Your Words Have Power Use Them Wisely And Stop Bullying
“Of course I’ve had an ugly period. When I was around 10 or 11, my mother gave me this really ugly haircut and I was really, really chubby. So chubby that my family used to all lay me down flat so they could zip up my jeans. It took four of them and I would lie there on the bed while they all got to it.”
However, when today I look back I realize every moment is not perfect. But it’s definitely more good times than bad. You can’t even compare. And when I’m on stage it feels incredible.
Gaga remembers that time not-so-fondly, as the era she was “teased for being ugly, having a big nose, being annoying.” Her classmates also made fun of the way she dressed and wore makeup, because they totally knew better when it came to fashion. Yeah, right.
“In high school I wasn’t a hippie or a stoner, so I ended up being the weirdo. I was interested in classical ballet and music, so the kids were quite mean if you were different,” the First Lady of Pop told Vanity Fair. “I was one of those people that people were mean to.”
So, as they say in the entertainment industry, she ‘used it’. “I decided to emphasize my differences…If your joy is derived from what society thinks of you, you’re always going to be disappointed.” These days, she’s rarely disappointed—not because she doesn’t care what society thinks of her, but because she’s freaking Madonna.
As an aspiring teen pop star, she was the object of ridicule among her Staten Island classmates. A few tormenters would slash her tires to prevent her from getting to gigs on time and mess with her microphone to embarrass her on the stage. “There was a lot of resentment and I think there was a bit of jealousy involved,” Aguilera revealed during her ‘Behind the Music’. “There were threats that were made on me and my mom. They would thrash my tires if I would win a certain competition… I just remember (thinking), ‘I gotta get out of here, I gotta go make my dream out there.”
Most of us have experienced bullying in one form or another, and if we haven’t, we know friends and family members who have. Dealing with the pain suffered by a family member in this situation can be just as difficult as facing the torment ourselves—but while we may not react to insults or threats against our own persons, we are usually all too willing to defend those closest to us.
Parents are especially likely to take action against those who bully their children—be they toddlers or young adults—whether by contacting a school principal, confronting a bully’s parents, or encouraging the victims themselves to fight back. Such actions, however, often have the opposite of the desired effect. Familial involvement in bullying incidents may comfort the victimized individual, but it may also inspire an escalation of the harassment, or even cause direct harm to those involved.
Parents and siblings of bullied individuals should be aware that any public intervention on their part could result in additional problems for the victim as well as for the bully. Not only could the bully choose to intensify his or her behavior, it is possible that the situation was not serious enough to warrant involvement in the first place. We tend to view any apparent attack on our family members as a virtual declaration of war, but it is important to consider the opposing point of view before acting on our emotions. A simple misunderstanding or momentary conflict is a very different thing from the repetitive and damaging act of bullying. Furthermore, being mistakenly labeled a bully may have many of the same negative psychological effects apparent in the targets of this hateful behavior.
That being said, it is also important to act accordingly when this type of situation does warrant intervention. A cry for help should never be ignored, but the key is to respond rationally, not emotionally. Encourage the bullied friend or family member to stay positive, but don’t suggest retaliation, and don’t retaliate directly yourself. In May 2011, Baltimore resident Kelly White encouraged her son to fight back against his tormentors and was subsequently charged with no less than five misdemeanors. Not only did she escalate an already volatile situation, she got herself into serious legal trouble. Instead of acting on White’s example, family members of bullied individuals should take rational precautions to protect the victimized party from serious physical or psychological harm, and speak with the appropriate authorities. Parents, school officials, and members of the community must work together to prevent and eliminate bullying, and to counteract any escalation of violent behavior.
Prevention is an essential part of the fight against bullying, and we should all maintain an awareness of how we treat each other as well as of how we react to the treatment of those around us. Don’t turn a blind eye to bullying, and don’t give in to the temptation to engage in the activity yourself. If you are being bullied, you are not alone! Ask for help, and someone, somewhere will be there for you.
