The Kardashians/Jenners. Love them or hate them they are major influencers of teenagers today. In fact, both Kendal and Kylie Jenner were both included in Times list of 30 Most Influential Teens of 2015. You might not like Kylie Jenner but she is using her social media platform to highlight anti-bullying. As a celebrity, Kylie faces bullying everyday as people comment about her life or her looks or her relationship. Kylie is keen to use her very public persona in an effort to shed light in a topic that is very important for her and plenty of other young people around the world.
In June of this year the Kylie admitted in a Snapchat video that she has experienced bullying of her own. She told her fans, ‘I thought of the idea because, almost my whole life, since I was 9, since I have been in the spotlight, that comes with so much bullying and attacking,” she reflected. ‘Everything I do, there’s a huge light on it. I’m okay with that because it is what it is, it comes with the lifestyle. But it has still affected me a lot. But I wanted to take a different approach and pretty much let other people that I found who have been through bullying and overcome it, to use my platform and just kind of bring awareness to it’.
‘A few months ago, I decided that bullying is my thing, and I am passionate about it, and I want to help other young boys and girls going through the same thing. I felt I could be a leader. I am a teenager going through the same things as they are, so we can go through it together. ‘
The legacy Jenner wants to leave behind is simple. ‘That I have helped people and that it was not just about me,’ she replied of her hopes of having a lasting impact. ‘That I was an inspiration for young girls. And it was not just getting your lips done and having good hair, but being a good person and inspiring other people to not bully other people and do good things and be nice to everybody.’
On September 1st 2015 she set up an anti-bullying campaign called ‘I am More Than’ on her instagram and Twitter.
Kylie has 41 million followers on Instagram. Nearly all of these followers are young girls/teenagers.
She also recently wore blue lipstick in support of Anti-Bullying Day. She posted a photo on her instagram and urged her followers to ‘spread love’.
The ‘I Am More’ campaign portrays all varieties of people who have been a victim of bullying. In her ‘#IAmMoreThan’ Kylie announced she plans to share six stories over six days of ‘people who have become heroes in their own way by taking #bullying and turning it into something positive. She is actually still sharing stories and it is now the end of October as the campaign was a massive success. She now shares a story every Tuesday! With thousands of posts on Instagram using the hashtag already, it looks like the #IAmMoreThan movement isn’t going away for a while and I am really happy about that. I think it is an excellent campaign! Kylie meets up with and interviews each person and then she shares it on her instagram as part of her campaign. She is sharing stories of selected victims of bullying who are now able to speak out and help others n their situation. As she wrote in a caption of a photo introducing the campaign, ‘I’ve gotten to talk and bond with all of these people whose stories you will see on my page. I think you will all fall in love with them just like I did. I want to encourage you, my fans, to share something positive about yourselves. I’ll be reading as much as I can so that some of you can be apart of this as well! Let’s do this.’
It would be really worthwhile to show your students’ this campaign either as part of non-exam Religious Education, SPHE, or as part of Anti-bullying/Friendship week or Health week.
It is a really positive campaign that portrays how lucky everyone is to have something unique about them. By telling the stories of women who have been bullied and fought back, Kylie is inspiring others who have been bullied to refuse to let it ruin their lives.Sadly, bullies are everywhere and bullying on social media is even easier and more cowardly to do than in person. Cyber-bullying is a massive problem in schools all over the world.That’s why it’s wonderful that Kylie is using social media to give support each week to an individual who refuses to bow down to bullying.
One of the stories she shared with everyone was about plus size model Erica Schenk. Erica responded via Instagram and re-shared the photo, taken by photographer Enrique Vega. She thanked Kylie in the caption. ‘Thanks Kylie for the shout out and for supporting so many women that struggle with body image.’ Erica recently featured on the front of Woman’s Running. In a ground breaking attempt to break fitness stereotypes, the magazine chose plus-size model Erica Schenk to be on the cover in the upcoming August issue. Diverging away the commonly used skinny and muscular models, Editor-In-Chief Jessica Sebor wants to stress ‘runners come in all shapes and sizes.’ Erica is really inspiring for teenagers today. Tell your pupils to be proud of their body!
Kylie shared the story of a college student called Renee DuShane who was born with a genetic disorder which affects how the bones in her face fuse together. She is a twenty one year old college student who was born with Pfieffer syndrome. Renee recently got a tattoo of her life motto which is ‘stay strong, always love’.
Kylie also introduced her followers to Em Ford who runs My Pale Skin Blog on instagram. Em Ford is English and she is a former model who suffers with acne. I am a big fan of Em as she is inspirational for teenagers and also adults today. Her posts of her make-up fre selfies resulted in over 100,000 crazy negative comments on her pictures. She made an incredibly powerful video highlighting the negative comments she received on her social media after her make-up free selfies. The comments were horrendous! The video racked up 8 million views in the first week and it has now been viewed nearly 17 million times. She is just trying to be brave and honest and convey to other acne sufferers ‘that it’s okay not to be perfect’. Acne is the pain of so many young people’s life. Em fought her bullies back by making and posting a dramatic and moving video showing her naked face, then covering it with make-up and finally removing it again while bullies ridiculed her with harsh comments on-screen. Em’s very inspiring message is that ‘beauty is all about how you feel INSIDE. The moment you let other people’s poison enter your mind is the moment you start to fall. Calling us ugly because of a skin condition does not make you any more beautiful. I could fix my skin and you’ll find something else to hate me for and that says more about you than I care to think about.’
