"It Gets Better!" - Worldwide Video Project Against Bullying

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by PeterG, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. PeterG

    PeterG Argle-Bargle-ist

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    People around the world (famous and otherwise) are reacting to the recent suicides of gay youth by creating videos about how "it gets better". I believe the project was started by writer Dan Savage and a website has been created to host some of the videos...

    It Gets Better!

    You can also find videos at youtube by using "it gets better" as your subject. The favourite I've found so far is by australian singer Sia:

    SIA - It Gets Better

    I also like the one from the cast members of "Wicked":

    Wicked Cast - It Gets Better

    Which are your favourites?
  2. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    It is scary and sad how many suicides there have been over bullying in general. We as a society need to wake up and stand up against any form of verbal, physical, and emotional harassment, because it is WRONG. Every time I hear one of these stories my heart breaks. Something needs to be done. The "It Gets Better" project is a fantastic idea, but it's only the tip of the iceberg.
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  3. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    I really like all of them. Thanks for sharing, PeterG!

    :)

    I agree.
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  4. jenny12

    jenny12 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks PeterG! Great campaign!
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  5. PeterG

    PeterG Argle-Bargle-ist

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  6. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Anderson Cooper (AC360) is doing a special on bullying right now.
  7. Kruss

    Kruss Well-Known Member

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    Crystal Bowersox from American Idol is about to go on and relate her experiences with bullying in school. She wrote a really insightful blog about it.
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  8. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Well, if we're going to mention AI people- Clay Aiken's book "Learning to Sing" is a really moving memoir of how to keep your head up and follow your own path in spite of bullying. It's a good book to give to a teen who is being bullied. I hope Clay someday get's a chance to add a postscript on how coming out felt. Although, I guess his story is not a good example to use if you want to say the bullying will stop.
  9. Kruss

    Kruss Well-Known Member

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    I didn't realize that, not knowing much about Clay. Kudos to him for sharing his story as well. Although bullying often doesn't stop, these kids need help and nobody - nobody - should accept that it's "just kids being kids".
  10. heckles

    heckles Well-Known Member

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    A good start might be for Anderson and society in general to stop trivializing outright harassment by calling it "bullying".
  11. Amy L

    Amy L Well-Known Member

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    This article showed up on my Yahoo page. Three suicides and one antidepressant OD within 2 years at the same high school. The four kids were bullied for being foreign, being gay, suspected of being gay, and for being a special ed student. And one of the victims was heckled at her own funeral. What the hell is wrong with people???
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  12. LordCirque

    LordCirque New Member

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  13. AragornElessar

    AragornElessar Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for saying this. I went through Hell during my school years and what happened to me was not "bullying", not "teasing" and not "kids being kids". I was physically, emotionally and psychology(sp?) abused!!

    There are few things that makes me see red faster than hearing the term "bullying" used whenever there are discussions about what is going on in our world these days. I really do believe that once it starts getting called what it is, which is abuse, then and only then will things start to change.

    I mean...When I hear the young daughter of our nearest neighbours was told by her Teacher just to say that piece of crap rhyme "Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" *and* that being hit by the boys "means that they like you" in response to what was being done to her, in this day and age!?! Her Father has his own demons thanks to stuff done to him, so you can imagine what his reaction was to hearing about this.

    Yes, it does get better, but there are some scars that never heal. I'm almost 38 years old and I'm still dealing w/the aftereffects of stuff that happened.

    Why in the year 2010 we're still treating what is going on in our schools as kids "teasing" other kids or saying "it's a normal part of growing up" just is beyond me!! I thought we left the Dark Ages a long time ago.
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  14. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    I don't think the term "bullying" is trivialising the action. Harassment sounds much milder to my ears. YMMV

    No one here has said anything like you're suggesting. I can understand your anger since you had to endure something so horrible but "bullying" is a term for a particular kind of abuse and I don't understand your objection to the word.
  15. heckles

    heckles Well-Known Member

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    Bullying is what Butch did to Spanky on Little Rascals. Assholic stuff but nothing in comparison to the mentally sadistic, systematic, long term, calculated, group effort waged against Phoebe Prince or the others who have recently chosen to commit suicide. It's bizarre that adults in the workplace have ample recourse when they receive similar harassment in the workplace, yet we tell children who are generally mandated to attend a specific school that they have to "just ignore it".
  16. PeterG

    PeterG Argle-Bargle-ist

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    Interesting posts!

