When considering the topic of women and violence, I found that bullying is one real world connection. It is something that affects all age groups and both genders, but can be characterized in specific ways that include both violence and verbal and psychological assaults.
Recently, a friend of mine told me about a girl who beat her up when she was a child. This is an obvious case of bullying, and a type that you do not necessarily hear about often. While many people are bullied in their childhood, it does not always escalate to physical abuse. If bullying is not violent, then it can be characterized as psychological.
With a simple online search of “women and bullying,” I found an article in the New York Times by Mickey Meece called “Backlash: Women Bullying Women at Work”. This article takes a specific look at bullying as it applies to women in the workplace and according to it, about 40% of bullies are women. The type of bullying it focuses on is that which has a psychological effect and makes the point that most women bully other women instead of men, possibly because women are seen as easier targets.
The article defines bullying as “verbal or psychological forms of aggressive (hostile) behavior that persists for six months or longer”(Meece). While this is one form that bullying can take, it also can be violent. By defining bullying this way, the author may be furthering stereotypes that women do not commit violence against each other, but instead only make comments that will be offensive and hurtful. Only one example of physical aggression is given, when a woman was shoved in the office. Instead, the article highlights the belief that women are “supposed” to be nurturing and caring, not aggressive.
The article argues that women become bullies by a need to compete with each other in a male-dominated world. The idea that women bully one another with scathing comments and insults is propagated by media the likes of which we have seen in class. In Promethea, Sophie is called a “bitch” and other derogatory names by her friend Stacia. If the article’s argument applies here, then would this mean that this comment comes from a need to compete?
Overall, this article brings up many points about gender stereotypes and how they apply to bullying in the workplace. The types of examples given seem to argue that women are not inherently aggressive, but become this way when in a competitive situation. Do you agree with the research that most women are psychologically abusive instead of violent or is this just another example of stereotypical thinking?