The “Real Sexism” Incident

Well, then. I already shared my opinion on feminism with you, my hesitation to call myself a feminist because of the negative connotations, and that if feminism is all about equality, I guess I do consider myself a feminist. Actually, just now, while I was preparing to write this entry, I asked myself if there is such a thing as masculism, and if there is such a thing, what shapes it would take.

The issue, to start this off more generally, with every social rights movement, political tendency or belief is that there are people who take it too literally, who go too far to promote it, who try suffocating everything that goes against their belief. I am not quite sure why that is. I guess humans are just bound to execute intolerance and destruction. Those people, the ones who take it too far, are called extremists. I already told you what I think about femen, but compared to other extremist groups, they are harmless, because writing stuff on your boobs does not have much of an effect, neither positive nor negative. Extremism can take much more dangerous forms, as we all know; the most prominent examples are al-Qaeda and the Aryan Brotherhood. People who terrorize and kill other people because of extremist believes. The backgrounds of extremism are normal things, painless things, that are unfortunately open to interpretation, like the Bible and the things people understand it as, a shocking example being the white supremacists who interpret the “creation” story in the Genesis book in the way that non-white people have no souls because they were made of mud.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, about a month ago, Jasmin sent me the link to Emma Watson’s #HeforShe speech, and, hesitant about the label “feminist” as I was, I posted the speech on twitter with nothing but the tag “Something to think about”. A short time after I had posted it, I received an answering tweet, and I thought, nice, I got a response! So I read the tweet and it had been sent by someone calling themselves @rapebombing. (A name that admittedly made me suspicious.) They had sent me a link, with the tag “Something else to think about”, and I thought, alright, give it a try, and what they had sent me was a site called, and for those of you whose attention was just grabbed, I think I will disappoint you in a minute, because none of the contents on this site were what anyone in their right mind could have called real.

What the Real Sexism Project appears to be about is that allegedly, men are the real victims of sexism. Now, I am not sure who ever claimed that men are never victim to sexism, but whoever concocted this site obviously believes sexism only sees females as the victims and men as the aggressors. Out of that mislead belief, the originator of collected a myriad of statistics and facts, some of whom are completely unconnected to the issue of sexism (e.g. “89 % of men will be the victim of at least one violent crime”), some of whom are enunciated a little too vaguely to be taken seriously (e.g. “40 – 70 % of domestic violence is against men”), and some of whom just plainly sound fictitious (e.g. “Court bias against men is at least 6 times bigger than racial bias”).  What the originator has done, as is common with extremists, is that they took studies and surveys from universities and other academic facilities and interpreted these in the way that they wanted to interpret them. This is how extremism works, how it always has worked and always will work – extremists will go to you and say, what I am saying is not wrong, and then they will show you their evidence, the evidence they apprehended by twisting and turning things, looking for loopholes and leeway.

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that ain’t so.” Mark Twain

What depressed me for the rest of the day after I had received that tweet was that this person, whoever they might be, has a hundred and fifty-eight followers on twitter. A hundred and fifty-eight. This means that a hundred and fifty-eight people either believe in what this person says or even support it. A hundred and fifty-eight people does not sound like a scandalizing amount, but the issue is that this person, this extremist (or maybe it even is a group of extremists, who knows) is able to spread their extremist views on the internet just like other people are spreading cute cat gifs on 9gag and everybody in the entire world has unlimited access to it. The realization that people’s minds are weak enough to fall for it is depressing enough, but the internet has made it infinitely easy to spread your believes. Hell, I am feeding you my believes and thoughts right here, in the moment that you are reading this, as well as every time I post something on facebook or share something on twitter or write a story and publish it on or archiveofourown.

