Jacob McKay created this digital story in the Drake University J-term class SCS 153: Documentary Video Challenge: Digital Storytelling for Social Justice.
Relational Bullying is the opposite of physical bullying, yet just as damaging to self-esteem if not more so. The wounds from physical bullying may fade after time but wounds from relational bullying can last for years if not a lifetime. Some examples of relational bullying are peer pressure, gossip, social exclusion and feigning friendship to gain trust of the victim. According to a study by the University of Illinois by Rodkin et al, bullies have been known to either have high self-esteem, or worse, be former victims of bullying themselves (2015). Some of these perpetrators have been marginalized socially themselves, suffer from low self-esteem, and use bullying as a way to take their anguish out on someone else. Additionally, although some bullies come from good homes, just as many come from dysfunctional homes with abusive parents.
With the popularity of the internet, the amount of relational bullying has exploded. Victims are no longer able to escape their bullies by leaving the school and going home, instead the abuse continues at home online. Especially with the widespread use of smartphones now, at times it is inescapable. The abuse has intensified online as well. Perpetrators create Facebook pages for example, inviting peers to trade information about the victim and post pictures, all without permission. This particular method has resulted in countless suicides. Just recently, there was an article on npr.org about the announcement that for girls aged 15-19 suicide is now the #1 cause of death(2015). Although this statistic may not be entirely due to bullying, it is without a doubt it is a large factor.
There are many psychological temperaments that a bully may have. Some of these are: Anger, Depression, and Anxiety. Anger management should be part of teaching children in the no bullying area. Teaching children at a young age, on through adolescence on how to control their anger and even direct it in a more productive way. Anger and aggression are main components of bullying. Depression is common on victims of bullies and in bullies themselves. This area is important because depression leads to suicides, especially in middle-school aged children. Victims of bullies often have depression, therefore these children are the most at-risk. Anxiety is also a component of bullies and of bullied victims. Anxiety can cause students to miss school thus heightening anxiety for having to return and having to face peers and teachers and homework.
The feminist social justice approach is to treat the bullies and the victims the same. Meaning, teach each child the same for the symptoms and psychological aspects as listed above.
We should all be treated the same. The laws in this country allow all children to have a free education and therefore we all have to live together. Approaching the problem of bullying
From a psychological aspect should alleviate the bullying problems we are currently facing.
Preschoolers through adolescence have been bullies. Preschoolers do not have the verbal and cognitive skills to hide it as well as the older children, therefore it is easier to recognize.
As children age, they gain skills in which they could covertly bully other students. Being a victim of a bully also causes children to be rejected by their peers. Not only are they being victimized by the bully, but then rejected by others because they cannot defend themselves, nor will anyone assist the victim. Boys and girls are both equally bullies and victims.
Educators are more focused on physical bullying than relational bullying. Relational bullying is hard to recognize because it can be verbal, silent, on social media, through notes, whatever way the bully can get to the victim. It can be subtle, for example, “You can’t sit with us at lunch today.” or “You can’t be friends with us today.” The child would be alienated from their ‘normal’ group of friends. There is no evidence of this behavior and of course the bully will not admit it. Educators would not easily recognize this unless it is self-reported. By being aware of their students and care monitoring of these students, being able to identify bullies and victims would become more prevalent. Adults, though, typically ignore this type of bullying and disregard it as, oh, boys will be boys, or those girls always stay together.
To combat this, educators need to be aware of the subtle signs of relational bullying and not rely on the victim to speak out. Schools might even need to look into support staffs that are IT savvy who will take on the responsibility of monitoring social networking for signs of trouble. Schools could also have anonymous ways of reporting harassment for those who want to report instances of relational bullying. As bullying has evolved, methods to combat them need to evolve as well. Educators as well as administrators and staff need to think outside the box so to speak. Obviously we will never be able to eradicate peer to peer relational bullying completely, but we can at least try.
