Posted on

The Female Perspective: #AskELJames Is Internet Bullying and Here’s Why

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


Author E.L. James
Author E.L. James

Awhile back I talked a bit about the Fifty Shades of Grey controversy that says that the book and the movie promote domestic violence, rape and abuse. If you haven’t read that blog, feel free to check it out here. If you have read it then you know that I disagree with this point of view. The fact is BDSM is not about abuse (for most), it is about exploring pain, pleasure and your own power. It is a lifestyle CHOICE and I do not believe that Fifty Shades of Grey glorifies it in any way.

That being said, I will say that both the book and the movie are boring, mindless and poorly written. All of this is my personal opinion and I don’t dislike author E.L. James for giving us this mindless drivel, she got extremely lucky and made a great career for herself, one that I am totally jealous of. She has the success every writer dreams of having and it’s made an even more amazing story by the fact that she really isn’t a very good writer.

#AskELJames = Failure
#AskELJames = Failure

Recently, to help promote her new book, Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian Grey’s perspective (that’s not the title I know but it really should be) her publicity team decided to host a live Twitter chat with the hashtag, #AskELJames.

This backfired horribly.

Below is a sample of some of the tweets sent over to #AskELJames, they start out funny enough:

What’s your favourite shade out of the 50? Is there a chance that more shades will be added?

How on earth did Ana manage to graduate from university in the 21st century without an email address or a laptop?

Then things started to go a bit wrong…

Do you ever feel guilty that you made so much money from romanticizing sexual abuse and selling it as “erotica romance”?

Is it only ok for Christian to stalk, coerce, threaten & manipulate Ana because he’s hot, or is it also ok because he’s rich?

after the success of “Grey,” have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write?

And things just kept going wrong after that…

Will you be rewriting the book from Stephenie Meyer’s point of view next time?

Are you going to answer any of these questions, or do you need Stephenie Meyer to do a Twitter chat first?

Do all these negative tweets sent to you seem abusive to you? I think it’s romantic enough to be turned into a novel!

Are you getting tendinitis from having to hit “block” so often? 🙁

What gets me is the way in which people are choosing to take something as innocuous as a Twitter forum, meant to engage James’ readers with their fave author, and turn it into a giant bullying fest.

This is wrong. This is so much wrong. No matter how much I dislike the books and bemoan the fact that someone like E.L. James is famous when she can barely even write, I would never say that to her face in such an unkind manner, maybe that makes my a hypocrite but the things that people were saying to her were cruel and unnecessary.

Personally, I wouldn’t take to a Twitter group and decide it was the perfect time to bash and abuse her. Yeah, she’s not one of my favorite. Yes, I have said that time and time again during any discussions of her books. Yes, I feel guilty about it because she is a fellow writer and I should support her 100% because of that fact alone. But I am not a perfect person and I admit that. There’s something about this “attack” that really made me feel icky inside. It’s one more example of the internet world being a cruel place and I am really tired of it.

el-james-fifty-shades-of-grey-twitter-questions-gone-wrong-lead

What these folks did, and what they continue to do on various open mic forums on Twitter (why celebrities keep doing these, I just don’t know. Robin Thicke experienced a similar situation when he did the same as James) is take time meant to connect a fan with a favorite artist and turn it into something ugly. They take that time meant for others and choose to insult celebrities that they think are less than worth their time. This is a perfect example of why the internet can be a horrible place. Bullies thrive in the online space of Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. They can say what they want, whenever they want with virtually no repercussions. I’ve been the victim of bullying on this blog and it takes some serious getting used to! The fact is, if you, as an artist, manage to stir up the masses to such passion (whether it’s good or bad) than you are clearly doing something right.

2A18EF8200000578-3143894-image-m-31_1435621699835

The fact is, being a celebrity of any kind requires a thick skin. E.L. James and her team learned this lesson with great clarity last night and no matter what kind of person James is (I have heard some various stories that she’s not the nicest woman but I don’t know if that’s truth or not so we’ll just assume she’s a nice person) she doesn’t deserve to be bullied online. Yes, her writing is a mess. Yes, it is a well known fact that Fifty Shades began it’s book life as Twilight fan fiction and yes, it often toes the line between abuse and erotica (sort of, it’s not all that erotic if you ask me), but no matter what you think of James’ writing, there is no need to go online just to bash her when she was honestly trying to connect with her fans, not her detractors. I have better things to do with my time than to be an online troll.