For additional resources concerning bullying, visit hellohermainthemovie.com.
There are numerous locations at a school where kids are more susceptible to bullying. School playgrounds and bus stops are locations where bullying happens quite often, even though there is usually some type of supervision on site. This past year, a 13-year-old girl in Florida was wrapped in saran wrap by to older boys while she was waiting at the bus stop. The incident made local and national news. To go even further, every 7 minutes, a child is bullied on the playground. Where are the teachers or security guards that are supposed to be supervising these children when these incidents occur? Well, 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time.
Cyber-bullying is present at all times. With society growing more technologically savvy, younger kids are having access to cell phones, personal computers, and tablets at their fingertips. 1 in 4 children are more than occasionally cyber-bullied. This year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied at school, on the bus, at home, through cell phones, and on the streets of their towns making it the most common form of violence young people face in this country.
There are other places in schools with less supervision where bullying occurs. 43% of middle school children avoid the bathroom and locker rooms at all costs due to certainty of being bullied. That means that they were either already bullied in the past and are using their own experiences to avoid future torment, or they have heard stories of family members or friends having been bullied in those specific places, where school cameras are not permitted. Yes, it is illegal as in changing rooms, locker room’s or bathrooms it is a space of privacy and if schools place hidden cameras in any of these places, it would legally be considered invasion of privacy.
Did you know that public figures are advocating overturning these laws that protect invasion of privacy as an effort to stop bullying in schools. This is becoming an even bigger argument than bullying itself, because now parents are against surveillance in these private areas, but they are insisting that the government make schools safer. It looks like the administrators of the school districts, as well as state and federal governments have their work cut out for them. There has to be another alternative that will provide a better solution to the problem.
In the feature film, Hello Herman, the protagonist is bombarded by bullying on a daily basis verbally, physically, and through cyber space. Be sure to check out the trailer for Hello Herman at www.allinfilms.com and/or www.hellohermanthemovie.com.
“It Gets Better” is a popular phrase coined by a campaign intended to help the LBGT community in light of the recent teen suicides. It is important to let our nation’s youth realize that being bullied has no effect on the talent they have, and if they work hard they can accomplish anything in life.
“The bullies that bullied us, they’re at home watching us on TV!”
This quote came from Demi Lovato during Jillian Jensen’s performance on the hit television show “X Factor.” It highlights the fact that kids who are bullied can do great things, but because they don’t always have a voice, they are ignored and disregarded in school which lowers their self-esteem.
Stars like Demi Lovato help to shine light on bullies by sharing their past with fans. This helps kids relate and identify with someone who has been through the same struggles as them. It helps them continue to fight, knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and showing them, popularity in school has nothing to do with popularity or success later in life.
“It’s OK, I know exactly what you’ve gone through, but I made it through, and I know you will to.” Lovato stated on the show.
Celebrities like Lovato and Jensen who have the courage to share their struggles, open dialogue in our nation’s youth. It helps to bring the issues to America’s home and in some cases changes attitudes in aggressive bullies in our schools, and even shape how society views bullies.
Jensen promised herself that if she ever made it onto TV, she would dedicate her performance to others who’ve been bullied. “Knowing that I, literally, survived my experience … that’s what gave me strength,” she said. “I knew I could survive and be a voice for all those kids.”
Jensen said in reference to Lovato, “Knowing that the person I look up to the most with my experience genuinely looks at me and understands.”
Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwgr2PTZlIM
Kids should have a role model to look up to, this will raise their self-esteem and help them to realize they shouldn’t let a few negative people prevent them from accomplishing all they have to offer in life. It’s everyone’s duty to understand, and take the time to listen and give a voice to our nation’s youth.
Don’t let the past dictate your future is an idea we should teach our children, especially in this age of cyber bullying, where cell phones can capture images that can haunt a child for years. The film Hello Herman explores the effects when a kid feels like he can’t escape his past and feels that he has only one option to solve his problems. Check out the trailer at www.hellohermanthefilm.com and learn more about the film at www.allinallfilms.com.
