The Wrong Way To Fight Bullying

Apr 5 2011 @ 9:21am

Emily Bazelon calls yesterday's PSA about anti-gay bullying "the right kind of response to bullying." She can't say the same of the above ad:

When she saw the video, Nancy Willard of the Center for Responsible Use of the Internet worried that it makes killing yourself seem like the perfect revenge against bullying: No more misery for you, and the culprits get punished.

She wrote to the ABA, which responded, "Although it would probably be impossible to design a dramatic treatment of this important and highly complex topic in a fashion that perfectly calibrates all the key messages and possible take-aways to every possible concern, we believe our video strikes the right balance." But the video has nothing in it about how Jenna could have gotten help, no models of kids or adults reaching out to her, nothing to help kids remember that however awful bullying feels in the moment, high school doesn't last forever. It's like the dark opposite of Dan Savage's It Gets Better project, offering hopelessness instead of hope. My own hope is that it's too cheesy and unrealistic for kids to take seriously.