Rodkin, P. C., Espelage, D. L., & Hanish, L. D. (2015). A relational framework for understanding bullying: Developmental antecedents and outcomes. American Psychologist, 70(4), 311-321. doi:10.1037/a0038658
Lea Kozulic, Susan Smith, Emily Tyler
We learned that the empathy is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the that person’s frame of reference. In the movie Bully, noone really felt or experienced empathy with Alex besides his parents who went to see the principal who were devastated and desperate because they knew what their son was going through and they couldn’t have helped him on their own. Principal on the other hand, didn’t really show signs of empathy with the parents because she said she would help them in fall and she did not. Finally, she intervened and asked her assistant to work on the case but it didn’t end up being very effective because children kept teasing him and the boy ended up being scared even more. Same thing with the girl named Kelly who was a lesbian. In the end of the movie, she said that “maybe there’s other place she could go and make a difference”. But, not here.
Obviously, forcing the children to the things they don’t really want to do, won’t make them stop teasing other kids because they can’t think rationally – or ’empathically’ – at their age. Their emotional intelligence isn’t developed enough for them to percieve what is right or what is wrong. It’s all about how their idols or role models influence them. This is where the role of parents comes up. Parents are children’s role models at young age. They copy their moves and want to be like them. Throughout the readings and the book The Bluest Eye, we could learn and a lot and expand our views about the power of role models. There was a big difference in the attitude of Pecola and Claudia towards themselves and the fact they were black. It all depended a lot about their role models. Pecola didn’t have good role models because here parents were a mess themselves and didn’t appreciate their own lives. They accepted the life a misery which was something that started in their own heads at their very young age. On the other hand, Claudia was lucky enough to have a somehow stable family where people loved and supported each other.
This is why it’s important to give a good example of being a good and strong person to kids at the very young age. It’s important to teach them mannerism and good values. It’s important to teach them to respect other people and the differences between us. It is important to teach them that we are all equal but different as well. That is the art of nurturing. This is where empathy really is important. It is easy to identify with people who have very similar habits as you do, but how are you going to teach your kids to respect people who are different, but at the same time the same as you are? It all starts at young age and this is where parents teach their kids how to respect kids and identify themselves with others. One of the good ways would be to ask their kids how would they feel if they were bullied? How would they feel if they would have been in the bullied kid’s skin? Probably not very good. This is why we created a poster that would remind the children that it is their choice whether they are going to be bullies and to make it look bad. It is also important to treat those kids as young adults because that’s how they want to be treated so it reminds them that everyone has issues of their own that we need to respect.
Tasha Alexander, Zachary Berman, Ally Calvert, Hannah Hennessy, Reed Timmer
We researched the subject of the prohibitive culture of snitching. We found that there is a fear of snitching, not only because of the social repercussions of peers finding out, but also because of ineffective action taken by the confidant the person being bullied turned to for help. The documentary Bully tells the story of five students who struggle daily with bullying. Three of the students attempt to commit suicide, and two succeed. The adults in the film were ineffective in stopping the bullying or even exacerbated it. We also read a paper called Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Differences, by Audre Lorde. It discusses societal norms that each generation passes down to each other and questions why we continue carrying some of these norms if they preach inequality. This applies to bullying, as society teaches children that they are superior to others because of the intelligence, race, gender, or athletic ability. Rather, society should take feminist social justice approach, where people are treated as equals without uncontrollable factors giving certain people power.
The importance of Bully, is to show and tell stories of kids who might not get a chance to share their side of the story, because of the fact that they are scared to tell on the bully. The obvious repercussions of the movie are suicide and two out of the five kids who were bullied commit suicide. This shows how bullying people, cannot only change one person’s life, but everyone who was close to the person who was bullied. In Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Differences, demonstrates different inequalities that they go through, what they do to get through it, and how it changed their lives. It also shows how social norms can be considered bullying. Just because some one is different, doesn’t mean that they are not as important as a dominant class of people.
In relation to the prohibitive culture of snitching and what we found in our research, all the information we found can help change the way people understand and talk about bullying. Specifically, the education of all parties involved in a bullying situation needs to be implemented in order for bullying situations to be taken seriously and for them to stop. The ramifications however could be that the bullying situation gets worse as the snitch or the person trying to share information about the bullying situation could get picked on or hurt just as much as the victim. In order for this to be avoided, a number of people need to come forward in an effort to stop the bullying at its source all at the same time. There is power in numbers and if multiple people come after the situation to try and stop it, the bully then can’t in turn victimize the information sharer because there are so many people that would be involved. Sharing information and snitching can be a vital asset to a bullying situation in order to make sure the victim doesn’t go through any more harm, and another ramification could be that information or people snitching on a bullying situation could go away. In order to avoid this, it is important to make sure that the environment to share information is a friendly one with assurance that anyone who comes forward to help is doing a positive thing and does not have to worry whatsoever.
Our recommendation for social change is to get every school involved with the Stand for the Silent organization. This organization has made great strides in the past five years to raise awareness of bullying and to help prevent further bullying. The organization has been a support group for families that have lost children from bullying. In the subject of snitching, we want students to know that it is okay to stand up for someone in need. Children are sponges for learning and already support many organizations that are personal to them, cancer being a big one. Educating kids on the techniques of helping someone that is being bullied can save hundreds of lives. Stand for the Silent is a support organization kids, families, and schools can get heavily involved in. Making the cases of bullying relatable to each student will help them take the stand that is necessary.
Students in Introduction to Women’s Studies are reading about the power of narrative to create social change. We will soon begin digital storytelling service learning projects with local organizations. “…the power that stories have to generate hope and engagement, personal dignity and active citizenship, the pride of identity, and the humility of human connectedness” (pg 1).
Students in Patton-Imani’s Introduction to Women’s Studies were sent on an intellectual scavenger hunt in which they had to explore, analyze, synthesize, and apply connections between knowledge, power, media images and narratives, and individual lives. Drawing on class discussions about Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, each group was asked to critically consider what we can learn about contemporary society from this narrative, focusing on one of the following: romantic love, beauty, masculinity, femininity. The blog posts below share some of their work. Please leave comments!
Masculinity is very prominent in TV commercials. Two examples of this are the Dr. Pepper Ten commercial and the Old Spice commercial. In the Dr. Pepper Ten commercial, in order to get men to buy their diet soda, they make it seem like it’s a really masculine thing to buy, or that the drink isn’t for women somehow. They even made a page for the drink on Facebook where they blocked any women from joining the group. Normally women are the ones who buy diet soda, but by doing this kind of advertisement, it gets men to buy into the “10 manly calories” and purchase the drink that they might not have otherwise. The Old Spice commercial shows the “ideal man” and that by buying the deodorant you can at least smell like the “ideal man”. The other aspect of the commercial is that when he talks, he’s directing it at the women even though the advertisement is trying to get men to buy it. He says things like “Look at your man, now back at me. Don’t you wish your man cou
ld smell like me? Etc” In a way this gets men to think that women desire this type of man, and in order to be like him, you first need to smell like him. These are the type of commercials that control the way men think, and get them to buy products that they may otherwise not buy, because they want to be seen as manly in order to attract the women.
When you hear the jingle, you hear the music in your head, but do you realize what you are actually watching? Every couple that Kay advertises is a same-race couple but it’s never an interracial couple. If you dig a little deeper, you can see that they play certain races’ commercials in certain areas more than others according to advertisingdirected.com. Also, does it ever strike you that they play out this “romantic love” concept by the simplicity of a kiss between a two people? It is so played out that if you end up with a couple of the same race as you and you buy them this ring, then it will automatically work out! I personally feel that there are a lot more trials you must face in order to be a happy couple that they so easily display in their commercials. I also believe that the couples that they choose are very stereotypical, in that they are always dressed the part of a middle-to-upper-middle class lifestyle; and then when you look at it from a socioeconomic standpoint the advertisers take out more than half of the American population. I think that what Kay Jewelers and so many other advertising campaigns do well is show the cookie cutter couple. When you have the cookie cutter couple, you take out interracial couples, poor couples, same sex couples and so much more. Although it is so easy to remember their little jingle, you have to ask yourself what end goal do they have in mind?
The Kay Jeweler’s advertisements our group found remind me of the White Privilege article by Peggy McIntosh. Towards the end of the article, she writes about heterosexual privilege. From all of the advertisements that our group found, none of them featured a homosexual couple. They all featured the stereotypical heterosexual couple. This creates a very biased view about romantic love and what it’s supposed to be. Advertisements are seen by millions of people, so only showing heterosexual couples establishes that as the norm. Everything else will be seen as abnormal. These advertisements can be particularly damaging to children who are still developing their own view of society. If we are trying to build toward a more accepting and diverse society, only showing heterosexual couples on these advertisements is doing everyone a disservice. Ending heterosexual privilege isn’t going to be an easy process, but by diversifying the types of couples featured in advertisements will help. If children begin seeing advertisements featuring homosexual couples, hopefully they will no longer see that as abnormal.
The images we see, the images built up and perpetuated by the media, help shape our perception of the world. These images can often work to disempower the lowest of the social strata, and can often have unintended consequences. Pauline, in The Bluest Eye, lapped up the fancy and happy world portrayed in movies. However, it worked to worsen her perception of her own life. Because she could not be “pretty” like Jean Harlow, who she imitated, and her family and marriage could not be the happy, relatively carefree life she admired, she gave up. She found it impossible to identify the beauty and positives in her life. Similarly, those who find themselves excluded in the media, or portrayed negatively, find it hard to accept themselves and their lives. Because mixed race or same sex couples are absent or often stigmatized, it promotes a lack of acceptance in society. Life becomes increasingly difficult for those breaking from “the norm.” More diverse and accepting images could help eliminate the narrow image of the “proper” and “normal” to better reflect reality. This would likely help broaden acceptance and alleviate some of the problems of self-hate plaguing society in this day and age.
I think it’s important that we look at this ad in a different way. When thinking specifically about wedding rings and the Kay commercials it is easy to forget that there are many forms of proposal across cultures and some cultures suggest that it’s a better idea to wait to kiss until after they’ve said their “I do’s” at the altar, or jump over the broom, or whatever other cultural norm they partake in at their wedding. In the piece “It’s Not an Oxymoron: The Search for an Arab Feminism” by Susan Muaddi Darraj, she makes a point of talking about the Arab rituals her and her husband went through in order to pay homage to the traditions her family practiced culturally. I think it’s important to remember that not all families, cultures, religions, sexualities will want to have a traditional Christian wedding that we’ve come to be so accustomed to in America. Even though I think it’s easy for Kay Jewelers to get their point across I think it’s important that as a jewelry company that they pay attention to the range in their demographic and how they will connect to their commercials. What kind of messages are they sending across cultures? Maybe not a good one.
Chelsea, Codie, Darshan, and Alex, Intro to Women’s Studies
The topic of romantic love and marriage has been a focus in society and politics for decades. Whether it manifests in terms of interracial marriage or the question of same-sex marriage, people have very strong opinions on who should be allowed to married. Today, the biggest issue is same-sex marriage. Opposition comes strongest from various religions, and many feel that allowing gays to marry will “ruin the sanctity of marriage.” The concerns that society has about marriage now are no different than they were decades ago.
Interracial marriage was a legal issue in the United States up until the end of the 1960s. Through the end of the 1800s and the first half the 1900s, many states slowly started repealing laws that made interracial marriage illegal. Before 1967, all but 14 states in the U.S. had either repealed or never passed laws that outlawed mixed marriage. However, in 1967, the Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, making mixed marriage legal in all 50 states. However, at that point, only less than half of one percent of all marriages in the United States were mixed. Despite the legalization of interracial marriage, the stigma that existed kept the number of those marriages down. Today, same sex marriage is in a similar place. Many states still ban same-sex marriage, and supporters of the ban worry about how allowing gays to marry will affect the state of families and marriage in America. This worries existed during the debates of interracial marriages as well. However, every year, more and more states legalization same sex marriage. However, the stigma that, to an extent, still follows interracial marriage now follows same-sex marriage as well. This attempt to control the institution of marriage mirrors the way that media changes the viewpoint of romantic love in general, and how we, as a society should analyze romantic love, and what our expectations in that area should be.
