Posts Tagged ‘bullying’

Wearing the Shirt: There are No Excuses for Anti-Gay Bullying

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing convictions put into action. Thanks to Jessica Haney of Crunchy Chewy Mama for writing this blog post inspired by the power tool “wear the shirt” and for submitting her photo.

Although I mostly think Erica Jong was wrong-headedin her Wall Street Journal piece last week where she said attachment parenting keeps women in a prison and out of politics (see my response and other links here), I do have to admit that, in choosing to stay home with my children, I am not out there in public schools being an active straight ally for LGBT youth as a classroom teacher. And with another suicide now by a boy who left behind a note that he was sick of being called “faggot” and “sissy,” I feel sad to be out of that role.

I used to sponsor the Gay/Straight Alliance at the high school where I taught English, and I attended a handful of Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) conferences then and before that while I was an undergrad and a graduate student. I got on the email list for film producer and distributor (and Respect for All Project creator) GroundSpark (formerly Women’s Educational Media) which recently sent a newsletter with this information about the sad story of Brandon Bitner, who took his life last week, leaving a note that said he didn’t want to be called names anymore.

I am so sad for this latest victim of society’s narrow ideas about gender.

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Was Wooly Bully a Woman?

The recent New York Times article entitled “Backlash: Women Bullying Women” instantly reminded me of the 1960’s song, “Wooly Bully”*. Its logic was garbled and its presentation just plain silly, but it was nevertheless so entertainingly in tune with the culture of the day that it became a big hit.

Though the piece began by acknowledging that men are the majority (60%!) of workplace bulliers, that fact was quickly dismissed. Why wasn’t it the headline? Because it’s so obvious. It’s not a “man bites dog” story.

Instead, the reporter zeroed in on the finding that of women who do bully, 70% choose other women as their targets. Then the article proceeded to analyze this through the lens of a recurring cultural narrative, far too often embraced by even the New York Times despite evidence to the contrary, that women can’t get along, that women don’t support other women, that women are their own worst enemies when it comes to fostering workplace advancement.

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