I consider myself lucky when it comes to bullying and bullying tactics. I wasn't bullied in school from other children, and my children, in the short time they are with us, have established themselves to stand up to bullying, mean acts, or words of hatred, regardless who it is aimed towards. Whether it is aimed at them or at their friends, they stand up to these acts of cruelty.
I approach this new world (a protective mom) cautiously; because regardless of the situation, crossing a line of defending yourself or a friend is not far and can be perceived differently to witnesses around.
Having said that my kids get it; I feel that because of their kind hearts and their integrity, their kindness shines through, and they are very liked among their friends.
This is where it gets tricky because I want to talk about one particular area that I believe can be a root of the evil. Let me be clear, not the one and only origin, but another aspect of bullying, being mean and downright nastiness.
Before I get on my soapbox – I want you to know that my children are; a son age 14 and a daughter age 12. Boys are clear-cut, black or white no grey area – well that is my opinion. Girls on the other hand are not, and boy oh boy the drama is too much for me to bear. Yet if memory serves me correctly, when I was 12 I was not sassy and often confused by certain actions.
Moving along, as I step onto my soapbox, did you know that 57% of woman makes up the workforce today? I thought it was higher but perhaps the statistics can be askew. After all, everywhere I go I see many women working. What I also see is among women is an animosity with one another. Unless it’s Wednesday and we are all wearing pink, (a mean girl reference) meaning I have your back because you are part of my team, or clique. It can be very intimidating.
We are taught at an early age to judge one another, criticize, and covet.
Why is that? I am not sure but I do know it is exhausting.
It starts as early as the 4th grade, it doesn't get better in high school but it starts to diminish slightly in college, and once we are in the work force, we all establish ourselves, but the disdain continues in a vicious circle. As women become wives, then moms and are still working, perhaps the stakes are higher, but the binding remarks, the unsolicited advice becomes meaner. The stares, the giggles, the whispers and being left out is too much to take - Yes I am talking about being bullied in the workforce.
I once worked with someone that would walk around the office laughing and as she passed all of our colleagues, she always had some snide remark to make. As I sat and worked at my desk, I wondered if she was actually working. I also thought why no one was saying anything to her, you know why because she was a time bomb ready to make everyone’s life miserable. It so happened because I was the newbie, I was always her target. Once, as she took her stroll, I stood up and laughed - everyone must have thought I was crazy – after a good laugh I sat back down and started working again. I never stood up to her but when I gave my notice I demanded an exit interview and when I spoke to the owner I simply told him that his office was dysfunctional because of her.
Did that make me feel good, no not really, the workforce has change tremendously in recent years, it is quite competitive, there are individuals out there that feel binding comments, intimidation and backstabbing get points.
I come from a different place; I believe that you can fool some of the people sometime but eventually the deceit will be noticed. Well I hope so.
So what do we do? We unite, why because “I am woman hear me roar!”
Holy moly can we see how strong we are? Women can take the brunt of anything - if the child is sick, we take care of our child. If we need to make ends meet financially, we do that too. We can be composed, passionate, kind, loving and loyal - but the minute we see another woman doing the same great thing the swords come out. Why is that?
Because back in 7th grade when little Miss Donna Marie walked into school wearing her uniform skirt hemmed above her knees we all wanted that too. Even though we all wished for a shorter skirt, Donna Marie became the talk of the school, and well, she asked for it.
Has that ever changed, in history? Unfortunately it hasn't, the insecurities among women are remarkable. I wish we could all recognize our true potential. With the same vigor, which we proclaim about someone’s choice of clothes, automobile, or home, I wish we could stand by one another and declare how amazing we are. Affirm our strengths, encourage one another, and reassure that our weakness is not a fault.
This damaging behavior among women is a form of bullying, which can be stopped by changing how we talk to our daughters and their friends. It is time to change our language.
This month, 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion continues to work toward a better world with a particular focus on Building from Bullying, as well as the broader topic of compassion.
Write a post relevant to this month’s focus – Building from Bullying –