IAR Op-Ed: 'Bully'

Monday, 26 March 2012 10:43 Written by  Dana Feldman
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IAR Op-Ed: 'Bully'

Anytime I hear a story on the news of a teenager committing suicide because they felt that there was simply no other way out of the hell that is bullying, I stop what I am doing and cry out of sheer frustration and a feeling of enormous helplessness. I became a writer in the hopes that my words would reach out and heal others. It is for this purpose that I share my personal story of bullying.

As a young girl being pretty and thin tends to make you popular and popularity is extremely important when you’re in school. This is an unfortunate truth, but a truth nonetheless. So, in an effort to conform to what I thought was important at a time in my life where acceptance from my peers was crucial, I played down my smarts and discovered makeup. Unfortunately, my plan would prove unsuccessful, as I would soon come to discover. The one part of myself, which was not “right” in the eyes of my classmates, would soon be broadcast for all to mock.

You see, we all have something that others might perceive as a flaw, and the bullies spot these things in others and viciously point them out – all of this is, one discovers much later in life, only to sway the attention away from themselves because even the bullies have flaws and insecurities.

It was during English class that one such bully decided to point my imperfections out to all within earshot. Now, mind you, I was sort of unsure of a few things at that time, well many things, but one in particular. My weight. I thought that I might be fat, but I wasn’t really sure because no one had ever said it to my face until this moment.

“You know, Dana, your face is pretty, but you’re fat. You know that, right?” The world went very still, and very quiet. What broke the deafening silence was the laughter, the horrible laughter. What this moment did was instill in me that I was not good enough. That moment watered the seed that was already planted in my mind. And that was the first day that I binged and purged. I was so young and I fought that battle for over a decade.

This boy’s comment and the laughter that followed didn’t give me an eating disorder. I take full responsibility for that, as I said the seed was already planted in my own self-doubts. This boy’s comment humiliated me and served as proof that I wasn’t good enough. The point is, when anyone bullies anyone, there is damage done that can sometimes be permanent. We need to teach each generation that there are consequences to their actions and that words can do as much damage as a punch in the face. The film Bully from the Weinstein Company is an imperative educational film that I hope can become a movement and the beginning of the end of the horrible act of bullying.

Weinstein has organized an anti-bullying Twitter Tuesday for tomorrow.  To participate, follow @BullyMovie and retweet, "13 million kids get bullied every year. It's time to take a stand.  Repost to stop bullying.  #BullyMovie

Bully, directed by Lee Hirsch and Alicia Dwyer, arrives in select theaters on Friday, March 30th.

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