School Bullying

Bullying is an issue that affects individuals all over the world, whether it be physical, verbal, or emotional. It’s an imbalance of power where the strong leverages their physical strength or popularity to inflict harm on their peers. In recent times, school bullying has been a topic that’s attracted much discussion worldwide. However, despite media scrutiny and growing awareness on the full extent of the issue, bullying culture is something that remains tolerated in today’s society – bystanders are often apathetic and victims commonly choose to stay quiet.

Lean Lui, a 19-year-old photographer from Hong Kong, aims to cast a spotlight on the severity of the issue via her School Bullying photo series. “Being bullied in school is something that can happen to anyone,” she shares. “The subjects in my photos are meant to simply be symbolic. The bullies and victims could be you, maybe me, or anyone else.”


校园霸凌,指的是在校园环境里发生于学生间的侮辱和欺凌,拥有“恃强凌弱”的特性,常会导致语言和肢体上的冲突,如今已成为全球范围内舆论关注的公共话题。但即使霸凌现象逐渐步入了社会和媒体的视野,很多真正面临霸凌的人仍会以沉默相对,旁观、纵容或忍受这样的霸凌行为。

19 岁的女摄影师 Lean Lui 来自香港,她的摄影系列《校园霸凌》(School Bullying),正是想通过镜头展露这个尖锐的问题。“校园欺凌会发生在任何人身上。无论是霸凌者或者是被害者。照片中的女生可能是你、可能是我、也可以是任何人。她们只是一个喻体。”Lean 说。


The Blindfolded

 

Depicting empty classrooms and drab campus hallways, Lui’s photo series carries a sense of melancholy that’s amplified through her use of dark, subdued colors. Amidst the somber scenes, girls in school uniforms and eyes covered by white blindfolds populate the frames. Lui categorizes these blindfolded characters into two categories: passive bystanders and accomplices to the bullying.


蒙上眼睛的人

 

这个系列的相片色调非常阴沉晦涩,空无一人的教室、破旧的学校楼道,而照片里这些穿着制服的女学生,无一例外都用白布蒙上了眼睛。Lean 把她们的角色设定为两种帮凶,第一种是旁观者;第二种是同流合污者。

As such, the blindfolds are symbolic of two different concepts.

“First, it represents self-deception. Some bystanders act like just because they don’t see it, they’re unaware of what’s happening. They might even see themselves as being kindhearted since they’re not directly participating in the bullying. But in reality, their cowardice and selfishness equally perpetuate the bullying culture.”

“Secondly, many bullying accomplices simply want to conform and fit in with peers. They’re not interested in seeing the bigger picture, so they act with a mob mentality and target the outnumbered few. They often realize that they’re an accessory to the bullying, but are equally blinded by their weakness and cowardice, and will side with those in power. Being that eyes are windows to the soul, depicting them with blindfolds is meant to represent that these accomplices are nothing more than soulless creatures who are following the herd.”


所以 Lean 在作品中用纱布蒙上她们的眼睛,也代表着两重含义。

“第一,自欺欺人。有些人(旁观者)装做看不到,就当作自己不知道了,就当作自己还是很善良的,当作自己没有参与欺凌。但事实是,他们的懦弱与自私促成了校园欺凌。”

“第二,很多帮凶只是人云亦云地听从谣言,为了朋辈的认同、合群,完全没有用自己的眼睛去看清事情的真相,就随‘主流’去向‘少数’施暴;而且,很多时候‘他们’知道自己是帮凶,但被懦弱跟虚弱蒙蔽了双眼,还是会走到同党较多的一方,持强凌弱。因为眼睛是灵魂之窗,用纱布蒙上了他们的眼睛,想比喻出施暴者是一堆没有灵魂的羊群。”


“Your Past & Memories Are the Bedrocks of Life”

 

Currently a college sophomore, Lui admits to having been a victim herself in the past. The young photographer has experienced feelings of humiliation from emotional abuse first hand.

Lean shares, “Many people say my work carries a feeling of hopelessness and loneliness. I recognize that a lot of the themes I explore are more emotional in nature, and the way I express these emotions tend to be more abstract or reliant on symbolism. I suppose my preferred approach is in itself shaped by my past. Even though many of my past memories aren’t exactly happy ones, they’ve ultimately been beneficial to me. One phrase that a past teacher said to me especially resonates with me now. ‘Your past and memories are the bedrocks of life.’”


“过去和回忆都是养分”

 

很难想象,镜头背后的 Lean 才是刚刚读大二的女生,她也曾是个“受害者”,也经历过这样晦涩而羞辱的时期。

“很多人说我的作品总是有些苍凉、敏感跟孤独的感觉,我也留意到自己多数的题材都是比较情绪化的;而表达手法方面也会比较抽象,较多暗喻,这些都应该就是我的过去的那段经历塑造出来的吧。” Lean 说。“那段回忆虽然不快,但最后对我的影响暂时看起来也挺好。我很喜欢老师对我说过的一句话:‘过去跟回忆都是养分。’

One thing is clear, the issue of bullying isn’t as cut and dry as it might appear on the surface. It’s not only important for Lui to raise further attention to the issue of bullying, she seeks to understand the motivations behind it. She questions, “Is it just human nature?”

