A couple of weeks ago my eight grade daughter and I went to a screening of Finding Kind. It was sponsored by our school and students 10 yrs.+ and their parents were encouraged to attend.
I didn’t know that much about the film prior to attending other than it had an anti-bullying message. I didn’t realize that the screening would be introduced by the two young women who filmed the documentary or that the message was less “us” vs. “them” (victims vs. bullies) and more a message that, we, as women, have a tremendous capacity to treat each other, even friends, with unkindness.
The producers had travelled across the country interviewing lots and lots of girls (middle/high school) and some women as well. They all had stories to tell about being the victim of mean words and actions, but also about guilt from having acted similarly themselves. The men who were included spoke about how their (male) relationships tended to last longer and seemed less filled with complications. That issues and arguments were vented and blew over relatively quickly.
The SLP in me couldn’t help but wonder if it’s our (I’m taking to the 90%+ SLP women), facility with language that leads us to use this medium for combat? And I’m talking all aspects of communication. These girls were very clear that content was only half the picture. Tone, body language (especially the eyes), layered meanings and even context had a huge impact. While I was appalled, though not surprised, at the meanness of girls, I was perversely impressed by their mastery of language.
But with great power, comes great responsibility (right, Spiderman?). Let’s be nice to each other.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you believe the old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me?” I know I don’t.
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Words so often hurt much more than any blow could. Words are powerful; they are not easily forgotten.
Words certainly have the power to stick around. Thanks for the comment. Kim
Ooo yes, girls can be so cruel. I work with all the teenage girls at my church and there is definitely a tendency for female aggression (or passive aggression). We even had a psychologist come speak to us. She showed a clip from the movie Mean Girls and told about the ways females hurt each other. I’m not sure it helped eliminate it but it helped create some awareness.
I think any attempt to increase awareness is always a good thing. We’re like ants trying to move a mountain! Kim
Unfortunately, I’ve been on both sides, too. I’ve been the “hurtee” and I’ve
been the “hurter”. Now that I am a better Christian, I can honestly say that
because I’m inproving in my comprehension of the Bible, my feelings are
seldom hurt. Knowing who you are in Christ is simply empowering. I
realize that low self-esteem is the basis for trying to belittle someone else.
My biggest battle, during those times when I feel threatened, is to keep
myself from acting out through passive aggressiveness. I’m learning to
address my weaknesses in an uplifting way; when I do this, negative
words or actions from others cannot bring me down. I still have to
remind myself to uplift children (and adults) who have “bullying”
tendancies. We all need to check out and utilize Howard Gardner’s
theory of Multiple Intelligences- – -I think there are 9 so far.
Thank you for this link. Knowledge of pragmatic skills is so relevant
Toni, Thank you for bringing up that the bully’s low self esteem is often to blame. Best of luck on your own path! Kim
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