I’ve been hesitating about whether or not to write about Amanda Todd.
I’ve decided that I really have to, since she lived so near me and since I know what it is to be bullied.
But I can never say that I know what it is like to be Amanda Todd.
Only she could tell us that, and she tried, and now she’s dead. Her pain can never be recalled.
Furthermore, the entire thing seems so bafflingly senseless.
Even more bafflingly senseless are the douchetards of the world who are now using Amanda Todd as a poster-girl for “poor little white girl” type memes and “suicidal people deserve to die” type claims.
These people use the exact same logic that put Amanda Todd in this position in the first place:
1. If you show your breasts to someone/sleep with a boy who has another girlfriend, you are a slut.
2. If you are a slut, you deserve to die.
The logistical gap between conclusion one and conclusion two is such a Grand Canyon style leap that it leaves ME gaping.
Because that’s what this is really about.
Amanda Todd is an example case against cyber-bullying, but the issues are much bigger than that.
Yes, sure, she was cyber-stalked by some creepy pedophile who kept posting nude pictures of her and mailing those shots to her friends and classmates.
But Amanda could have survived the cyber bullying quite well if the real-life people in her world weren’t such complete and utter douchebags.
Here’s what I don’t get:
WHY did she lose all her friends when Pedo-creep emailed her breasts to them?
WHY did she get taunted out of three schools just because she was being stalked by a pedophile?
Where was the sympathy?
Where was the sense of proportion?
I mean, in the two years since Owl was born, I can safely say that ALL my friends have seen my boobs.
None of them have dumped me for it.
If someone emailed candid shots of my boobs to all my friends, I think they’d say “uh, you have a stalker, we need to report this to the police.”
They wouldn’t DUMP me. They wouldn’t RIDICULE me.
THAT’S what killed Amanda Todd.
Not the pedocreep and his ugly facebook pages and his emails.
It was the kids who saw those photos and decided that it said more about her than it did about him.
It was the friends who didn’t stand by her, the people who told her she deserved to die for doing such a TOTALLY MINOR THING.
And I mean minor with pun intended.
The same thing happened again in the sleeping-with-someone’s-boyfriend incident.
She was lured into a douchebag’s home and then slept with him. She doesn’t go into many details on this point – it could easily have been a date rape.
So who gets blamed for this?
Oh right – SHE DOES.
The boy’s girlfriend, 15 other girls, and the boy himself accost her in public and beat her up over it. When she’s driven to attempted suicide over the incident, kids send her pictures of bleach, instead of sympathy and flowers.
Today’s youth are supposed to be progressive, more feminist… but they still blame the girls and not the guys.
They still believe that being a slut is the same as being a bad person.
They still believe that a girl who is provoked into flashing a pedophile is to blame for the pedophile’s attentions.
Shame kills us.
Social rejection kills us.
Ultimately, it was the shame and social rejection that Amanda Todd encountered in her day to day life which was so devastating to her mental health.
And shame for what? For having sex? For being a cheater?
A child was targeted by a pedophile. Her friends and classmates, and the people who post sickening defensive rants all blame… the child.
A child is lured into a boy’s home and he has sex with her. Her peers blame… the child.
All these people, all these schoolmates, all of them think that a photo of some breasts and being involved with a cheating guy make her worthy of DEATH?
I can’t imagine what she went through, but I do know that it was STUPID. Not because she made stupid mistakes. I think “teenagers” and “stupid mistakes” are basically synonymous anyhow.
What was stupid was how this stuff was blown so totally out of proportion, until she believed that a couple of mistakes had ruined all chances of worth and happiness.
Being bullied changes you.
I wasn’t targeted for sexual behavior like Amanda. I was targeted just for being new to the school, being bookish, being a bad dresser.
I was spat on, taunted, made to feel worthless. They blocked my route to my locker, kicked my school books down the hall.
“I’m going to set fire to your house and kill your whole family”.
“Carol’s an alien!”
“I’m going to punch you in the face.”
“Why are you such a loser?”
“Why don’t you smoke?”
“Why don’t you shave your legs?”
“Why do you love school so much?”
Actually, I dreaded school each day.
To this day, I find it hard to look attractive men in the eyes, because as a 13 year old I looked into the eyes of the boys around me and saw nothing but hate and scorn.
And why? Because my mother put my in floral turtlenecks? Because I raised my hand in class? Because I was new?
I didn’t deserve it any more or less than Amanda Todd.
Wearing bottle green pants, showing your breasts… we all make mistakes when we’re 13 years old.
But as you get older, things change.
Unlike Amanda Todd, I had some friends who actually stuck with me.
So I hung on.
The boys gave up taunting me first. The two most persistent girls eventually backed off. One backed off because she couldn’t keep up when I returned her insults.
“Tanya, maybe you should hide. I think I hear the dog catcher coming,” I said once when I was offered a punch in the face. She looked nonplussed, and it took her a while to figure out what I was implying. The other bully, much quicker on the uptake, burst out laughing, and without her moral support she only threw a handful of corn chips at me and stormed off.
The other bully eventually developed a grudging respect for me. The teasing stopped and we basically ignored each other for years.
The Christmas after Owl was born, I went to my high school reunion.
I ended up sitting next to the respectful bully and we showed each other photos of our kids, and she told me about having to take her son to New York to see a medical specialist, who saved her son’s life.
High school ends.
People grow up. At least, a lot of them do.
Social rejection will always hurt. I was bullied at work and driven off the deep end by it, so I can’t promise that bullying will never happen out of school.
But it isn’t as bad. Nor does being bullied in school indicate that you will be bullied out of it.
And the older you get, the whole showed-your-tits thing becomes less and less of an issue, because as you get older, it becomes increasingly normal to have sex. By the time you’re 30, the virgins are the weird ones.
Besides, feelings get… less intense when you’re an adult.
Even depression is less intense.
Nothing is as intense as your teenage emotions.
It’s impossible to tell a teenager this, because they don’t KNOW it.
When you’re a teen, high school is all there is, and you think it’s a test case for how the rest of the world will receive you.
And it’s not true.
The popular kids from high school?
They aren’t any more successful than the rest of us. In fact, a lot of them are LESS successful. In fact, a lot of them have gotten fat.
Kids, if you are out there, thinking of following Amanda’s footsteps, think of this:
If you kill yourself now you miss out on the chance of going to your high school reunion, being more successful than the people who made you miserable, and able to note how unattractive and slovenly they have become, and you will be shocked by how much shorter and inconsequential they seem.
Kids, if you are out there, and someone in your school is being bullied, don’t jump on the band wagon.
Don’t even just report it to the teachers.
Go sit down with them at lunch and tell them that whatever they are being teased about is not a big deal.
You could be saving a life.
And now, in memory of Amanda Todd, here is a picture of one of my boobs.
Edit: If you found this blog by googling Amanda Todd’s breasts or a variation thereof, please click here.
Please consider donating to an anti-bullying organization, such as Bullying Canada or to Cybertip.ca, which works to prevent child exploitation online, or to a teen suicide prevention organization like teensuicidepreventio.org.
If you found this post interesting, you might also like: