Bullying: the one thing everybody has had to deal with at one point or another. Something we can choose to let affect us, or, to not really give a damn because really, who cares what others think, right? Although we may choose to project ourselves as not caring about what others think, there also a truth to the realities and damages it can cause us internally, even if you don’t immediately recognize it. After reading Cameron’s article, I took a step back to really look at how girls specifically are conditioned to compete with each other. We are becoming a disembodied “union”, instead of offering encouragement and support. “Girl Power” CAN exist, so why all the hate?
It’s not unusual for girls to “hate” other girls for a multitude of reasons, and in reality most of it is fear-based. Many times it comes down to pure jealousy – of others’ looks, possessions, boyfriends, family, and even their kindness, or high aspirations and goals. The list goes on and on. But what is the point of this? The girls on the other side of this pseudo kind of “hate” take in all of these negative vibes and waste their precious energy worrying about what others think of them, feeling alone, and scared of being a victim again in this cruel cycle of bullying.
Let’s not limit this to only teenage girls. I have first hand experienced a grown adult express her jealousy and resentment in a way to make (this girl) feel like she had to tone down her ambition. The un-becoming words spoken by this woman were masked to seem kind and concerning, but the intentions behind her words and actions were manipulative and demeaning. Her actions influenced the group of girls under her to ostracize and “shut-out” a supposed valued member of her team. The reality is that her lack of addressing these issues caused unnecessary hurt and anger for everyone involved.
Why do girls expend valuable energy to bring someone else down, while we can be better role models – supporting each other to be/do something bigger and establishing a sisterhood of support and influence? While I love the internet and am on pretty much every major social media site 24/7, the truth behind cyber bullying is very real. Every single day I see at least one mean thing said over the internet. People’s hate comes out on these sites such as ask.fm, twitter and Facebook because there is a screen that they can hide behind and easily project their frustrations of jealousy. Cameron’s article below addresses the devastating effects of cyber bullying on social media sites and how we are failing to fix this issue.
October is National Bullying Prevention month. I welcome you to join me in stepping up and supporting other girls. For more information, go to www.kindcampaign.com. Also, if you want to share your story on bullying, please feel free to submit to email@example.com. <3 Gabrielle
By Cameron de Matteis
“Kill yourself you worthless pile of trash.” This quote was pulled directly off of a popular Twitter feed. As social media has become a huge factor in modern society, bullying has taken a turn for the worst. In today’s culture social media allows one to hide behind a screen and harass others 24/7. With just one click of a button kids are destroying another person’s life and they don’t directly see the consequences before it’s too late.
From Facebook to Twitter the internet offers bullies an abundance of diverse platforms to take their bullying to another level. The infamous Ask.fm allows people to post anonymous messages on another person’s wall. In 2013 alone, the site was directly linked to six suicides. Society has all but turned its head the other way and refuses to appropriately address the issue of cyberbullying. What we fail to realize time and time again is that until we take severe measures to correct the behavior the same consequences will continue to occur. And unfortunately the consequences of cyberbullying are beyond horrendous. Adolescents continue to take their own life because of the continuous harassment they suffer. In addition to the lost lives attributed to cyberbullying, there are countless young adults who live lives of depression, fear, and hopelessness due to neverending negative posts and messages. For these kids it can seem like there is no escape and they feel forced to take drastic measures to make it all stop. It only takes one post, one tweet to bring down someone’s world and make them second guess themselves. We have all been there. We all know what it’s like to be hurt by what someone else says, so why aren’t we changing our behavior to be empathetic to other users?
The change will come when people make the decision to use social media responsibly. It comes when we decide to utilize social media to have a positive impact. Imagine a world where people used an Ask.fm board to say one thing they found admirable about the other person but couldnt find the courage to muster up or used Facebok to support others’ accomplishments that deserve notice. When we change how we use social media as individuals we can encourage those around us to do the same. The change starts with us!