A few weeks ago, ABCNews.com reported an article “When Is Cosmetic Surgery the Answer to Bullyling?” (Um, never?) We particularly liked this smart response by blogger Shark-Fu of Angry Black Bitch, who allowed us to reprint this with her permission.
When I was a wee bitch I was bullied mercilessly for all things related to my blackness. When they made fun of my hair, I cut it off in an attempt to make it look more like the bob that was the trend at the time. When they made fun of my ashy knees, I meticulously rubbed lotion into my skin before school. When they made fun of my lips I tried to fold them inward…that didn’t last long.
Ultimately my bullies focused on my blackness as a whole – I was different and I could not change, so I thought that the best I could hope for was to conform as much as possible and get rewarded for not being as black as some of the other students who came to school through the desegregation program.
Country black trumped city black, but black was still worthy of bullying.
By the time I hit Junior High I realized that I had accepted the unacceptable – that these assholes set the agenda and had the rest of us scrambling to meet their standards so we could make the constant taunts, physical abuse, and harassment stop. I decided that was bullshit and stopped trying, but I lost a lot to those years of bullying.
Here’s the thing – the same young people who are having surgery to make their ears stick out less will likely be the same young people who will find out that their hair isn’t just so, their clothes aren’t up to par, or their [insert anything here] offends the same horrible little shit who used to make fun of their ears.
Here’s another thing – bullying hurts more than just the person being bullied. Bullying distracts from class work…it creates a climate of fear and intimidation…and, if left unchecked, it creates grown ass people who bully because they were young people who bullied.
I understand the attraction of cosmetic surgery as a solution to your child getting teased about their ears. It’s gotta be hard to see your child miserable because of something like how their ears are positioned on their head.
But cosmetic surgery isn’t the solution to bullying.
Cosmetic surgery is a solution for some people who have ears that stick out and want to change that.
We need to shift our thinking on this shit. We need to focus on the bully and ask ourselves why they aren’t being asked to change. And we need to deal with the fact that bullies will bully until bullies are taught not to bully.
Eventually the bully will move on to something that isn’t changeable…to something that isn’t fixable through an expensive surgery and painful recovery.
Because bullies bully until bullies are taught not to bully.
When we start down the road of changing ourselves to appease bullies we being a journey that will never end and that puts the responsibility for being harassed on the survivor rather than on the person who desperately needs some home training and likely needs therapy.
This is the “solution” that has people blaming the gay kid for acting too gay…the black kid for not acting too black…the fat kid for not losing weight…the woman for dressing in a provocative manner…the deaf kid for not dedicating her life to making hearing people more comfortable…and so forth and so on until finally the bullies of the world are satisfied.
But the bullies of the world will never be satisfied.
Bullies bully until whatever the fuck kind of insecurity and/or self-hate they are avoiding dealing with is dealt with.
Surgery will be a solution for bullying when doctors discover the Bully Tumor and create a surgery to remove that rancid shit.
Until then…well, now that those ears have been “fixed” I’ve noticed how large the nose is and you could lose some weight and your hair is too short and you “act gay” and why are your feet so big and…
Reprinted with permission from Angry Black Bitch
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