Thursday, December 15, 2016


I was just catching up on a tv show I watch, Hell's Kitchen.  It's a cooking competition where there's a male and a female team, and they compete against each other until there's one winning chef.

In a previous episode, all the men ganged up against a female contestant, telling her that nobody liked her, and it got her so upset that she got eliminated almost right away, in spite of probably being a decent cook.

On the episode I was just watching, the male contestants were trying to decide "who to bully next." They picked a woman and all decided to target her. One of the guys bragged "this is what I do," and that he couldn't wait to make this woman cry.  The brilliant insults they came up with to target the woman included telling her she had a rat face and calling her Splinter.  (I'm not sure why Splinter was so bad... isn't he like some wise master of ninja?)

The whole thing made me so furious, I could hardly concentrate on the rest of the episode.  I felt so awful that they were targeting this woman to bully, and even though it was within the confines of a stupid competition, that sort of thing does happen all the time in real life.  And of course, then I started getting pissed off about the fact that a man can be a horrible misogynist and bully and still get elected President with lots of women on his side.

There were certainly kids who were mean to me when I was growing up, probably to the point of bullying.  And I never knew how to deal with it... fortunately, it was always self-limited.  But I realized that even as an adult, I don't entirely know how to deal with it.  If someone tried to start bullying me, I think I'd be in trouble.

When my daughter was facing mild bullying at one point in school, we counseled her that they only keep doing it if it bothers you. So the right response is just to say, "Whatever!"  And ignore them. We even practiced saying "whatever."  But easier said than done.

Anyway, in watching Hell's Kitchen, I was really proud of the woman they were attempting to bully.  When they called her "rat face," she actually just laughed and said, "I have a rat face?  Whatever."  (She actually had quite a pretty face.)  And while she did get slightly worked up (it is reality TV), she basically called them on what they were trying to do and walked away with the more intelligent last word.


  1. I've encountered bullies as an adult, and I think sometimes I handle it well, and other times less so. Being self confident helps a lot, I think.

    There was this one time in med school where some girls I studied with made an agreement to gang up on the roommate of one of them because of some "annoying" behaviors which they wanted her to stop doing. These behaviors included studying a lot, talking about studying a lot, watching her weight, exercising, and wanting to go into derm. Basically the same behaviors that practically every female med student engages in. I was really disappointed in them, but not surprised. Some people just suck, I guess.

  2. Why would anyone give a TV show like that the time of day? One of the very few times in my life I reacted physically to a bully ended his bullying.

  3. It's not reality. It's a game show. The closest it comes to reality is that chefs to yell and scream the way Ramsay does to their staff, but they do it in the kitchen away from the customers.

  4. Ramsay is not alone -- kitchens are mean, hot-tempered places. Add fire and knives . . .

    As for bullying, encountered it at a private school, and I know I have scars, both physical and emotional, that will not heal from it. Bravo for teaching your daughter to stand up to the jerks. (And while I KNOW a bully comes from bullying, I can only react to the bully in front of me.)

  5. The last time someone tried bullying me I slipped out of lady-like mode and called him a needle dick. It worked.

  6. I can't watch those kinds of shows. It's simply not good for me.

  7. I grew up in a desert valley in East Saudi Arabia. Tents, camels, stone age kind of life. My tribe was weak and had no strength/influence and I got bullied just for that. bullies were older kids carrying swords, knifes, and leather whips in an area with no police or law protection. The worst part of my life was the 3 km trip to our four-room school. Anyhow, I moved after graduating high school and now I'm a practicing physician in another country. However, I think bullying and years of isolation has helped me develop an interest in studying/reading and was actually a big part of who I am today. Although I wish it was a "rat face" kind of bullying, that would've been cool, I guess.

    P.S. Saudi Arabia is a very civilized country now and that tribal life, although exists, is fading out and becoming limited to certain places.