Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Celebs are Bullied Too!

Another week and another Google Alert. I opened one recently that talked about celebrities who were bullied growing up. Also, saw information on the recent book written by Miley Cyrus entitled Miles to Go where bullies locked her in a bathroom for over an hour and she thought nobody would ever come and save her. Jessica Simpson mentioned having eggs thrown at her house and toilet papered. Others like Tom Cruise and Taylor Swift also shared memories of being at the hands of these little criminals in training during childhood. Fame has entered their lives and sadly, I do not believe any bullying has stopped. Its grown worse if you ask me.

The lives of celebrities are under a microscope. The public cannot get enough of them. Fans sometimes do not know when to leave them alone. Society has taught us to worship these people and as a result, we expect them to always be nice, giving and live up to the pedestals we put them on. If they have a bad day, forget to sign an autograph or walk out of the house with a shirt that does not settle with fans or others, they are sure to see it plastered all over the internet and be one of the top searches in a search engine. I live in Los Angeles and I have seen the paparazzi chase these people with cameras and cars. There is no privacy in their lives and that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness goes out the window. The public believes that since they are who they are, they must share every aspect of their lives with the rest of us. In other words, we expect them to live as they do because of who they are.

I have to just say it and that is celebrities live their lives being bullied. They are stalked, harassed, slandered, pressured by their peers and are expected to live perfect lives. One step over the line and they are crucified. They have no rights and cannot even throw out the trash without people going through it. Society feels that not only are they expected to be perfect but when they do fail or something bad happens, everyone cannot wait to get their hands on the magazines, tabloids and other fodder. If you ask me, it’s a wonder they can keep their sanity as living under a microscope can be really hard. Sure, they have money but is it really worth all of this? Humans are not wired to exist like this and no wonder many spiral out of control.

Celebrities are people like the rest of us. It just happens that their work is in the public eye whether it be television or radio. In a lot of ways they are like the rest of us. Some have families to support with children to raise. Others use that money to pay the high taxes they accumulate. Some are not even asked to be celebrities as they are born into this lifestyle. Most importantly, they are not superhuman and are fallible like the rest of us. Celebrity Worship Syndrome is a serious problem and we need to stop bullying them and allow them to live that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness like the rest of us. Put yourselves in their shoes for a minute. How would you feel if you had to leave your home incognito everyday? Getting daily threats in the mail and having to protect your children from kidnapping possibilities? Watch everything you do in public or always running away from paparazzi? You could not even drive to Burger King for a Whopper without someone finding out! Have your friends sell you out for money or you get blackmailed? Something to certainly think about in all of this. Is it really necessary? Can’t we just let them live and let live?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Real Bully is Holly J!

As a teen back in the late 80’s and early 90‘s, I use to watch Degrassi High on the PBS network. Then we entered the 21st century and a network called The-N started airing Degrassi The Next Generation which was the same school and the next generation of kids like Spikes daughter Emma. This show has been alive since 2001 and I have watched episodes like Spike and Snakes wedding and a school shooting. Since then I have seen maybe a handful of episodes. Someone tipped me off to one this weekend that aired on The-N. Oh man, was it one humdinger!

There is a character on there by the name of Holly J Sinclair. I did some research on this character and found out she was not only a female bully but she manipulated her best friend (Anya) into cheating on an assignment for a class and proceeded to turn Anya in for cheating. Not only that, she was appointed head cheerleader and Student Council President by the Principal without auditions or elections. If that does not beat all, she gave a tabloid some bad gossip about a fellow cheerleader named Mia who is a model and has grabbed a bit of fame as a result. Her fellow cheerleaders kicked her off the squad as a result. Finally, she is getting some comeuppance here! This girl has taken Queen Bees to a whole new level. One would think she learned something from this, right? Wrong!

