Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Bully" (UPDATED)

There's a powerful movie coming out in March called "Bully".  Since this blog pertains to that subject, and its tragic results, I'm sure many people who read this blog are already aware of its impending release.  Judging by the trailer, alone, it's a must-see movie.  What I'm not sure everyone is aware of is that the MPAA, that autonomous group of people who decides what is appropriate for us to watch, has deemed "Bully" inappropriate for teens to watch without parental supervision.
UPDATE:  Incredibly,  someone left a comment to this blog post chastising me for calling a film that I haven't seen yet a "must-see" movie.  Well, let's see:  of the five youngsters who were featured in the movie, two have already committed suicide.  That, to me, makes it a "must-see".  This issue is real; the people in the movie aren't actors.
On the surface, this isn't a bad thing:  this is one of those movies that parents should watch with their kids so that they can have an open dialogue afterwards.  The problem with the rating is that it assures that the movie will not be screened where it needs to be seen the most:  in the classroom, where the worlds of the bullies and the bullied collide.  The precise audience that really needs to see this won't be able to unless their mommy or daddy takes the to see it.  Why?  Because, according to MPAA, "Bully" contains strong language.  See, in their world, they still pretend that teens don't hear, or USE, that kind of language.  I haven't seen the movie, yet, so I don't know just how strong the "strong language" is.  However, I would bet that it's no stronger than anything they're not already hearing in school.  Or, in some cases, even at home, for that matter.  Does that make it right?  No.  Does it make it reality?  Yes.

Here's the issue, as I see it:  this is a movie that desperately needs to be viewed in every school across this country and around the world.  The classroom is the perfect "theatre" for this film, for reasons stated earlier.  That's bringing both sides together on the battlefield in an effort to end the war.  That's showing the aggressor, the bully, the consequences of his/her deeds.  The impact would be potentially enormous.  Forget the language!  Lives are being lost.

To be sure, two of the five teens featured in this movie have committed suicide already.  That, alone, speaks volumes to the need for this to be viewed, universally, in the classroom.  Perhaps the members of the MPAA aren't attuned to the severity of the situation.   The Weinstein Group, producers of the movie, has already met with the MPAA in an effort to convince them to reverse their decision.  No dice.  What will it take?  More teen suicides?  The suicide of a teen close to them because of bullying?  I don't know that answer.  What I do know is that this problem is real.  This is a problem that needs to be addressed.  And, make no mistake:  there are efforts worldwide to address it.  Now, we need people like MPAA to stop putting up roadblocks to slow down the movement.
UPDATE:  Since posting this article, there has been a petition set in motion to attempt to get the MPAA to reverse their rating.  This is, without a doubt, a movie that HAS to be shown in classrooms across the country and around the world.   With enough signatures, we can show the MPAA that a little "strong language" pales in comparison to having another family lose their child to bullying.  So, it is my hope that everyone who reads this will SIGN THE PETITION.
There are a lot of wonderful things going on across the country and around the world as people, young and old, are speaking out and making a strong effort to do what our leaders have so far failed to do:  rid this world of bullying once and for all.  "Kids will be kids"?  Save it.  Too many lives are being lost from "kids being kids".  "Bullying will never end?"  I agree, as long as there are people willing to accept that backwards philosophy.  I'm a believer that anything is possible if your willing to work hard for it.  

18 comments:

  1. Teachers can schedule a showing in a classroom and send home permission slips for parents to OK the child viewing the movie, I believe. at least there's that.

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    1. That's a good point, Lauren.

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    2. But only if administrators agree, and I have a feeling that would be a tough sale. I wanted to show the YouTube video made by the young girl (Ali, I think her name was) who held up signs about being bullied. On one sign she'd written all the names she'd been called at school--bitch, slut, whore. Because of the language, my principal refused. I'm still shaking my head over that one. Kids are called that and much worse on my campus every day.

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    3. as someone who recently graduated high school it is under no circumstances allowed to show a "r-rated" movie at school, at least in utah it is.

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  2. TWO OF THE FIVE HAVE COMMITTED SUICIDE?

    How sad.

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  3. The problem being is that the bullies do not care. its as simple as that I fear.
    I remember at our old school we had a whole assembly on bullying and suicide and it had no affect on any of the bullies. our school had a ''zero tolerance'' on bullying policy but when ever anyone complained nothing was done. i remember the school only acted in my instance when we threatened to got to the police. im not saying don't show the fim just donm't expect it to be the silver bullet that cures the problem.

