Aloha Friday: Bully Petitions and Videos

As someone who was bullied a lot in school, bullying is a subject very close to my heart.  No child should have to go through what I went through.  Sadly, many kids go through not only the level of bullying that I encountered, but much worse.  I’ve heard some stories of bullying that make my own tales seem like a trip to the spa.  Is it any wonder why kids crack and kill themselves or inflict harm on others?  When your daily outlook for the foreseeable future is pain and torment followed by torment and pain, your sanity begins to strain.  Too much and you can snap.  No child (or adult) should ever have to bear this burden.

Luckily, there has been a growing anti-bullying movement recently.  In fact, there’s a movie headed to theatres March 30th titled "Bully."  The movie follows five families as they confront the ugly reality of bullies.  The makers of this documentary were not only going to release this movie to theatres, but wanted to screen it in middle and high schools.

There’s just one problem: The MPAA gave the film an R rating.  The movie was one vote away from getting a PG-13, but got the more restrictive R rating instead for language.   This might make screening it to younger kids troublesome.  (Of course, a movie with acceptable language but tons of violence will almost always get a PG-13.)

Now the film-makers have a Sophie’s choice.  Their first option would be to mute or bleep some of the bad language.  This might get them the PG-13, but at the cost of glossing over some of the ugliness of bullying (something that is important to show to people).  Their second option is to petition the MPAA to change their ruling.  They’ve lost their appeals so far, but a petition has been circulating which, as of this writing, has nearly 180,000 signatures.  Finally, they could release it unrated, but then theater owners would treat it like an NC-17 movie and ban it entirely from their theaters.

I will definitely keep an eye on what happens.  Hopefully, the MPAA will relent and give the film a PG-13 rating.  Either way, B and I will go see this movie in the theater.

In other news, a few schools got together to film an anti-bullying video to post to YouTube.  The video featured many students dancing to Lady Gaga’s "Born This Way."  Sounds like a nice sentiment, right?  Not to a parents group.  They complained that the video wouldn’t reduce bullying, isn’t accepting of overweight kids/anorexic kids/kids who can’t dance, and that the music is offensive to most religions as well as to atheists.

I posted a detailed rebuttal over on Google+.  In short, I respect what these kids (and teachers) have done.  I think that the parents group is, at best, nit-picking.  Any efforts to spread the anti-bullying message help.  Kids need to be taught early on that 1) they are perfectly ok just the way they are; they don’t need to change to suit someone else’s view of "normal", 2) other people are perfectly ok the way they are and shouldn’t be expected to change to suit your view of "normal", and 3) people who are different from you should be treated with the same respect you show to people who are similar to you.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: Do you plan on seeing "Bully" in the theatres?

Also, while you’re at it, please head on over and sign the petition.

P.S. If you haven’t already, try out my Twitter applications: FollowerHQ and Rout.

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #128