Bullying pretty ladies

Love her? Hate her? Just wish she was a bitch?

I have recently come accross this interesting post by Lesley Kinzel at xoJane, acutely titled An Open Letter to the Guy Who Helpfully Announced “Daaaaamn Bitch, You Fat!” to Me in the Target Parking Lot this Morning — there´s really no need for additional explanation regarding what could be the contents of her text. I myself was a little overweight when I was a child, and was rather bullyied about it by skinny girly girls who did not enjoy my quiet vibe and my preference for the boy´s company and who found in my body a path to revenge for whatever pain my lack of interest in their interests might have caused them.

Fast forward and about two decades later and I have overcome all that angst of my early youth: self-esteem issues concerning my body image, anger management and socialization difficulties due to having suffered gratuitous aggression from groups of little evil barbies, plus a long term despise for most things feminine which ended rather recently, if a few years ago qualifies as such.

So, I take care of myself and I am happy and I believe it shows. I have grown from grunge teenager with oversized clothes to pretty lady who lunches, a well manicured girl with some academic and professional achievements which are not extraordinary, but make me proud enough for the time being. Silly me, I thought I´d never be bullied again, but that was just me thinking bullying had to do just with me being fragile in the eyes of others, when the fact of the matter is that it´s precisely the contrary.

To me, one of the points Lesley is trying to convey is that people who go out of their way to destroy someone else´s day are in fact themselves unhappy and embarrassed by their own lack of self-esteem. They look at a woman who is overweight and going about her own business with peace of mind and just find unbearable her capacity of living with herself. They can´t live with people who can, especially if they do it regardless of what others might be thinking of them. They must let others learn what they think of them; in fact, we learn what they think of themselves.

So bullying is not about the supposedly deviational behavior or physical aspect of the victim, but the moral frailty of the perpetrator; in considering so, whatever can be perceived as normality, or worse, as outstanding, is also motive for aggression; pretty ladies suffer their quota of bullying too.

I believe the example that best illustrates my point is the eternal quest for celebrity scandal. I can only imagine how much it would sell a story uncovering the truth about Angelina Jolie´s adopted children: she just did it for the press, someone would finally prove, because yes, of course, that´s the sort of thing rich and beautiful people do to get attention, they adopt a lot of african kids just to piss of Jennifer Aniston. Questioning a celebrity´s character is, apparently, a sacred right of the press and their fans, justified by the fact that their success arises from publicity and for that reason, their entire lives — not just their work — should be subject to scrutiny and worse: speculation. Regular people, however, suffer bullying too. “She thinks she is so perfect, I´m going to screw that bitch” (and then they actually do, or at least try to do it) — no, you think I am perfect and you think I think I am perfect and because you feel deeply all your flaws, real and imaginary ones.

Where does the pleasure in finding, amplifying or inventing flaws on people actually come from? I do think there is a strong component of their success and beauty being somewhat unbearable; that fascination brings a sense of despair in the face of what seems to be utter perfection in the eyes of those who feel deeply unsatisfied with themselves. “Why is their life so easy if in the end, they´re just as good as I am or even more messed up?” is the other side to the question “Why should those losers be happy if I´m not and I´m better than them?”, both provoking the same reactions directed at destroying the bully´s victim self esteem.

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