Yesterday I saw the front of one of these 'celebrity' gossip magazine things where people you've barely heard of discuss the minutae of your lives to the general fascination of whoever the hell reads these things.
Anyway on the front it said something like "Sam and Amanda from Big Brother: We were bullied at school for being too thin".
Now, I know nothing about this and may be being unfair somewhat in their case but it did get me thinking that "bullying" has become this all-encompassing term which pretty much covers everything from light mickey-taking to the kind of relentess persecution that drives kids to suicide. I don't know what Sam and Amanda from Big Brother went through in school but, from the little I've seen of them, they seem relatively cheerful inviduals who aren't haunted by the cruelty of their peers so I'm guessing the bullying was the lighter end of the scale.
But is one of the problems with the failure of schools to deal with 'bullying' that pretty much everything can be called bullying so it's never really clear when the bullying is a serious problem.
I mean I could justifitably say I got 'bullied' a bit in school but in a way to say to someone who was subjected to serious bullying that "I was bullied too" is a bit like me saying to someone whose lived through a famine that I understand what they went through 'cos I once skipped lunch.
So should there be a different word for serious bullying? Or should people who've been subjected to a bit of piss-taking in school call it that rather than bullying? Or am I imagining a problem where one doesn't exist?