Teasing or Bullying

I am presently in the process of writing a book. The two characters involved in the conversation at the moment have broached the subject of teasing and bullying. Now, though this is a fictional, lighthearted take on what a pit-bull and a skunk might discuss in a conversation upon encountering each other, the subject of teasing and bullying should, I feel, be given the serious analysis it warrants.

Since a significant portion of the audience will skew younger and be of an age whereby, teasing and bullying will be a very serious matter at this stage of their experience and social development, I believe the matter of teasing and bullying is no simple thing and needs to be researched and considered as thoroughly as possible.

My purpose here is to have a conversation and exchange of opinions that will explore teasing and bullying from as many angles as can be considered, and I would like to invite anyone, and everyone, interested in joining the discussion, to participate.

I am including here, the conversation of the characters in the present draft; and, the outline I am using to explore the matter of teasing and bullying. I would be glad to have you comment on either or both, or any other thoughts they might engender; or, any thoughts you may have on the matter whatsoever. Do join the conversation.

Text of the conversation at this stage of the draft:

It’s like we are family, and you know what? He teases me just like your family teases you. It’s a lot like that, but I don’t mind. Ha!” Chocolate laughs, “I kid him back, and then we laugh, so it works out. It’s just another one of the fun things we do. You know, maybe the next time your family teases you, you should just tease them back. You’ll see. It makes it more fun if you do it back to them.”

“I hope you’re right; because it sure wasn’t any fun when I was the only one being teased,” Maggie notes.

“Well, that’s the funny thing. Only friends and family who tease each other can tease each other; both have to play the teasing game; teasing each other; or else, it isn’t teasing anymore. They have to do it equally for it to be fun. If only one of them does the teasing, then it’s something that can become what is called bullying, and it’s just plain mean,” Chocolate tries to explain. “So, if you tease somebody, but they don’t want to play at the teasing game and tease you back, then you should stop teasing them because they don’t want to play the teasing game. Only good friends can play the teasing game; and, sometimes your friends just don’t want to play, so you just have to stop and do something else that’s fun.

“Gees! You know, it seems to be getting so complicated. Why don’t we just stop teasing each other; because, it causes too much trouble.

“You are right. Teasing is a complicated thing. It is a game we play, that is a tool that we use to get something. It can be used for good or bad. It really depends on who is doing the teasing, and what their motives are.” Chocolate explains.

“A game; a tool?” Mags questions.

“Yeauhhh,” Chocolate affirms with what seems more like a questioning ‘Yeah’; and, then she continues, “A tool is something the animals that walk on their hind legs use to do things better than they can without a tool; like digging a hole. They use something they call a shovel; and, it works. They can make much bigger holes than they ever could with their paws. They make bigger holes than I can make, and I’m a much better digger than they are.”

“Wow, I wish I had a shovel, I’m sure I could dig up so many more grubs if I had a shovel;” Maggie was enthralled with the idea of a shovel “but, what kind of tool can teasing possibly be, and what can it possibly be used for?”.

“Well, it is a game, that is a tool we use to figure out if somebody is a friend; or, not. A true friend; a real friend; or, not.” Chocolate thought for a moment and then continued, “If somebody is teasing you; they want something. They use teasing to accomplish that thing. While we are teasing, and being teased, it gives us a chance to figure out just what it is they want; and, it allows them to figure out what we want. That way we can know each other’s motives for doing the teasing.

Some people don’t have good motives for teasing you. Some people don’t want to be your friend; or, they don’t care about you. They might want to hurt you.”

The outline of factors to consider:

Teasing:

What is it?
Aggression; gently done.

Purpose:
Test mettle of associates
How and how well, does one handle it
Take the measure of associates

Reasons we tease:
If somebody teases you they want something.
The purpose of using the tool that the game of teasing is, is to accomplish something.

General background:

We are safer by being a part of the group; but, there is also danger from the group, or members, if hostile toward you.
“The most dangerous thing to you there is, another member of your species.”
We all crave connection; even, if only minimal
To be accepted into the group, and included; not shunned or excluded or attacked.