Let’s take a look at the first amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” A very well and good law. It’s one of the backbones of the American way of life. Unfortunately, with such a grand, all-encompassing law, there will certainly be those who would try to manipulate it. According to David Fowler, a former Republican Senator and current Christian advocate, it’s grounds to allow school bullies to continue their abuses un-inhibited by morality or ethical values under the sketchy cloaking of “Religious Freedom,” allowing bullies to continue bullying LGBQQT students without consequence.
In the film “Hello Herman,” the movie works to decipher the causes of the largest school shooting in American History. The troubled child at the movie’s center has no one clear motivation for doing what he does. The suspects range from violent video games and music, to family tragedy, to finally and possibly the most importantly: Bullying. Bullying, regardless of cause or subject, is harmful emotionally and often physically to the victim of it. In “Hello Herman,” we see the actions of a young man who is pushed past the breaking point after being dehumanized and degraded by the very types of people David Fowler considers it important to protect.
All one has to do is look at the tragic and outrageous events that recently shook the U.S with the death of Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens. The attacks, which lead to four deaths in the Libyan US embassy, are being blamed on riots and unrest throughout the Middle East caused by an inflammatory video portraying the prophet Mohammed. The first amendment protects the freedom of all religions, but in no ways would it ever justify the murder of US citizens by Muslims exercising what they view as their religious duty. Perhaps Mr. Fowler forgot to check up on the very real statistics of deaths caused by bullying right here in America. According to bullyingstatistics.org, “gay and lesbian teens are two to three times more likely to commit teen suicide than other youths. About 30 percent of all completed suicides have been related to sexual identity crisis.” By protecting the abusers of these teens, Fowler is allowing a ticking time bomb to continue before we see more American teenagers physically and emotionally harmed.
The conflicts being dealt with by the Herman of the film are even more commonplace than those dealing with sexual identity and gender. Herman is tormented merely over things that all teenager deal with going through high school; who you eat lunch with, who you like, what you do with your spare time. There is no formula for creating the volatile anger that Herman feels, but 2/3 of the time or more, you can bet your money that bullying is in the mix.
What Mr. Fowler is proposing justifying is simply a form of murder that is slow and silent. It invades our schools and takes our youth from us by means of physical, mental, verbal and cyber abuse which in many instances leads to suicide, or worse. It won’t provide the media with the meaty titles to print on their front pages, except the few times we are faced with a real tragedy like a school shooting. Bullying was a factor in 2/3 of the 37 school shootings reviewed by the US Secret Service. The tragic events at the heart of “Hello Herman” are provoked mainly by un-mitigated bullying. How many more tragedies will it take before realizing that protecting a bullies “religious freedom” is just as good as protecting the causes of terrorism within the United States? The answer is to attack bullying at its source: change the culture of discrimination and hate that passes as religious freedom and advocate equal treatment for all students regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, color or gender.
Check out our new EPK for Hello Herman, featuring new footage and interviews with The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus, here:
Hello, Herman tackles the effects bullying has had on society. As a problem that typically goes unnoticed until tragedy strikes, raising awareness about the effects of bullying has become an urgent social topic. Hello, Herman is a poignant examination of the making of a teenage school shooter. Its provocative and powerful subject matter speaks to teens, parents, educators, and anyone who has endured the universal experience of needing to be heard.
The movie explores why and how a massacre like this can happen in our society, the desensitizing of America, youth violence and bullying, the impact the media has on our individual quest for fame and recognition, and ultimately our need for connection. We hope this movie’s open and honest look into our collective conscience will leave a lasting impact on any audience.
“Hello Herman” is featured on the blog “What Would Toto Watch?” Michelle talks about the effects the film has had on herself and her actors. Check it out!
Director Michelle Danner stops by “The Harvey and Bob Show” to talk about “Hello Herman”, the social-political themes in the film and the process of film making. Check it out!