What this boils down to is that extremists have always existed and will always exist, but the internet has changed the world, it has changed how people interact and how they gain knowledge, and on that day in September, when this person responded to my tweet for #HeforShe, I understood that nowadays it is ridiculously easy for extremists to gain followers, and it scares me. This person has a hundred and fifty-eight followers on twitter, and they will gain a lot more over time because humans are pliable and have to believe in something, and sometimes all it takes is one wrong turn.

What appealed to me about #HeforShe is that it is in no way extreme. Emma Watson’s speech was directed at women and men, and she accorded both sexes the right to equality and the ability to fight against discrimination, because #HeforShe is aware that both sexes are victim of discrimination, in all its different forms.

All I wish for today is that you, the readers, consider your believes and consider them carefully. There is no right way of thinking, but we all must be aware of the intrinsic truth that says that all humans are created equal and deserve equal rights and equal treatment, and should you ever come across anything that violates that truth, obviously or insidiously, you should think twice about believing it.

Don’t give extremists a chance.

“We came equals into this world, and equals shall we go out of it.” George Mason

Follow Miri on her personal Twitter account: OriginalSGreenD


What it means to be a feminist

When Jasmin approached me about this topic – what it means to be a feminist – I pondered over how to approach it; I had nothing to go by but the title. So I thought to myself, why not start this off with a scientific ground on which I could place my opinion? It is the easiest way for me to decide what a feminist is, in general, and what a feminist is to me, specifically.

According to Lois Tyson, English Professor at Grand Valley State University and author of several books about critical literary theory (covering feminist criticism, as well), feminism means fighting against the reinforcement of the economic, political, social and psychological oppression of women. So far, so good.

One of the claims feminists are much-maligned for, though, is that we should not use the masculine pronoun “he” to represent both men and women. For many feminists (again, according to Lois Tyson), using “he” to refer to both sexes suggests that male experience is a standard by which both sexes are evaluated, even though strictly speaking “he” can only refer to males.

A thorn in the side of feminism is the scheme of patriarchy. Patriarchy promotes traditional gender roles, which assign to men the traits rational, strong, protective, while women are considered irrational, weak, submissive. The best example for that way of thinking is the concept of hysteria. We have all heard the cases of women who were diagnosed with the psychological disorder “hysteria”, a condition deemed distinctly female and marked by overemotional and irrational behavior; now, what’s striking about this (to Ms. Tyson as well as me) is that the word hysteria derives from the Greek word “hystera”, which means “womb”.

While you are letting that sink in for a minute, I just want to add that feminist critical theory distinguishes between the term “sex”, referring to our physical and genetic make-up, and the term “gender”, which means the cultural programming as either male or female we undergo when we grow up. It is an interesting approach to look at, considering you are biologically a man or a woman (or something in between), but also that there are behaviors, habits, gestures, looks, that are being described as male or female without having anything to do with the biological or genetic make-up of the person conducting that behavior, habit, gesture or look.

So much for the scientific side. Now, what do I think?

I think I am hesitant to call myself a feminist. I despise the concept of patriarchy, of the so-called traditional gender roles, and honestly, when I learned of what hysteria means in Greek, it pulled the rug out from under my feet. But, on the other hand, I do not care about the pronoun issue; to me, “he” is a pronoun and nothing else. It’s semantics and nothing more.

Furthermore, when I hear the term “feminist”, I picture extremists, like femen, who think writing stuff on their boobs will help fighting patriarchy, but really, I think it doesn’t help much; I heard a German comedian called Maxi Gstettenbauer joke about femen and the fact that he has never read anything the femen activists had written on themselves because he was too busy looking at their breasts. And you know what? I laughed, because it is true.

But the truth is also that I am not doing feminism justice by reducing it to femen and other extremists or the pronoun issue. If you can go on and call yourself a feminist because you consider yourself a strong woman who wants both sexes to have equal rights, equal opportunities, equal payment, then I guess I can consider myself a feminist. The term still has a lingering bad connotation, but my hope is that #HeforShe can change that, and not only for me, but for everyone else, too, masculine, feminine, male, female, whoever cares, whoever wants to listen.

