Thursday, April 28, 2011

Self-Esteem, Bullies, and Glee

I know there have been complaints that Glee hasn't been as good this season as last, but I'm not sure that's true. I will admit, overall I'm not as excited about the music as I was last year, but the stories (for the most part) are better. Sure, they are still over-the-top and include stuff that would never fly in a real school, but I like that they are dealing with Kurt and Santana's sexuality and how it relates to their lives at school, drinking, and this week's bullying episode. Within the craziness penned, there is always a heavy thread of truth.

This week, they did a great job of showing the importance of self-acceptance, including among the adults. Or should I say adult? Because really, Will's acceptance of his cleft chin was something of a joke. But Emma admitting her OCD was well done. I wish they'd have gone further among the adults though for the simple reason that no matter how okay with ourselves we might be, everyone I know has something that they don't like about themselves (or at the very least question). I think they kind of missed a teaching opportunity with that.

But even more so, the lack of any Sue Sylvester story paralleling the Lauren Zizes/Quinn Fabray bullying story was a mistake. I know that Sue sub-plots tend to take over (if for no reason other than Jane Lynch steals every scene she's in), but if ever there was an episode that needed her, this was it. Whether we like it or not, bullying doesn't stop in high school. It doesn't even stop in college.

Sad fact of life: bullying never stops.

One example? The Judy Mays (Mrs. Buranich) mess. The woman, who has taught high school English for twenty-five years, is being persecuted by a group of parents because she *gasp* writes erotic romance. According to a quick Amazon search, she's been publishing for seven years, but it seems now it's an issue. It's not. A group of bullies just wants to make it into one. That's a nice blatant example, and it's caused a chunk of the writing industry to stand up and get behind her (in less than 24 hours the "Support Judy Mays (Mrs. Buranich)" Facebook page has garnered nearly 4500 "likes").

There are other, less obvious things than that. Another author had someone call her out on one of her youtube videos as being narcissistic. Um...really? Based on youtube? Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure most people who post themselves on youtube either think well of themselves or fake it for the camera. The author in question posted on her blog about her right to be whoever the hell she wants to be. She shouldn't have to do that. She's a human being and doesn't have to fit into anyone's mold of "right" but her own.

But she isn't the only one who's dealt with stuff like this. There are certain people out there who have at times chosen me as their target. Thankfully, I know better. I put up with bullies throughout school. These people have nothing on Brian from third grade, or the girls from fifth, or... Back then, I took the bullying really badly. Now? I kind of find the whole thing funny. Do I still react? Sure. I'm human. But in the end I just laugh because really the only thing those people are proving is that they can't get past school-yard mentality.

In the meantime, I'm thinking about making my own Gleek-tastic t-shirt...just as soon as I'm not busy writing.


  1. I love Glee and think the issues they cover are all well done. The people bullying Judy Mays should shut up snd mind their own business.

  2. *hugs*

    People are petty and mean and lots of them need to put others down just to assure themselves their life isn't really THAT bad.

    Guess what, people, nobody is perfect. We're all just doing the best we can to get through the day.

    And I love you, darling! (Does that mean I love myself since we're the same person?!)

    To everybody else.....

    Don't MAKE me go looking for my shovel!

  3. Good post.
    I agree bullying--or peer pressure or whatever you wish to label it--does continue thoughtout your life. However, with age, thankfully, most of us are more equipped to deal with it.
    Any time you decide (sometime it isn't a decision--sometimes it's simply who you are) to step out of the "norm" there are others to pull you back. You don't have to comply. You can stand up to this pressure. It is your right to do so. There is much to be gained when you do.

  4. Bullying, the neverending saga. It's hard, as an adult who was bullied as a child, to understand why bullies behave they way they do, or why reasonable adults allow it. Whether it's children bullying the odd duck in their class, or these imbeciles who are attempting to destroy the career of Judy Mays, the people in charge need to nip this nonsense in the bud.

  5. Never did like bullies. A few years ago I reunited with a friend I made in 3rd grade who remembers me standing up the bully who had been making her life miserable and facing the girl down. And so Lori wasn't bullied anymore.

    I don't remember that. But I believe her.

    I don't think I've ever been bullied, but I figure the more public I get as a writer, the more likely it's gonna happen. I just hope I can remember how I did it in 3rd grade when the time comes. ;-)

  6. Thanks for the show of support, Ladies. I think that's the thing about bullying as adults. So much of it happens quietly and behind the scenes that it takes something like what went on with Judy Mays to bring it home that it's still out there.

