You’ve heard the old adage, “They put their pants on one leg at a time” referring to celebrities, and how in the end they’re just people, right?
Well, as the Internet makes the world seem smaller, we’re seeing that there are other traits we share with these mere mortals we celebrate and idolize – including things we wish we didn’t have in common.
While cyberbullying is a trend we’d all love to hear less about, there’s something almost comforting in hearing that people we admire have shared the same struggles we’ve had. And our admiration and hero worship only grows when those people – people with more sway and clout than most of us can imagine – use their celebrity to shine a light on causes worthy of attention, like putting an end to cyberbullying, and using their voices to amplify the cries of the voiceless.
And in setting that example, they empower others to bravely seek their own solutions and help others do the same.
Here are a few champions to root for, along with those they just may have inspired:
The pop singer had her own experience with being bullied as a child, and now uses her celebrity to inspire kids to work together against bullying through her role as ambassador for Secret’s “Mean Stinks” campaign in 2012, and to realize they don’t have to be perfect through her contributions to Seventeen magazine’s “Love is Louder” campaign in 2011. Her book of daily affirmations, “Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year” debuted at number one on the New York Times’ Best Sellers list in late 2013.
The Game of Thrones star’s personal experience as a target of cyberbullies seems obvious inspiration for taking the lead role in the television movie “Cyberbully” this past January. As she told BreakingNews.ie, “People always say that I’m crazy on Twitter for trying to teach manners on the internet. Just in my followers, not on the internet in general,” she revealed. “And I sit there and think, ‘Well, why? Why is that crazy? You’re just a person sat behind a computer screen just like I am.’” A class in Internet manners is actually a brilliant idea – go for it, Maisie!
Ditch the Label
Here are some sobering stats for you, courtesy of Ditch the Label’s website:
MakeBeatsNotBeatdowns.org has some US numbers for those who wish to compare. Let’s just say this is a widespread issue.
Ditch the Label is committed to changing the messages young people receive from bullies as they grow and express their individuality – because differences are easy targets for bullies. But everyone is different, and the way someone looks, acts, chooses to dress, practice spirituality, or in any other way express themselves should never result in being victimized. Until that’s common practice, they’ll keep working to make it so.
Stix & Stones
Empowered by Envision “a national education charity that provides young people with opportunities to make a difference, Stix & Stones is a resource on bullying of all kinds for young people in the UK, run by young people in the UK. While admittedly not trained in managing questions about bullying issues, their goal is to provide information, which they do well, in a very one-stop-shop way on tumblr. And as is Envision’s goal, these kids are taking action and making a difference, and that’s a beautiful thing.
The Internet is powerful place, and for every troll, cyberbully, and hater there are people determined to join forces and push back against the negative influences – both online and beyond. We have a long way to go, but it’s people and organizations like those mentioned above that give all of us hope and inspiration to keep going, and to do our part to help make the world, and the Web, a better place.
Have you had any experience with bullying or cyberbullying? Tell me what you did about it and how it helped (or didn’t) the situation.