What do you think? Do you think #AskELJames is bullying? Trolling? Did she deserve it or not? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Call Her Caitlyn and Treat Her Like a Woman! Sounds Good in Theory.

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.

——————————————————————————————————————————————

A beautiful, powerful woman.
A beautiful, powerful woman.

I felt the need to jump on the Caitlyn Jenner/Bruce Jenner story this week because of one video I saw from the ever awesome Jon Stewart. He made a point that even I missed.

In case you haven’t seen it:

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/oekklq/brave-new-girl

Thank you, once again, Jon Stewart for bring to light the fact that now that Bruce has become her true self, she is no longer a strong, powerful athlete, she is now a woman and is subject to the appraisals and judgments that all women face. Welcome Caitlyn. It’s annoying and it kind of sucks.

CGmzQPfUQAEJAi8

Steward also makes an amazing point, not only is the media comparing Caitlyn to other women, but the media is making sure to take down other women all at the same time. Way to go. And yes, they are awful.

I personally feel that what Jenner has done is extremely brave and a step forward for all Transgender people. They are often forgotten in the minefield that is American culture today. So wrapped up in civil rights for all races, for women and for homosexuals that we have forgotten this segment of the rich and beautiful place called America. Transgendered folks pick possibly one of the hardest paths to follow with no reward other than their own personal body and mind freedom (which, don’t get me wrong, is HUGE). A transgender person gets shunned out of using a bathroom for fear of…what exactly? What do people think is going to happen to them in a bathroom? Peeing? Pooping? Is the transgender going to “rub off” somehow?

The fact is, as much as I detest all things Kardashian, I applaud Caitlyn Jenner for her bravery and her openness about her new body and her new life. I wish her only good things and I truly hope that she (along with women like Laverne Cox) continue to pave the way for all of the transgender community. They are brave in a way that I cannot even fully fathom. Let’s treat them as the powerful souls they truly are.

Now, if only the media could stop treating women, all women, like pieces of meat to be fawned over and judged. I am sick and tired of watching them tear down women in the name of “complimenting” other women. I find the Jenner transition fascinating because we can actually see the divide between men in the media and women in the media epitome in one person. Before becoming Caitlyn, Bruce Jenner was a highly respected athlete, a powerful man who people respected and spent time discussing his power and his athletic ability. Now, as Caitlyn, Jenner is held up to a totally different standard. How good she looks, who she look better than and so on and so forth.

It’s disgusting.

But how do we stop it? The sad and simple answer is that we cannot. We cannot control the media or the narrative. What we can do is to not do to each other what the media does to us. We can talk about a woman in terms of her athletic prowess, her power and her strength while also talking about her beauty and we can treat men the same way because honestly, men are beautiful too. We just cannot possibly call them that for fear of making them look, sound or feel “too feminine.”

This double standard has to stop.

For now though, I applaud Caitlyn Jenner and wish her well on her new life.

What do you think about the whole Caitlyn Jenner story? Is Jon Stewart right? Is there a way to change the narrative in the media about women? Sound off in the comments!

A reminder to those pigheaded enough to not be able to see Jenner as anything but a man.
A reminder to those pigheaded enough to not be able to see Jenner as anything but a man.

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Photoshop & Celebs, We Want The Unobtainable

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!


There is a DeviantArt & Facebook artist named David who took it upon himself to photoshop some famous ladies with added weight. OK, I see what he is trying to do, he is trying to flip the idea of what makes up beauty in todays celebrity-obsessed culture. Unfortunately, when I look at these pictures, I just get annoyed.

Sigh.
Sigh.

Why do I get annoyed? Here’s why:

  1. The women have either giant bellies or are pregnant.
  2. The photoshop is done in a sloppy fashion.
  3. I am really tired of women being photoshopped for the pleasure of others.

You’d think as a curvy lady I’d appreciate his message but I don’t. Simply put, I find what he is doing to be insulting to the women he photoshops along with being so ridiculous that I can barely even look at the pictures without laughing hysterically. Not once does he put in a larger lady shape that is actually healthy looking. I also think he confuses pregnancy with being overweight and uses them interchangeably.

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with being a larger lady, I think that what matters is that you are healthy and happy. The fact is, not everyone feels that way. Many people like to fat-shame those that are larger, they choose to judge another person by their size (it’s happened to me before) and that is insanely unfair. Someone like this artist David is trying to make what could be a valid point but I’m not sure he succeeds. Because these are famous women, you know they don’t look this way and so it ends up looking like they are wearing a fat suit. I want to like what he is putting out because I think there needs to be a serious conversation about body acceptance but I just cannot get on board with his message.

