MISOGYNY – Bullying – A Happy Ending in Michigan?

M

Here’s a story out of Michigan that shows that some schools and communities take bullying seriously enough to do something about it. Eventually. Obviously the community could have done a lot more, it could have stepped in when the abuse was happening, but this gesture did provide the victim with some healing.

This is the story: a student in Ogemaw, MI, Whitney Kropp, had been the butt of some really brutal bullying all through high school. Bullying hits kids in all genders, but naturally the bullying Whitney experienced was gendered – remarks about her hair, her looks, her height, the whole range – I don’t know, maybe boys get this particular kind of shit these days too, but this seems pretty gendered to me.

It was almost certainly mostly girls saying all this misogynist shit – boys making these remalrks would be too far out of gender role, so I don’t think it’s likely. And there is really no denying that this kind of gneder-policing and cruelty was specifically misogynist.

Well, Whitney was chosen to be the Homecoming Queen. For our non-US readers who don’t know that’s all about, this is what it’s about. High schools in the US usually have  a Homecoming Game first thing in their football schedules in the fall with the special intention of inviting graduates from earlier classes back. Typically there is a big dance and they choose a Homecoming Queen for the dance, and typically the girl is chosen out of that mean girl mafia that produces all the cheerleaders and whatnot. So it’s a big deal.

In this case Whitney’s classmates nominated her as a prank. Pretty cruel, hnh? One last cruelty in a four-year run of cruelty. Except the student body elected her. Whoops. REVERSAL!!!

At first she had the natural reaction; “Fuck you people” but she reconsidered and decided to go with it. And the whole town pitched in to make it wonderful, with a hair appointment and a dress and all that. The outpouring from her community went a long way to making a lot of things right. She ended up glad she had decided to go along with all of it.

She had a wonderful time, the whole time.

So is your heart warmed yet? This may soften some scars, but it will make none of them disappear. We are so ready to make a grand gesture long after the time for real help is past.

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Jim Doyle

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="2960 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=2160">14 comments</span>

  • In my experience, while it is true that gender-based bullying of boys (and those misgendered as boys) is usually done by boys, and ditto for girls, there’s more gender policing of the opposite gender than you assume. People seem to have a real horror of others getting out of their little boxes, and I’ve heard and read about some really nasty cases of cross gender harassment.

    Nice to read a story of this kind that ends happily, instead of with a suicide.

  • No, not warmed yet. I would love to see a similar story with a boy who had been bullied be praised and given things by the town and accolades by his peers etc. Won’t see it happen. The default is to provide and protect for women and girls. Boys and men need not apply. When that changes we will be getting somewhere. Until then, same crap different day.

  • A typical story for young men would differ significantly. He would likely have been through terrible struggles, been abused or bullied or both legs amputated etc and the story would be about how he fought through adversity and succeeded anyway. The underlying message is that his ***effort*** paid off. The implication being that all men can succeed if only they will try like this fellow.

    We can contrast that with the original story about a bullied female who went through adversity and things turned around due to a helpful public who now sees her as valuable. This is the “Ugly Duckling” story that shows the hidden worthiness and beauty that is inherent in being X. In this case it is in being female. Even those women who are ugly and socially inept have value…if only we can see it.

    Two very different messages that are burned into our consciousness. I think that feminism has not be anything new at all. It has been so successful due to one thing: It is following the path that we have followed for eons, men should provide and protect for women. It’s the old provide and protect role just played out in different clothes.

  • In my experiences not many students gave a shit about homecoming and other high school events. If anything the school would beg for student participation. YMMV. And, for some perspective on things, not too long ago there was a story about a high school here on Long Island where the football team went on a trip to some football camp and the hazing consisted of shoving pine cones up some freshmen boys asses…bloody hospital trip and everything.

    So IMO Ginko, lay off the “brutal” stuff in regards to gossip and name calling. And I wonder why you suggest that you don’t know if boys are gossiped about and made fun of in regards to how they look and dress. Really? Boys get this AND get their asses kicked. And the school, town, community, country, doesn’t rush to their aid.

  • Welcome, Harrow!

    “In my experience, while it is true that gender-based bullying of boys (and those misgendered as boys) is usually done by boys, and ditto for girls, there’s more gender policing of the opposite gender than you assume. ”

    Oh, i don’t deny it, i just focused on same-gender policing here. I don’t have to assume opposite-gender policing; I have observed enough of it. “He’s little effeminate, don’t you think?”, “A real man…..”, “What’s the matter with you? You don’t hink this is hot? Are you gay…..?”

    Hackberry, that is very insightful. I bet we could come up with soem really obvious examples of that dynamic, and I do agree it is probably the dominant cultural mesaage. it certainly fits the standard gender roles.

    debaser,
    ” And I wonder why you suggest that you don’t know if boys are gossiped about and made fun of in regards to how they look and dress. Really?”

    My information is old when it comes to high school – Class of ’71 for myself and then four years teaching in the mid-90s, and all on the West Coast, and the teaching time was in the Seattle area where people who care about styles of clothing or hair are considered trivial idiots in general, so my view is also probably hampered by parochialism.

    “So IMO Ginko, lay off the “brutal” stuff in regards to gossip and name calling.”

    Not going to happen. I was married to a woman, so I know how destructive emotional abuse is.

  • “My information is old when it comes to high school – Class of ’71 for myself and then four years teaching in the mid-90s, and all on the West Coast, and the teaching time was in the Seattle area where people who care about styles of clothing or hair are considered trivial idiots in general, so my view is also probably hampered by parochialism.”