    *hugs all around*

  7. I don't watch glee, well maybe I've seen a few episodes but the kids do watch this generations Degrassi High which deals with the same thing. Bullying is harmful some times so harmful that the victims never get over the school shootings.

    Great topic. I loved how date line and a group of parents got together with one set of children 'actors acting a part' and the others their children kept unawares thinking they were trying out for a job, they did bullying, drinking and driving, sexting and texting while driving
    My kids watched it and we discussed it afterward

  8. Great post! Bullying is a serious issue that we all have to deal with, even as adults.

    *hugs* I'm with Katee... Don't make me join her with a shovel!

  9. Seleste, this is SO timely. My kids were just talking about this yesterday. One was telling about how a few kids will not leave her alone, even when she fights back, and her feeling of helplessness was heartbreaking. I've educated her, she knows those kids probably get bullied thenselves, but it still hurts.

    My other child was worried because a friend of his, 'Devon with the broken hand' (the child was in an accident and never regained full function in his arm), has moved to a different school and my son was worried that he was being picked on without my son and his friends to protect him from mean people.

    I know that learning to deal with this is part of growing up, that it's a training ground for dealing with the real world and the variety of people in it. But my daughter had a point. WHY be mean and petty when it's just as easy to be supportive and helpful? Why exploit a weakness in another when it really and TRULY comes back to bite the meanie in the ass?

    Maybe people need to be made aware that the crap they throw at others REALLY DOES come back twice as bad. Thank you for bringing it to a forum where people can be aware and remember to react first with kindness. THANK GOD everyone is different with different abilities, looks, insights, and talents. The world would be a very boring, colorless place otherwise. And we all need to recognize that fact.

  10. I don't watch Glee, but I think this is an important topic. Bullying never ends and it's just sad and wrong. The best we can do it teach our children how to deal with it and how to prevent it from happening to others. I'm sorry you're still the brunt of it, Sel. You're a strong, beautiful, talented, amazing woman. You are the Rebel Queen. The next time they try to get you down just say, "Fuck off. I'm fabulous." (my favorite quote from The Girl with No Shadow by Joanne Harris)

  11. You know, I haven't been in this business very long, but I've already discovered you HAVE to have a thick skin. And I do. I think the business with Judy Mays is just reprehensible, though. One woman actually inferred that the teacher may look at her son in a certain way. As in- sexually. WTF? The woman has been teaching for twenty-some years. She's probably a little too mature for a sixteen year old kid. That about made me sick. The general public is so disrespectful of the romance writing prefession. And have so many wrong ideas.
    Ms. May's situation goes beyond that, though. That is definitely bullying, and I seriously hope she prevails in the end.

    Do what feels right to you, dear. We'll support you.

  12. I don't watch Glee but I have two teenage daughters who talk about this on occasion. It's a sad fact in high school and actually seems worse than when I went to school. The name calling is much more derogatory these days and it's a no-holds barred bullying now. Glad you brought the topic up. It's epidemic in our society and not just in high schools but everywhere. Sad fact. People who bully others are sadly insecure and have issues themselves. No one deserves it!!! :)

  13. From what I've come to know of you you Sel, you don't take sh*t from anyone - why someone would try to bully you is beyond me ;) I find the same thing happens to me - perhaps the strong people make for good targets just like the weak ones do - I don't know.

  14. A good post and to be honest I don't tend to suffer bullying where I am. Part of that I suspect is that I don't play the games that others like to.

    Best thing that can be done is just a quick cutting reparte as you leave and that does the job. F Off I'm fabulous is a pretty good one though.

  15. Great post. People should really leave other people alone... sigh...

    I got bullied in School. I'm over it, and mostly, it taught me to ignore what other people think :) It shouldn't have happened though. I mean really... one person made fun of me because I was wearing sweatpants... what? who the hell cares... I was in track, sure I wore sweatpants to school sometimes.


    Yeah, people are really weird.

    Again, great post.


  16. Bullying happens everyday in everyway. I worked in an office of 60 and was one of only two women. That alone reeks of bullying. Manly men in automotive engineering and all that crap. It still amazes me how many adults treat life like highschool, no wonder our young people are struggling so hard with it. grump grump grump....

    Great topic, excellent post. :)


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