Romantic love is often referred to as a destructive concept in The Bluest Eye, and readers can see how it affects Pauline’s life. Because she is very influenced by the stories she sees in movies, she creates inner narratives about how her life will go that become self-fulfilling prophecies. Based on the love she sees in the media, Pauline thinks that love has a lot to do with possession and physical beauty, and that idea is reflected in how she allows her husband to treat her. She hoped that one day a stranger would meet her and accept what she sees as her ugliest part—her bad foot. When she meets Cholly, the fulfillment of that fantasy blinds her to the fact that he may not be the best man for her, and eventually leads to unhappiness. Pauline had spent a lot of time watching movies and began to compare herself to others on the idea of an “absolute beauty scale.” Pauline believed that if her beauty could compare to that of the white women around her, Cholly would come back and take care of her like the media portrayed romantic man should.
The way that Pauline envisions finding love is not uncommon from the way many young girls think they will find a husband. Many of the images we subject girls to from very young age depict love as destiny—something that you wait to happen to you. Most Disney movies show the lead woman as helpless, fragile, and beautiful, waiting for a strong, powerful man to rescue her from whatever problems she is involved in. Romantic love is also shown as something that happens instantly, with one kiss or one chance meeting. The “prince charming” image can create unrealistic expectations among young girls when it comes to finding love, and for how the relationship will function, similar to how Pauline relies on her daydreams rather than reality.
Foucault’s “knowledge is power” idea states that what society knows and understands as normal is socially constructed rather than an absolute truth. He also says that what is established as normal is only done so by society’s experts who study the abnormal. Only once we are able to see what individuals in society are the outcasts are we able to determine what the “norm” is. This claim can be seen when observing society’s standards of romantic love.
For example, in the United States there is a general understanding of how loving relationships should work. When an individual is usually in his or her mid-twenties they are expected to find another individual around the same age with whom they plan to enter into a monogamous relationship with each other for the rest of their lives. Deferring from this plan is seen in general as abnormal. Some aspects of what is considered right changes over time. Many years ago marrying outside one’s class would be something considered abnormal. Also it would be looked at as odd if the man in the relationship was younger than the woman.
There are other aspects of a relationship that are considered abnormal that would cause others to not believe there could be true romantic love. For example, society has implemented the idea that long term relationships must be monogamous. Polygamist relationships are rejected by society because our knowledge tells us that you can’t be in love with more than one person, and if you are it is usually considered an act of sexual perversion. And according to Foucault, people who are in polygamous relationships do not have the opportunity to speak about the legitimacy of their relationships because their opinions are immediately dismissed since they have already been labeled as abnormal.
Only until recent years, homosexuality has been seen in the same light. Because homosexual couples are “abnormal,” other aspects of the loving relationship are questioned such as whether or not a homosexual couple can raise a family with the same “quality” that the normal heterosexual couple can.
Finally, age gaps also determine the legitimacy of romantic love in a relationship. If a couple is seen out to dinner and the man looks like he has twenty years on the lady, then it is assumed that she is marrying him for his money and that he is her “sugar daddy.” And if there were to be a couple that consisted of a thirty year old and a seventy-five year old, then that is just seen as some kind of sexual fetish.
The knowledge is power statement would state that the reason these abnormalities stay the way they do is because this is how we are teaching ourselves. In other words, generation after generation our youth are gaining the knowledge of what is normal in society and continue to perpetuate these societal norms. This knowledge of these norms is the power that fuels this continuation, and what is considered “abnormal” is very hard to change.
– Tinh Le Ngoc, Brian Kalina, Alexander Hilton, Lindsay Sulsa, Amanda Grout