Nelson Muntz. Nellie Oleson. The blond dude from Karate Kid. Is this a list of bullies...or a list of mega hot babes?
In a new study (suggestively titled “Survival of the Fittest and the Sexiest”), Jennifer S. Wong, a professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, and co-researcher Jun-Bin Koh suggest that high school bullies experience high levels of self-esteem and social status. And not only are they inwardly happier—they’re also considered more sexually attractive to their peers.
Via the Washington Post:
“The bullies come out on top,” said Jennifer Wong, the study’s lead researcher. Her surveys, conducted on 135 Vancouver high school students, indicate that bullying is biological, as kids who have dominating tendencies and a desire to rise to the top of social hierarchies often victimize others in order to get there.
Wong came to these conclusions by administering questionnaires that allowed participants to be categorized into one of four groups: bullies, victims, bully/victims (individuals who bully but also report being victimized themselves) and bystanders. Within these categories, the bullies reported the best self-evaluations and the bully/victims the worst.
“Humans tend to try to establish a rank hierarchy,” Wong tells the National Post. “When you’re in high school, it’s a very limited arena in which you can establish your rank, and climbing the social ladder to be on top is one of the main ways… Bullying is a tool you can use to get there.”
Not everyone is pleased with Wong’s findings: “We don’t want parents who have a child who is considered a bully to think, ‘Well, it’s something they’re born with and there’s nothing we can do to adjust their behavior,’” says Rob Frenette, co-founder of Bullying Canada.
“I’m absolutely not suggesting that we accept bullying as a natural thing,” Wong clarifies. “We need to change the general school ethos so that bullies don’t gain any social status points from hurting others.”
Can’t stop them from being sexy, though.
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Image via Fox/The Simpsons.