Follow Miri on her Twitter: OriginalSGreenD

Feminism and Gender Equality – HeForShe Week

True equality means holding everyone accountable in the same way, regardless of race, gender, faith, ethnicity – or political ideology.

~ Monica Crowley

Hey my loves,

this week is a very special week on The Dawn of Inspiration. Every single day a new blog entry will come online concerning Feminism and Gender Equality in honor of the campaign HeForShe! I am a feminist and I believe in gender equality and I believe that every single one of us has to do something to reach our goal. No matter how small or big our contribution is, it matters that we all pull on the same string: Gender Equality!

Feminism is not only for women. It’s something everyone can participate in, and evolve together, as the first step in the right direction. I see feminism as a tool to achieve that balance and peace.

~ Ani DiFranco

To be a feminist means believing that we can achieve a better and stronger base for our nation today through gender equality. It means building a unity which will present the foundation of a better and stronger society – despite our skin color, ethic, race or gender.

A society in which it does not matter where you come from but how hard you have worked for what you believe in. A society in which you won’t be discriminated because of your skin color or gender but for your individual characteristics and your will. A society which does not discriminates a man as a “wimp” just because he shows emotions. A society which can accept the strength of a woman without having to feel intimidated. A society which is build on acceptance. An acceptance which allows every person to be whatever he or she likes to be.

Feminism does not mean hating men, it does not mean „woman are the stronger sex”! Feminism means unity and equality. Feminism means to be free in the unity. Gender equality is a controversial “must” for the stability of a strong society. A society can only exists with men and women. A „without“ cannot exist, because a society could not exists with just one gender.

We need gender equality! We need feminism! We need HeForShe!

Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement and remuneration based on ability. ~ Sandra Day O’Connor

Please let me now, what you think! Tweet me: The Dawn of Inspiration!

Xoxo, Jasmin.

Guide to University Success – 10 Tips

For students at universities or colleges all across the world, a new academic year has either already begun or will begin soon. Summer is over, and we need to get used to using our brain again, to getting up early in the morning.

For those who are only enrolling in university now, it is far more than that: you are facing new challenges, a new world with new people in it. I remember my very first day in university, when I was only 19 years old, very shy and pretty much overwhelmed with everything. I will say, it’s scary, but worth it.

What I would have wished for back then are a few helpful pieces of advice on how to be successful at university. I didn’t have that, though, so I had to make my experiences on my own, and some of them I learned the hard way. So when Jasmin asked me to do a Motivational Monday about the start of the semester, I decided to give you ten tips on how to survive life and studying at university and graduate in the end.

1. In every building, find the cleanest and most quiet bathrooms.

Because usually, people like to pee in peace. From experience I can assure you, the best toilets are never on the first floor (or ground floor, if you’re a Brit). They’re used by far too many people.

2. Don’t get lost on campus.

Make sure you know where the rooms are your lectures take place. If you want to make extra sure, be there a week before lectures start and look for ways to get there, you might even find shortcuts.

3. Make acquaintances in every course.

They don’t need to be your best friends, but you need someone you can ask for help should you ever not be able to show up (be it because you’re sick or because you’re skipping) or should you have serious issues with the subject. If you think you can manage university without help from others, you’re only kidding yourself. And there is a saying that friends you make in college are friends for life.

4. Bring your own food.

At least whenever possible. Trust me when I say that relying on the cafeteria can be fatal when they either have only shitty food or too many people were faster than you and there’s nothing left. Besides, paying for lunch every day will make you indigent faster than you know.

5. Be there early.

In big universities with 20,000 students or more, it is vital you be there early enough to get a seat if you don’t want to end up standing, or sitting on some stairs, or the floor, even. If you’re there half an hour before the lecture starts, you get a seat, I guarantee it. If you’re there even earlier, you still have time to go to the bathroom and get a coffee without being in a hurry, a great thing if the lecture is in the morning hours.

6. Don’t do homework at the last minute.

For homework that you need to hand in to pass the course, don’t do it. Just don’t. It puts you through an unnecessary amount of stress, and since you don’t have enough time to properly proof-read what you wrote, you could fail because of too many minor mistakes.

7. Divide your revising wisely.

Do less work for the courses you know you’re good in, and in return do more work for the courses you are having trouble with. Every lecturer will treat their course as the absolute priority, but you need to figure out in which course you need to invest the most time. In the end it comes out even.

8. Find a studying method that works for you.

For some people it is enough to just memorize the contents, but others also need to practice applying their memorized knowledge to exam-format questions to be able to succeed. You need to find out what applies to you.

9. Don’t panic.

Some lecturers like to make you nervous by rattling off statistics about their exams, like e.g. the failure rate is seventy-five percent, for every lecture you need to do two hours of revising or you will not make it, yadda yadda. My advice is: don’t listen to them too much. If you make yourself crazy before an exam, that doesn’t help anybody, least of all you. You should go into an exam with the appropriate amount of respect, but don’t be scared. If you’re really nervous, you can always find higher semester students and ask them about their experiences.

10. Decide whether you actually want it.

This is the most important advice I can give you. If you only enrolled in university because

a) your parents wanted you to do it, or

b) you didn’t know what else to do, or

c) both of the above,

there is a high chance of it leading you nowhere. Sure, the experiences you make at university are great ones you will not want to miss, but if you know you don’t actually belong there, you should reconsider. When you are studying something you don’t really want to study, going through with it is incredibly hard, and I admit that I could not go through with it when I first enrolled. If you think you are strong enough, go for it. But think about what it is that you want, and pursue that.

“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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What I want to talk about this Motivational Monday is something that has been on my mind for a while now, rooted in the behavior of a friend of mine who is unfortunately loaded with preconceptions about a lot of the modern media. A few months ago, another friend (for privacy’s sake, let’s call her Daisy) and I struck a deal: She would go and see “Godzilla” with me, a movie I really, really badly wanted to see in 3D, under the condition that I go and see “Divergent” with her. I had read and heard reviews about “Divergent” from news outlets that I completely trusted in their opinions on movies because they had never called a movie good that I detested, and those reviews were unfortunately mostly negative, so I did not particularly feel like watching “Divergent”. But like I said, I really wanted to see “Godzilla” and since this was Daisy’s one condition, I said, “Okay then, let’s do it”.
I had low expectations, and a lot of them were fulfilled. This is not a movie review of “Divergent”, but in a nutshell, it was a mix of recycled ideas from “The Hunger Games” and a dash of “Twilight”, with a few minor plot holes. But you know what? I let myself enjoy it. I know this is not the best movie I’ll ever see, and emotionally it did not quite reach me, but I was entertained. I had fun. The actors were good, the story had a few original ideas that were really good, the images were beautiful and the heroine’s love interest was a seriously hot guy. What can you want more in a movie from which you expected nothing?

Now, here’s what I am trying to say. If I had said no to Daisy’s condition, I would have missed this movie. I would have lost not only two really fun movie nights with a dear old friend of mine, but also the opportunity to be well entertained by something I did not expect to entertain me. I would be missing this experience now, and in retrospect I can say with certainty it’s an experience I would not want to miss, under no circumstances. And that is why I decided to forget preconceptions when it comes to media now. I decided that I would not let myself be led by preconceptions in deciding what movie I would watch next, or what TV show, or what book I was going to read next, because I could be missing out. I watched “Escape Plan” with Stallone and Schwarzenegger, another movie towards which I had next to no expectations, and I had a lot of fun watching it. I watched one of the “Universal Soldier” flicks with Van Damme, and well, it was as bad as I thought, but at least now I know with certainty. What this gave to me was the realization that whatever you think a story might be, it might be the complete opposite, and you’ll never know if you don’t try it yourself. So what if I detest Mel Gibson? I’m still going to watch “The Expendables 3”. So what if Uwe Boll’s movies were 90 percent garbage? His next one might be better. So what if Charlie Sheen is unappealing and a bad actor? “Anger Management” might still be funny, and I sure as hell will give it a try.

