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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Are they bullying you because they secretly like you?

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Author Topic: Are they bullying you because they secretly like you?
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Has anyone experienced an adult telling you (as a child or now) that another person is doing things such as chasing, poking, bullying/harassing, pulling your hair, stealing your pencils...etc, generally being mean, because they really just secretly have a crush on you?

Let's talk about that. What was the situation? Who told you this theory?

Do you think this has affected how you (or others you know, or our culture in general) view intimate relationships? Do you think teaching children and young adults this theory on rude crushes sets an example of "love hurts or is annoying, and people who like you are mean to you?"

Any thoughts?

The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

Posts: 1180 | From: WA | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
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This came up for me recently as my 5 year old was/is being chased and bullied by a kid at school. He reported to me the situation: a girl and her friend were chasing my son and his friend around and pushing them to the ground during recess.

One of the first things that popped into my head was "she probably has a crush on him." I was immediately horrified by this thought and fortunately I did not say it aloud.

It reminded me of:

-when a boy pulled on my braids in 1st grade, my mother and grandmother said "he probably just likes you."

-another boy chasing me all the time in 4th grade and trying to "hug" (physically attack/pummel) me - with the added bonus of him being a frequent target of crushes, and someone told me he probably liked me since I was the one girl who didn't pay a ton of attention to him.

-in 7th grade I was viciously bullied by a boy, for being poor (at a private religious school, no less), for being "fat," for wearing too much make-up (he said I bought it at Parker Paint), glued my chair (I was wearing black pants, too). It got really bad and scary. This time, my parents paid attention but at the meeting with the teacher who was tolerating this, the teacher said he "probably just has a crush on you."

As someone who a) left a long-term abusive relationship almost two years ago and b) is raising a kid alone, I am interested in (and horrified by) this thing that happens in our culture. I am also very sad about it because while I can try to control/teach the way this dynamic is viewed at home, I know my son will be getting this from all other angles (like I did) as he grows up.

(Also, the irony is not lost on me that I have only experienced this via opposite gendered situations. No one ever said the girls who bullied me had crushes on me, they said they were "probably just jealous.")

[ 03-12-2012, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: Alice ]

The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King

Posts: 1180 | From: WA | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Oh this trope. I don't know why so few people seem to realise that telling someone that someone bullying or harrassing them means they like them sends out a message that abusive relationships are acceptable. And I certainly don't buy that this is innate, wired in behaviour. I think that some kids may end up teasing or bullying someone they like because their friendships are segregated along gender lines and they are trying to figure out a way of drawing the person they have a crush on's attention to them without getting flack from their friends for crossing said gender lines?

Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

Posts: 840 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Nice topic, Alice! [Smile]

Yeah, this has happened to me too.

One time, I told a friend about being bullied by a girl in Grade 2 due to the fact that I was new to the country and couldn't speak English at all. He commented, "man, girls at that age can be so mean." 0.o

On the contrary, when I talk about being insulted by a boy in Grade 6 due to no apparent reason, people always remark, "awww, how cute. He was probably trying to get your attention 'cause he liked you." 0.o

What comes to mind when I think of this is another excuse some folks make for bullying and mean behaviour; it can be termed as "kids being kids", "boys being boys", or "girls being girls".

I think that, in general, people can feel uncomfortable seeing mean, hurtful, or bullying behaviour in children as a potential indicator of future abuse, and therefore proceed to fabricate reasons why such behaviour should be viewed as okay and harmless for children. Yet, statistics do show that those who are bullies as children are more likely to exhibit criminal and/or abusive behaviour as adults (Public Safety Canada).

Therefore, in my opinion, it's not "kids being kids", or "he/she probably has a crush on you." Any sort of bullying/harrassing/mean behaviour, at any age, is not okay, regardless if society chooses to interpret it in a romantic context or not. And I think that "theories" like the ones mentioned above, which are more reinforced by stereotypes and insecurities than any actual factual basis, do not serve as deterrents for such behaviour; rather, they encourage it by presenting bullying as a "natural" part of life and romance that children will "grow out of". Really, if people say that bullying is just another way of expressing affection (which, essentially, from what I've heard, they are), then what is the difference between children who act in unacceptable ways and adults doing the same thing? It seems hypocritical to me to excuse the one and punish the other, when, if one ignores the age of the respective parties, bullying is bullying is bullying. Period.

And I totally don't understand why there is a gender difference in the way people interpret bullying. May this be taken as an example of hetero-normative thinking?

"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

Posts: 537 | From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Yes, and also of double standards (okay for kids, not okay for adults).
Posts: 540 | From: Australia | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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