The fact is, I am tired of women (and men) being photoshopped. When did we become a culture that needs perfection in every magazine or online picture? There was recently a huge uproar when photo’s of an un-Photoshopped Beyonce were leaked. Her followers went NUTS. They could not believe someone would release such “unflattering” photos of their Queen Bey!

I saw the photos, they were great. They showed us a Beyonce who isn’t “flawless”, who has pimples from the half ton of makeup she needs to wear on stage. They showed us a Beyonce who is real and maybe that’s not what her followers want to see. They don’t want to think of their “Queen” as anything but perfection. For me, it only made me appreciate her hard work and her true beauty even more.

Un-Photoshopped Beyonce: She's still pretty gorgeous if you ask me.
Un-Photoshopped Beyonce: She’s still pretty gorgeous if you ask me.

This obsession with perfection is bizarre. We aren’t perfect beings and neither are the celebrities we adore. Why do we feel the need to hold them up to a level they cannot possibly attain (except through Photoshop)? Take a look at Cindy Crawford, she recently posed for photos and they are not edited in any way. Can you say gorgeous? She is perfect in her imperfection and it honestly made me like her more.

Cindy Crawford, perfect in her imperfections.
Cindy Crawford, perfect in her imperfections.

The fact is, our culture is obsessed with perfection. We are obsessed with the unobtainable. From plastic surgery to make a young man look like Superman to Extreme Corseting to give a woman a 16-inch waist like Jessica Rabbit, we want something that nature doesn’t create. To me, there is a reason that nature doesn’t create it, because it’s not natural! Yeesh.

I am hopeful that with time, the photoshop craze will die out and we’ll get to a place where natural beauty impresses as much as perfection does. In the meantime, artists like David will continue to raise eyebrows with their attempts to bring attention to the topic of beauty and body shaming. Maybe one day body shaming won’t exist and body acceptance will be the norm. That would be awesome I think.

What do YOU think? Do you like David’s work? 

For a little chuckle, check out these 33 Photoshop Fails of 2014 and tell me we haven’t all gone a bit overboard with Photoshop.

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Space Barbie vs. Muscle Barbie

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Every day I find something new to write about. Some are good, some are bad and some are just plain weird. I think today’s blog topic is firmly rooted in the “just plain weird” category. I stumbled across a video by the real life Russian Barbie Doll named Valeria Lukyanova. Valeria is a Moldovan-Ukrainian model who has made a name (sort of) for herself by looking like a living, breathing Barbie doll. That’s her choice and that’s great as long as she is happy but what I stumbled across today is…well, it’s something alright. It’s further proof to me that everybody’s gotta be doing something.

Here’s the full-length video:

Now that you’ve watched it, what do you think? Do you think that this woman is truly a space alien from Venus? Is she here to preach the gospel of…um…aliens?

My thoughts on aliens is that sure, they most likely do exist but do I think they are planting people like this on Earth to observe us and teach us their ways? Not so much. For one, I like to think that alien beings are smarter than that. They would never plant someone so…obvious. Not to mention, they wouldn’t choose to make so little sense. I have to hope that aliens would make sense when they speak!

We have Valeria at times going on and on about her mission and her purpose here and how she has left her body at times. All of this could very well be true but my doubts stem from comments like this, “when a nun starts talking nobody listens but a woman who is looking like this…” Ok, so she is using her eye-catching looks to garner attention for her cause. I can believe that and be OK with it except for the fact that great figures in religious history didn’t do this so much. True spiritual people with a message don’t care about their looks, they are merely part of their earthly packaging.

Yep. She looks like Barbie.
Yep. She looks like Barbie.

What truly amused me is how they’d be filming a segment, she’d be talking about her spirituality and then all of a sudden she’d say something like, “There are people over there, our stuff is there…I can’t do this…” and she’d be frustrated. Or, at the very end when she was upset that she forgot to put on her belt and she almost had a “stroke” because people would think she didn’t have a nice waist without her belt.

To me, she is very clearly a flawed human being like the rest of us. She is beautiful, sure. She has some smarts in there and I truly believe that she believes what she is saying. I don’t want to sound like I am judging her or condemning her in any way. I am merely fascinated by her beliefs and her video (what’s with the beard and the voice?). I suppose my only real concern is that near the end of the piece, she talks about how she once killed herself to move onto another existence. I sure hope she doesn’t decide to do that again.

She really favors the head tilt when she is filming herself.
She really favors the head tilt when she is filming herself.

