In this climate, bullying seems to be on the forefront of everyone’s minds. From playground cruelty to the online rumor mill, we’re hearing more about bullying than ever, but are we getting better at helping kids and teens cope? Let’s take a look at how Hollywood has shown us various forms of bullying.
Cady has been home-schooled for her first 16 years, so when she enters a public school for the first time, the movie introduces her (and us) to the complicated interactions of adolescent girls. She initially bonds with two social outcasts, who devise a plan for Cady to infiltrate the Plastics, a trio of popular girls led by the vindictive Regina.
Mean Girls brings shades of gray to the typical bully/victim paradigm. Everyone here is a player in an endless cycle of bullying and being bullied. When Cady succumbs to the pettiness and vanity of the Plastics, the movie shows how intoxicating popularity can be, and how easy it is to switch from victim to bully, and back again.
Bullying is an institutionalized ritual that one Texas town implicitly endorses in Richard Linklater’s 1993 coming-of-age film. It’s the last day of school in 1976, and upperclassmen are hazing the incoming freshmen as they leave junior high.
Dazed and Confused reflects ’70s culture, when this sort of teasing and initiation was seen as a natural part of growing up. To escape hazing, the logic goes, would be to miss a key character-building experience in one’s adolescence. Small acts of rebellion or revenge are permitted, but opting out of this ritual is never seriously considered: After the initial hazing, many kids begin to bond and form friendships with those who have just tormented them.
If you would like to learn more about anti-bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.