Tag Archives: bullying

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Image via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Wonder is one of those books that just makes me want to say… Yes.

“I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.”

We’ve all been bullied before. Criticized or cast aside because of how we talk, what we wear, or who we hang out with. But I doubt that many of us have experienced anything like what August Pullman went through. Ten-year-old Auggie was born with a severe facial deformity, and despite his shining personality, is plunged into a world with people who cannot see past his appearance. Wonder details Auggie’s journey into the fifth grade, and serves as a stark and honest portrayal of the problems with being different. Continue reading

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Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Teenagers in High School – What I’m Really Tired Of

Guys, I’m tired.

I’ve been getting five to six hours of sleep for the past two weeks, constantly studying and completing homework assignments for school, and dealing with family drama on top of all of that. I’m not saying that I have the worst life ever. I’m not saying that there aren’t people who have it a hundred times worse than me. And I’m not saying that, overall, my life is bad – because it’s not. It’s pretty great.

All I’m saying is that I’m tired.

But the thing is, in high school, almost everyone is tired. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

The Right to Judge

I am a high school student. It’s not exactly something I’m proud of. Contemporary culture stereotypes high school students as inexperienced, indecent, and overall unintelligent human beings. Adolescence is the awkward middle ground between innocent childhood and mature adulthood, the experience that many look forward to but most would like to forget. It’s not surprising, considering the quantity of kids who are bullied and broken apart by their peers’ cruel and cutting comments – in fact, the one facet about typical teenagers I find underplayed is just how judgmental we are.

After googling "the right to judge", I realized research on the topic would be difficult as most people think of judgement in a religious or political sense. Not my intent right now.

I must admit something now. I judged someone today. I called this person a mean name, and talked about him to a close friend of mine. But the truly terrible thing is that I felt justified in doing it – this person cheated on a quiz, and my teachers had found out about him – so I assumed that I had the right to castigate him for his actions. Did I really, though? Did two wrongs – his cheating, and my gossiping – make a right?

There’s a reason high school students are so critical. Society forces us to conform to the standards of celebrities, to the untouchable yet so dearly-beloved stars in media. However, no one is able to reach these fabricated realities of perfection, so naturally, we become insecure and target those that are just a little below us on the chain of social standing. Or we just pick on the people that are, you know, different, because who gave them the right to live their lives freely? Who told them that they could not care about what others think about them?

Remember that post about why high school relationships fail I wrote last year? I was writing a shorter version of my argument in a post online for an English class I’m currently taking. One of my friends noticed and proceeded to give me her opinion.

“I totally agree with you,” she said,” but others will think you’re like, totally against relationships because you’ve never been in one and you’re just jealous.”

“I have been in a relationship, though,” I said.

“I know that,” she replied,” but others don’t.”

“I don’t care what other people think of me,” I said, cutting off the conversation in order to finish the assignment on time, and possibly because the situation was making me more uncomfortable than I should have been.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers is one of the best books I've read that deals with gossipping, rumor-spreading, and essentially, high school drama.

I’m sure my friend had good intentions for informing me of this, yet I was honestly hurt by her comment. Not by my friend, but by the truth that she revealed – that my peers, the people I spend seven hours every day with, would judge me for something as small as one of my beliefs without the whole context of who I really am. I’ve been on the receiving end of some nasty rumors before, but this made me realize how wrong it is to judge someone at all.

You may accuse me of being too sensitive, and yes, I am a very sensitive guy. But gossiping and bullying is an issue beyond me and my high school; it is a problem that plagues teenagers all over the country. Search “bullying suicides” on Google and you will receive more than one million hits. I can supply links to such upsetting stories that it depresses me how horribly common bullying is, how awfully unsurprising suicides like this one and this one and this one are.

Going back to the conversation I had with my friend today, I admit to lying a little bit. Frankly, there are peoples’ opinions that I couldn’t care less about, yet it’s hurtful to hear someone say something bad about me when I always try my hardest to be a kind and compassionate person. I have it easy though – can you imagine how it would feel to suffer from taunting and teasing every day over something insignificant like your sexuality or your religion? Something that doesn’t even affect other people, like your weight or how you look?

Judging and bullying go hand in hand. When one feels insecure they often resort to picking out and pointing out the flaws of other people. Sometimes these things aren’t even flaws, but are surface level qualities like how we look or what we wear. It only takes one insult to instill a sense of inferiority in someone, and only a couple more before they begin to wonder if who they are is even good enough anymore.

So please, please, please think before you pass judgement on someone. Think about how you would feel if someone were to say something like that about you, or how hurtful it would be if what you were saying would spread. Of course criminals deserve to be judged, but they also deserve to be punished. These days, too many innocent teens are condemned to punishments that they simply don’t deserve.

"Easy A" was a great movie about how rumors can damage one's reputation. I especially recommend it if you enjoyed The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

I apologize for the gargantuan post everyone! I honestly didn’t plan this, though the idea had been formulating in my head after that conversation I had with my friend today. It’s also anti-bullying week at my school, what a coincidence. I just noticed that you usually don’t see adults committing suicide because of bullying, probably because they’ve matured to the point of being beyond immature tactics such as taunting and teasing.

Who do you think has the right to judge others? Do you? What’s your stance on bullying and the effect of society on today’s teens? This issue has a huge place in my heart, so I’m really curious for my readers’ opinions.

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Filed under Personal, Society

Rodrick Rules: An Unhealthy Message?

Image via onlinemovieshut.com

So I don’t watch movies often – I usually end up being dragged along by some extenuating circumstance. Today, I watched Rodrick Rules with my cousins who I babysit. I expected next to nothing – as popular as these books are, I’m not a big follower or reader of graphic novels, even when they include some form of a story.

I’ll spare you a summary of the movie and most of my thoughts on it, but a couple of things bothered me that I feel like writing about briefly.

1) In the initial skating scene, Greg mentions the “pecking order” of middle school. He does this because one of his peers, an Indian boy, tells him that a girl Greg likes is out of his league. The mention of the pecking order annoyed me. I mean, yes, I go to high school, and I’m aware that there is a “social ladder” – some choose to acknowledge it, I don’t. But the thing that bothers me about it is that the audience of this movie (generally preteens? I saw some younger kids too) is going to assume that middle school and high school is all about fitting in and assimilating to peer pressure, as opposed to their academics and extra-curricular activities, which actually plays an important part in their future. Ten years after high school, no one will care about what ruined your suit at prom or why you broke up with that hotshot quarterback.

2) The teasing. Oh, this irked me. Greg and the Indian boy I mentioned in the last paragraph are not portrayed the most popular bunch in their seventh grade class. Greg, in order to save himself from embarrassment, pretends as if the Indian boy ceases to exist, even when he’s in plain sight. Such a cruel joke – it really saddened me to see that. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve had personal experiences with bullying or if it’s just the harshness of the action. What’s even worse is that instead of resolving the conflict, the Indian boy decides to prank Greg back, fueling the fire even more. By the end of the movie the character conflict between the two seems to disappear completely, but I feel as if kids and preteens who saw that might assume that bullying is okay, when it’s really not.

Sorry for the rant – it’s almost midnight, what do you expect? As a disclaimer, I would like to say that I’m sure there are worse movies out there and that it probably wasn’t the producer’s intention to perpetuate the middle school/high school stereotype. In fact, I liked Rodrick Rules – it was cute and humorous, and there were positive themes as well: the relationship between brothers, why you shouldn’t lie to your parents, and the importance of friendship.

Devon Bostick, the actor who plays Rodrick - I liked his look with the eyeliner he borrowed from his mom... (image via cryptopatents.org)

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