Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Worried for My Daughter's Future

So this morning, I watched this movie called Beware the Gonzo. I had started it a few weeks ago, but finally got around to watching the rest so I could clear it off my DVR. The movie is mostly forgettable, but you know me and my high school movies. I am compelled to watch them at least once. I wish it were better. I mean, Campbell Scott and Amy Sedaris are both in it and yet are given hardly anything to do. Ezra Miller is Ezra Miller playing Ezra Miller but admirably. Jesse McCartney, Ugh.

But I don't want to review the movie, not really. There's a scene with Zoe Kravitz that struck a nerve with me. It's basically a cell-phone video of her character right after she had been essentially gang raped. She's humiliated and the humiliation is caught on video. I shuddered, not because of it being graphic, but because I was holding my daughter at that moment and I thought about her and how utterly I am worried that something like that could happen to her. It's terrifying.

Also terrifying is the idea that my daughter could end up like Amanda Todd:

If you haven't seen it, watch it. The ever amazing warrior/writer Lorna Suzuki tweeted it last week and it hasn't stopped shattering my world. For those faint of heart, I'll recap. The video features Amanda Todd, some time before she committed suicide, explaining in detail, one scrap of paper at a time the type of torture she's had to endure at the hands of bullies. It ranged from cyber-bullying to flat out physical abuse and beatings by her bullies. It was something she felt she couldn't face any longer and that's utterly heartbreaking.

What's more heartbreaking is how persistent bullying can be at this day and age. Yes, I was bullied and absolutely hated junior high and high school, but then I got to go home and at least I was in a safe environment and could compartmentalize. Now, thanks to social media, that bullying can follow the kids home and can continue to follow them through their years. Now some drunken mistake could be posted on the internet and never be taken down, or somebody starts a hate blog about another kid, or some text involving something sexually explicit supposed to stay between two people doesn't and it ends up haunting and torturing these kids for a long long time. Kids today have a lot more to deal with, especially on this level than I ever did. And who knows what my daughter is going to face when she reaches puberty. She could come out relatively unscathed, or she could have a slight lapse in judgement and there could be a video like the one in the movie, or worse, she could end up like Amanda.

In the same movie I mentioned at the end Zoe's character says that the she's tired of being a victim and she's not going to let that video the fact that it's out in the world control her. That was a very powerful statement and one I'm glad she made. But the very next scene undercuts the entire sentiment. The scene featured a character named disgustingly enough Horny Rob Becker. He's showing a friend (Ezra's character) a video he uploaded to the internet of him having a three way that he said "was [him] communicating with god." It's totally barf inducing and it's totally the thing I thought the movie was partially standing against. In putting that video out to the world, he exploited the other girls in the video. This message that maybe, just maybe we shouldn't be video taping this sort of thing and exploiting and humiliating these girls was completely thrown out the door in that one scene.

We need to be talking about this more, as a society. We need to be telling girls that people will do this sort of thing and have no guilt about it whatsoever. We need to be talking about how prevalent bullying and humiliation have become with teenagers and come up with constructive methods for dealing with it.

As for me, all I can do is try to arm my daughter appropriately when the time comes and tell her that not everyone has her best interests at heart. I guess I can always buy her The Gift of Fear and force her to read it. But unfortunately this is something I have to prepare myself and her for. I hope for a brighter future, especially in regarding to this, but I'm preparing for a lot messier one.

1 comment:

Laura Zera said...

There has always been bullying, but Facebook has taken it to a whole new level. I hope that FB is doing something to help prevent bullying, too (on their site and face-to-face). Thanks for sharing this, Tylia.