    I've been thinking about some of the stuff that happened to me in high school and how it would be viewed in a different way if it happened to an adult in their workplace.

    One minor thing that happened to me was a guy who would always take my pen (I had the kind that could be unscrewed at the centre so a new ink holder could be added when the old one ran out), un-do it and then throw it across the back of the room...pieces flying everywhere. This happened when the teacher was in the room but never seemed to notice... What if this happened to an adult in the workplace? Someone took (stole??) another employee's work tools, dis-mantled them, threw them across the shared work area...and the boss was never aware? Even with this simple example, I think that this other employee (as well as the boss?) would be in trouble.

    More extreme examples I went through...

    - being kicked in the head (hard-soled boots...ouch) and then laughed at by the three guys surrounding the culprit who thought I was a wimp for not challenging him (four against one...I didn't like my odds)

    - being burnt by a lamp used underneath a microscope so that one can see what they're viewing more easily. Those lamps get HOT after an hour! This happened while the teacher was in the class. And it happened twice. I had the scars on my arm for about 10 years as a reminder...

    - being set-up by a group of four people for public humiliation for a "Slave Day" fundraiser that was supposed to be in "fun" to raise money for our graduating class. A crowd could buy a "slave" for the day to carry their books, gets their food at lunch, as well as do some silly tasks. "Slaves" were bought only by seeing the person from the knees down (the stage curtains hid the rest of the person). One member of this group got backstage and signalled to the others when I was on stage. They did this to target me because they didn't like me (I was an outcast/"weird") and then tried to do the worst things they could think of during "slave day". I didn't even figure out how they had plotted this out until years later, when I remembered the one girl being backstage when she was not in our class and was not involved in this fundraiser in any way. She was the sister of one of the group who "bought" me...

    When I think about how if something like these things happened to an adult in their workplace...the sh** would hit the fan! But I took so much crap in school that I saw no solution other than to take it. I endured most of these things with adults/teachers present, so why would I think to ask for help?

    Luckily, it got better. :) (But I feel like going for a cry now...)
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  17. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

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    I was in grade school and was beaten up by two girls who I thought were my friends. They would stalk me, follow me home from school, try to beat my door down, name calling everything you could think of. I don't think that's bullying I think that's a crime. Thankfully the school stopped them before I got severly hurt. It's a serious problem in schools parents need to really talk to their kids. Have no idea how children turn out that way.
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  18. heckles

    heckles Well-Known Member

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    Three reasons for that:

    1) Adults have the right to sue. A child doesn't.

    2) Teachers' unions will absolve teachers of the same responsibilities a typical supervisor or employer would face for recurrent harassment occurring on their watch.

    3) If adults get harassed in the workplace, it's likely that he or she will eventually quit the job, which causes a staffing problem for the employer. The teachers know that the harassed child's options are much more limited, and even if the child does leave, see #2.
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  19. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    I disagree with your definition of bullying, that's all.
  20. ebayj

    ebayj New Member

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    I applaud Dan Savage and his husband. This is work that is saving lives and changing lives. I am in the group clip (latter part of video) from San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus - may of the guys speaking about their experiences are my friends.

    I realize now how fortunate I was when I was a kid - astonishingly I was never bullied for being perceived as gay - we only had one or two bullies and they picked equally on everyone. (I grew up in a very, very small town in the middle of the rural Midwest.) This is more surprising given I had zero sports ability, and was wildly accomplished in music, debate and theater. Kids are harder and definitely more cruel now, and seem to lack the clear moral compass that was pounded into my generation's heads by our depression era parents.

    This rash of tragic suicides is also a clear and harsh wake up call to public school systems all over America.
  21. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

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    I noticed in the past few years on website comments like youtube etc. there are a lot of kids/adults? that use the phrase "why don't you just go kill yourself". Not sure where this trend started but something really needs to be said as that kind of disgusting language is being used so often.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  22. LordCirque

    LordCirque New Member

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    A good friend of mine, who is gay, 23 almost 24, is going to be on the PS3 Reality Show Tester, that premieres for its second season in a few weeks. He is the token gay guy and makes no qualms about being gay and makes me effort to hide it.

    He's received A LOT of hate mail on his youtube channels and videos already, including comments like "Fecking Homo, just go die" and a lot of other things like that.
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  23. Beefcake

    Beefcake Guest

    Tim Gunn's vid ... already posted in the Project Runway thread and Clementi thread in PI but appropriate a third time:

    Tim Gunn - It Gets Better
  24. Beefcake

    Beefcake Guest

    Like Peter, I was bullied for being "sissy" when I was in grade school. As much as you might expect for a pudgy-legged, shy, soft-spoken, 3rd grader who was new to the country school from the city.

    Bus rides to/fro school were a particular kind of nightmare for the first 3-4 years, as I was relentlessly ear boxed (forcefully slapping another's ears with open palms, as if playing the cymbals) (who knows how much hearing damage I've got?) by older kids, kicked, called "sissy" and "pansy", and generally made fun of. Still, I refused to sit at the extreme front of the bus with the other "weirdos", which would've been admitting defeat and marginality, and instead suffered their will. My poor older sister still cries over the fact that she never really stepped in to help me those times.

    School was just slightly better into middle school, as I was still a bit whimsical for a boy, and thereby was still enduring taunting, and destruction of my "stuff". My occasional "had enough" moments where I'd fight back only resulted in visits to the principal's office, and my parents being faced with my "problem". I'd have done anything to not have my parents hear about how I was perceived at school! Also, after these incidents, the bullying would spike in retribution. So I learned to shut up and toughen up, and I began to learn to let the things that I could not control ... just roll off the shell I was growing.

    It. Gets. Better. By junior high I had found my own "clique," and found that there were other ways to fit in ... or thrive despite not totally fitting in. And by high school, I'd gotten even better at ignoring the whispers, and had stumbled into the ultimate shortcut for fitting in and popularity -- becoming strong and good at sports. Was able to bridge the gap between friendships with my middle school "oddball" clique and the jocks and cheerleader sect.

    In the end, I loved high school, but I believe that it would've been much tougher if I hadn't lucked into the ability to excel in sports and thus gain auto acceptance by the in crowd. Sort of a sad commentary on the state of American youth, but it's a Truth. "Gay" is just fine as long as it's deeply hidden and you fit the All American blond boy mold.
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  25. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    I remember the kids who were "different"--not just exhibiting those stereotypical gay characteristics, but awkward, with bad skin, smaller than normal, late bloomers, dressing "funny," you name it--being teased and mocked and such. I don't think I ever saw any outright physical violence, save for one time one of the boys who was bullied fought back (and I saw him walking home with a bloody nose). He was very "square" and wore button-up shirts and ties to school every day.

    What is this sick part of our human nature that somehow "needs" to put others down? I'm ashamed of the times I made fun of people or excluded them just because everyone else did. NO ONE should have to endure any sort of bullying/harassment/abuse because they're gay/bi/trans or any other sort of 'different' from something thought of as "normal" or "average."
  26. LordCirque

    LordCirque New Member

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    I was bullied daily from K-12, for a variety of reasons, 4-12th, was mostly for being gay or at the time, perceived as gay, which eventually turned out to be correct.

    I was never physically assaulted, I was stocky, short but stocky, and a few times I'd let my temper show, I think most knew not to cross me. Plus I was always very non-confrontational about it. I never wanted a physical fight or to get involved in one, so did everything I possibly could to avoid that.
  27. Kruss

    Kruss Well-Known Member

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    I know of adult women using this term against someone they're mad/jealous of online. They've said things to my friend like, "you're so ugly, no one would ever want to sleep with you, you might as well kill yourself." The ones saying this are in their early 30's, as is the person they told this to.

