A quick rant about bullying, Amanda Todd, and what I thought.

I blurted this out on my Facebook fan page real quick last night and some people liked it so I’m just going to post it here unaltered. It was off the cuff and probably not my finest wordsmithing but it’s an honest result from 5 minutes of ranting at the internet.

It might also have a little insight into my own youth… and my frustration with people that age (16 to 19) today both aggressors and victims.

First, look at her. She’s goddamned gorgeous. What the hell… All she’d have to do is hang out for coffee with me and bat those eyes and I’m pretty sure I’d have slaughtered the pigs that were messing with her even if she did contribute to the situation.

Did feminism kill chivalry, leading to or contributing to situations like this? Why was there not one man in her life (starting with her father) that didn’t immediately take action upon seeing her video, let alone knowing about her situation over the months and years prior?

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Ok here you go…

A quick rant into the ether… One thing that bothers me about this #AmandaTodd business is the pointless, unnecessary nature of the entire situation. So she showed her tits, who cares, she’s gorgeous and people need to lighten up about that kind of thing she was a sexually viable young person exploring herself. It shouldn’t have been something they could hold over her in the first place. She wasn’t just bullied she was TORTURED, but even so she had been taking steps and was beginning to be supported by both her family and the system itself. I survived far worse in high school…I was armed, I was in the press, I was in every school in the city, I was victimized in ways most people never think youngsters are capable of doing to each other and I fought (HARD) every way I could come up with. I didn’t have a supportive system, only a magnificent mother to advocate for me. There was just NO NEED for her to die over it. I do understand mental health though and it is very tricky business what goes on in the mind of someone under such pressure with hormones and everything mixed in. It’s just not rational…I remember being inches from hard choices myself. At that age I realized something that most people in their teens don’t clue in to… the fact is in 5 years none of it will matter. You will be an adult with all the opportunities and freedoms and changes in judgement about your behaviour that go with being an adult. If you can just get there, you can go anywhere and leave it all behind or own it and fuck the haters those bitches are going to be nowhere until they grow up. Why couldn’t she get there? She did everything right, got supports set up, reached out via the internet very publicly, even moved! She could have brought harassment suit against her tormentors with the support of her parents, assault charges, gone anywhere with it. Not that she was a perfect innocent angel in this, no teenage girl is. The part people miss is that you can screw up, antagonize someone sometime, mess with someone boyfriend, say the wrong thing, or just be too pretty, and it does NOT justify the kind of treatment received here. You don’t have to love everyone, just coexist with them. Her tormentors don’t know that, clearly. She ALMOST made it. That makes me crazy.

The tragedy is the public attention this death will receive is going to make this an even hotter topic for a longtime to come and it was not necessary. She was so close….she almost made it out alive and just got caught at the wrong place in her spiral on the wrong day and gave up. Had she persevered, had she managed to have a friend who would see what was happening and go to war over it like I would have (and did, in my youth), had the schools been more militant in her defense, had ANYONE SPOKEN UP AT ANY TIME, had this, had that, if only this, but not for that…. Had this massive set of circumstances not coalesced into the perfect storm that pushed her to take her own life that day, had ANYTHING been different she would have made it.
What makes this go from tragic to terrifying for me is the knowledge that at any given moment there are thousands of boys and girls struggling in the same type of situation… and any of them have the potential to go this route. This isn’t one girl.
With all our power and legal nonsense and controls and rules and all that we’ve learned since I was in the same boat, we’re still allowing the same thing to go on…often worse.

That takes it from terrifying to stupid… which makes me mad. Very mad.
But I’m also mad at her a little. I feel bad about it, she went through a lot… but she didn’t have the tools to deal with it. She didn’t have the strength to persevere… She didn’t have the quick mind and strength of self to say “fuck you, share the pic, I’m gorgeous… but when you post it understand that the cops will be on your ass for distributing child pornography as well as stalking, my parents will sue you and your family for criminal harassment, and no matter what happens to my reputation you will always be the asshole.” Why was she weak when she needed to be strong? Why didn’t she learn power, authority, access to help, why did she not have even one or two friends who would stick by her and kick ass for her? What was different about what she knew, and what I knew at the same age that made her react by hurting herself instead of something (anything) else? Is this normal? If so, why are teenagers so goddamned weak? Why do we champion emos and not champions? Why do we have unbridled pity and compassion without responsibility and support?
Are we teaching kids to be as insular, locked away and isolated as individuals as the rest of society has become? Why are we not pushing extroversion, connection to others, that its wrong to be a victim and right to stand up for yourself and shame anyone who judges you for it?
I think her video was very brave and it hurts me that it says “I’m still here aren’t I?” in the description, because it says she failed. So did a million other people, but in the end it was her who did the deed no matter how hard she was pushed. How many others out there?
I was punished relentlessly for standing up for myself and others, it was a key part of developing this monster ego I ended up with…I might not have survived without it. Why is it ok to be a victim, and not ok to be a warrior?

These bullies and torturers and the culture of hate they live in is what’s wrong. They’re not warriors they’re cowards.
We shouldn’t be forced to retreat within ourselves. We should have the tools BUILT IN to go out and get more help. Why did I have the tools and she didn’t? Why do so many lack the power and initiative?
Foolish, stupid, rash young woman… you could have been me…I could have been you. What was missing that made you not enough like me at 17?

You were so fucking close, why couldn’t you taste it and make it through somehow. You’d have been epic.

 

Post Rant remarks/observations:

A few thoughts resulting from comments and discussions of the Facebook post.

Teenagers (especially ones in crisis) always seem to think they’re alone and that is almost never the case… the trick is making them realize it in time.  Amanda wasn’t even close to being alone. She was mere days/weeks from bringing the full weight of the school/legal system to bear on her troubles, and was still making all the same “battered woman/victim complex” mistakes in her thinking. Psychology is such a difficult thing. You have to prepare, be proactive in your development, not wait to react to situations like this.

We have to start treating/raising teens differently than before. We’ve never had such a rapid shift in consequences and ability as this last couple batches have seen. Even in the 15 years since I was 16 years old, I could have done a lot of what kids nowadays do on social media and the internet… but I was a genius kid and a computer guru. Nowadays you can do anything online with a few clicks and an app… no brains required. No consequences or sense of risk either.

Sex is normal. Yes, TEEN sex is normal. It always has been and it always will be. I had it, you had it, they are having it. Get over it. The stigmatization and controls imposed on them by others only make it worse. Amanda was no virgin, she didn’t do anything that any other girl (and guy) has done for generations. She showed her boobs on the internet (something every teen boy tries to get teen girls to do…perfectly natural) and then her whole life went to shit. When I was 16 you could do anything on cam and face no consequences, now you can record the video and take stills from it without any difficulty and make it into anything you want. It’s dangerous. If it weren’t “wrong” to sexually express yourself, it would not be something that others could hold over you and threaten you with. It would be healthy, beautiful, and strong… You could say “hey, those are mine, and they’re gorgeous. Fuck what other think, you have no power over me”. Own it, don’t let it own you.

There is a SERIOUS gap between what people CAN do to each other and what people THINK they can do to each other. Girls especially seem terribly ignorant, they don’t know how to use technology the way the guys who use it all the time do. They don’t understand the risks and exposure they have, and the gap makes them vulnerable. Everyone needs to know what the person on the other end of the webcam is capable of… not just how to turn it on and make it work. Education and understanding reduces victimization.

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3 Comments

  1. I agree with you on this topic…i think someone should come out with a top rated porgram that could help the teenage girls when it comes to webcams and something should be done to help the guys who are victumized to. The bulling has gotten so bad now that its everwhere and thats not right i wish people would get together and do more then what is being done now.

  2. Great commentary on a issue I found strangely disturbing. With a little more care and re-write polish you could turn pro.

    • thank you! I thought about rewriting it… but I just wanted to share it the way it poured out.


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