Of Dealing With Bullies

Hello Snarklings! The first lesson at Gothic Charm School for 2011 is going to be about a very serious topic, one, sadly, that the Lady of the Manners has been receiving a distressing number of letters about: bullying. Here, read a small sample of the letters arriving seemingly daily in the Gothic Charm School mailbox:

From Addy Rose:
question: My Lady,
I am writting this letter becuase I am…well, having bully issues. Sad, but true. 🙁 I have been part of the gothic lifestyle for about 2 years now. I am 15 and in 10th grade. And I get picked on, a lot. It hasn’t come to physical problems..but I fear that it will. Rude and threating comments are always being thrown at me in the hallways, cafeteria, classrooms, etc. At first I ignored them, but I don’t know how much longer I can take this. I’ve even shot some remarks back at a girl bashing my black frilly high heels. (It’s not just because she did’nt like my shoes..I could care less. It’s because she’s been tormenting me for years now..I just can’t take it anymore, Lady. Please help. Thank you for taking time to read this.  
Best Wishes,
Addy Rose XOXO

From Jayna:
question: Dear Lady of the manners,
I was fully aware that when I became goth I would atract unwanted attteion but I became goth anyway but the harassment has gotten worse. So much. That it has become psyical. I did what you said. I turned to the teachers, but they did not do anything at all.  

Thank you for reading this,

Jayna

From Bunni:
My other problem is a girl who actually is physically hurting me, for wearing “weird” clothes. When I was wearing a neon green and black, knee length skirt and black corset/vest a week ago, she took my binders from my hands and threw them in the air, and then pushed me down the stairs. I actually shed blood from my knees. How do I avoid her? By the way, I told an authority at school, but they didn’t believe me, because that girl is a little miss goody-two-shoes/teacher’s pet, who has the school staff wrapped around her little finger.  

I’m so stuck. 🙁

Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners wishes she could give each and every one of you a hug, and then visit your schools and tell your tormentors to STOP. The Lady of the Manners has no idea if that would actually help, but that’s her immediate reaction to letters about bullying. Since she can’t do that, she’s going write about it and hope that helps.

Thing The First: No one, and the Lady of the Manners does mean no one, deserves to be bullied. It doesn’t matter what someone looks like, what religion they are, their sexual orientation, their gender, where they live, what books they read, what music they listen to … there is no reason for bullying. Ever. If you are being bullied and someone says things like “Well, that’s just how so-and-so is”, “You just have to accept it”, or “What did you expect, you look weird or different”, that person is wrong. In the experience of the Lady of the Manners, bullying, at its core, has nothing to do with the target, but is about the bully trying to make themselves feel like they have power over something. Does that make it excusable? No, never. But if you are being bullied, please, please, please try to remember that the bullying is not an accurate reflection of your worth. Cling to that idea, and don’t let the bullies rob you of your hope, your self-confidence, or your future.

Thing The Second: If you’re being bullied, what should you do? TELL SOMEONE. Find a sympathetic teacher, tell your parents or the parents of one of your friends, tell the guidance counsellor, but tell someone. Do not suffer in silence. Because the bullies are in the wrong, not you, and their actions need to be exposed. (If the adult you talk to responds with comments along the lines of the “What did you expect …?” nonsense the Lady of the Manners mentioned in Thing The First, tell them that bullying is harassment and discrimination and that no one deserves it. Show them this article if you think it will help.) But do talk to an adult about the bullying, and try to enlist their aid in getting it to stop. Sadly, they may not be able to, or the reaction may be a Very Special Assembly or Meeting about how Bullying Is Not Tolerated (and we all know how effective those sorts of assemblies are, which is to say not very). But you still need to tell someone, because one of the things bullies count on is that no one will call them on their actions. Which leads to …

Thing The Third: Reactions. Bullies want to make you upset. They are trying to hurt you, and want to see that sort of reaction so they can torment you even more. Which is why the usual advice about bullying is to ignore them, to not give them the response they’re looking for. The Lady of the Manners agrees with that advice, up to a point. The most important thing to remember is (as the Lady of the Manners said in Thing The First) you don’t deserve any of what the bullies are doing to you. So do your best not to get upset, lose your temper, or give the bullies a show. However, if you can manage it, comment on what they’re doing, in as calm a manner as possible. The Lady of the Manners realizes that doing this will be extremely difficult in many circumstances, because getting upset about being bullied and picked on is a completely reasonable reaction, and holding that reaction in is hard to do. But your goal is to make them understand that bullying you isn’t going to get the response they’re looking for, and getting angry and upset won’t do that.

If you don’t think you can pull off reacting calmly toward the bullies, then do your best to ignore them. As the Lady of the Manners said, they want to make you upset, they want a reaction. Do your very utmost not to give them what they want.

Thing The Fourth: Violence. Sometimes (and oh, how the Lady of the Manners wishes it was a rare exception), bullying becomes physically violent. Which is assault, Snarklings. No matter how “mild” it may seem. Pushing, hair-pulling, knocking books out of someone’s arms? That is all assault, and is not to be tolerated. If someone assaults you, go to an authority figure (multiple authority figures, if you have to), and report the incident as calmly and seriously as possible. If you are met with any sort of “Oh, you’re overreacting” response, repeat that what has happened is assault, and must be taken seriously. You may even need to go as far as reporting the assault to the police and pressing charges.

The Lady of the Manners is loath to advocate retaliatory violence toward the bullies. Partially because she doesn’t think it will actually help anything, but mostly because the chances of you getting hurt and blamed for the incident are high. But! If you are in physical danger, defend yourself. Do what you need to in order to get out of the situation, and go to someplace, anyplace, where there are people around, preferably adults and/or authority figures.

Which brings the Lady of the Manners to the thing she feels the most strongly about in all of this: it is everyone’s responsibility to help stop bullying. If people band together and call bullies out on what they’re doing, if people make it clear that bullying is not something to be tolerated and accepted, then it can be stopped. If you see someone being picked on or bullied, say something. Tell the aggressor to stop it, and get other people to help shame the bully into changing their ways. Yes, the Lady of the Manners said shame, because if you are bullying someone, you should be ashamed of what you’re doing.

So speak up. Say something, even if the person being bullied is someone you don’t like or don’t know. Again, no one deserves to be bullied. Ever.

For this particular post, the Lady of the Manners is going to do a very rare thing: she’s going to leave it open for moderated comments. If you have advice on how to deal with bullies, or if you want to share your experiences and tell people that it does, indeed, get better, please do!

214 Responses to “Of Dealing With Bullies”

  1. Skye Says:

    I have never been bullied before-although I do have an older sister that went through that preteen stage where you always have to be sarcastic and have mean comebacks and such-but the thought of it makes my stmach churn. It has been said that A)Some goths are known to be more intelligent than many other people, and B)Most people that have been bullied have been known to go on to be CEO’s or have other important jobs. So yes, I literally mean it will get better. I know that it will be hard and reading all these comments made me realize that I am lucky. I have zero tolerance for nasty people so my advice is Never Give Up!

  2. Leona Says:

    Hi! I’ve been goth and bisexual for a while and people are kinda teasing me about it. It’s not like I’m interested in any girls, it’s just that I don’t really care. Also, this girl in my grade is picking on me. I don’t know why though! She says all these rude comments like: your a pig, I don’t like you, and, you think your so smart. She even said up your mom to me, I wasen’t even talking to her. I just wan’t to run away sometimes.

  3. Ghoulia Says:

    One issue I think needs to be invent of the internet young goths now have an outlet to interact with other Goths despite not having means to do so in real life. I’ve been appalled at the number of time I have seen Goths, both young and old, being shameless bullies! I’ve seen instances where a group of goths took a random young goth girl’s photos and made a meme out of her. Several young goths on Youtube have been bullied by other Goths repeatedly. I was disgusted when I saw a group of Elder Goths on Facebook mocking Sebastian the Girl. People want to cry foul when people in mainstream society bully Goths. Yet, everyone is hush-hush or will secretly approve of bullying when it’s perpetuated by someone in the scene. This is especially true if this behavior is perpetuated by an “uber goober” type. I think this is because people are afraid of potential backlash, alienation from the group, or being rejected.

