Lately I’ve been getting a lot of email on how to defend yourself against bullying. Much of this is about teaching your kids how to defend themselves. But it also addresses adult bullying.
And the latest thing I received said that one’s posture is a factor. It can tend to ward off a bully or it might attract one, these experts claim.
I scanned some of this information, and basically it said if one exudes confidence, he may get to keep his milk money longer. On the other hand, if you look meek and timid, you might always sing tenor as a result of ninja class wedgies.
Now I don’t know if there’s any scientific data to back any of this. It may be kind of like the advice one gets if he confronts a grizzly. You are not supposed to run. Nor are you to look the grizzly in the eye. You are supposed to make yourself look bigger, maybe by raising your hands above your head. Of course if you do this with a people bully, it might suggest that you are surrendering.
In the case of the bear, I’ve always wondered if it had any affect at all. You stand tall, beat your chest and make loud noises. You weigh 200 pounds and the bear weighs 700 pounds. If the bear didn’t read the same pamphlet, you may just be out of breath when he eats you. Or you can run, and the bear will be out of breath when he eats you.
Let me put it another way, I would not go into bear territory, seek out a grizzly and purposely try out these suggestions.
Now back to people bullies. I’m sure exuding confidence is better than not exuding confidence. However, I don’t know that such posturing will actually work. I’ve never read where a would-be bank robber cased out a target and then decided to rob another bank because the tellers looked so confident. I don’t think it would impact the issue one iota even if they were snarling and ripping open envelopes with their teeth.
In this email, some expert on bullying said that if a person slouches and is holding his head down, it is a signal that he is vulnerable. Again, I don’t know if there are any statistics to back this up. There’s probably not a study where people were asked to fake poor posturing just to see if they would get beaten up. But then again, I’ve seen federal funds spent on issues with less credibility.
Some of the advice included teaching your kids how to spot a bully and then to avoid them. That probably made as much sense as anything. That’s how I approach my defense against grizzlies. I don’t go where they are.
You see, I thought the grizzly thing through. I’m only 5 feet, 10 inches tall. Even if I raised my hands above my head and stood on a stump, I don’t think the bear would be intimidated.
They always say if you are hiking in bear territory, to make lots of noise because bears don’t like for you to sneak up on them. They suggest singing and whistling.
Now I don’t think this advice is transferable with people bullies. In fact, that posturing might suggest you are going to try out for a musical and you might become an even bigger target. But then again, it might all depend on your selection of tunes and whether you are baritone or tenor. I’m just saying, if you can conjure up a deep voice and belt out the theme to “Rawhide” you might fare better than if your choice is “Tip Toe Through the Tulips.”
For the record, I detest bullies. I’ve never had a real problem with them, but along the way I’ve seen some. And there were a couple of times when I saw what initially appeared to be a weak little kid knock the snot out of his persecutor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that kind of violence. But I needed a smile that day and the two events coincided.
Dwain Walden is the editor/publisher of the Moultrie Observer and can be reached at email@example.com.