Lately I’ve been talking to my daughter about bullying and what behaviors constitute being a bully. I’ve told her repeatedly that if she witnesses bullying in her school and does nothing about it, she is basically being a bully herself. In other words, remaining silent is just as bad as calling someone a name or excluding them. It’s tough being a preteen when everyone around you is aligning themselves with cliques and trying to be in the “in” crowd. One day your friend decides that she doesn’t want to be friends with you anymore and you don’t know why. I remember those days and it just adds to the horror of middle school and raging hormones and acne dotted skin. I was called frizz head, had gum thrown in my hair, and was taunted by kids for my weird clothes. True, it gave me character, but at the time, I didn’t particularly like it.
The other day, someone I was acquaintance “friends” with on facebook posted a picture she’d taken with her phone on her homepage. The picture was of a slightly heavy woman seated in a chair. Since the woman was leaning forward, the top of her thong was exposed. My “friend” commented that some people need mirrors or something to that effect. I have been deleted as her friend, so I can’t copy it verbatim. Someone chimed in that that look was trashy. I looked at the picture for a moment. My first thought was just to ignore it and move on. But my thoughts kept returning to “What if that picture was of my daughter, my mom, my friend, or me?” I didn’t know the woman in the photo, but I felt like standing up for her. Somebody had to. And I did. And it was uncomfortable and it will be awkward the next time I see the acquaintance, if I ever do, but I refuse to remain silent, especially if I want my daughter to respect me.
I don’t know what happened after I posted my comment on the thread because I was writing and frankly I didn’t care to get caught up in the dramatic aftermath. But today I noticed that I have one less facebook friend. And you know what?
I'm perfectly okay with that.