It’s Cosplay Against Bullying day. It is NOT Cosplay Against Teasing Day, or Cosplay Against Joshing Day. The chief word here is bullying. For those of you who aren’t sure what that means, Merriam-Webster has a good definition:
: to frighten, hurt, or threaten (a smaller or weaker person) : to act like a bully toward (someone)
: to cause (someone) to do something by making threats or insults or by using force
: to treat abusively
brutalize, abuse, ill-treat, kick around, maltreat, manhandle, mistreat, misuse”
I’ve heard from several people lately who refuse to speak out against bullying. They won’t wear pink shirts or carry bronies or show support in any way for those of us who are bullied. They think we just need to stand up to bullies. We just need to grow some balls and get over it.
They don’t get it. Bullying isn’t just children calling each other names or stealing each other’s lunch money. It’s also adults engaging in vicious, brutal, relentless verbal beatdowns. It’s death threats. It’s rape threats. It’s someone saying they will burn your house down. It’s your husband threatening to take your child away if you don’t do what he wants. It’s about power. It’s about humiliation.
It’s also about hiding. Bullies must not be proud of their own behavior because they do it anonymously or they do it when no one else is around to hear. They won’t sign their names or take credit for their threats. How can you fight someone who refuses to stand up right in front of you, in front of witnesses, and say those same things? How can you fight when you don’t know who it is you’re up against?
Right now the world is a safe place for bullies who get to threaten and abuse whomever they want with very few consequences. That has to change. The world should be a safe place for people who simply want to live their lives, do their jobs or go to school, and have some fun on weekends. If someone threatens your life or your safety or your family, sure, go after them with everything you’ve got. Dressing in costume, wearing a pink shirt, being fatter or thinner that other people, and having a vagina are NOT reasons to attack. They are NOT threats.
How do you combat bullying? You do it together. A bully isn’t likely to attack someone who has friends and allies. Bullies prefer to attack those they perceive as weak and alone and unable to defend themselves. I prefer to stand together with the people who know bullying is wrong. Show the vulnerable ones they have people to talk to, people who will help them find ways to put an end to this behavior. Because there is no time or place or reason that bullying is ever okay.