On this episode, it begins with a girl named Ali and a friend walking down the hall at school. We see Holly J watching the cheerleaders practice and see Ali tell her friend that someone seems bitter for not being on the squad any longer. Holly J turns around and says something smart in return. A somewhat bitter exchange takes place between the two girls which leads Holly J to approach a boy that Ali has liked but because he is a senior and she is in the 9th grade, he will not go out with her. He denies knowing Ali when Holly J questions him and we see him tell Ali that they cannot be together. This angers Ali who rants that she “hates Holly J!”. Holly J, showing no remorse, keeps on like nothing happened. Ali decides to take action since nothing can be done to stop Holly J. Ali creates an online group entitled “I Hate Holly J” and over 400 students sign up. It starts with insults but leads further with comments like “I want to strangle her with my bare hands” and someone else says “I will bring the rope.” Needless to say, this leads Snake to talk with Ali and her father at school and we learn Holly J will not leave her room at home as a result of this. Ali is suspended and Holly J’s parents go to the police. Ali gets a warning but now has a record, is suspended from school and is grounded for two months and has a loss of computer privileges. She also goes to Holly J’s home with Anya and apologizes. When she returns to school, she gives a public apology and says her lesson is learned after seeing what it did to Holly J. We learn she is also banned from the website where the group was created.
What occurred here was horrible. Comments such as strangling anyone and bringing rope are good reasons to involve not only the school but the police as well. Ali really crossed a line here and yes, deserved what she got. I would have done the same thing if it were me. What bothers me is that Holly J’s behavior has never been stellar either. Why she even started in on Ali is what puzzles me. Ali was not talking to her but her friend and stating an opinion when the episode started. Holly J then takes it further by confronting that boy and we see her later in the cafeteria talking to more people and Ali gets teased as a result. Some of the things Holly J has done have been horrific yet what did she learn from all of this? She never learned a lesson by being kicked off of her cheerleading squad. She got away with turning her friend in and doing other things.

Who do I believe is the real bully here? The bully is Holly J and not Ali. Ali was angry and learned something from the experience. Plus, she showed and expressed remorse. Anger is a normal reaction and Ali found a way to stand up to this girl. She’s a 14 year old girl who is self centered but was remorseful and will probably not pull anything like this again. She was punished fairly as a result and Holly J has yet to express remorse for any of her actions. As a matter of fact, her sense of entitlement increased by being appointed cheerleading captain and school president. Again, a lot of this is being told to me via word of mouth and research but again, Ali probably came off as a bully but the real bully is Holly J. Manipulations, cheating, taunting, spreading gossip and hurting others is what she does. Plus, her sense of entitlement. This right here is what bullies are made of. I hope after this incident, she will learn something but I doubt it. I think she owes Ali an apology for even starting anything in the first place.

Folks, there is a difference in being angry and being a bully. A 14 year old girl who is angry is not left with many resources as to how to deal with this. So, she took the only way she felt she could to stand up to this girl and to make her stop her bullying. She was caught and punished and yes, what she did was wrong. She should have gone to an adult or listened to her friend who kept telling her what she was doing was wrong. Perhaps they could have found a solution in this. Bullies are angry but they keep problems going. They stir up trouble and manipulate. Also, they sell others out with bad gossip. Most importantly, they never seem to learn lessons nor do they show remorse for any actions. The key here is remorse and if a person never shows any, chances are they are your true bullies. Something to think about here…

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Pink Day is Celebrated in South Carolina

This past Wednesday, Pink Day was held in Canada. Pink Day is an annual day where people wear something pink and take a stand against bullying. This originated in Nova Scotia at a high school where a young man wore a pink shirt one day to school. The bullies gave him a terrible time about it. Instead of feeding into this garbage, students decided to wear pink shirts to show these bullies that they would not be pushed around by them. Over time this caught on and became a national issue. However, it is now going international. I know I wore my pink on Wednesday and without a doubt took a stand.

I grew up in South Carolina and was the instigator of the Anti-Bullying Law that now exists there. This law mandates that schools take a stand against bullying and must hold programs once a year or they will be fined. In other words, this crap will not fly in South Carolina any longer. So, when I saw that Wilder Elementary School in Sumter celebrated Pink Day, I was tickled to death. Two police officers Anthony Dennis and Major Hampton Gardner set the bar by wearing pink that day. The school also took an interest and together, this prompted the fifth graders to put this together. On Wednesday, kids wore pink along with faculty and the two officers. Boys generally wear darker colors and if they wear pink, a lot of times they get bullied because this is more of a feminine color. I know this is what prompted the young man in Nova Scotia to be abused by his peers. On Wednesday, one Wilder student stated he was wearing pink and that tough guys wear pink to. Wow! How refreshing to go to school, choosing to wear whatever color is wished and others accepting it.

We need to let go of these stereotypes and stop giving one another a hard time just because we do or see someone wearing a color they choose or shirt or whatever. If someone wants to wear pink, why should it matter? What is wrong with trying to be an individual? As citizens, we are entitled to that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Well in the USA we are but am sure Canada has their own laws and liberties like we do. If wearing pink makes a big tough guy happy, so be it. If wearing pink makes anyone happy, so be it. I like the color pink as it is bright and bright colors create positive energy. Please, stop giving others a hard time for wanting to be themselves. Why is it so important to conform? We are all entitled to liberties and bullies, stop trying to violate those! I am glad Pink Day exists and I hope those bullies were put in their place because they deserved it. Most importantly, I am happy to see that the law in South Carolina is working. To me, this is huge progress.

Resource Cited: http://www.theitem.com/article/20090228/ITNEWS01/702289947/-1/ITNEWS