I would have called the former cheerleader for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Green Bay Packers, a victim of cyberbullying, except that she didn’t allow herself to be victimized. When the odds were stacked against her, she took matters into her own hands and fought back.
Her picture had been uploaded on Facebook to the Chicago Bears Fan page earlier this week with a caption that said, “Like if you agree the Packers have the worst cheerleaders in the NFL.”
This photo had more than 80,000 views, 3,400 Likes, and more than 1,400 comments, most of them negative. They called this very pretty girl ugly, made sexually explicit comments about her, and ganged up against her.
She took her complaint to Facebook, asking them to remove the photo and the hateful comments. Their response was that the photo does not meet their qualifications for bullying.
And that’s when she went after the bullies in one of the classiest ways to hit the Internet. She took to YouTube to deliver her message about cyberbullying, but instead of speaking, she wrote her message on several pieces of paper delivered consecutively with Josh Groban singing, “You Raise Me Up” as background music.
Each of those hateful messages had the name of the person who posted them, making it impossible for these people to ever deny having been involved in such wholesale emotional slaughter.
In her message, she wrote, “Help me let these people know that they’ve messed with the wrong Wisconsin girl!” And it worked. After her video went viral, the Chicago Bears bowed down to public pressure and took down the post and issued an apology saying that in the future they would monitor the comments better so they can delete the ones that are out of line.
This incident reminded me of an experiment that was made by a teacher many years ago. She divided the class into blue eyes and brown eyes. The green eyes and hazel eyes were counted as blue eyes. Then she had the brown eyes make fun of the blue eyes and treat them as undesirables.
She conducted this experiment for several weeks. The brown-eyed children became more aggressive and nastier and the blue-eyed children became very self-conscious and withdrawn.
Little by little, the blue-eyed children became introverted and exhibited feelings of insecurity and they allowed themselves to be bullied and victimized. They also kept their eyes partially closed so that no one could see the color of their eyes.
Perhaps people today could take a page from that teacher’s book. If you suddenly find yourself the victim of bullying, you might want to involve your family and friends to help you fight it in a public way. You might also want to make a video and put it on YouTube and name the bullies so that it becomes a matter of public record.
It doesn’t matter if the leader of these bullies is gorgeous or ugly; what matters is how he or she will perceive himself or herself once the vicious attacks start coming fast and furious.
If you can get your family and friends to post negative things on Facebook or Twitter and keep up the pressure, the odds are they will be so busy trying to escape the slings and arrows directed at them that they won’t have the time or inclination to keep up their attacks against you.
This is a different world we live in. People have become angrier and more malicious. They no longer attack just those who have done something to deserve their enmity; they attack people just for the fun of it and deliberately try to push them into committing suicide. The worst thing is that there is no accountability for their actions and no remorse for their part in it.
I have never believed in an eye for an eye but after seeing that former cheerleader’s video, I’m beginning to see the merits of using the Internet to accomplish your purpose when nothing else seems to be working.
There needs to be more Public Service Announcements, more instructions by the teachers and parents from kindergarten on up that let children know that if they are the victims of bullying, that they should make their parents aware of it.
Most children think that if they tell their parents, the bullying will get worse but, since the Internet has become such a powerful force, they might find that there is a way to fight back without becoming more of a victim.
For those children who are contemplating suicide, it might be just the thing to give them the courage to expose the bullies in a public way, especially if they can hide behind a screen name while they are doing it. It might even give them an incentive to tough it out for a little longer, to live, to fight another day. And most of all, to live long enough to develop their potential and not let the bad guys win.