I watched the film You Again (2010) recently and surprisingly it actually had an intriguing premise - a woman’s brother is marrying her high school bully. When she was in high school, her brother knew she was getting bullied, and wanted to know by who. However, the sister didn’t want to tell him and he never found out on his own. So, he proposed to her high school bully without knowing how abusive she was in her past. The film delves into these deep questions. Can you truly change yourself? Are you the same person you used to be? What makes you worthy of forgiveness? It also delves into the very real theme of bullying. It could have trivialized the situation and put all the blame on the victim. The film could have sided with the then bully by saying that the victim should just toughen up and deal with it. The victim grows up into a successful business woman, so what’s she complaining about? High school’s over, right? Wrong. The film actually delves into the fact that the victim is owed and an apology and that it’s up to the victim to forgive. Though they do paint the the bully, now nurse and philanthropist, as a “good person,” who lost her parents blah blah blah, they do not shy away from her hurtful acts in the past. The bully does have to face some consequences, even though there is a happy ending.
The film brings up the good point that unless confronted later in life, school bullies can go through their whole lives and not apologize for any damage they caused to another human being. While victims have to live with those hateful comments and bruises for life. Bullies can go guilt free if they choose and just “put that all behind them.” And usually if they are guilt ridden, they try to become a “good person” without actually apologizing and owning up to their actions. In addition, bullies never see the consequences of their actions. They never see the torment they put others through. And maybe that wasn’t their intention, or they had problems too, but that doesn’t matter. Actions matter and actions hurt.
Even if they become better people, they still need to apologize. They can't just bush the past under the rug. Some people say it’s just high school, get over it. But it’s more than that. It shapes your self esteem for the rest of your life. It’s four years or more, depending if you were bullied at home, in elementary and middle school, or even college and work. The bullies took years of your life you can never get back. Bullies need to be held accountable for their actions past school because those bullies are going to go places. They’re not going to change. They’re going to act entitled at work, belittle people, and push others aside to get ahead. Some say, if you can’t beat em’ join em,’ but is that really the answer? To create a whole world of bullies?
Bullies can’t redeem themselves by being good people and losers don't have to forgive. In my honest opinion, bullies don’t deserve forgiveness. Lastly, know that you, the victim, has the power now. Only we can absolve them.
23 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.