Essay about Social Constructs Of Bullying

Bullying is a serious and complicated problem that happens within a specific social construct that is influenced by certain types of media, such as fairytales like Sleeping Beauty. Such social constructs can involve things like gender norms, which are standards of behavior that is expected by a particular society for women and men within that society. There are many different types of bullying that can be conducted in many different ways. However, all have the potential to change a school environment from a fun learning environment to a prison cell from hell for students who are bullied and who witness bullying.

Thankfully though, there are many strategies with which students can intervene in a bullying situation. However, it is oftentimes handled inappropriately by school officials, perhaps because of the many misconceptions about bullying that are out there. There are many misconceptions about bullying as far as where it happens. First of all, it is believed that bullying only happens in urban schools. It is true that certain schools have more bullying going on than others. However, just because the community is more tight-knit does not mean that there will never be any bullying.

Secondly, some also believe that it is more likely to happen on the bus than at school. With the exception of cyberbullying, bullying is actually more likely to happen on school grounds then on the bus. Furthermore, there are also some misconceptions about bullying related to the people who bully and the people who witness bullying. For example, it is believed that people who bully have low self-esteem and do not have many friends. This is not always true. Some people who bully have very healthy self-esteems and many friends, which is what makes them so formidable.

Another misconception about people who bully is that girls do not bully. But it is true that girls do not usually bully someone physically. In addition, it is falsely believed that people who witness the situation-otherwise known as the bystanders-want to stay out of it. As a matter of fact, when someone intervenes in a situation, the bullying stops on the spot fifty-percent of the time. There are myths about people who are bullied. School officials oftentimes assume that people who are bullied always tell an adult. Most studies show that only a fourth to half of students who get bullied talk to an adult about it.

There are several reasons for this, among which are a fear of retaliation; a desire to handle it on their own; feeling as though no one would care; or even being so humiliated that they do not want anyone else to know (Department of Health and Human Services). Secondly, it is falsely believed that people who are bullied need to deal with this situation on their own. But most of the time, the person being bullied cannot deal with it on their own. There is also some confusion related to procedures involved in reporting it. According to Cooper and Snell, Some officials are also guilty of confusing tattling with reporting bullying.

It is very important that every bullying report is taken seriously, and that all school officials and students know the difference between tattling and telling. Tattling is done to get someone in trouble by reporting an event that was not problematic or required adult intervention in the first place. Telling is done to keep people safe, and is about a problem that is unsafe and requires adult intervention (Cooper and Snell;) People also have misconceptions about what bullying is exactly. Some believe that conflict is the same as bullying.

Conflict involves people with equal power and blame, whereas bullying involves at least two people who do not have equal power, and certainly do not share blame (Hughes 4;). Likewise, bullying is not the same as joking around, or kids just being kids. Bullying is a learned behavior, not genetic, and joking around is not intended to hurt anyone, whereas bullying is intentionally hurtful because it takes advantage of a real or perceived power imbalance. As a matter of fact, bullying has the potential to have a serious negative impact on the entire school climate if left unchecked.

Additionally, bullying is not just physical behaviors like hitting, kicking, pushing, and etcetera. Similarly, bullying is not the same as boys just being boys because aggression is a learned behavior, not genetic. Although, it is interesting that this misconception exists because it is derived from fairytales, which is one form of media that has shaped gender norms for both girls and boys. It is very important that school officials are aware of what kind of impact bullying can have on students and the school environment, and that people can play different roles in different situations that involve bullying.

People who are bullied and people who witness bullying are at a heightened risk of experiencing depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. As a result, it is much harder for them to concentrate in school, and therefore will oftentimes start failing their classes. People who bully are also more likely to not do well academically, as well as get into drugs. According ot Hughes, it is estimated that 60% of people who bully will get in trouble with the law by their midtwenties (Hughes 6). That is why it is important to be specific when describing what bullying is.

Bullying is any aggressive behavior that takes advantage of a real or thought to be real power imbalance in order to humiliate, hurt, or scare someone else. Bullying experts all agree that bullying has three elements: an intention to hurt, scare, or humiliate someone; a power imbalance that makes it difficult for the person being to retaliate; and finally behavior that is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated (Hymel and Swearer). Situations need to be analyzed carefully before school officials decide whether or not it involves bullying.

A person does not have to post more than one derogatory video about someone online to bully them, because many people have access to that video. The power imbalance does not even have to be based on physical characteristics . According to Dr. Stephanie Hughes, a power imbalance can be created based on anything that makes it seem that the person who is bullying is better than the person who is being bullied (4). Specifically, there are four different types of bullying. One type is called physical, which is the most easily recognized. It includes things like pushing, kicking, shoving, hitting, spitting, and tripping someone on purpose.

Another type of bullying is called verbal, which is when a person says mean things to someone face-to-face or by hand-writing them a note. It can include name-calling, taunting, threatening, insulting, making sexually inappropriate comments, and teasing someone. A third type of bullying is called relational bullying, which involves destroying someone’s reputation, relationships, or both. It can include excluding someone on purpose, humiliating someone in public, spreading rumors about someone, and telling people not to be friends with someone.

Lastly, there is also a type of bullying called cyberbullying. This type of bullying is conducted on the internet or through texting, and can involve the same behaviors as verbal and relational bullying (Hughes 4; Hymel and Swearer;). For example, consider what happened to a girl named Monique Mclain one year. On the first day of school, Monique decided to try a new hairstyle, but she would really regret that decision. Two girls named Destiny and Cheyenne began making fun of her for being a copycat because Destiny’s cousin wore the same hairstyle.

They knew Monique had not known that, but they did it anyway and before long they would start throwing things at Monique on the bus as well as regularly taunting and tormenting her every chance they got. The school did try to put a stop to it by telling the girls to stop, putting them in ISS and even arranging a peer mediation group between Monique, Destiny and Cheyenne. Nothing worked-if anything, they just made it worse because Destiny and Cheyenee started calling Monique a tattletale too. Eventually, Monique became more introverted and began losing weight and sleeping more, so her Mom signed her up for boxing.

She liked it at first but she would be excluded from that group too before long because a girl on the team turned out to be Destiny’s cousin. This situation is a good example of bullying, because the girls refused to stop no matter how many times people told them to. In addition, there was a power imbalance between Monique and Cheyene and Destiny, because first of all there was two of them and one of her, and secondly, it was understood that copy-cats deserved to be talked down to (Bazelon 22-27).