I am raising my children to behave with respect and kindness, and I'm sure they'll make me proud. We talk about introducing ourselves to people who look scared, alone, or different. We talk about including others in activities, even when we don't really want to. We talk about being fair, playing nice, and discussing our issues calmly but honestly. Of course, all of this is done in a way that they understand - they are only children. But I see them putting these things into action when they interact with each other and with the children they meet. And it makes them feel good - and it makes me feel good!
Last year, bullying really came to be an issue that was (finally) talked about plainly and in public. The torturing of gay kids was discussed and fought against, as it should be. I was so proud to see people stepping up to speak against such horrid behaviors against other human beings! I hope it saved some lives and some hurt feelings.
But it's not just select groups who encounter bullying. I have seen it lately in the strangest of places. I'm not sure if it comes from a place of jealousy, bitterness, or just plain meanness? It's probably a mix of all of the above. And it seems that the more perceived power one has, the more likely one is to fall prey to those feelings and have the inexplicable urge to try to smack down other people.
Running a group doesn't make you the queen. Having a website doesn't make you perfume tsar. These things do not mean anyone owes you anything. These things do not mean you can make the rules up as you go along. These things do not mean that you can act unprofessionally, rudely, or arbitrarily. These things do not mean you can manufacture facts (and ignore them when you get called out on them). These things do not mean that anyone needs to kiss your feet or ring or ass.These things do not mean you deserve a damn thing. These things do not mean you get to act like a bully.
"Bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person. The behavior can be verbal, emotional, and physical. Some of the ways they bully other people are by: calling them names, saying or writing nasty things about them, leaving them out of activities, not talking to them, threatening them, making them feel uncomfortable or scared, taking or damaging their things, hitting or kicking them, or making them do things they don’t want to do."That quote above was written about bullying children. It still applies to adults, doesn't it?
I considered highlighting the important bits, but it's all important. Bullying is an attempt to have power over another person. It can be verbal, emotional or physical. It includes name-calling, saying or writing nasty things, leaving people out of activities, not speaking to people, threatening. Making someone uncomfortable or scared can be bullying. Damaging someone's things - or taking them away unfairly - is bullying.
Some of you have probably pieced together the cause of my ire. I'm referring here in part to Dawn Spencer Hurwitz being shoved out of the Nature Perfumer's Guild nest unceremoniously. Yup, it was unprofessional. Yup, it was handled poorly. Yup, it appears to be completely ridiculous. If Dawn was accepted into a group with certain parameters (please label clearly your botanical/natural products and don't use the guild's logo on anything else) and followed those parameters (which I believe until shown the alleged screenshots), then I am completely confused as to why she was shoved out. And she was shoved out. No amount of double-talk will convince me that taking away her standing in the group by demoting her in a blindside move is a not a shove. And if indeed Dawn did not follow the rules, this still does not excuse the suddenness of the actions taken by the guild. It does not explain why a polite conversation to clear up the concerns was not the first step, rather than a termination of privileges being taken as first course of action. Bizarre. Unprofessional. And rather bully-like behavior, wouldn't you agree?
But what you don't know is that there was another catalyst here for this post. What? More bullying in Perfume Land? Yes, my dears. Sad, but true.
I have noted bullying behavior from a person who runs a prolific website. I have discussed said behavior with this person personally, so I'm not going to spell it all out here or "name names". But I will if it continues. For my part, I have politely stated my case. I have told this person about how the behavior appears to me. I have told the person I will no longer be visiting the website in question. I have blocked the person's email and blocked all other contact with this person. I feel better, but if the behavior continues with other people I will not feel afraid to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
Running a website or group does not mean you can send aggressive emails to people. Just because you have contacts in an industry does not make you someone who does not need to follow the basic rules of how to behave. Being An Artiste doesn't mean you can act in any way you like without affording your fellow humans the basic right of respect.
I am asking my 4 readers to take a stand, please, against bullying in any form. If you have children, teach them how to be kind and fair. If you are an adult and you see someone behaving poorly, pushing people around, making threats, or otherwise acting poorly, gently but firmly call them on their behavior or remove their (perceived) power by removing yourself from their little world. Block them on Facebook. Ask them to stop contacting you. Leave a group. Stop reading their blog. Tell your boss. Ask a friend for help or support. Whatever it takes to get away from the negativity and lessen the impact of the bully without resorting to nasty tactics yourself.
I abhor a bully. I always have. And I'm not afraid of them. I know their secrets, you see: they are scared and small people.
If you'd like to pick on someone, please c'mon over here. I'm more than happy to discuss it with you - but watch out, because karma is a bitch ---and so am I.
Note: I can't believe I had to write this on a perfume blog. A PERFUME BLOG! It's fragrance, for Pete's sake! People --- get some perspective!