Friday, August 19, 2011

Fighting Bullying - Jen McKen

Book related?  Maybe, maybe not.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion on bullying and cyber-bullying in specific.  Most of us have witnessed bullying to some degree within our lifetimes and if you haven't, some day you will.  Lately, however, it seems that bullying is getting much worse and much more deadly.  From causing physical harm to another person to causing that person to feel like they need to harm themselves, bullying is an epidemic that is spreading throughout our society, especially our school-aged youth.

Bullying is never okay.  End of story.

ABC Family has covered this topic in Cyberbully.  If you haven't seen it - I suggest that you do.  Many authors have also joined together to fight bullying.  If you search on Facebook, you can find a group of Young Adult Authors Against Bullying.  Dear Bully, written by 70 young adult authors discusses these authors' personal experiences with bullying.  Although the book isn't released until September 6th, 2011, it looks to be a pretty emotional read that hopefully will create a huge impact among young adults.

Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their StoriesThe incident that spurred me to write this post instead of putting up the review that was scheduled for today is a photographer I heard about online.  Perhaps everyone has already heard about her, perhaps not.

Jen McKen is a professional photographer based out of Pennsylvania.  Recently, she wrote a blog post about a disappointing experience she had on the internet.  While browsing Facebook, she came across a page where the entire purpose was to humiliate and bully fellow classmates of the individual who created the page.  Unfortunately, it seems that there was quite a group of individuals who jumped on the band wagon and decided to say some pretty nasty things about their classmates and in general, showed how ugly they were on the inside.  These individuals were clients of Jen's who had already put down their deposits for senior portraits and wanted Jen to spend her energy and time making beautiful photographs of them.

To make a long story short, despite the possible negative impact this could have on her business, Jen took a stand, returned the deposits and told the individuals and their parents that she was sorry, but due to their actions online, she would not be taking pictures of these Seniors.  How could she attempt to make someone look beautiful on the outside when she knew what kind of ugly actions sat beneath the surface?

Want to learn more?  Check out her blog post.  Want to leave some nice words of encouragement and show her that she's not alone in her stand against bullying?  Leave a comment on her Facebook page.

What kind of experience have you had with bullying?  What are some of your favorite anti-bullying books or shows?  Is there someone that stands out to you as having taken a stand against bullying?


Amish Stories said...

Id like to invite you folks to come to Amish Stories for a recipe for "Famous Pennsylvania Dutch Sticky Cinnamon Buns" along with a book signing schedule for Amish fiction writer Wanda Brunstetter for Pennsylvania and Ohio as well as a contest to meet her. I hope everyone so far is having a great weekend. Thanks everyone. Richard from Amish Stories.

LoriStrongin said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I was a bullied teen, and anyone who thinks, even for a second, that bullying is harmless is so, so, so wrong. I still bear emotional scars from high schools, along with the physical ones. I was pushed into lockers, had chunks of hair ripped out of my head by complete strangers, and had slurs spraypainted on my locker and on my house. And when my parents went to the schoolboard, they refused to do anything about the problem.

Things only started to get better my last year of high school when I went to the NYLC conference and met other kids my age that cared about books and music and theater and world events, rather than making each other feel badly.

THIS is why we need more books and movies about bullying. We NEED parents to actually *parent* their children and explain what bullying is and how it hurts. And we need school administrators to give a damn about what happens in their schools and fund programs to teach kids that all types of bullying are hate crimes.


Ayanami Faerudo said...

I experienced bullying as a child. I was (and still am) rather large. And even if they say that it's just harmless teasing, it just lowered my self-esteem and I never felt, at least, pretty.

Now, though I'm still rather a few pounds heavier, I've learned to embrace who I am and just turn a deaf ear to the "teasing". That or I just clobber them.

I'm joking. I just wish that parents and teachers don't turn a blind eye from bullying thinking that they should not interfere with "children's business".

RevitaDerm Review said...

Most of us have witnessed bullying to some degree within our lifetimes and if you haven't, some day you will.