    My advice to any young Goths who have experienced bullying at the hands of other Goths is to keep your head up. Don’t listen to them. And, most importantly don’t engage them. If someone calls you a poseur, ignore them. If someone tries to bully you for your taste in music, ignore them. Bullies only have power if you give it to them. If someone steals your photos report them. Don’t make grandiose status updates or youtube videos about them. Simply report them to the proper authorities online (on whatever site this is happening) and ignore them. Bullies love attention and love getting a response out of you so they can continue to hurt you. Just remember it takes two to have a flame war. The best way to get back at bullies is to be yourself. Bullies always want to find a way to control others. Don’t give it to them!

    Anyone that would stoop to bullying isn’t worth your time. I don’t care how pretty, how “important” in the scene, how old, or how “famous” they are. Your age doesn’t absolve someone from treating you with respect and dignity. I understand that bullying coming from one of your own hurts worse than if it was by a random non-goth. Just realize that every subculture and culture has it’s bad apples. Focus on the goths who are nice, like Jillian Venters. 🙂

  4. Ghoulia Says:

    One issue I think needs to be bought up is Goth on Goth bullying. With the appearance of the internet young goths now have an outlet to interact with other Goths despite not having means to do so in real life. I’ve been appalled at the number of time I have seen Goths, both young and old, being shameless bullies! I’ve seen instances where a group of goths took a random young goth girl’s photos and made a meme out of her. Several young goths on Youtube have been bullied by other Goths repeatedly. I was disgusted when I saw a group of Elder Goths on Facebook mocking Sebastian the Girl. People want to cry foul when people in mainstream society bully Goths. Yet, everyone is hush-hush or will secretly approve of bullying when it’s perpetuated by someone in the scene. This is especially true if this behavior is perpetuated by an “uber goober” type. I think this is because people are afraid of potential backlash, alienation from the group, or being rejected.

    My advice to any young Goths who have experienced bullying at the hands of other Goths is to keep your head up. Don’t listen to them. And, most importantly don’t engage them. If someone calls you a poseur, ignore them. If someone tries to bully you for your taste in music, ignore them. Bullies only have power if you give it to them. If someone steals your photos report them. Don’t make grandiose status updates or youtube videos about them. Simply report them to the proper authorities online (on whatever site this is happening) and ignore them. Bullies love attention and love getting a response out of you so they can continue to hurt you. Just remember it takes two to have a flame war. The best way to get back at bullies is to be yourself. Bullies always want to find a way to control others. Don’t give it to them!

    Anyone that would stoop to bullying isn’t worth your time. I don’t care how pretty, how “important” in the scene, how old, or how “famous” they are. Your age doesn’t absolve someone from treating you with respect and dignity. I understand that bullying coming from one of your own hurts worse than if it was by a random non-goth. Just realize that every subculture and culture has it’s bad apples. Focus on the goths who are nice, like Jillian Venters. 🙂