    Really, really shocking. It's as if life itself has such a small value anymore.
  28. jtpc

    jtpc Active Member

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    I think this is a fantastic initiative. :) I just went to the candlelight vigil that was held in Toronto last Wednesday for lives lost due to homophobic bullying.

    For such a recent campaign, there have to be about 1,000 videos already...simply amazing!
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
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  29. Kasey

    Kasey Loving on babies!

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    I am fortunate, I think the only "bullying" I ever got was more teasing and mild harrassment. I remember when we first moved to California from New Jersey, when I was about 7, and I was getting picked on by an older boy and his friends because I "tawked funny" ;) My step-dad, who'd been my dad all of about 2 months at the time, gave me this un-PC advice: If you aren't going to fight back, I don't want to hear you whining. And if you do fight back, do it to win.

    It's a shame such advice would no longer serve the purpose these days.
  30. Schmeck

    Schmeck New Member

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    1) Parents of children have the right to sue.

    2) Not anymore, not in my state/country. Mandated reporting is very inclusive now.

    3) The teacher needs to be told what is happening. To assume the teacher is omnipresent is a mistake victims make all the time. Bullies know this is not true, and use it to their advantage.

    We're doing a lot of anti-bullying training with staff and students at our school system. The hardest thing to 'resolve' (besides tha actual bullying, of course!) is the secrecy factor.
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  31. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. Over and over in the 16 years I taught high school, we'd hear through the grapevine or from parents reporting that some kid was a horrific bully to another kid or group of kids. And often as teachers, we'd be saying, "Really? That one?" We never denied it; we just hadn't seen it. Because they don't do it in the middle of English class. They are way more sophisticated than that. And, more and more, they are doing it online. At most schools, Facebook and other social networks are blocked, and the vast majority of teachers do not friend their students via social networks because it crosses boundaries. And victims rarely tell any school employees, teachers or otherwise, what is going on.

    As a teacher, I never wanted anything like this to be happening to any of my students. And one nasty word to another student in my classroom got a kid in trouble. But the hardcore bullying is not happening in the classroom.
  32. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    I pretty much hated junior high and high school. I think I have posted before that when in 7th grade I had a huge crush on one of the popular guys as did most every other straight girl. He told a girl who I thought was my best friend that he would get her into the popular click, but she would have to ditch me as a friend.

    She was a 36 DD at the time, I did not go through puberty until 4 years later. The guys were only interested in the boobs and really had no interest in her as a person, but I was dropped from everyone's friend list. Later I learned that her life was hell as all the guys assumed she put out. Gym class/showers were a nightmare for me with pointing/looking/comments. I can not imagine what life would have been like if facebook or myspace existed at that time.

    I can not imagine what it must be like to be gay. Words/name calling/harrassment/bullying do hurt.
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  33. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    Louise Karch, who has won several medals at Canadian Adult Nationals, is organizing the filming of an "It Gets Better" segment on ice next weekend in London (Ontario). I'll post any links I can find.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  34. cailuj365

    cailuj365 New Member

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    I just read on NYTimes a few days ago about a horrible hate crime done on a few gay men. It was extremely violent and demeaning, and I read the article with my jaw open. It's horrifying to know what happens at schools, but then to read what's happening to some people after they've left the school environment is perhaps even more sad.

    Anyways, I think the It Gets Better campaign is an amazing initiative, and I'm glad that so many people have contributed. I hope it receives even more national attention that it already has.
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  35. heckles

    heckles Well-Known Member

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    You're correct, and some parents are exploring legal options. The point is that the child is not empowered to sue, which means he or she has to get the parents on board first. A lot of parents won't want to do that, especially if there are siblings in the same school system. It's not unheard of for parents to get Teacher A in trouble for something done to Sibling A, so Teachers B, C and D make life rough on Sibling B. An adult who is being harassed in the workplace does not have that legal barrier.

