“Why I don’t like Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project as a response to bullying
(Ten Points, in order of appearance)
1. The video promotes metro-centric and anti-religious sentiment. By aligning their bullying with the religiosity and “small-town mentality,” Dan and Terry tacitly reinforce the…
Not just this, but the way the anti-bullying message seems to only be supporting homosexual victims.
I am a white cis demisexual female, and for half of elementary school and all of junior high, I was bullied. By both male and female bullies, so it wasn’t a gender thing. I was just a little bit smaller and a little bit weaker than the others, and so I was a target. Surrounded by jerks, I felt no real attraction to either gender until after I was out of high school, and none of my bullies made accusations regarding my orientation. But they would mock my interests, kick me in the head, steal my books and hide them, toss gum in my hair, threaten to kill my cat, or spend hours calling my home phone number with harassing calls.
And I remember days when I wished that I was outwardly different, so at least I could have a reason for why I was a target. If someone is bullied for their skin color, they know it’s just racist asshats doing the targeting and there’s laws to defend them. If someone is bullied because of their orientaiton, there’ll be a support group somewhere in their area they can turn to, and laws are moving into place to defend them. If someone is bullied ‘just because’, then they’re told “Ignore them and they’ll leave you alone.” (though when I tried that, I was later told it was my own fault for just sitting there when they threw chunks of ice at my head).
As I was in junior high at the time of Columbine, I was sent to five different school counselors, four off which went with ‘ignore them and they’ll leave you alone’ while trying to asess if I was about to go on a killing spree. The fifth told me the advice to ignore ‘em was a load of shit, and simply told me to survive.
The bullying did not stop until I transfered to another district for high school, and I turned into just another face in the crowd rather than a target.
And it didn’t get better. Not entirely. Sure, I got away from the assholes, but spending your formative years flinching away from most forms of social interaction isn’t good for you. I still have to deal with social anxiety and massive depression.
And shit like this makes me realize that the system is just as broken as it was in my day. It’s not better, and I don’t know what I can do to change it. Fuck the advice to victims to just tough it out; stop the bullies. Don’t say “boys will be boys” or “boys just do that to girls they like” or “ignore them and they’ll leave you alone” or “these are the best years of your life.” Don’t cheerfully report no cases of bullying at your school when you’ve decided that not reporting them makes you look better and is easier than actually doing something. And don’t be an asshat of a principal who looks at a student with bafflement when they’re in your office to request you to sign the papers to allow them to transfer to a different school district.