The quality of teasing is rated by its’ level of gentleness.
If it is gentle it signals intentions of being gentle toward the teased.
The more aggressive it is, the less likely it is friendly

Can’t be defended with an argument.

An Attempt to (use conversation to):

It is a conversation. It is a negotiation, it’s a game we play, a tool to test each other.
Separate co-operation or co-existence from contention.
Demonstrates whether you can get along, or not

It is a test and demonstration of cleverness.
We just want to be clever.
Cleverness may very well be the most powerful weapon in the echelon of weapons.
It can beat brawn.
You don’t want to be outsmarted.
It can put you in danger.

Teasing is a gentler, safer form of aggression.
It is a safer way to challenge and assess each other. It gently crosses boundaries.

It’s a way of having a conversation about something without things getting serious.
Serious might be too dangerous.

Float a proposition without serious disappointment.
You test to see if you can; and, see to what extent you can let down your guard with teasing

An alpha teaser invites someone to challenge back, or not, to decide and designate primacy.

Mini or Middle Hierarchy:

Acceptance in the group.
Are you part of the group or not, and if so…
…It has to do with one’s rank in the hierarchy
What the relationship between the teasers is.
A lesser teaser is doing the same thing in an effort to determine rank in the hierarchy.
Or, test to find sameness: equality, mutual interest, like-minded, buddies, etc.

Bystanders and observers can assess the participants

Teasing Says:

Let’s do this the easy way, so we don’t have to do this the hard way.
“I like things the easy way.”
Don’t make me be afraid. Answer; and, treat me gently.

Test the situation to see if it’s safe to interact any further

Fish out a response without the possibility of a hard no.

General:

What are they going to do about it? How do they react?

Can’t be defended with an argument.

You can measure the other’s character.
Aggressive
Compliant
Mild Mannered
Agreeable

Reaction to pressure.
Acquiescence.
Push back.
Steadfast

It is really about the motives of the teaser. This is what separates teasing
from bullying or ill will toward the teased.
Are their feeling toward the teased benevolent; or,
(and I believe, this is the crux of the matter)
are their intentions to harm the teased.

There is always a motive involved.
It has interior motives, or ulterior motives, something like that.
Can’t be defended with an argument.

Good Motives:
To connect in friendship
How much more, or less, power does one have?
Are we equal? What difference in rank are we?

Bad motives:
Manipulate
Control
Weaken the teased ones’ position

Damage or undermine.
Strength or Power
Feelings
Reputation

Unawares:
Unskilled or inept teasing.
Sometimes a bully doesn’t know they are a bully.
Their intentions aren’t ill toward the teased; but, meant
to assuage an internal deficit or turmoil within themselves.

Form of Pornography:
Trains you to handle a threat without any danger; except, to your ego or feelings.
I guess it just exposes and measures how much you have invested in your ego.
It toughens you up. Prepares you for contention.
You practice an encounter that involves some vulnerabilities.

Dissipates the energy of seriousness.
Teasing separates you from seriousness.
It breaks the tension. Lightens the mood.

It allows me to gauge; how I’m going to get serious with someone.
A boy might want to get serious with a girl; but, that serious could turn out to be bad instead of good;
so, he’ll tease at it instead of being serious right away, to get a feel of which direction it might go.

The target:
You have to judge how they will take it.
If you tease someone and they accept it, they consider you equal
If they don’t consider you an equal they could be insulted or pained.

It’s reciprocal.
You and your nemesis are the same(equal) or at least similar.
Emotions
Beliefs
Attitudes, etc.

Teasing can only be done: face to face. If this requirement is not met
it is not teasing
Teasing: to qualify as reciprocal, must allow for a response from the teased, to defend their side in the game.

The other things it could be:
Bullying
Threat

How to assess the effect of teasing:
Off-record markers?

“I didn’t think it was funny at first, but I have to confess, I laughed later, when I was alone, and thought about it; it was funny.”

“Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”

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