The point I am trying to make to you is this: you can not know whether you like something if you have not tried it yourself. This friend of mine who is loaded with preconceptions is missing out on a world of fun because she thinks she knows what’s good based on… well, I really don’t know what she thinks her opinion is based on. As far as I can tell, it’s based on nothing. Don’t do that. Don’t be this person who thinks they know it all when it’s clear they don’t. You will be making a huge mistake. That’s why, for this Motivational Monday, I am daring you to watch a movie that you never wanted to watch, for whatever reason, and go through with it until the bitter end. Diverge from your usual patterns. You might be surprised. In any case, then you’ll know for sure. Because in my book, there are few things more unappealing than not being open to change.

Go follow Miri on Twitter: OriginalSGreenD

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost

Motivational Monday – Blue Eyed

Hey my loves,
it is time for another Motivational Monday from my dear friend Miri. I hope you enjoy her entry as much as I did and maybe think about it what she wrote. I wish you all an amazing week and stay tuned for more to come!
Xoxo, Jasmin.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I want to use this Motivational Monday to make you aware of the works of a great woman that has done many things to help erase racism and prejudice. This woman goes by the name of Jane Elliott. A former school teacher, you might have heard of her through her blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment, which was documented in the feature film “The Eye of the Storm” from 1970, and its follow-up “A Class Divided” from 1985. What Jane Elliott did was, the day Martin Luther King was murdered, she wondered how she was going to explain this murder to her third-graders in primary school, and she decided to do an experiment with them. The next day, she divided the class into blue-eyed kids and brown-eyed kids, and on the first day she explained to the kids that the blue-eyed people were the better persons, that the brown-eyed people are dumber, dirtier, more unpleasant to be around. The brown-eyed children had to wear collars, and they were not allowed to use the water fountain and could not have seconds at lunch time. The second day, roles were reversed, and the brown-eyed kids were the “superior” group.

Jane Elliott did this experiment because she did not know how to explain the death of King to her students except for allowing them to walk in the shoes of a child of color for a day. Soon after, she was invited to the Johnny Carson show, where she talked about what she did; that was when the community of Riceville, Iowa, she lived in found out, and that was when the terror began. “I received vicious calls in the night,” she reports, and obscene letters, and 20 % of the parents in the community explicitly asked for their children to not be put in Elliott’s class. Once in a while, someone would call the principle to tell him: “I don’t want my kid in that nigger lover’s class.” Her children were beaten, spit on, abused by their peers, their teachers, their peers’ parents. Elliott’s parents lost their business. “I learned a whole lot about racism,” Jane Elliott drily states. “Good deeds won’t go long unpunished.”

In 1996, Elliott does another experiment, this time simply called “Blue-Eyed”, where she invites adults of all races to a workshop, and the white, blue-eyed people have collars put on them and then are sent to a room that is sweltering hot, in which there are three chairs for seventeen people. The tone she uses when speaking to the blue-eyeds is rude, clipped. “You either follow the rules or you’re out of here,” she snaps. “The purpose of this exercise,” she explains to the brown-eyeds, who comfortably sit in a conference room, “is to give these nice, blue-eyed white folks the opportunity to find out how it feels to be something other than white in the United States of America.”

“What I’m going to do is to assign to these people, on the basis of their eye color alone, all the negative traits that we have assigned to {…} those who are obviously physically different.”

