In Konkana Sen sharma’s directorial debut Death in the Gunj, which released earlier this year, when a character says, “Ask your friend to pick someone his size,” it strikes a chord.
Throughout the perceptively dealt thriller, the quiet, sensitive protagonist is laughed at, made fun of, sent for errands and taken for granted till the film reaches its tragic denouement.
In the field of education, this phenomenon of one student being targeted is quite a common scenario. The targeting could be something as inoffensive as his/her “funny sounding” name, or the “major crime” of him/her being a nerd.
It often begins with good-natured teasing, before turning ugly when this teasing becomes consistent, incessant and far from innocuous.
Traditionally, boys have been more prone to displaying this behaviour, and more aggressively. But some girls resort to a less overt form of bullying: pointedly ignoring or sidelining a person, thereby creating a wedge amongst students in a class. Both these phenomena are frequently depicted on film and TV, often as a cliche of school life.
Bullies are often seen as a popular type—smarter, better looking, with a kind of personality that people tend to look up to. They have quite a fan following. People generally rally around them to be a part of the “popular” crowd. Sometimes, the motive for this admiration is as simple as self-preservation.
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Photo by David Taffet on Unsplash