The Gender Police (page 7)
Chapters 7 and 8, “Adult Bullies” and “The Bully Economy,” trace the competitive pressures that pervade our schools to our economy and politics. While schools serve as pressure cookers where ruthless competition and other hypermasculinity imperatives are expressed in extreme form, adults inadvertently or explicitly play out the same social status conflicts relating to wealth, race, looks, and sexuality, as well as grown-up versions of gay and girl bashing, dating violence, and harassment.
The same ruthless social hierarchies and hurtful cliques can be found among adults: many parents and teachers bully one another, and bully children and students too.
An increasingly unfettered capitalist economy has both fed and been fed by these values. Adults continue to work long hours and weeks to be able to purchase the clothes and lifestyles that help them achieve status among each other.
Often the business tactics necessary to achieve such wealth require the same objectification found in our schools,that is, a casual disregard for the feelings and lives of others.
Chapters 9 and 10 discuss whether particular educational policies and typical school cultures are likely to encourage or mitigate bullying and violence. Chapter 9, “America Is from Mars, Europe Is from Venus,” compares the more “masculine,” punitive, individually focused policies prevalent in the United States with the more “feminine” relationship- and community-oriented policies that are common in European and Nordic countries.
Many U.S. anti-bullying programs focus on helping students to stand up for themselves and talk back to potential bullies. Research has shown, though, that developing bonds among school faculty and students and helping students and faculty support one another in such situations are more effective.
Chapter 10, “Creating Kinder Schools and Cyberspaces,” highlights some excellent and successful programs in the United States and across the world, with a particular focus on programs that help develop a collective courage.
The Bully Society concludes by pointing toward the necessity for change: dismantling our schools’ bully society, which is driven by our contemporary bully economy. The following pages present insights necessary for understanding and undertaking this challenging and essential task; together, as the conclusion shows, we can transform our schools into more humane and compassionate communities.