Eye color, as Elliott proceeds to explain, is caused by the same chemical that skin color is caused by: Melanin. The more melanin one has in his or her skin and eyes, the darker the skin and eyes are; and it is obvious that judging someone by their eye color makes as much sense as judging them by their skin color does. To assign to the blue-eyeds the negative traits of being dumb and ignorant, she has them do a test they know virtually nothing about, to make them aware of how it is to take a test that you can’t pass, and how high your IQ can be if it is based on that test. This has been done to immigrants in the US on a regular basis. Elliott gives out the same test to the brown-eyeds, before the blue-eyeds are allowed to enter the room. “You brown-eyed people are going to know at least half of these answers because you are smart, you are caring {…}, and I’m going to give you the even-numbered responses. This is not cheating, people; this is called ‘reinforcing our position of power in this room’.”

Elliott explains the rules of this experiment: They will make the blue-eyeds look and feel inferior; they will treat them like children. What starts out as seemingly nothing but an elderly lady aimlessly bullying the blue-eyeds, soon morphs into a mirror of society, where all the contestants have valuable lessons to learn, like e.g. that submitting to tyranny is NOT a valuable lesson to learn. To go along to get along is not something people should think of as a valuable lesson, even though it is the easy way out.
“To sit back and do nothing is to cooperate with the oppressor.”

Jane Elliott reinforces this idea, in the hopes of making a change.

“At the end of the second World War, when they cleaned out the concentration camps in Germany,” she quotes, “a Lutheran minister said: ‘When they came for the Jews, I wasn’t Jewish, so I did nothing. When they came for the homo-sexuals, I wasn’t homo-sexual, so I did nothing. When they came for the gypsies, I wasn’t a gypsy, so I did nothing. When they came for me, there was no-one left to do anything.’”

This text really only scratches at the surface of Jane Elliott’s groundbreaking work. There are many videos on youtube that deal with her experiments. You can buy the written documentation of “A Class Divided” on Amazon.

For this Motivational Monday, you should give it a try. Explore Jane Elliott and the things she has done. It has the potential to shift your views forever.

Miri (Twitter: @OriginalGreenD)

Blue – Eyed:

A Class Divided:

The Eye of the Storm:

Motivational Monday – Run Fatboy Run

Run Fatboy Run

For all you movie nerds out there, and the rest of you, too, this Motivational Monday I’m presenting you one of the best films in history that will make you want to pick yourself up off the ground and do something. “Run Fatboy Run” is a comedy from the year 2007, directed by David Schwimmer, whom you probably all know from playing Ross on “Friends”, that stars Simon Pegg as Dennis Doyle, a Brit who has failed at pretty much everything he touched in his life. To prove to his ex-girlfriend (Thandie Newton) and the son he has with her that he is not the loser everybody thinks he is, Dennis decides to run a marathon in London, fueled to succeed by his best friend Gordon (Dylan Moran), who has placed bets on Dennis and is therefore quite invested in making Dennis fit for the challenge. Sure, the title “Run Fatboy Run” sounds fatuous when you first hear it, but once you get past the Forrest Gump-inspired silliness, you discover the beauty and life-affirming attitude of this movie. Dennis runs the marathon, he hurts himself right at the start, and he still pulls through. At one point, he hits The Wall. The Wall that makes him want to stop because he cannot go any further, because a) he is physically exhausted beyond anything he has experienced before, and b) Dennis is a quitter. He ran away from the wedding with his ex-girlfriend, as he ran away from everything else that proved to be of any challenge or responsibility. In the end, Dennis breaks through the wall and finishes the marathon. And I, myself a movie-nerd for life, have never seen a scene so inspiring as the scene where Dennis faces all his past failures and retreats and makes the conscious decision to not be that person anymore. We all know this Wall. We have all hit it at some point or another. Let Dennis Doyle be our role model for today: Think of something you haven’t had the guts to do, because you shied away from responsibility or effort or conflict (and I am sure, no, I KNOW we all have this thing), and do it. Break through the Wall. Don’t be a quitter.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison

Love, Miri
Follow Miri on her personal Twitter: OriginalSGreenD

The Bully Project

Hey my loves,

I’m going to deviate from my usual topic now. For personal reasons, but also to start a new series called “Motivational Monday“. But most of all to spread awareness.
The following words come from a person who became a very dear friend of mine in the last half-year. She has agreed to work with me on this blog as a co-author. The first project I have given her was to “write something about the documentary The Bully Project”.
I personally was bullied at a young age. I managed to survive – thanks to people like my two best friends and my family, without them I would haven been stuck in that dark place longer.
I have the opinion, Miri has brought it quite to the point. Therefore, without much saying: Read on and stay strong!

XoXo, Jasmin.

We focus so much on our differences, and that is creating, I think, a lot of chaos and negativity and bullying in the world. And I think if everybody focused on what we all have in common – which is – we all want to be happy.
Ellen DeGeneres

~ The Bully Project ~

In 2009, 17-year-old Tyler Long from Georgia hung himself in his closet after a few fellow students at his high school told him that he’s worthless and should kill himself.
“Bully”, formerly called “The Bully Project” which is the title given to the internet project inspired by the film, was directed by Lee Hirsch, who himself had been bullied in school. The movie starts out with an interview of Tyler Long’s father David who talks about his firstborn son, Tyler. From an early age on, David saw signs that his son would be victimized at some point. According to a Facebook site arranged for Tyler post-mortem, Tyler was diagnosed with Asperger at an early age, which made his interactions with other people difficult and awkward, especially for him.
David and Tina Long tried desperately to change something after they lost Tyler, tried with all their might to make people aware of the issue called “bullying”, but the only response of school board representatives, predictably, was the obligatory “kids will be kids”. Still, David Long does not give up. “My voice will not fall silent” he says into the camera. “I will make a difference.”

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Alex, a 12-year-old from Iowa, has two younger sisters and two younger brothers and lives an apparently happy life with them and his parents. But, and this is not a complicacy easily managed by a teenager just hitting puberty, Alex also has an unattractive face and awkward social skills. As an obvious consequence to that, peers and older students treat him badly. Alex claims he doesn’t mind them calling him “fishface”, asserting that they “don’t mean it”, but all the while viewers as well as Alex himself know this is just a defense mechanism. Alex DOES mind, and the other kids DO mean to hurt him.
He has severe issues making friends, and he’s regularly threatened and physically abused on the school bus. Alex takes the abuse with an “Okay” and a careful attempt at being friendly to his tormenters.
Kim Lockwood, assistant principal at Alex’s school, tries her hardest to do something against bullying, admits her helplessness at facing hundreds of possible bullies and bullied.
When the situation on the school bus is close to escalating and becoming more and more dangerous for Alex, the filmmaker shows the video material to Alex’s parents, who directly turn to Lockwood, asking for Alex to be put on another bus, fearing for their son’s safety. Alex feels just as helpless as Kim Lockwood, even though they’re on different sides of the equation.

We know who we are, but not what we might be.
William Shakespeare

Kelby, 16 years old, lives in a small town in Oklahoma. She’s the only openly gay girl in the entire small town. Neither Kelby nor her parents are welcomed at church anymore, and people who Kelby’s parents had been friends with pass them by now without looking at them twice. Students and teachers (!) at Kelby’s school discriminate and insult her. “If anyone comes around and is the least bit different” Kelby states matter-of-factly, “they make sure to put them down.” She admits that she used to harm herself. Kelby tried committing suicide three times. Still she never wanted to leave this town because, as she put it, “if I leave, they win.”
“I’m the one in this town that could make a difference” she says. Because in the end it does all start with one.

