While watching the Oscars a couple weeks ago I saw a face I hadn't seen for awhile. Octavia Spencer, who played Minnie in The Help, presented an award. Remembrance of the movie brought remembrance of the book and a smile popped to my face. My husband didn't recognize her...he had never seen the movie. I promptly put it at the top of our Netflix list.
I teared up rewatching it as much as I did the first time and when I read the book. My husband teared up as well. But as I watched this time I noticed something more so than last time. The relationship between the white women is an obvious case of high school follow the leader. One or two popular people (Hilly Holbrook in The Help) influencing all others (mainly Elizabeth Leefolt in The Help) around them. A form of bullying barely in the disguise of friendship. And while it seems logical almost to blame the follower, after all she could always not be friends with the bully, there are personality and social differences to consider. Some people naturally conform and others just aren't strong enough to stand up for themselves.
This is nothing new to me and probably not to you. But what I thought seeing this play out in the movie this time around, was that this happens in varying degrees in adult relationships too. I don't live in high society or have rich friends that put pressure to keep up with them and so I never thought of it further before. Very strange that even as adults we (not everyone, of course) feel the need to subtlety bully those around us. Maybe it's a case by case thing...a specific action in one person is not the same as in another. Sometimes you can catch it in the way a person talks to you and the way they act in a situation...you just feel bullied instead of cared for.
Something stranger? I think I bully myself. I put pressure on myself to go the extra mile and do a little more when it comes to situations with people (even those who aren't friends) to prove I care, that I'm responsible, and that I can be trusted. And when I fail at it, I bully myself about it until the next opportunity comes.
Knowing is half the battle right? Any bullies in your life?