After running workshops in schools and then hearing John Marsden’s comments, I researched bullying in earnest for my book
“What do you call a boy who doesn’t play sport?”
I asked this question of Australian public and private school students during a series of anti-bullying workshops I ran in 2007. The answer was always the same: “loser” or “hopeless”. The teachers who sat in on the workshops were routinely shocked. After a while, I wasn’t. Though sport was considered optional for Australian girls, boys who opted out were considered suspect. The next 15 minutes of the workshop were planned around that response. If I didn’t get it, I’d be stuck for what to do. That never happened.