Bullying: Always Out of Fashion

In an image-conscious culture filled with social media pundits, fashion critics, and intimidating crowds, it’s easy to think that the rallying cries of the past few years against bullying do not apply to us as image workers.  After all, some of the most memorable characters in films and television over the past few years have been ruthless, coldhearted, and show stealers!  Think of Meryl Streep playing an influential and ruthless fashion editor in The Devil Wears Prada (20th Century Fox, 2006) or Pete Campbell, the advertising sales executive in Mad Men (AMC Networks, 2007 – ).

These characters share more in common than their spoken words indicate, however.  The common trait is insecurity, and long-term feelings of insecurity unfortunately create feelings of inadequacy, which causes people to overcompensate with inflated egos and often ruthless behavior.

Words can hurt, and they influence us from the boardroom on down. “He is not a match for our brand” may be an accurate and acceptable statement heard in your professional circles, but comments like “She’s a whale”, “He’s got gross chicken legs”, or “Her modern dress line is ass-backwards” are rude. Repeated, constant comments like this to a person or about a person may constitute as bullying.


The 2014 WBI U.S Workplace Bullying Survey (workplacebulling.org) states that bullying can include:

  • Threatening, humiliating, or intimidating behavior
  • Verbal abuse
  • Work interference (sabotage), which prevents work from getting done

Since 2010, the month of May has been dubbed Civility Awareness Month.  Businesses like JP Morgan Chase, _city of brooklyn__, city governments, and our own industry association AICI (www.aici.org) have recognized Civility Awareness month, and have made commitments to recognize the importance of non-bullying behavior.

There is a difference between rude behavior and being bullied, however.  Being bullied means that you’ve been specifically singled out. Chrissy Scivicque  states that definitions for bullying include words like “systematic, hostile, threatening, abusive, humiliating, intimidating, and sabotage. In short, bullies are intentionally trying to harm you and your ability to do your work.”  When it comes to your personal image, personal safety, and sense of well-being, nothing should stand in your way of ensuring

Last month, we discussed the latest shows and ..

Removing yourself from any kind of bullying behavior is not only the kind thing to do – it’s the courteous thing to do, and should mirror the type of etiquette that image consultants everywhere should emulate.

If you think you’ve been a victim of bullying, take a further look at this article 5 steps for handling a workplace bully – us news http://bit.ly/1hK0Tmy.  And whether you’ve been bullied or have been the bully, take a step back and remember the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.


Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP & the team of NYC Image Consultant Academy

For more info www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com