bullying is endemic because ultimately, we live in a system set up by and run by bullies
the strategies schools teach to deal with bullies are so ineffective because if they taught actual, functional ways to stand up for oneself and stop bullies in their tracks, the system would no longer be able to perpetuate itself
to build off this, the strategies glorified and perpetuated are:
- don't be a target (victim blaming, tacitly endorses bully's behavior)
- ask the bully to stop (acknowledge their power over you, which reinforces that their tactics work as a way to gain power)
also, sometimes bystanders are asked to intervene - this is incredibly situational, because it assumes that bullying occurs in public places, that standing up will not be punished, and that enough people will do so for it to work
the publicized strategies are what they are because they are entirely consistent with neoliberal ideals. either reshape yourself so you don't stand out (and based on what people are often bullied for, become a model worker drone for the system), or submit to the power of the system and only take actions that the system permits - certainly don't resist in any meaningful, effective way that could force the bully to stop, because that would make you just as bad as them
often, bullying behaviours are also endorsed by the faculty - not only teachers bringing in their own bigotries (a whole other topic), but actively encouraging competition and shaming behavior w/r/t grades, sports, extracurriculars - because those are "objective" (read: capitalistically useful) measures of success and prestige. at this point, even the sanctioned methods of resistance can be punished. and we wonder why there's a mental health crisis in schools
@velexiraptor This is beautiful. I'd like to embed (and quote) what you wrote here on my blog, if that's cool with you.
@velexiraptor I remember when my son was being bullied in middle school due to gendered norms around voice timbre; the "advice" everyone from teachers to his mom was giving him was so pathetically useless and would have just made it worse. Luckily, I'd had an experience myself as a teen that gave me *enough* of a grasp to give him practical advice, but you've put it very clearly and succinctly. Thank you!
Faith Collapsing is a host set up by me (Steven Saus) with the same sensibility of the BBS I ran back in the 1990s - I set it up for me, but folks I personally know are welcome to join if they like.