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Hot Topics
Relationship. Friendship. Men and women.
Adult bullying on the rise
Adult bullying is on the rise - and it's other women we need to watch, says Laura Bond
George and Jerry, in one famous Seinfeld episode, recall their tyrannical gym teacher who used to give boys 'wedgies' and encourage them to beat
each other up. 'Girls don't do anything like that,
do they?' Jerry asks Elaine. 'Oh no,' Elaine replies.
'We just tease each other until one of us develops
an eating disorder.'
The sadistic, passive-aggressive female bully is celebrated in popular culture. We revelled in Meryl Streep's ruthlessness in The Devil Wears Prada (pictured), and shows such as The Apprentice and Big Brother rely on pitting feisty females against one another to guarantee ratings success. But we are less happy to admit to the existence of female bullying in our own lives. We might be unwilling to blow the whistle on the female boss who subtly but relentlessly undermines our work, and we may ignore the daily snide remarks doled out by a colleague, for fear of becoming her next target.
But our dirty secret is very much a reality. A recent UK study of more than 5,000 workers revealed that at least 45 per cent of bullies are women. And who are their victims? According to research, women attack other women 71 per cent of the time. 'I think women now have more opportunities to bully one another,' says Cheryl Dellasega, author of 'Girl Wars: 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying'. 'There are far more arenas for women to be openly competitive, but I don't think that we've learned to do it very well.'
Underhand behaviour
Instead of owning up to our desire to dominate in a meeting, or boasting about sales figures to our colleagues in the same competitive spirit as men, we prefer to release our feelings of envy and jealousy in more underhand ways. So what exactly is female bullying? It's often referred to as relational aggression - the word 'relation' being central to the shadowy nature of the problem. 'There are no closer relationships than between two women,' says Dellasega. 'We nurture, we care and we can read body language better than men - but all of that can be used against someone when we're feeling insecure.' Founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute, Dr Gary Namie, agrees: 'The basis for the initial relationship is also the tool women use to destroy that relationship.'
Campaign of malevolence
Namie became interested in female bullying after seeing his wife suffer at the hands of a 'Machiavellian' colleague. 'This woman feigned fondness for my wife - she courted her, she took her to lunch, but this turned out to be nothing more than intelligence gathering, to use against my wife later on,' he says. The adjectives psychologists often use to describe female bullying are 'covert', 'subtle' and 'manipulative'. It might be spreading a rumour, questioning someone's competence or ignoring a victim's contribution. But, according to Namie, we should not confuse bullying with a random act of malevolence. 'It's really a full-blown, laser-focused campaign of systematic, interpersonal destruction.'
Our studies reveal that targets are often independent, skilled and well-liked,'Evie, a 29-year-old events manager, is given her daily dose of venom with a
smile and a clever rhetorical question. 'My colleague will wait until the boss is in the room
and then say something like, "Do you really think you're experienced enough for this client?".
She constantly undermines me and it's knocking
my confidence.'
But the devil doesn't just wear Prada - she can lord over the school committee, turn your neighbourhood into Wisteria Lane or even put you off the gym. Along with clinical depression, anger and debilitating anxiety, a recent study showed that 30 per cent of women experience post-traumatic stress disorder from bullying. 'When someone has been a victim of bullying, they become "hollowed out". They lose everything: their self-respect, their confidence and their appetite,' says organisational psychologist Mary Sherry. She has spent the past 15 years working with businesses to overcome bullying and, in her experience, female managers are more likely to bully staff than male ones.
The victims of adult bullying are often popular and talented. 'Our studies reveal that targets are often independent, skilled and well-liked,' says Namie. Being famous and beautiful certainly doesn't give you immunity. Model Sophie Anderton has talked about being bullied, while actress Sienna Miller has spoken about the 'vitriol' she has experienced from the media and from some friends. 'It's women who are holding us back - there's no sisterhood,' she said in an interview.
Many of us have witnessed bullying, but don't know how to react, though it leaves us deeply uncomfortable. A UK survey on bullying revealed that 11 per cent of bystanders experience trauma vicariously.
'If you witness someone being attacked, it sickens you,' says Namie. 'But then you're further sickened by knowing you did nothing. The way you resolve that dissonance is to say to yourself, "It mustn't have been so bad".' Namie believes workers need to take responsibility when they see poisonous behaviour around them.
New environment
It's not surprising that we've all witnessed a female bully at work - there are few senior positions for women in the workplace, meaning it's likely some of us will resort to drastic measures to secure them. 'For hundreds of years, men have competed with each other in the workplace,' says Dellasega. 'But women haven't experienced being in these environments for very long.' Much of the progress made in feminism comes from confronting uncomfortable realities and gaining relief merely by acknowledging these. Just a few decades ago we looked the other way when it came to domestic violence and, until very recently, schoolyard bullying was seen as a rite of passage. How long will it take for us to stop seeing eye-rolling and exclusion as OK?
1. Do you agree - Instead of owning up to our desire to dominate in a meetting ... we prefer to release our feelings of envy and jealousy in more underhand ways.
- The victims of adult bullying are often popular and talented.
- Being famous and beautiful certainly doesn't give you immunity.
- Much of the progress made in feminism comes from confronting uncomfortable realities and gaining relief merely by acknowledging these.
- 'When someone has been a victim of bullying, they become "hollowed out". They lose everything: their self-respect, their confidence and their appetite,'
- 'It's women who are holding us back - there's no sisterhood'
.
2. True or false.Correct and express your oppinion.
> 'We nurture, we care and we can read body language better than women - but all of that can be used against someone when we're feeling insecure'.
