Book Bullying: Are you a victim or a perpetrator?
Last week on Friday Coffee Chat we talked about Weird Reading Habits. We all have some and maybe sometimes people look at us funny for our odd reading habits. This week, I want to talk about bullying of the book persuasion. Jennifer at Girls Gone Reading is talking about movies that are BETTER than the book this week on her portion of Friday Coffee Chat. Can you think of any? I think I actually can so make sure you go put your two cents in on her blog as well!
Book bullying. Does such a thing exist? For weeks we’ve been talking about things like judging a book by its cover, the YA phenomenon, and odd reading habits we have. But are any of these things embarrassing enough that we actually hide what we read around others for fear of being made fun of or just outright bullying?
Last week on Twitter a fellow book blogger tweeted that she had been mocked and made fun of in the lunch room for her choice of reading. Not only did they make fun of what she read, they went through her Kobo and refused to give it back until they had all had their bits of fun. I was honestly horrified that this person was basically bullied. These aren’t kids in grade school—these are grown adults that were making fun of her for choosing to read YA and some Middle Grade books. Never mind that this woman is a mother and who reviews YA and some younger fiction regularly on her blog; these people decided that it would be a nice thing to mock her by saying things like, “What are you going to read next, Clifford?!” Hmmm…she’s a mom so it IS in fact possible that she might read Clifford to her children. Instead of fighting back which would almost certainly end in more retribution, she sat there quietly until they had finished. She felt humiliated.
I have to admit. I felt so bad for her. I think what is worse is that I felt bad for her because while I may not have gone to that extent to humiliate someone, I have definitely judged people on their reading choices at times. That’s right. I am openly admitting that at times I have vocally said things about the choices that people make about their own personal reading! I am ashamed. After doing these weekly chats for three months, I have learned so much from all the bloggers that stop by and give their input. We don’t always agree, but we usually have a good laugh, give each other a virtual handshake, and move on because we all know we have different personalities and therefore, different tastes. Because of this, I have become much less judgmental of all those people out there that choose to read things that I would never pick up. I no longer care if someone has an Edward or Jacob obsession, or if they like reading Gossip Girl. I don’t care anymore if people like reading steamy romances or erotica. We’re all unique and there are enough books in the world to satisfy us all. I might even throw some glitter on my friends who like the sparkly vampires to show my support!
My point is, what exactly does it accomplish when you question what someone is reading? Is there ever a time when it is justified? I still struggle some with people reading books by Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Al Franken, Michael Moore or other polarizing figures. I might even make an off-handed comment if I saw people reading it. Is that ok for me to do? I think good conversation is ok. I think it’s ok to disagree, but I’m beginning to see that it’s possible that my off-handed comments can hurt someone’s feelings. I also think that sometimes we all can be overly sensitive and that stepping back from a situation and looking at things from a different perspective can open our eyes to what people may be trying to get across (in the blogger’s case at the beginning of my post I think she was truly bullied and the people in question should be ashamed of themselves). I have taken comments on my blog and on Twitter personally sometimes, but then I realize that I am who I am and I can only control my reaction to things—the world will not change for me as much as I want it to. I will say that I am trying harder to be more aware of what comes out of my mouth and my fingers while typing. I may still disagree with people, but I hope that I will never be disrespectful or make that person feel bullied.
So this week, I want to ask you readers:
- Have you ever been bullied for what you read OR have you ever bullied someone for what they read (be honest here…we’ll be respectful of admissions)?
- Have you ever hidden what you read for fear of someone making fun of you or criticizing you?
- Do you think people are too sensitive when it comes to the books they enjoy?
- Are there any times that you just cannot keep your mouth shut when you think you should (like me and my penchant for ranting against political pundit books)?
- Do you think it’s possible to be opinionated about reading/books without backing someone into a corner?
Link of Note
I saw this really good blog post by a man that was bullied as a child. Good food for thought: