Is Banter Bullying?
We all like a good lol. But does everyday banter ever become bullying? Is there a line and does it get crossed? NCS grads, Charlotte and Jazmyn, take on the debate:
Jazmyn: Banter is not bullying
‘Banter’ is a modern term that has grown popular over the last few years, usually in reference to the act of mocking or disparaging a friend, sometimes an acquaintance. One might argue that what may be harmless to one may be hurtful to another.
However, I’m of the opinion that as a generation we are becoming too sensitive. We shut down anyone with differing opinions to us; we are labelled as bigots if we have a tougher political stance; we are frowned upon for making controversial jokes, or black comedy. And now we can't even tease people?
The truth is, while at a glance jocular insults at another's expense may seem mean, they actually do something really special. They stop us from taking ourselves too seriously and allow us to turn something negative into a source of comedy. They make people laugh, and there can never be enough laughter in the world.
Camaraderie is an important part of youth, and ‘banter’ is an even playing field – you are not being targeted in quite the same way. Bullying is repetitively attacking someone with malicious intent, while banter teaches us how to deal with our differences and not to be vain.
If you're sensitive about something, finding humour in whatever worries you, can help you become resilient, even immune. It can build backbone and wit, equipping us with the ability to shrug things off. So when somebody genuinely insults you, it won’t faze you. Your weak spots are not weak if you accept them, share them with others and make light of them together.
Charlotte: Banter is bullying
Everyone’s used a good bit of banter at some point in their life, whether joking around with friends and family, or using humour in a sentence to make the person you’re talking to laugh. Even memes include banter. However, is it really that positive? Is banter something we should be careful of? Here are my thoughts.
As I’ve gotten older and reached my late teens, I’ve heard banter being used in a variety of ways, even more so as the people and friends around me have grown up into teenagers, college students and uni students too. Banter seems to be used a lot more often than not these days, but I don’t think that this is worth celebrating. In fact, in my opinion, banter is a form of bullying. I hear you asking why? Why should a joke be counted as bullying? Well, let me tell you.
I’ve been a college student for over a year now, so I’ve definitely heard my fair share of banter being thrown around and people insulting others and saying it’s “just banter”. Here’s the issue; not only am I hearing this in college, but outside of it too, around my local area and even in surrounding towns. People will use banter as an excuse to hurt someone else’s feelings. Whilst some may say that the receiving person is a little too sensitive, or that they need to lighten up and stop being melancholy, I disagree.
In our society, there’s too much negativity. Instead of poking fun at others and insulting them using banter, we should be spreading light and laughter! We should use positive comments and respect those we meet. You won’t ever know how people really feel about themselves, and although you might just label what you’re saying as banter, a laugh, or a joke, you may be targeting someone’s deepest insecurities, and hurting them with a ‘harmless’ joke.
Banter is supposed to be fun and make you laugh, but it can also just be a way to make people numb to negativity and that’s not how playful jokes with friends should shape you as a person. Words that cause pain can be something you never forget, and this is why I feel that banter is bullying.
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It might sound harsh, but some people just aren't good for your mental health. It's time to look after yourself and lose the 'toxic people' in your life.