Man in Black Rant: Katie, Revisited

With latest news comes latest opinions, and having already ranted about the situation surrounding Katie the Star Wars Girl, I feel it is my solemn obligation to do so once again.

Let’s start with the news.  This is what inspired me to write another post:

And Katie is learning how to reach out to help other children in the same way that she has been helped.  A mother named Emily called to tell me that her first grade son was recently teased for bringing My Little Pony for show and tell.  She said he was terribly upset by the incident, and when I told Katie about it, she called to leave a message for the child.

She said, “I am Katie.  I like Star Wars, and you like My Little Pony.  I know other boys who like to play with My Little Pony, and it’s great, and umm, May the Pony Be With You!” she finished proudly.

Why is this worth reposting here, on a site only marginally connected with the non-literature side of Star Wars?
Well, if you watched my entire vlog, you might have noticed that my biggest fear in this situation is the potential for Katie to become an obsessive, demanding woman as a result of the masses of attention she is receiving as a child.  Now, I can’t speak conclusively about her future, but this seems like a pretty good step in the right direction, doesn’t it?
I also want to address another issue that was brought up with my Vlog.  I don’t want to put the person who raised the disagreement on blast, but I do want to carry forward the disagreement honestly.  There was some question if I was being unfair in claiming that teasing is something less damaging than other bullying, I would say yes.
Bullying is a specifically targeted occurrence.  It is somebody or bodies who harass an individual, often with a physical aspect as a means of increasing both the degrading effect for the victim and the empowering effect for the bully.  Actually, to take this one step farther, I’ll stop consulting what I know of the word and consult a real source: Dictionary.com.

bul·ly

–verb (used with object)

6.

to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.
Let’s ask the same source, then, about teasing, which I would characterize as an off-handed thing, perhaps done in the spirit of mean-ness, which every single child has both experienced and engaged in by the time they reach adolescence.

tease

1.

to irritate or provoke with persistent petty distractions, trifling raillery, or other annoyance, often in sport.
6.

to provoke or disturb a person or animal by importunity or persistent petty annoyances.
At first glance, these definitions are the same.  There is one main difference, though: Intimidate versus Annoyance.  That, then, is where teasing falls far short of the sort of serious bullying that would require this sort of response.  That’s the type of discrepancy I was referring to in my Vlog.  Like I said there, the article wasn’t necessarily conveying the entire truth- if they were quoting Katie, to a child that age there is little distinction between such words- and I went on to assume that the wording was simply poor and that bullying was indeed being referred to.  There’s no way for me to find out, in any case.
And since I have no intention of harassing this girl myself… this will be my last public address on the topic.
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2 thoughts on “Man in Black Rant: Katie, Revisited

  1. Teasing vs. Bullying – but at what point does one turn into another? You could end up with someone feeling they need to take a life simply because of teasing gone overboard if it’s frequent enough and wide-spread enough then yes. Don’t you think that many young teen girls who constantly get teased as being “fat” are going to start to take that to heart? If doesn’t matter if it’s teasing or bullying, if it’s tolerated – and more imporantly if there’s not some kind of support system to deal with it (or to teach them how to deal with it) – you can end up at the same ends via either method.

    • I see where you’re coming from, but I think it’s more about the magnitude. It takes more to deal with bullying, more to get a victim to be able to get past it. Teasing is something everybody has to deal with at one point or another, and it’s usually easier to convince someone to ignore- something you can’t do with most forms of bullying. You can also have someone face the same issues because their teacher keeps giving them an F grade- it’s all relative and while the possible results can be the same, the magnitude of the response required really varies a lot.

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