    I had a “mop” of hair (meaning it was 4-6 inch long all around) and got comments on it. I wore “joggings” and got scathing comments on it. I didn’t wear name brands and got shit for it. And believe me, I didn’t approach anything remotely feminine. I had enough shit as it was.

  • OT Alert:

    From the most recent Penny Arcade post: http://penny-arcade.com/ with an accompanying humorous comic, poking fun at our PUA “frenemies”

    ““Dating Tips For Geeks” is some intolerable new genre, malformed and asinine; there are no good examples of this ruse in existence. Well, there are good examples of how bad it is. I thank the black hole where a God would be EVERY DAY that I’m not in the market for this kind of bullshit. That in my desolation and loneliness there was no warped sexual vizier to whirl out of thin air and dispense the kind of wisdom which should be firmly contained within quotation marks.

    It has not been my experience that “women” is an incredibly useful term when it comes to knowing what people are like. Likewise, “men” hasn’t proved especially stable as a construct! So when someone purports to have discovered a mystical formula to alchemize these two cosmic forces, you need to understand that they are engaging in a terrible and ancient form of chicanery. This is not new. You do not have to incorporate profoundly toxic ideas about masculinity in order to be lovable. I try not to engage in real talk without the Irony Shields engaged, but there you have it. These people are nuts, and they will make you nuts if you let them.”

  • No, not warmed yet. I would love to see a similar story with a boy who had been bullied be praised

    @Hackberry, my senior class elected a special ed student to be homecoming king, in spite of electing a beautiful popular girl to be the queen. I think he was also nominated as an ironic gesture, but elected as a way for the student body to tell the popular cliques to go fuck themselves. The photos of them dancing together were great. That was 15 years ago or so, and I think the school has been doing stuff like that ever since.

    In my experiences not many students gave a shit about homecoming and other high school events. If anything the school would beg for student participation.

    In my experience, likewise. Most students don’t care at all, save for a couple groups of stuck up kids who go at each other’s throats for any recognition they can get. The school is the thing that’s pushing this down everyone’s throats, probably for some 1950’s sentimentality. It’s the whole idea of marrying your high school sweetheart and getting a job at the factory, where some high school dance or a touchdown might have been the most memorable moment of their lives. I think young people today rightfully fear that sort of lifestyle.

  • No, not warmed yet. I would love to see a similar story with a boy who had been bullied be praised

    @Hackberry, my senior class elected a special ed student to be homecoming king, in spite of electing a beautiful popular girl to be the queen. I think he was also nominated as an ironic gesture, but elected as a way for the student body to tell the popular cliques to go fuck themselves. The photos of them dancing together were great. That was 15 years ago or so, and I think the school has been doing stuff like that ever since.

    In my experiences not many students gave a shit about homecoming and other high school events. If anything the school would beg for student participation.

    In my experience, likewise. Most students don’t care at all, save for a couple groups of stuck up kids who go at each other’s throats for any recognition they can get. The school is the thing that’s pushing this down everyone’s throats, probably for some 1950’s sentimentality. It’s the whole idea of marrying your high school sweetheart and getting a job at the factory, where some high school dance or a touchdown might have been the most memorable moment of their lives. I think young people today rightfully fear that sort of lifestyle.

  • I agree with hackeberry.

    People already know my story so I’ll simplify:

    Five years old, labeled autistic. 15 years old, labeled Asperger Syndrome. Both times, bullied harshly. By boys and girls combined, especially in high school.

    Given support in one arenea (boys), but next to fucking nothing in the latter (girls) as an adult.

    I look at this story and can’t help but feel a combination of sympathy (poor girl) and anger (yeah, she receives all the gifts and goodies because she’s a girl victim of bullying. Like that girl who was bullied for liking Star Wars)

    I sure wish I had such outpourings of support she got.

    The only support I get nowadays is “Just focus on being successful and live your life”. Wow, what wonderful support for being fucked with by all those girls and even women in the past.

    Hackberry is right: No boy would receive this kind of outpouring of support from the community. To me “Just focus on being successful and live your life” is just another way of saying “Man up”.

    Sorry dungone, but your story of genorosity is not the norm. Reality: Boys don’t receive any of the kind. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit whenever I’m triggered.

  • Sorry dungone, but your story of genorosity is not the norm. Reality: Boys don’t receive any of the kind. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit whenever I’m triggered.

    I didn’t say that it was about generosity. In a way, all of it was designed to be ironic, electing a pretty girl but pairing her up with a special ed student. In the end, though, the pretty girl was the bigger person for it.

    There was another story, recently, where some overweight kid out in the midwest got rejected by every girl he asked to the prom so he asked a porn star over the internet, who agreed, and people rushed to donate money for the cause. The school then banned him from the prom and there was a big protest at the school, with more money raised for an alternative prom, etc.

    The thing is, whether you’re male or female, it’s pretty rare to ever get an apology for having been bullied, rejected, harassed, etc. The stories that do exist have to be used to set an example, and as long as the person who is pointing it out makes it clear that men and women deserve to be treated equally in this, then that’s the best that we can do.

  • Dungone: “The stories that do exist have to be used to set an example”

    The only examples out there are “Boys bullying boys”, “Girls bullying girls” and “Boys bullying girls”. Insofar as “Girls bullying boys” there are only TWO measly articles on it. One is outdated, the other written by me for “The Good Men Project”.

    I also did a play to perge myself of this unsightly side of minimization infesting my soul, even spread it out on Toy Soldier’s and Danny’s site. So far, it hasn’t really changed the ratings. Not one bit.

    So you can’t blame me for getting irritated at having only those subjects listed above to set examples.

    Meanwhile I get told I’m “Pushing an agenda” for talking about it elsewhere (I’ll let you guess where).

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