North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Opinion

August 2, 2013

Danielle Cater: Bullying comes in all shapes and sizes

COMMENTARY — Whoever said “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” was a liar.

Words hurt, actions hurt and even sometimes, a sideways look hurts. The old song “Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say” isn’t just for kids; it’s a concept that would work well for all walks of life.

I read a story today about some teenage girls who stood up to a bully at a fast-food restaurant. The one who was bullying was a middle-aged woman, and she was picking on another woman about the same age. Bullying knows no age boundaries. So just because you are not in school anymore doesn’t mean that your rude gestures and hateful words aren’t cutting the recipient to the bone.

Often, we say things out of jest that hurt much deeper than we may know. It’s never OK to pick on someone, even if you feel like it’s just for a good laugh. I have a bad habit of picking on myself and others in order to get a chuckle, but the damage can be pretty severe. Some people find it amusing to make fun of those who are different from them, but who’s to say that the way you look and act is the right way?

A big target of bullying across the board is peoples’ weight. This is a touchy subject, and I know that many readers just tensed up reading over that sentence. I heard a waitress say the other day that she was upset that we could tell a smoker to quit smoking because it might kill them, but she would get in trouble for telling a fat person to quit eating so much.

Weight, smoking, drinking and many other things have more to do with self-control than with any other issue. If everyone drank one glass of wine a month, there would be no alcoholics or sobriety tests on the roads. If we all ate three healthy meals a day with a reasonable amount of calories paired with an exercise routine, we probably wouldn’t have very many obese people in the world.

But alas, we have over-indulgers in our society and when the system starts getting abused, it gets out of hand. Even when this happens, please remember that no one made you the calorie queen or king to tell people what they should and shouldn’t be allowing themselves to do.

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