Remember when bullying prevention was a big deal in the media? Where has all the coverage gone?
It is doubtful that bullying has simply ceased. October is still National Bullying Prevention Month. But did you see any coverage on it?
This post was originally written in 2012, but I’m updating it today because bullying continues and it can ruin or even end lives.
Before I say anything else, I encourage you to listen to this message from one very wise TV anchorwoman and share it with others – especially your children:
“Take a stand that attacks like this are NOT ok”
~ Jennifer Livingston of WKBT-TV ~
Why This is Bullying
Jennifer Livingston is right – this IS bullying. There are so many reasons what this email writer did is totally unacceptable:
- Judging others – we never know why someone has weight – or any other – issues
- Assuming only “beautiful, thin people” are suitable role models
- There is NO PROOF that people are overweight by choice!
The most beautiful thing to come out of this situation is an outpouring of support – and the potential to make a real difference for anyone who has ever been discriminated against or bullied.
Find out how below.
People Care About Bullying
Many cared enough to weigh in on this issue and there was already a huge amount of talk across blogs and social networks.
I believe that is because many were so affected as youngsters that they still carry the scars today. If you’re thinking “just get over it”, you may have been a bully. Maybe you still are.
Coverage continued to grow as her very inspirational message is republished in blogs which then generate even more tweets and shares across social networks.
If you believe that everyone agrees that overweight people should not be public personalities you would be wrong. 22% spoke out publicly in support of Jennifer versus 17% against.
This is a unique opportunity to use social media monitoring to find out what the public thinks about a topic.
When there is a huge outpouring like this, the odds are better that these numbers are accurate and not being skewed by the actions of a few.
Turn Negative Comments into Positive PR
Here is Murray Newlands’ commentary on what we can learn from how Jennifer Livingston, her husband and her station turned this negative attack into a positive social media campaign tied it into a current event:
Discrimination is Wrong
We have been conditioned by the media to expect perfection to the point that we are uncomfortable around anyone who “looks different” than the ideal we carry in our heads!
That is damaging to our own self-esteem and it leads to judging others unfairly. Our expectations regarding appearance are totally ridiculous and it is about time we recognize that and put them aside.
There are NO perfect people. Those who obsess about their
appearance end up spending so much time on that they
end up lacking in many more important qualities!
Do you know anyone who is not insecure about at least some small imperfection of their appearance?
How many are satisfied with who they are and what they look like? Are you at your ideal weight – and if not – are you beating yourself up continually thinking it is “your fault”.
Very few people are obese because
they eat outrageous quantities of food.
No one chooses to be overweight. Yes, some are losing that battle more than others and some continually work out or diet trying to reach some ideal – but you know what?
The ideal is not real! Those models are AIR BRUSHED!
Do you really think ANY of them actually look like that?
It does not matter whether what bothers you is weight or a scar or acne or a bad hair day or the size of your breasts, thighs, or behind – or what you are wearing!
Stop Projecting Your Insecurities on Others
That goes double for projecting these issues on others.
Is it really worth all the time and money and effort people spend on appearances instead of on what it truly important in life?
Some believe so and will continue to believe so – but I for one encourage you to consider changing your priorities.
Focus on relationships and being the best person you can be –
and let these ridiculous fashions and trends go already!
It is time we quit letting someone else tell us what beauty is and is not. We need to recognize that many are being played for fools in a consumer-driven economy that sells them the most ridiculous, impractical, unhealthy fads in the name of “fashion”.
Fashion Trends are Ridiculous
We who are not slaves to fashion need to wake up and ask ourselves some questions. Why do:
- Women wear heels that tear up their knees and backs?
- Men voluntarily put nooses around their own necks?
- Women wear clothing that make them helpless and unable to perform simple everyday tasks?
- People – first women and now even men – paint their bodies with toxins and put damaging chemicals on their hair that can affect their brains and other body parts?
I was hopeful that by now women would realize they were being turned into sex objects and they would stop falling for it –
But instead, what we have is MEN being portrayed the same way and even dying their hair and wearing the same ridiculous nonsense women wear.
Who Gets Bullied?
I challenge you to observe any group of people starting with groups of children in schools and take a good, long look at who is supposedly “pretty” and who isn’t.
Sometimes people are ostracized because of their weight or their clothing or because they aren’t as naturally beautiful as the current standard dictates.
But many times the children who are being bullied are naturally better looking than the ones who are doing the bullying! This must be jealousy rearing its ugly head!
People need to know they are beautiful
and loved just the way they are.
They need to be reassured that not being one of the “in” group does NOT mean they are hopelessly ugly.
The most classically beautiful person in the world is often bullied for not wearing outrageously priced designer clothes.
How to Stop Bullying
Bullying is rampant and getting worse because it is socially acceptable – but the tide IS turning. Look at the statistics I shared in my Anti-Bullying post.
With one-third of people being on the receiving end and many of them starting to speak out it is time we taught our children better.
First we have to recognize how conditioned and judgemental we are – and stop ourselves. As Jennifer said in the video above “bullying is LEARNED behavior”.
We learned it and we can unlearn it. Children learn more from what we DO than what we SAY.
Next we need to stop tolerating bullying and put an end to encouraging it – and rewarding bullies goes on every day.
Every time you laugh along with them or join in their commentary or agree with or spread their hurtful remarks YOU are ensuring they will continue to bully and most likely get WORSE.
Schools need to make bullying prevention assembly programs a priority – and they need to not just give this lip service. What is taught in the program must become what is expected of the students.
We must immediately speak up any time we see bullying
going on and make it clear it is NOT acceptable.
Lastly, we have to talk to our children about everything! Do YOU know what your children believe? Have you asked them what they’re being taught in school?
If they jump a country mile when you wake them in the morning have you asked them what is going on with them and specifically who is bullying them?
Parents need to do more than they have been doing – MUCH MORE – to protect their children when the schools will not.
There are so many suicides because of bullying being allowed to continue that there is even a name for it: bullycide.
October is National Anti-Bullying Month
While bullying is a problem any time, anything that calls attention to it to create change is a good thing. I encourage everyone to DO SOMETHING during National Anti-Bullying Month. Here are some ideas:
- Tune in to how we talk about other people so we can stop ourselves from continuing to badmouth others. This is conditioned behavior that most of us need to break.
- If you have children in school, contact them and make sure they have a policy against bullying and do bullying prevention assemblies. If you’re in the north-east I can recommend Domino The Great’s bullying prevention programs. If you are elsewhere search online and if you can’t find any tell me in the comments here and I will find providers for you and add them to this post.
- Talk to your children about why we should not judge others.
- Spread the best content about this issue on your favorite social networks to raise awareness
- If you’re a blogger consider writing your own bullying story and sharing resources and encourage others to stop tolerating bad behavior.
National Anti-Bullying Month Resources
These sites provide additional information and resources you can use:
- Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network Bullying Prevention Resources
- DoSomething.org ~ Anti-Bullying Month
- Psychology Today: If Your Anti-Bullying Program Isn’t Working, Here’s Why
- Bullying Statistics
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