    As for teachers being unaware: sometimes that's the case, sometimes it's not. Adults who were frequent targets in school often remark that teachers definitely witnessed various horrific events and did nothing, laughed, or only stepped in once the victim tried to fight back.
  36. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    And maybe they killed themselves trying behind the scenes.

    Long story short, I knew there was a huge amount of bullying going on in the last school I worked for with the jocks making life hell outside of school for the drama/music types. I coached drama and I heard about it all. And I took it to the counselor and principal a million times. I tried to get the principal to take action every way I knew how. But he was the head football coach and was either completely in denial or didn't care. The result wasn't the bullying stopping or being addressed. The result was the jocks complaining about me to the principal every chance they got and the principal harassing me for three years until I quit teaching due to that and unrelated harassment from parents that was never addressed.

    ETA: I know of way too many teachers who have been harassed and bullied by incompetent administrators and had no legal recourse. Unions don't help much for those who are not tenured and only a bit for those who are and in most private schools, there is no union and no tenure. Don't be so quick to have the knee-jerk blame teachers reaction to all that ails schools. Administrators have the control yet take little of the blame and get away with just about anything.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  37. heckles

    heckles Well-Known Member

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    That's great that you did try to get it stopped, but from the sounds of it, this didn't happen in your class and you didn't witness it, so your options were limited. Still commendable you made the effort. What I was referring to are teachers who actually witness the behavior during class when they're the central authority figures, and they don't take action. These are the same teachers who readily correct gum-chewing or cell phone use; where are their vocal chords when they see harassment occurring?
  38. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    The project has good intentions, but I'm not sure it actually does get better for a lot of people :(
  39. mmscfdcsu

    mmscfdcsu Skating Pairs with Drew

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    I was badly bullied from Kindergarten through 5th grade by one disgusting excuse of a human being. Since I was also abused by my sister at home, it would not have occurred to me to go to my parents for help. I wonder if I would have said anything if there had been public awareness of abuse and bullying way back then.
  40. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    That's just pathetic. Not just mean, it's even beyond immature. It's pathetic.

    I mean, elementary-school kids are dumb and most of them don't know better, but 30-year-olds? Pathetic is the only word I can think of to describe such behavior out of people should have grown out of such things 20 years ago.

    I have a friend from high school, and she was one of the nicest, most generous people I knew. She confided to me that when she was in elementary school, she was a huge bully. Surprise was an understatement - you wouldn't have pegged her for a bully at all. She felt bad about what she did/said to other kids that age, but when she was younger, bullying other kids was what she did to entertain herself. One day she just decided it was stupid and stopped doing it. So some bullies do grow out of the behavior, but I think that mostly happens when they're the kind of kids who do it for "fun," not a self-esteem issue. I bet many such kids didn't yet possess the capability of putting themselves in another's shoes, and once they develop that capability, they grow out of the bullying. It doesn't make them sociopaths, it's just that all kids are self-absorbed. :lol:

    I think some older bullies (like the aforementioned 30-year-olds) do it because of their own low self-esteem. They feel threatened for some reason, and bullying is their way of lashing out. My younger sister actually bullied me when we were kids, but now I know it's because my parents coddled me more (me being the softie stutterer and my sister being the headstrong outspoken personality) and she interpreted that as me being the favorite.

    Others, I can definitely see a peer pressure thing going on, especially if it's a bunch of people ganging up on the same person. Again, it's lame but not entirely surprising. When I was in elementary school, I was made fun of because I refused to torment another girl that the kids were bullying. That kind of stuff happens, but I'm sure that everyone involved is completely different and don't deserve being villified. Everyone's stupid in their own way when they're young.

    I remember being bullied as a kid, but not that badly, considering I was skinny, quiet, physically slow, AND had a stutter. :lol: I had pride in my own intelligence and empathy, and that was enough to get me through. I've actually found through Facebook that some of those who were really immature back then have matured a lot, so "It gets better" can be true.

    When the bullying becomes violent...yeah, I have no idea how one would get a handle on that.
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