There are quite a few books and web pages about bullying, including at least one government site. In fact, "bullying" in Google returns 81 million hits. The subject is not much on my mind but the other day, a neighbor mentioned that a third grade girl was reluctant to go to school because of the way she was treated by classmates. Her story got me to thinking.
Some of the research reports by the American Psychological Association mention the Columbine high school shooting as an event that sparked increased interest in research on bullying. I have seen reports that the country of Norway is working on the problem, too. You may have seen that girls seem to have their own way of being mean so I don't think it covers the whole topic to just consider boys and males. Also, if you look at what is available in web sites, books and YouTube videos, you will see that the subject of workplace bullying among adults gets attention.
When I was a kid, I got into a couple of fights in junior high school. I was a totally inexperienced boxer and I had no training in wrestling or any martial art. I was too stubborn to back down or put up with being picked on. Now, in general, all physical fighting is frowned on in schools and both people in a two-person fight might be punished. Even as an assistant professor, I had a couple of physical encounters with another faculty member who seemed interested in pushing me around.
Part of the reason that fights are probably more suppressed these days might be the possible introduction of weapons including firearms. There was recently a fatality in a nearby community when two groups of young boys had a stand-off and a boy was stabbed in the back and later died. Another reason for more concentration on bullying is some suicides by youngsters who were bullied or cyberbullied by means of the internet and social media. A third motivating factor for concentrating on bullying is the sort of pent-up frustration and rage that can build up in a person who is bullied, to the point that a general shooting like Columbine takes place.
It seems to me that parents, students and citizens in general could do with some better concepts than using a single frightening title for all kinds of aggression, social rejection, individual intimidation and expressions of hostility. I think the basic psychology for boys is a little different from what often happens with girls. At a very primitive and basic level, for either sex, anyone who looks different, speaks differently or seems to advocate or just represent codes, fashions, creeds, religions or customs that differ from what a person is used to may well represent a danger. At a minimum, that danger might be lures onto a path of sin or evil or degradation. At a higher level of threat, that person might represent a deadly danger or a threat to bodily safety. But beyond this "watch out for strangers" reaction, the general competition among many males is basically an attempt to stand out from the others. So, if I can frighten or intimidate the other males, I may catch the eye of that little red-headed girl I have been hoping to impress.
Testosterone and high levels of arousal can be tricky. There is always the possibility that the girl is turned off by signs of male aggression and goes off with the guy who got knocked down. He is the one who needs sympathy and care.