In a world where clicks and comments define online interactions, Amy Schumer and Nicole Kidman's recent incident highlights the blurred lines between humour and harm. (Image: DC)
Comedian Amy Schumer, 42, has recently been under fire for posting a since-deleted photo of Nicole Kidman at the US Open to her Instagram. The Australian actor, 56, was photographed in a pink outfit, staring wide-eyed at the tennis court and putting her hand beneath her chin. She finished the appearance with a fitted white jacket and a side ponytail of her strawberry blonde hair. Schumer shared the snapshot of Kidman on Instagram, allegedly mocking the actor’s appearance with the caption: "This is how humans sit."
Kidman is said to be disinterested and has not been paying attention to the uproar, according to reports.
Bullying is not a new phenomenon. It has existed in various forms throughout human history. From the schoolyards to social media, the landscape of bullying has evolved, leaving no one untouched.
What motivates people to engage in such behaviour? Bullying is typically the outcome of impulse control issues, according to Dr. Vasuprada, a psychologist. "It’s that feeling of insecurity or the want for attention that drives you to criticise or fault someone. It’s done to seek attention, and it’s difficult to recognise that it’s not the appropriate approach to get attention. One who is in need of attention can also become aggressive," explains Dr. Vasuprada.
It’s a tool to call names, form groups, and spread negativity.
"It is a pattern of behaviour associated with a power imbalance that frequently targets the younger, less powerful individuals," says Kanakadurga K, vice president of Student Wellbeing at Srichaitanya Educational Institute adding, "When bullies seek to boost their self-esteem by threatening and manipulating others, empathy frequently takes a back seat."
Bullying is a widespread problem that affects people of all ages, from school-age children to teenagers, youth, businesses, and even families. It is frequently seen via a psychological viewpoint.
THE Changing Dynamics
The evolution of bullying from the playground to cyberbullying reflects the shifting dynamics of our linked world. Bullies have a platform to attack without consequences on social media, and it is not confined to any age group.
The need to belittle someone else continues to perplex even seemingly comfortable and successful people. Bullies, whether celebrities or everyday people, continue to use bullying as a means to an aim.
"Bullying is a widespread problem that affects people of all ages, from school-age children to teenagers, youth, businesses, and even families. It is frequently seen via a psychological viewpoint," says Professor G. Padmaja, head of the Centre for Health Psychology at the School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad.
Understanding bullying is crucial to combating it, says Dr. Vasuprada. "It’s about understanding the power dynamics, the need for control, and the often-painful past that leads people to commit crimes. Bullying can be a reaction to personal weaknesses, training from previous life experiences, or a desire for self-esteem," adds Dr Vasuprada.
Bullying has far-reaching ramifications, leaving emotional and psychological scars. Anxiety, sadness, destroyed self-esteem, and a sense of isolation are all common symptoms for victims. They suffer in silence for fear of being confronted and further victimised.
The Attention a Celebrity Doesn’t Want
Celebrities such as Shahid Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan have openly addressed their experiences. Shahid once stated that he hated his stint at a Mumbai school because of bullying. Similarly, Hrithik revealed that he was bullied in school because of his stammering problem, while Sonakshi Sinha was bullied because of her weight. When Priyanka Chopra Jonas was 15 years old, she was subjected to racist bullying at an American high school. Shawn Mendes, Lady Gaga, Emily Blunt, and Blake Lively have all openly expressed their experiences.
Empathy often takes a backseat when bullies aim to bolster their self-esteem by intimidating and controlling others’— Kanakadurga K, VP, Student Wellbeing at Srichaitanya Educational Institute.
Nip it in the bud
Bullying has progressed from the playground to the digital realm. As our networked world evolves, it is critical to face this issue head on. We can work together to build a safer, more sympathetic online and offline world for everyone by understanding the psychology of bullying and recognising the signals," opines - Prof Padmaja.
"Bullying usually targets individuals who appear socially weak, those who are perceived as easy prey for verbal, physical, or cyberbullying." — Dr. Aarti Nagpal Mehta, a psychologist