  5. Luiza C. Says:

    Hello you guys, greetings from Brazil. If you think people glare at you here on the States/Europe imagine how they react here, when you have bright manic panic red hair and wear black from head to toe on a 40•C summer day?
    We are beautiful. We have a wonderful and different perspective of life. We live, think and talk outside the box. We have guts to wear what we like and to listen to music that are not listened by everybody. How could the boring robots of society not hate us? We have personallity while they don’t!
    NOBODY has the right to hurt phisicaly or verbally anybody. It’s wrong, it’s immoral and it basically means your life is so dull you have to pay attention to other person’s life, I mean, how sad is that?!
    Here goes my tips as a once bullied goth girl:
    1. If your being bullied, warn someone about it. Your parents said you’re whining? Talk to your teacher. She said they’re just kidding? Go to the cops. I mean it, SOMEONE will have to take you seriously.
    2. No matter who bullies you, keep being who you are and dressing the way you are. My mom stupidly bullied me to the point I supressed my goth self. One year later, I had depression and only got better after some therapy, when I realized I was a goth girl and no one was gonna take that from me. Got back my red hair, wich I had previously dyied back to brown, my black clothes and, more important, my SELF ESTEEM.
    3. Learn self defense. How to dodge and how to fight may come in hand and avoid you a broken nose.
    4. I know it sounds crazy, but what people have been saying in the comments is true: school doesn’t last forever. I was a bullied kid once, but now I’m about to get my diplomma on fashion design and will open my own goth store. I had the most incredible times at college, because here we have all kinds of people, who love and respect differences. Dont judge people before you know them, one of my best friends is a pink princess haha
    5. Practice funny answers for all sort of insults. Like:
    Bully: morticia called. She wants her dress back.
    you(w/ a pity face): yeah…morticia wouldn’t call you. Your not cool enough.
    Bully: cool clothes. Bought them at (offensive place)?
    You: no but I bet you bough this cardigan there. Whats this color called? Vomit?
    Bully: looser!
    You (loud and looking stunned): oh my god a talking cow!!

    And so it goes. Anyway have fun. Have fun with the fact that these people’s life is so boring they need to bother you in order to be happy. And keep walking and smiling on that breezy way bullies hate.
    Good luck and a big hug to everyone! Hang in there you guys!! 🙂

  6. White Rabbit Says:

    I have been insulted, grabbed at, and shoved for being goth. I agree with The Lady of the Manners. Tell as many authoritive figures as you can. Protect yourself from bodily harm. This can never be stressed enough. What I do is a mind trick: A student grabs me. I quickly defend myself then back up, hands in the air as a sign of surrender, and keep saying “stop it, don’t hurt me!” loudly incase anyone is near. To people outside of the fight, even if I am fighting the person back (at my school one time it got very serious, I had to actually judo flip the boy into a wall to save myself) it still seems like I am the good guy because I am saying “don’t grab me! don’t hurt me!” and I only fight when they touch me.

    Backing up, hands in the air, and telling them they are hurting you is the key. When students were questioned after I was shoved and fought back, the comments came out as: “he shoved her, she told him to stop. he grabbed her clothes and pulled her, she defended herself and told him again to stop. he tried to grab her again, and she told him to stop as she flipped him. then it was over.”

    This tactic works very well. I hope it helps. Good luck to all of you. Be safe.

    Sincerly,
    White Rabbit

  7. Shaquana Briski Says:

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an very long comment on Gothic Charm School but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… Well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say superb blogsite!

  8. aracely Says:

    thank you gothic charm school for all the most awsomest tips

  9. aracely Says:

    i love this school more than any goth i love any goth i meet im going to be on this 24/7

  10. May Says:

    One of the biggest issues in my high school is the communal belief that speaking up for yourself or what you believe in is laughable at best, shameful at worst. I have tried to fight for equality in little ways, like putting a poster about LGTB communities on the outside of my locker, standing up for people I don’t know who are being bullied, and been shamed for it. Last week, the vice principal at my school separated me from my best friend *because she thought we were dating and it was making other students uncomfortable*. We act like it to protect her from her ex who abused her, but not more than holding hands or walking with our arms around each other. Any heterosexual couple? She ignores them making out or cuddling or sitting on each other’s laps, but we were separated.

    My best friend is goth, and I’m a “whatever I can afford” type of style. Almost every day someone makes an underhanded comment about us, our scars or how we both “do all the drugs we can get our hands on”. We’re both clean, so much more so than they claim to be. It’s only not okay when they think we do it.

    The only way I’ve found to combat this hypocrisy is to be amused by it, as someone else already said. It still hurts, yeah. It’s the simpler road than fighting back, yes. But it was laugh at their idiocy, or be the “problem child” for being in the office every day reporting some offense or another. I haven’t stopped helping others report things though, and every time they’re either ridiculed BY THE STAFF, or they incite another “no bullying” or “good choices” assembly.

    I’m on a course to become a high school English teacher, but also a volunteer victim’s advocate. After experiencing bullying, both firsthand and secondhand, both verbal and physical, I’m doing everything I know how to do to prevent it in the future.

  11. Desilou Says:

    I am the “goth” best friend that commentor May mentioned? Am more punk than goth, but this is forgivable. She speaks the truth here. We are routinely ostracized, given odd looks, and told we are being a disturbance, for showing less PDA than most ACTUAL couples at our school. I already got glances and mean words for my wardrobe, makeup, and simple manner of being, but it’s only increased since we decided to start this.
    We don’t tell people we’re a couple. In fact, we tell people the real reason we’re holding hands: Because my ex boyfriend (a senior to my sophomore) is convinced she and I are a couple, and because of that he stays away from me, instead of harassing and often assaulting me like what has happened in the past.
    Taking stands at our school, is never considered an option. No one fights for anything. Not themselves, not each other, not any cause. There is no individuality expressed, ever. There’s merely a hoard of plastic people, and then those that don’t fit in. But even the outsiders gather around the edges of the pack, begging to be let in. Us, we stand out, happy and strong, holding picket signs and peacefully protesting around the edges of the group. That’s the real reason everyone’s uncomfortable around us: We are fighting for our causes, but not in the ways they expect. Not in the ways that they can punish and beat down.

  12. Mari Says:

    I know its a little late, but heres my advice: Remember, I dont have all the facts, Im just voicing my opinion on the issue, and bully-situations are different-meaning there are different types of bullying and different types of bullies, so I think this is different from situation to situation.

    First is to talk to a teacher. Advice the teacher not to bring it up in the classroom. Point out the chief bully, and trie to have a conversation with You, he/she and an adult. I highly doubt they are as tough without their ‘backups’. Maybe having a helping classmate or friend could help.

    2: if your teacher doesnt take you seriously, you could always report it to the principal.

    3:if that doesnt work, report to the police or the authorities. I believe the school is obligated to tacle bullying, and are neglecting the well-being of their students, if they dont take action. If someone is threatning or use violence, you can always call the police. It could also be that a bullys behaviour is a warning-sign that something is wrong inside the home, although oftentimes a bully may not realize that they are bullies. Therefore, to reach out to someone can be a good idea, not just for you, but hopefully someone can check up on weather or not things are ok at home.

    4: engage in online anti-bullying websides? Maybe it can help to exchange support, ideas and share the pain and hardship with people who have gone through similar problems.

    But before you do anything, consider weather you should talk to your parents, or any other adult family-member. Sadly, not every parent is equally supportive of their Kids, and therefore you may consider weather its a better idea to talk to someone else. Talk to a school-nurse, a friend, a councillour(idk), or someone you can trust. For Those of you that have supportive parents it could be worth a trie to have them talk to the parents of the bullies. Oftentimes it doesnt work, but its worth to give it a trie. The outcome doesnt necessarily have to be negative. At least sit down and talk about what to do.

    You can also visit Answers.com, as they prob can give more advice on this issue. Another interesting web-page that focused on bullying was ‘How to deal with bullies’. I think this site answers to the problems a bit better than I do, as Im not an expert.

    Also: check out Child Helpline international, which offers a list of helplines for children around the World. You can prob call if you feel the need for someone to talk to.

    And just Remember to be you, and that its not your fault:)

  13. Mari Says:

    Again, I suggest spending some time googling the issue. There are sites out there that give advice on how to tacle bullying. These above advices are just my two cents, they may be right or wrong depending on the situation. But I do recommend checking up other websites.

  14. Ivy Says:

    The best approach is to go to an authority figure you trust. Back in high school I actually had a few teachers that were like friends to me. When I had a problem with a person I would go to them and they really helped. The person would stop bothering me. It not only made high school easier but it was also great knowing that there’s people out there that will really like you because you’re not afraid to express yourself.

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