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    1. That's a problem that I cannot understand. Apathy only condones bullying. One issue that a lot of people don't seem to realize, that maybe you don't realize, is that when someone is bullied they often feel alone. Especially when no one does anything, then they feel like no one cares. How is that a good message to send to victims and bullies alike? The other issue is that a LOT of people, including bullies, don't realize the extent of the damage they cause.

      Especially when adults who have the power and responsibility to act on bullying incidents, they only allow the damage to continue. They ignore it, because otherwise they have to admit there are real issues they have to deal with. Often, even adults get bullied by the bully's parents. I'm friends with a couple teachers, and keep in touch with one of my own, and they often talk about how they get met with indifference or excuses when speaking about their child's behavior. A lot of times, the teacher will get blamed with how the child acted, when the teacher was only doing their job in discipline or handling the situation.

      This movie would, realistically, bring more light and awareness to bullying. To how adults act about, and how we can deal with that. Your sense of apathy, though, is disheartening to that effort. "Bullies don't care." How do you know? Really, how do you know? Not every bully is the same, and you shouldn't ignore the issue because you thinking someone might continue with their negative behavior.

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  4. Lauren got to it before I could. When I was in Jr. High (age 12), we watched a rated R movie about the Civil War. We were sent home with permission slips, and every last parent signed that their child was permitted to watch the film. I think, if teachers did this, it would actually help parents open that all-important dialogue with their child, without making the poor kid feel uncomfortable about seeing their own problems on the big screen with Mom and Dad sitting right next to them. :)

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  5. My son committed suicide at 17 yrs old...... he was described as infeminit by proffessional people.....but noone except me would touch on the subject!! I miss him sooooo....<3!

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  6. Without Ignorant adults....
    There is no bullying in the World !!!

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    1. You're Exactly right Walther! Hate and intolerance are TAUGHT! We are not naturally born hating.

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  7. Someone should start an online petition and post it to all the GLBT websites and post it to FB to be "shared". Maybe if enough pressure and publicity is put on this, the MPAA may be persuaded to change its rating.

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  8. I am concerned about the idea that students aren't allowed the voice and agency that "free speech" will allow our teenagers to even watch a movie. I made sure that my kids when they were teenagers had experience in dealing with subjects as this. I did not wait for the movie to come out. Kids know when you do not trust or respect their voice. If a teacher feels comfortable with the material, think how that will empower the students. Bullies are looking for power because they feel powerless and that needs to be addressed.

    Re: anonymous....I am sorry about your son. I can only imagine how sad you must feel.

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  9. I was bullied in Middle school to no end. It caused my whole life to change. I became sexually promiscuous with boys in high school (and older) by the age of 13, because nobody my age wanted anything to do with me and I was desperate for friends. I was suicidal and chronically depressed. I am now pregnant and in a very healthy marriage, and if my daughter has to face any of the crap I had to put up with in school, it would kill me. I don't know how parents raise their children to be so cruel, and it breaks my heart. My own mother filled my head with nonsense she still, to this day, defends, even though she knows it caused me worlds of pain.

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  10. In my opinion, if you bully someone to the point of suicide, you should be held fully responsible for their death. If you murdered their life spirit it is not different from putting a gun to their head and pulling the trigger yourself. I myself AM STILL trying to recover from the things that were said to me. After being told for years what they thought I was I started to believe it. I was on medication I hurt myself and I wont go into my whole life story but I was at the point of suicide and still find myself at my low points saying the same things to myself as they used to. I HATE BULLIES and I have no sympathy for them or their evil parents. Bullies no matter their age need to be punished because they are extremely psychologically and physically dangerous.

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  11. I was lucky enough to be raised by a strong family... One that raised me to stand up for myself, not with actions, but with words. I remember being able to stand up against my bullies, and occasionally the bullies of others. At the same time, seeing the cruelty that others are capable of brought on my depression and social anxiety. To the point where I couldn't finish school by regular means. I think many times, people forget that bullying doesn't just affect those that are being bullied, but also the ones that watch on the sidelines and know that there is nothing that they can do to stop it.

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  12. Our church sponsored this movie at the True/False festival this past weekend in Columbia Missouri. The thought was that there are so many things that we all agree on, that why waste time on petty issues we disagree on. It's a powerful movie and I think it should be shown in every jr. high and high school! Kids are exposed to much worse every day and their parents aren't with them then.

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  13. When we elect our presidential candidates based on how effectively they'll bully the GLBT community we shouldn't wonder why our kids them, too.

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