The following story was heard at a men’s meeting group where men were discussing their own feelings, emotions and personal life experiences with one another. “Three jocks came up to the table where I was sitting by myself in the late night snack bar. Each of them sat down. Two of them across from me. One of them next to me. Suddenly, the guy sitting directly across from me said
“I bet you have never had any pussy, have you?” “Never stuck your d*ck inside some chick’s pussy?” “Are you a fag dude?” “Have you even kissed a girl, punk boy?” etc… The aforementioned comments are the words of a participant now in his early 40s reciting a situation he endured more than two decades ago. At the time, the man in question was a 19 year old self described diminutive, nerdy, glasses wearing, young adult who would be what many people would consider socially awkward. He had grown up in a small, largely, religious, rural community in the Midwest where people were largely reserved and very culturally conservative in their dispositions.
This same man (let’s call him Roger) went on to further describe the anxiety, humiliation and aggravation he felt at the present moment and in a few other similar situations in his life. Now, a happily married man (according to him) with two teenage boys he has been able to successfully bury such unpleasant encounters from his past. His story was painful to hear, but yet riveting testimony. There were similar accounts from other men as well. The fact is that Roger is not alone in his experiences. There are a countless number of men who could share duplicative stories. Each of these men shared one thing in common. They were targeted and victimized by bullies.
The fact is bullying is a vice that has been with us since the dawn on mankind. All throughout history human beings have bullied one another for varied reasons. Specific male targets for bullying have often been:
- The new kid in the neighborhood
- The socially awkward co-worker
- The physically disabled person
- The overweight guy
- The nerdy kid
- The effeminate boy
- The Short guy
- The social misfit
and so on.
Throughout history, there is no doubt that men have always been aggressors. The male species has been competitive by nature from ancient times to the present. The reasons for this vary. One being the fact that society has always encouraged men to be aggressive and competitive by nature. We seen this attitude manifest itself in many forms – athletics, war, the workplace, politics and in some cases, religion.
Every generation of men can attest to stories of guys who engaged in antagonistic relationships with other men from elementary school onward. The battle lines are drawn. Cliques are frequently formed. The roles (character types) are either assigned or inhabited and the drama begins. The “cool” guys target the less hip boys. The jocks harass the nerds and in some cases, the effeminate or gay young men.. The physically tall and imposing boys who focus on making the smaller boys lives as miserable as possible. This sort of domineering attitude continues to manifest itself in various, trans formative ways well into adulthood. From college into the workplace, men continue to engage in this sort of social Darwinist behavior. In some instances, men encourage other men to bully one another.
I, myself was the occasional victim of bullying when I was younger. Fortunately for me, I was usually able to rely on my witty verbal skills to help me diffuse what could have been more intense situations. Younger men, (in particular teenage men), tend to be more physical in their bullying. Older adult men tend to employ more sophisticated and psychological methods in their harassment. They also tend to target/bully other men based on what they view as their (other men’s) perceived insecurities or shortcomings. The assumed deficiencies of other men can range from the following:
- His job
- His economic situation
- His height
- His physical appearance
- His sexual orientation
- His intelligence
- His level of competence
- His romantic situation
I remember a conversation I had a few years ago at my local coffeehouse with another early middle aged man (he has since moved out of town) who mentioned that it was commonplace in the social circles that he traveled for men to find out another man’s insecurities and relentlessly remind him of them. This was done for psychological reasons as well as to gain a competitive advantage in the workplace. I guess this could be considered a “men will be men” form of aggression.
Depending on the person, bullying can mean different things to different people. That being said, if you:
- are unnecessarily aggressive
- thirst for power
- like to belittle others
- have a lack of empathy
- are callous
- deliberately engage in physical or verbal confrontation with people
- psychologically intimidate other people
- engage in cyberbullying
- You indeed harbor traits that can be defined as bullying and you very likely a bully whether you are conscious of the fact or not. The bottom line is that no one should have to endure a constant onslaught of verbal and psychological terror from another human being. Men in our 21st century ever uncertain world have enough real and serious struggles to deal with as it is. We do not need to engage in perverse egotistical and devious games to undermine, dehumanize and is some cases, all but destroy one another. As human beings we should (must) be better than that toward our fellow man, literally.
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