Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are like my fiance and never look at anything on the Internet other than NOLA.com and ESPN, you’ve seen the anti-bullying messages going around. Everyone is jumping on board, it’s one of the movements that draws a thick black line in the sand and says “you’re either with us or against us”. Funny enough, a lot of kids end up as bullies with that same mentality, bully or be bullied.
The one message I really believe is going about it the right way is the “it gets better” message, thrown into the spotlight by Dan Savage (who I love). Not only is it a message that is worthwhile, it also points you in direction of a suicide hot-line you can call or donate to: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
Here are some things that I don’t agree with as part of this current movement:
- Passing the Buck: All those messages telling bullies to stop bullying. Most of us (and I include myself in this) have been a bully at one time or another. Whether it was something you enjoyed or was something you felt peer pressured into, you’ve probably done it. Instead of picking on high school students (see any irony here?) how about you try and change your behavior and talk about what you’ll do differently? Be the change you want to see. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen get behind this that I’ve seen treat people cruely as an adult.
- Bullying the Bullies: Exposing bullies on the Internet and then bullying them, when does the bully become the bullied? I have a quick temper and jump onto these bandwagons just like the rest of you, but we really should stop and remember that saying about glass houses. Should bullies be punished? Yes, that would be fair and hopefully put an end to their bullying. How? I have no idea and really don’t think tar and feathering them on the Internet and sending them death threats is the way to go (http://jezebel.com/5666691/when-is-a-witch-hunt-okay).
- Bullying is outside of the gay community: This is more of me reading into things rather than anyone making a statement. I’ve felt that the stories I’ve seen about gay bullying and people taking action against it has really made straight guys into the bad guys. I’m not discounting the part they play in bullying, especially in high school, but they’re not always the worst. I’ve had some close friends be victims of some extremely nasty bullying (eating disorder inducting bullying) and the bullies were members of the gay community, just like my friends. I think that can sometimes be the nastiest kind of bullying, especially in college. I don’t think this was a special case either, I think this can be fairly common.
I’m glad bullying is being talked about, I’m grateful for the “it gets better” movement (I wish it had been around when I was in high school), and I hope the Trever Project reaches many more people in need because of this. I hope as people jump on this bandwagon that they read stories that remind them of their own poor behavior and it causes them to reflect and make a change. It’s a work in progress and I hope we’ll all try to be the change we want to see.