On the other side of the spectrum is a woman named Julia Vins, from Engels, Russia. She is eighteen years old and she lifts weights. She is referred to in this article as the “Incredible Hulk” which isn’t very flattering or fair. She has won numerous competitions and as she states in the piece, she finally found her “true life calling”.

Muscle Barbie. Pretty, strong and smart. A deadly combination.
Muscle Barbie. Pretty, strong and smart. A deadly combination.

‘I’m no ordinary doll. I hope everyone finds their true calling in life like I did.” -Julia Vins

This is a young girl who was lost, then one day she started going to the gym and found a passion for something that is driving her to be better and stronger every day. Is she taking it too far? I don’t believe so. She seems quite smart and she seems happy. What seems to disturb so many is that she is also very beautiful. She has big, giant eyes that resemble a Barbie dolls (without fake lenses in them) and a very pretty face.

‘I have these big, beautiful eyes and wear make-up. But at the same time, I’m strong.

‘I can deadlift 180kg in training. I want to become as big as possible.’ – Julia Vins

She is very clear about who she is and what she wants. I admire that about both women actually, they know who they are and they know what face they want to show to the world and they work hard towards establishing themselves. How can I judge or deride them for that? Simply because their choices are not the ones I would make? Nah. Their choices are their own and while I may not agree, I certainly respect them for it.

Both women receive a lot of opinions about their chosen looks. Valeria gets criticized for too much plastic surgery and for being too small. Julia gets a lot of attention as well. She is told she is ugly, too big and unnatural. What makes up an unnatural look? If it’s a look that makes the person feel comfortable does that make it OK? I just don’t know. There has to be limits on this type of stuff or people will go too far. At the same time, people should be allowed to be comfortable in their own skin. I guess what I’m asking is, are these ladies going too far?

Barbies

What do you think? Are these women going to far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Leggings. Are they SATANS PANTS?

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


It's true...
It’s true…

I honestly don’t remember when leggings became a fashion staple. I remember wearing them a lot as a child of the 80’s and then they faded out. Now they’re back and it appears they are here to stay. How do I know this for sure? Well, for one, they manage to cause controversy on a semi-regular basis. Recently, a woman named Veronica Partridge, a Christian blogger, denounced leggings because she wanted to “honor God and husband

While I whole-heartedly respect her right to choose whatever she wants to wear, I find it ridiculous that she is blaming leggings for her husbands (and any mans) wandering eye.

Apparently, a discussion about the skin-tight garment led Partridge’s husband to confess to her that “it’s hard not to look” when he goes somewhere filled with leggings-clad women. “I try not to, but it’s not easy,” he told her, according to her to blog.

So let me get this straight? Your husband admitted that he looks at other women in leggings and you then basically go forth and blame the women for wearing leggings? I’m confused, when did it become OK to blame a fashion choice on a mans wandering eye? Last I checked, your husbands will was his own and if he wants to check out some ladies bottoms in leggings than OK, he’s a red-blooded man and that’s NORMAL. Heck! I check out guys all the time! There was once a man in the yoga studio where I worked that wore tight spandex shorts and let me tell you, it was hard NOT to look at him but I managed to not look. Never once did I blame him for wearing those shorts. My eyes are my own and where they look, yep, it’s my choice!

Clearly, these are dangerous pants.
Clearly, these are dangerous pants.

It’s reasonable to not want people to stare at you. I get that, but her blog doesn’t seem to reflect that idea, instead, she is doing it for her husband and God instead of for herself. From her blog,

If it is difficult for my husband who loves, honors, and respects me to keep his eyes focused ahead, then how much more difficult could it be for a man that may not have the same self-control? Sure, if a man wants to look, they are going to look, but why entice them? Is it possible that the thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings could make a married (or single) man look at a woman in a way he should only look at his wife?

Entice? That’s what leggings do? They entice men to stare at our booty? I got news for you sister, men are gonna look at our parts no matter what we are wearing. It’s kind of what happens. Is it OK? No. Is it annoying? Sometimes. I don’t see any type of solution for it because even in countries where they wear burka’s women are getting attacked and raped.