Be sure of yourself, don’t let anyone bully you, be a strong and independent woman or boy.
Nicole Polizzi

Ja’Meya, 14 years old, Mississippi, is a passionate Basketball player and an honour student. She’s also in custody for bringing her mother’s gun on the school bus because she didn’t see any other way to defend herself against the students who bullied her. Ja’Meya never planned to hurt anybody, she just wanted to scare them off. A surveillance camera on the bus captured the occurrences: Nine or ten students were throwing things at her and insulting her when she drew the gun. In that moment, according to the police, she had 22 counts of kidnapping, 22 attempts of aggravated assault, 45 felony charges against her in total.
In the end all charges against Ja’Meya are dropped, and after a few more weeks in inpatient psychological care, she is released and free to go home. But it is obvious that her life has suffered a significant change.

I realized that bullying never has to do with you. It’s the bully who’s insecure.
Shay Mitchell

Ty Field-Smalley from Oklahoma only lived until his eleventh year because he shot himself after having been bullied for a very long time. Kirk Smalley, Ty’s father, started reaching out to other parents of bullied children all over the world through the internet, building up a network to somehow fight this thing that cost his son and so many others their lives.
At the end of the movie we meet Kelby again as she visits the event “Stand for the Silent” in Oklahoma City where Kirk Smalley holds a speech about changing the world. “We’re doing it for each other” he says. Parallelly to Oklahoma City, there are similar events in Lansing, Michigan; Johannesburg, Illinois; Joshua, Texas.
“We’ve all got to continue what we started today” Kirk Smalley says. “I will never, ever, stop fighting bullying wherever I find it. I will fight bullying forever, because my son will be eleven years old forever.”

Say what you want to say and let the words fall out, honestly I want to see you be brave.
Sara Bareilles – Brave

It was a personal matter for me to write about “Bully”. I myself have been the victim of severe bullying when I was in school. I was ignored, I was called a c***, I was called ugly, I was told to my face by students I barely knew that they hated me, I had the most peculiar things thrown at me – blackboard erasers, tennis balls, pencils, gums, paper balls, and those are only the things I remember clearly. When I hit puberty, I suffered from acne and had to get glasses. As you can imagine, it didn’t make things better.
Yes, I wanted to kill myself. I thought about it quite often in the course of the first four years in secondary school. I cried myself to sleep a lot, and I cried to my parents that I didn’t want to go to school anymore.
And then at some point, I had The Epiphany. I am not the one with the problem. THEY are. It is that simple. The bullying slowly started subsiding when I was 15 or 16 years old, and at some point maybe a year or so before I graduated it stopped. The Epiphany came after that. And now, at almost 24 years old, I am at a point where I can look at myself in the mirror and say, “I really like myself” without lying.
If you are wondering how I managed that, well, it took me long enough, but in retrospect it appears so simple – the first step is to realize that anyone who is cruel to you without reason has a problem, and it’s a problem that’s not yours. The second step is to like yourself. I know that’s not the easy part, but remember to tell yourself something good about yourself every day. Think about your talents, think about what you can do better than someone else. It can be the little things that tip the scales. And the third step is to do things that you like. Wear clothes you feel comfortable with. Get a hobby that you love, ideally one that you can share with friends. If you don’t have friends, getting an interactive hobby is the best way to meet them. And the fourth, and most important step:

Get an opinion. Stand up for yourself. Know that your life counts. Know that you’re special. See your own uniqueness. There’s no-one in this world who is like you.

As one person alone, unfortunately there’s not much you can do about bullying except not letting it affect you. I wish I could tell you something else. As a group, though, it can work. That’s why this movie was made.

It all starts with one.


Follow Miri on her personal Twitter: OriginalSGreenD

Playlist: Music about & against bullying – Playlist

The Bully Project Links:

Facebook “Bully Movie”

Facebook “Tyler Lee Long Memorial”

Facebook “The Bully Project”

Twitter “Bully Movie”

Other Links:

Twitter “The Bully Project for Teens and their Families”

The Bullying Project

Stop Bullying

Kick Bully

Mobbing Web (German)

Schüler Mobbing (German)


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