sweet’n sour; or accepting everything as truth from the Intellectual bully.  The key is believing, trusting and taking care of yourself because no one will do it for you.  That sounds kind of harsh, but we have the power to ask for help, say no, and think for ourselves.

It is in these small steps that we begin to feel empowered, united (there is power in numbers) and bring real change to our society.  Bullies cannot endure – so let’s keep taking those small steps together and know that we building a better and bully-free world!