I was bullied. I was a nice little fat kid who needed braces and glasses. I was a soft but happy soul. I was bullied. I understand the pain the bullying brings to the bullied and the bully, But I'm loathed to label everything that involves opinion as "bullying".

Let me walk through an example or two. I'll use myself as the chubby, short-sighted little guinea pig.

"I think Polly Gillespie is an ugly b*tch, with a screwed up face and the smell of rotten dog poop. She's ugly and stupid (now let's really get mean) and she's vapid!"

I would say that although there may be valuable truths in some of that (God please not the vapidity!) it is a bullying statement if placed in a public forum, or sent as a message or email. It's definitely vitriolic bullying.

Advertisement

Now, example two:

"Polly Gillespie says nothing that interests me, and personally I think she should attempt to find a better stylist."

Opinion? Yes. Valid? Maybe (yes) but is it bullying? I don't think it is.

If that was posted publicly or sent to me as a personal message then, although a bit pithy and possibly unnecessary to voice, it's NOT bullying.

It seems we've got to a place where opinion is considered bullying, and I believe that's dangerous and idiotic. It's OK to make observations about me, John Key, Lorde, Laila Harre or whoever, and choose to express your views, if they are based on your educated observation.

It's fine to not like sweat pants or pyjamas in Pak'n'Save, or bad drivers in cars with ironic names (Swift? Really?).

I also think it's fine to voice your opinions on television shows made locally. If you think wearing a tutu *cough* to a funeral, is in dubious taste, then it's OK to say that. It's not OK to slag individuals off out of bitterness, jealousy, lack of education or pure spite.

Picking on someone because you want to hurt them to make YOU feel better is bullying. Relentlessly urging someone to kill themselves IS bullying. Following famous people around and taking awful photos of them IS bullying.

Finding a kid at school or a person at work who is quiet, fat, skinny, short-sighted, uncoordinated, poor, rich, funny looking, gorgeous, or cursed with a speech impediment and then making their life miserable... THAT is bullying.

I have several friends who are incredibly beautiful. They are breathtaking. Three out of four of them were brutally teased and bullied at school. The other one is a sassy Irish girl from the streets of Belfast and she'd just punch people in the face who tried to taunt her. Yes a cautionary tale. Careful who you bully, they may be black belt or savvy street fighters!

I am just a little tired, maybe irritated, by people who consider any opinion on anything, that isn't "their" opinion, bullying. Someone posts a Facebook meme that's just meant to be "funny", and suddenly all the bloody faux bully police come out. I recently saw a meme that said something like "Great terrorists have internet connection in caves, and we can't even get it at our house" and suddenly there are 700 000 people shocked at the "bullying" of cave dwelling terrorists. Come on! Let's get a bloody grip.

If you don't like me or my opinion then that is not BULLYING.

If you call me vapid and boring then I might have to punch you in the nuts.

- nzherald.co.nz

Debate on this article is now closed.