The Bully Project – Why do People Bully?

The Bully Project, a controversial and raw film about the workings of teenage bullying, is making is film debut and release today in New York and Los Angeles. Anyone who works with children or has children or was a child recognizes the pain and horror of childhood bullying. Often viewed as a ‘right of passage’ or ‘kids being kids,’ the reality is that bullying is a traumatic an unnecessary experience of childhood. There recent wave of teen suicides highlights the painful realities of bullying. See the preview for the film below:

Just as pervasive as bullying is, there are a lot of myths that surround the practice. One of the most common is that “Bully’s have low self-esteem” or that “Bully’s are outcasts.” The reality is that most ‘schoolyard bullies’ have pretty high self-esteem and enjoy a high status that accompanies their predatory behavior. Discovery News highlights this in the article: “Why Do People Bully?” It highlights the behavioral drive for this type of behavior as well as the social rewards that teens experience. I highly recommend this read for anyone that interacts with child or is working to (or wanting to work to) combat bullying.

10 thoughts on “The Bully Project – Why do People Bully?

  1. colleenkr

    I just watched the trailer this week with my students, and we have decided to do a project related to it in our school. So glad a movie like this is exposing such a terrible trend in many schools.

    1. Jennifer Carey Post author

      I just wish it didn’t have the Rated R rating… Children under 17 are experiencing this. The fact that we can’t show it or talk to them about it is mind-boggling.

      1. colleenkr

        True. Especially when they’re exposed to so much of this behaviour… wouldn’t it help to have teachers guide them through some of the material at the appropriate age?

      2. colleenkr

        Definitely! It’s one thing to try to reassure as a teacher, but to see others in a similar situation means so much. Not that it takes away the nastiness of their predicaments, but everyone knows that misery loves company. There is comfort knowing someone else is going through something similar — it helps to provide a new/different perspective.

  2. Robert Connolly

    Thanks for posting on this. I am disgusted with the MPAA for their rating. I am amazed that in our culture where all sorts of violence and abuse can be shown on television there remains this sacrosanct ivory tower of movie ratings. This puritanical veil of convenience that the guardians of culture have given us for the past decades has let these types of pathologies and hate crimes run rampant.

    I am amazed that even in higher education, colleagues let this type of intellectual bullying continue in the guise of academic freedom and students needing to develop thick skins. I also know that when individual instructors intervene forcefully against this type of behavior, the bullying stops. I refuse to allow this to occur in classrooms in which I engage. I simply cannot tolerate seeing a promising student who is different being abused and intimidated.

    Off of my soapbox . . . but thanks for posting.

    1. Jennifer Carey Post author

      One other element Robert that is often ‘invisible’ to teachers – Cyber-bullying. We don’t know that they text one another or set up websites or Facebook ‘hate pages.’ An individual teacher may be able to stop the behavior in the moment, but not its inherently pervasive nature – school bus, hallway, bathroom, cell phone, internet, etc.


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