“People want to feel superior; this is probably the primary motivation of bullies. They feel accomplished and superior when they’re exerting control on their victims. Those who are accomplices to the bullying is an example of people being herd animals. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they’re aware that if they’re not participating in the bullying, then it could be them next. So there’s no reason to not join in.”


但显然,这一切暴力霸凌的现象,都并非表面上看到的这么简单。深思校园霸凌的诱因,Lean 有些不安地讲出她的答案:“可以说是‘人性’吗?”

“首先,人追求优越感,这是主欺凌者的心态,欺凌者在向弱势的一方施暴时会感受到一种优越感、成功感。其次,人是群体动物,这是帮凶的心态,对于那堆帮凶来说,害怕自己如果不合群跟著一起去欺负特定对象的话,自己也会被欺负,而且也觉得没理由不做大家都做的事。”

Those who are unfortunate enough to fall prey to bullies are generally individuals who are less conforming. Reasons for bullying could be something as simple as that the victim is less outspoken, more introverted, or even because they’re performing better academically.

Lui hypothesizes, “People like to push away the things they don’t understand, no matter what kind of cultural backgrounds they come from. When they don’t accept something, they’ll find ways to exclude them or hurt them. Bullying seems to occur more often in middle school or high school when the kids are still immature and don’t quite understand the full consequences of their actions.”


而那些不幸成为受害者的无辜对象,往往或多或少都有些与众不同。少言寡语、特立独行,甚至过于出众,都会成为被霸凌的理由。

Lean 认为,“人本质上喜欢排挤跟自己不一样的东西,无论在什么文化背景下,都会有‘主流’与‘少数’的存在。在包容度不足时,看到跟自己不一样的人就会选择去作出排挤或是伤害的行动。而校园欺凌较常发生在小、中学,那时候孩子们的思想通常较为不成熟,也不懂如何去控制自己的行为。”


Rebirth

 

As she grew older, Lui began to see both sides of the story, gaining a better understanding of both the bullies and the bullied. Her past experiences made her want to understand the psychology of humans. This is the ‘bedrock’ that she spoke of, learning from her experiences and wielding that knowledge in her creative works as a testament to her own personal growth. This series is a way for Lui to share her outlook and experiences with the issue, and in doing so, Lui hopes to invoke a sense of empathy in the viewers, and in turn, help them shed their own blindfolds.

“If people even feel the least bit uncomfortable when looking at the series, then I hope they can see how these similar feelings are amplified a thousandfold for the bullied. But bullies are human too – they have feelings and experience sadness. So I hope that the next time they’re about to bully someone, they can pause, consider the motivations behind their actions, and imagine how they themselves would feel if they were the victim.”


“重生”的力量

 

在漫长的成长过程中,Lean 渐渐学会了同那个曾被欺凌的自己和解,然后又一步步走向对社会、对人性更深层的理解。这是她所说的“养分”,亦是她成长和蜕变的见证。Lean 试图通过自己的摄影作品,以期在某种程度上唤起施暴者的同理心,剥下“蒙在他们眼前的纱布”。

“如果他们在看到这辑作品时,心里有感到一丝不安或者压抑的话,希望他们知道,被他们施暴的人,体验到的负面感受是他们看到作品时的千万倍;被他们欺负的人也跟他们一样,是个活生生的人,也是有感受的、也是会感到伤心难过的。希望他们下次再想欺负别人的时候,能考虑一下‘为什么’要这样做?如果今天自己是受害者的话,会有什么感受?”

Another goal of the series is for it to act as a voice for bullied individuals. “You’re not wrong. They’re just uninformed. You’re not alone. This is something that happens to many others all over the world. It is what it is. Even if you’re rejected by your peers because you’re different, you still don’t need to feel like you need to conform. That would be a shame. I think that being different is a good thing. You shouldn’t forgive them, but you also don’t need to harbor hatred, because when you feel angry, then they’ve won. It would be foolish to let them win. You can reexamine the situation from a different perspective and understand there’s value in learning from the experience.

Lui continues, “One of my teachers also told me something that really resonated with me: ‘I’m scared of you being different from others, but I’m even more terrified of you wanting to conform.’ This is the same message that I want to share with everyone.”


另外一个作用,Lean 想给予被害者一个出口跟勇气。“‘你’没有错,只是‘他们’还没长大;‘你’也不孤独,这件事情在世界各地都很常见,不用把这件事看得太重。因为与众不同而被孤立的话,不要想着将自己同化,那样太可惜了。而且,我觉得‘特别’是一件好事情呢。‘你’应该不会原谅他们,但是你也不要去憎恨他们了,因为生气就等于自己服毒却等别人死亡一样,很傻;可以尝试换个思维方式,从经验中获取或者学习一些东西,那样才有价值。”

Lean 传递出来的态度温柔而坚定:“老师曾对我说:‘我害怕你跟别人不同,但我更加害怕你跟别人太相同’。我也想将这句话转送给大家。”

Website: ~/leanlui
Instagram@leanlui

 

Contributor: Chen Yuan


网站: ~/LeanLui
Instagram@leanlui

 

供稿人: Chen Yuan