> Studies reveal that bullies are often independent, skilled and well-liked.
> There are far more areas for women to be openly competitive.
> If you witness someone being attacked, it depresses you.
> Workers need to take responsibility when they see poisonous behaviour around them
> We should not confuse bullying with a random act of malevolence.
3. Find the following expressions in the text you've just read:
Расстройство пищеварения; удивляться чему-то; жестокость; незаметно; неуклонно; сварливый, вздорный; допустить, признать что-то; прекратить что-то; ехидное замечание; скупиться на; мишень; состязательный; хвастаться; освобождать; неискренний, неоткровенный; симулировать; искать расположения, обхаживать; скрытый, тайный; полноценный, широкого размаха; ставить под сомнение профессионализм; случайный; не принимать во внимание вклад чел-ка; любимец; выжить, изгнать; опустошенный; сдерживать; очевидец, наблюдатель; делать или испытывать чувство за другого; отравлять, приносить боль; засвидетельствовать; управляющие позиции; крутые меры; обряд смены соц.статуса; изгнание; закатывать глаза.
4. Insert the necessary word in the sentence. Translate the sentences:
1. Ruthless management rely on pitting _____ females against each other to guarantee ______ success.
2. You can be _______ ________ dominating in a meeting or ________ about sales figures.
3. You will be happier if you ________ to the existence of this problem in your life.
4. She ________ her and took her to lunch but it was nothing but ___________ gathering.
5. Psychologies often describe ______ bullying as ________, _________ and manipulative.
6. We _______, we care and we read ______ better than men.
7. No one really wants to ______ up to such _____ a secret.
8. She can _____ over the school __________ or even _____you ___the gym.
9. The studies _______ that _____ are often independent, _____ and ________.
10. It's women who are _____ us ____, there's no _________.
11. If you _________ someone being _______, it ________ you.
12. Much of the progress made in feminism comes from ________ _________ realities and _______ relief merely by _______ these. 13. __________ who have witnessed bullying experience trauma ___________.
14. How long will it _____ us to see ______ and ________ as OK?
5. Translate into English:
1.Если ты будешь продолжать есть так много нездоровой пищи, у тебя может развиться несварение. 2. Его всегда восхищала ее способность поддерживать соревновательный дух в команде. 3. Даже тот факт, что вы знамениты и всеобщая любимица, не гарантирует вам, что вы не станете мишенью нападок. 4. Мы счастливы признать великолепные результаты показанные командой к концу года. 5. Просто постарайся проигнорировать ее ехидные замечания, которые она отпускает под настроением. 6. Дружбу нужно подпитывать. Признавайся в своих чувствах и постарайся честно и вежливо открывать свои чувства зависти или ревности. 7. Студент симулировал интерес, кивая преподавателю, который рассуждал о проблемах экономики. 8. Работая над повышением статуса вашей компании постарайтесь, чтобы ваша программа была обширной и четкой. 9. Он понимал, что ее слабая улыбка не была поддельной - она была опустошенной после 10 часов презентации на семинаре. 10. Она популярна, независима и талантливая деловая женщина. Тем не менее, она может быть склонна к манипулированию и хитрости, когда она чувствует угрозу. 11. Она всегда чувствовала это изнуряющее беспокойство, когда ей было необходимо сдать отчет к установленному сроку. 12. Хотя бы признайся себе, что твоя диета и стиль жизни истощают тебя, и ты, будем надеяться, получишь облегчение. Teachers may freely enrich exercises after and pre-reading to any extand. Do some discussion on Hot Topics issues. Do some translation practice of certain parts of the text as some of the sentences prooved to be rather complicated for the students.
The article was published in an august issue of the Psychologies magazine.
Keys:
Ex 3.: to develop eating disorder; to revel in; ruthlessness; subtly; relentlessly; feisty; to admit to smth; to own up to smth; to blow the whistle on; a snide remark; to dole; a target; competitive; to boast about; to release; underhand; to feign; to court; covert; full-blown; to question sbs competence; random; ignore sb's contribution; well-liked; put off some place; hollowed out; to hold back; bystanders; vicariously; to sicken smb; to witness; senior positions; drastic measures; the rite of passage; eye-rolling; exclusion.
Ex.4 Key: 1.feisty,rating; 2. openly competitive, boasting; 3. admit; 4.courted, intelligence; 5. female, covert, subtle; 6. nurture, body gestures; 7. own uo, dirty; 8. lord, put off; 9. reveal, targets, skilled, well-liked; 10. holding back, sisterhood; 11. witness, attacked, sickens; 12. confronting, uncomfortable, gaining, aknowledging; 13. bystanders, vicariously; 14.take, eye-rolling, exclusion.
Ex.5.
1. If you keep eating so much junk food you might develop eating disorder pretty soon. 2. He has always reveled in her ability to boost competitive spirit in her team. 3. Even being famous and well-skilled doesn't guarantee you immunity from being a bully target. 4. We are happy to admit to wonderful results shown by the team by the end of the year. 5. Just try to ignore her snide remarks doled out when she's under mood. 5. Friendship needs to be nurtured. Own up to your feelings and release your feelings of envy and jealousy openly and politely. 6.A student feigned interest nodding to the teacher expanding on Economics issues. 7. Working on rating success try to make your campaign full-blown and focused. 8. He could see that her subtle smile wasn't feigned - she was really hollowed out after 10 hours of seminar presentation. 9. She's well-liked, independent and skilled business woman. Still she could be manipulative and covert at times when she's feeling insecure. 10. She's always felt this debilitating anxiety having to file the report by a fixed time. 11. You'll hopefully gain relief merely by acknowledging that your diet and life-style are debilitating
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