Making Fun and Name Calling

I set personal ‘rules’ for myself. One of those rules is to never make fun of the way someone looks. I say make fun of stupid stuff they say or do, because we’ve ALL done or said stupid stuff, but the way they look should never come into play.

So, for celebrity examples – Make fun of the clothes they choose to wear (Lady Gaga, Madonna). Make fun of their music, or lack of singing ability, or song writing ability (Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift). Make fun of their dumb life choices (Lohan, Miley) – but never fun of their looks. That’s the way God made them to look, so they’re perfect and you are wrong to make fun of them for it.

And even, in some cases, you can take making fun of life choices a bit too far.

I have always taken issue with the jokes that talk about Bieber being a girl – or looking like a girl. LONG before I had Clean Funny Pics or anything, this line of poking fun troubled me.

I don’t know anything that the kid sings, but from what I understand – it leaves a lot to be desired. So, make fun of his music if you want. Lately, he’s made some poor life choices. So, make fun of those too – to a degree, but making fun of the way he looks by calling him gay or saying he’s a girl… That’s wrong.

Calling him a ‘girl’ and making fun of him for that was really driven home for me this past school year.

My son is 13 years old and attends a local home school co-op. It’s very small, about 25 kids attend (in all grades combined) and there’s about 8 in my son’s class. This is the first year he’s schooled outside the home, so it was a bit of an adjustment for him. It wasn’t his first experience with the classroom as he’s participated in other weekly co-ops, special classes offered on the local Air Force Base and some summer programs for fun.

In these cases, and at church, he’s well liked by other kids – usually those younger than he is – and generally gets along well with others.  There was a kid one time, at one of the co-ops who started name calling – which upset him,  and when it escalated – I spoke to the boy’s mother and that was that.

In the last 8 months, things have been far different. I don’t know if it’s the particular co-op he’s in, if it’s this particular group of kids or if he’s changing as he’s getting older, but he’s not blending as well as he once did. In the past, when someone says or does something he doesn’t like, he’s walked away. That’s what we’ve always taught him. He’s having trouble with that now. Mainly because when he walks away, usually from those in his age range, he goes to the younger group of kids – which gathers more ridicule by the kids his age. He’s sort of been at a loss…

Pretty much within the first month at the school, one of the boys began calling him a ‘girl’. This bothered him. We talked with him about the best way to deal with the kid because we aren’t the type of parents that are going to call the school every time our kid comes home upset. We teach our kids how to deal with and handle situations on their own. If that doesn’t work – after many attempts – then we’ll get involved.

Over this school year, it never stopped and only got worse and worse. I could see this was tearing my son down. His spirit has been broken.

This is not okay.

In our home, we goof, cut-up and laugh – a lot. We pick at each other – banter, really. Words like “dipstick”, “ding dong”, and “bone head” are terms of endearment here. This may be confusing to some, but it’s how we’ve always been.

The difference is – if one of us doesn’t care for a particular term one uses in reference to us, we say so and they stop.

He tried that at the school. He asked the boys to stop, explaining he didn’t like it and asked if they could just move on and all be friends. This only made it worse.

Everyday he would come home – somewhat more broken than the day before.

And then the next.

And the next.

Until my son now no longer is the same child as he was before. He smiles less. He laughs less. The banter we once did as a family, we can no longer do because it brings up these hard feelings for him.

I grew up being called fat, stupid and ugly. It’s something I still struggle with and cannot imagine what it must be for Bieber being called a ‘girl’ on a global scale.

So, before making jokes about Beiber being a girl, or that he’s a daughter, not a son, or similar – stop and think about how you’d feel if someone was saying that about your child. Or about you.

When you call or insinuate that Bieber is a girl, you’ve crossed a line there and, in my opinion,  you’re insulting God because Bieber is one of God’s creations – just like you.

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