Today, I am taking that step through writing out my thoughts on an issue that is sensitive and personal to me: body-image bullying. In the past, I was ashamed to discuss this subject but I soon realized that this is an important topic to share. I have come to learn that if I don’t speak up, who will?
Years ago, my second-year social psychology professor shared a case with our class that taught me to never rely on someone else to take action. My professor was talking about the famous Kitty Genovese case that occurred during the early 1960’s. In a populous U.S. neighbourhood one morning, Kitty was attacked on a street and left to die over a 45-minute period. Kitty’s death was heart-breaking for its needlessness: 38 people witnessed her attack, but none did anything to help her! Kitty’s story is not the only documented case of the Bystander Effect; there are many more where people didn’t do anything to help someone in extreme need; they thought another person was taking care of it. John Darley and Bibb Latané have done fascinating studies on Bystander Apathy, looking at how people abdicate responsibility for helping those they see in distress. My psychology professor reinforced to our class that we should not act like such bystanders; instead, we should help others in need. I took her advice to heart; since then, my motto has been to do too much, rather than not enough, to help others.
As you may have noticed, there is a common element that runs throughout my blog, which is body-image bullying. In today’s society, many people and organizations are doing work in both body image and bullying; because of all this work, I could say, “Why should I help? Others are already taking care of these issues.” However, I’ve realized that while I can’t control how others act, I can control how I react to a situation. Therefore, I am taking a stand and adding my voice to the public discussion on body image and bullying! Despite the efforts of many self-help books, seminars, and television shows focused on enhancing individuals’ self-esteem, many people still feel as if they “aren’t good enough.” That is why I am speaking out and sharing my personal journey with these issues. I think it is really important to talk about body-image bullying; hence, I will focus my upcoming blog topics around it.