I think the bigger problem here is that we are once again blaming the wearer for the problem, rather than the perpetrator of the gaze. Victim shaming is not OK but it is rampant in our society. I want it made clear that Partridge can do whatever she wants and I respect that. What I take umbrage with is the fact that she isn’t blaming her husband for not being able to control himself, instead, she blames herself for wearing the pants. From the Huffington Post article on Partridge’s blog, they mention that leggings and yoga pants have been banned from some schools,

Leggings are banned in middle schools and high schools throughout the country, sometimes under the premise of not distracting male students. Parents at a middle school in Evanston, Illinois, spoke out against the dress code last year, saying the policy sent an “antiquated and warped message” that “shifts the blame for boy’s behavior or lack of academic concentration, directly onto the girls.”

Exactly my point.

Come on ladies, we need to stop blaming ourselves for the inadequacies of others (I don’t just mean men either). Don’t shame or blame the victim, blame the perpetrator.  Self-control is a choice people. A CHOICE. You can decide not to look (as I did when that dude was wearing his tight shorts) or you can choose to look. It may not be easy, but I know for damn sure that it’s not the fault of pants wearer.

Change starts with us, let’s make meme’s like the one below disappear by owning our choices instead of tossing blame at other people who don’t deserve it.

Victim shaming needs to stop.
Victim shaming needs to stop.

What do YOU think? Are leggings a gateway pant to looser morals? Are they Satan’s pants? Or should we start blaming the lookie-loo who can’t stop staring? Sound off in the comments!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: Who Ya Gonna Call? The New Lady ‘Busters!

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


Ghostbusters is coming back to theaters in 2016!
Ghostbusters is coming back to theaters in 2016!

This week it was announced that the “reboot” (and aren’t we all a bit tired of that term?) of Ghostbusters is actually happening! It’s long overdue, that’s for sure!

What’s exciting about this reboot is the cast announcement. Paul Feig (who did Bridesmaids, a great movie) will be handling this reboot and has decided to make it an all-female cast. OK, color me intrigued, he has a proven track record of being able to write and direct female actors. Add to all of that, the cast, oh my, the cast!

Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Nice!

An all-female cast might freshen up the story!
An all-female cast might freshen up the story!

I was very pleased with this announcement, I think that if you are going to do a reboot, then make it something special. Try to make it a little bit different, a little bit fresh. I knew that not everyone would be happy but what shocked me was the response online. On Facebook, the comments under the announcement were vulgar and rude (I won’t bother to reprint them here) and that is unfortunate. There were many sexist comments, weight comments about a couple of the women and an overall tone of disgust and dismay. Seriously? I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to get this angry about something so trivial as a movie!

I mean, why are we judging so quickly and so harshly? Why do people feel that they can insult and demean women (or anyone, really) online and think it’s funny? I think what troubles me most is that the harsh judgements are allowed on social media as par for the course. Oh sure, some people might put up an argument but we all know it’s futile. You have to have a thick skin to be able to tolerate the abuse that gets fired out of Facebook on a regular basis. A few women attempted to step in on the thread and were instantly called demeaning names and mocked. I think my personal “favorite” was when one of the “men” making the insults start saying things like, “Wait, we have to be careful or these b*#@hes will think we’re sexist” – really? REALLY? I have news for you buddy, it’s too late for that. That ship sailed when you called the actresses in the reboot names I can’t repeat in a family friendly blog.

I know that I shouldn’t take it to heart that these trolls are all over the place, hiding behind a computer screen, spewing their venom. It’s obvious that they are unhappy in some fundamental way. I know this and yet, it still bothers me. It bothers me because there is no cure for it. These people will always take to the safety of the internet to spout their disgusting racist and sexist slurs and they’ll think they’re clever and funny. What soothes me is the fact that most likely, in person, these trolls are nowhere near as outspoken. Chances are, they would never say to my face what they say online. Cowards, all of them.

Internet trolls are everywhere and they are sad and mean!
Internet trolls are everywhere and they are sad and mean!

Regardless, I am absolutely excited to see what this crew can do with the idea. Not to mention both Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd are all for the all-female cast and while many are cross with Murray for dragging his feet about doing a new Ghostbusters movie, I think this may end up being the right thing. We all saw Ghostbusters 2 and that was not so good. I think that the original ‘Busters had their time and they created a wonderful movie that makes me laugh to this day. I think it’s OK to bring in a new cast, a new director and see what kind of fun trouble they can get into.

I know there are those “purists” out there that get all wound up when these reboots happen, they want it to be “perfect” and to be exactly what they have imagined it to be. Sadly, that is not usually the case but I prefer to reserve judgement until I have more information. Such is the case with the new Fantastic Four movie coming out. Yes, the trailer that was released makes it look very different form what we’ve seen previously, but again, that gives me hope. The first couple tries didn’t work out so great, so try something different. 

The end result is that we, as consumers, really have no control over what Hollywood does or doesn’t do. We can complain all we want about the lack of creativity and the reboots all over the place but that won’t change the fact that people go to see them, these movies make money and therefore, the studios keep making them. Often, these reboots work out great. Star Trek is a good example of this, the first two in the new Universe are awesome, fun movies that pay homage to the source material but still manage to go their own way, to great success.

Let’s try to stem the hate folks, be kind to each other and to these actresses who did nothing more than accept a part in what could be a fantastic and fun movie. Maybe one day, Hollywood will stop “rebooting” things but until that magical day happens, I’m going to sit back and hope for the best!

Regardless of who the cast was going to be, they had BIG shoes to fill.
Regardless of who the cast was going to be, they had BIG shoes to fill.

What do YOU think? Did Hollywood get it right with the all-female cast?

Tell me in the comments (but be nice)!

Posted on

The Female Perspective: From No One to Prom King, A Tale of Bullying

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


True Story.
True Story.

Bullying. I chose this topic for my blog today because I watched a video.

This doesn’t sound all that impressive, I mean, we all watch video’s all the time on the internet. It’s one of my favorite ways to waste time! Today was different though, I started watching this video about this boy who was bullied but then, he somehow turned everything around by doing one simple act of kindness. I’ll get to what his response was in a moment, but first I want to address the topic of bullying.

It’s something we are all familiar with, either it’s something we lived through in school or, if you are a parent, you have to deal with currently. Whether you are the bully or the one being bullied, it is, to me, a crime. When I was a kid, bullying meant people called you horrible names, maybe scrawled something on your locker (or, in one particularly memorable case, the bullies stole money out of my locker) and they definitely harassed you at every given opportunity. I was bullied constantly when I was a kid, Junior High was the worst for me. I was lonely, sad and even though I had friends who did their best to support me, the bullying crushed me every single day. It exhausted me and I remember crying every night that I had to go back there. Eventually, it did taper off but it never vanished completely. High School was only marginally better. Or, at least, I began to be proud of who I was, so the bullying didn’t bother me as much.

The fact is, kids today have it way harder than we ever did. Kids today don’t just get bullied at school. They get bullied on social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, the bullying goes home with them. There are constant reports of kids, KIDS, killing themselves because the bullying is just too much for them. It breaks my heart to hear it because if only they could see the future, they’d see that outside of school, bullying means nothing. Your life will get better. Mine did.

It’s also true that women get bullied in the comic book and gamer world. It’s defined as sexism but it’s bullying just the same. Women (and the men who support them) are taunted online, called cruel and unfair names. The most recent example of this is of course, Gamergate, where a woman was harassed to the point of having to leave her home out of fear for her well-being. The sad fact is that bullying does continue into adulthood, but as adults we have better tools to handle it (hopefully). Kids simply don’t. They do not have the perspective to realized that this moment in time is only a moment, that it too shall pass.

But I digress, what started this post was a simple, but powerful, video (that you can watch at the end of this post). A young man was being bullied. He had recently lost his father and moved to a new town. He was quiet, reserved, in mourning and different. The kids ripped pictures out of his locker of his deceased father. The boy felt invisible and realized he didn’t want to be anymore. He finally couldn’t take it anymore. Instead of fighting back with anger or cynicism he did the most simple thing you can think of. He began holding doors for other students. Yep. You read that right, he became a doorman. He also became Prom King.

What amazes me is that at first, the other students mocked him, made fun of him and were confused by this act of simple kindness but, as the voiceover in the video suggests, soon the kids began to look forward to seeing this young man in the morning. A big smile, a hello and an open door for them. The other kids enjoyed it so much and were so grateful for his kindness, they voted him Prom King as a way to say thank you. It’s an amazing and uplifting story on how sometimes, you can combat hatred with kindness and come out on top.

It’s so simple, yet so powerful. It inspired other acts of kindness throughout the school and it turned this young man onto the idea of public speaking, to advocate for the bullied, the sad, the loners. To help them see that being courageous doesn’t mean screaming to be heard, being courageous can simply mean doing a small act of kindness for someone else. Holding a door open, smiling or even just making eye contact. It’s a powerful message. It is also one that everyone needs to hear and it is why I share it here today.

Share the love, share the kindness. We adults have a thing or two we can still learn from kids.

StopBullyingSign

Fight Back With Kindness

What about you? Have you been the victim of bullying (when you were a kid or an adult)?

How did you handle it?