Another excellent case study to use with students is the life story of Lizzie Velasquez.
Lizzie Velasquez discusses appearing on Kylie Jenner’s instagram as part of the #IAmMore campaign. It starts at 3:10 minutes in the video clip.
Lizzie who is 26 was born with an extremely rare congenital condition in which she has zero body fat and she has never weighed more than 64 lbs. She is unable to gain weight, has to eat many small meals and snacks to survive, is blind in one eye and has a weak immune system. The condition is so rare, only two other people in the world have it. She was first bullied at school for looking different and then online as a teenager. When Velasquez was 17, she came across a YouTube video labelling her “the world’s ugliest woman” that had been watched over four million times. One of the comments said: ‘Do the world a favour and put a gun to your head.’ Others called her a ‘monster’, told her parents to ‘kill it with fire’ and said they should have aborted her. But instead of causing Velasquez to hide away from public life, the video inspired her to start an anti-bullying campaign that led to the 2013 TED talk bringing her to international attention. Footage of her inspiring speech now has almost 7.2 million views on YouTube and its success inspired the creation of the documentary. ‘I know what it is to be bullied and what is to be bullied online, and I want to be the protector of those who think it won’t get better,” said Velasquez. ‘Instead of just taking shelter of my tears, I chose to be happy and realise this syndrome is not a problem but a blessing that allows me to improve myself and inspire other people.’ She set up a Kickstarter campaign entitled ‘The Lizzie Project’ to raise $180,000 towards a documentary on her life. The campaign has now raised $215,000 from 3,564 backers and ‘A Brave Heart’ is ready to hit the screen. ‘Lizzie has such an inner strength and sense of humour that anyone can relate to her,” said Sara Bordo, a first-time director working with Velasquez on the film project. “We all have difficulties in life, but nothing compared to what she has been through. Her positive attitude elevates the spirit of any person in the world.’
Velasquez has also written three self-help books and is currently lobbying for America’s first federal anti-bullying bill.
Fortunately, her condition is not terminal and despite her challenges, she attended Texas State University and she has written two books for teens including the story of her journey titled Be Beautiful, Be You. Nevertheless, she has been mocked and called ‘the world’s ugliest woman’ by nasty cyber-bullies. However, Lizzie has refused to be deterred by small-minded detractors, and has taken that negative energy and has turned it around by travelling around the world doing motivational speeches. Lizzie gave her followers this great advice: ‘I try to convey that all you need to have is a brave heart to accomplish whatever you want to achieve. Let the negative build you up instead of knocking you down.’ She released her own film this year about her struggle. The film is called ‘A Brave Heart’.
Her instagram name is LITTLELIZZIEV and her Twitter username is littlelizziev
Lizzie’s own personal website is http://imwithlizzie.com/
Here are some video clips about Lizzie Velasque.
Lizzie Velasque at Ted Talks.
She must eat every 15 minutes. Listen to her inspiring story.
Lizzie Velasquez Shares Inspiring Story & Anti-Bullying Advice.
Woman called ‘World’s Ugliest Woman’ becomes inspiration to all.
A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story Official Trailer (2015).
Croagh Patrick is a sacred mountain in Westport, Mayo. Each year, as many as one million pilgrims and visitors make the very tough trek to the top to pray at the stations of the cross, participate in Mass, do penance (in which case the rocky journey is undertaken barefoot) or just enjoy the spectacular view of Clew Bay which can be seen in my own personal pictures below.
Croagh Patrick has been a sacred site since ancient times. Before the arrival of Christianity, the Celtic people regarded the mountain as the dwelling place of the deity Crom Dubh. Neolithic art can still be seen on a rock outcropping known as “St. Patrick’s Chair” along the path to the top, and a Celtic hill fort was recently uncovered at the base of the mountain. According to Christian tradition, St. Patrick went up the sacred mountain at festival time in 441 AD. After fasting at the summit for 40 days, he banished all the snakes and demons from Ireland.
The site quickly became an important place of Christian pilgrimage. A stone oratory dating to between 430 and 890 AD was recently discovered on the summit. According to Christian tradition, St. Patrick went up the sacred mountain at festival time in 441 AD. After fasting at the summit for 40 days, he banished all the snakes and demons from Ireland. It is one of the main pilgrimage sites in Ireland for Christians. It can be studied as part of Section E of the Exam Junior Certificate Religion syllabus.
The first time I climbed Croagh Patrick a few years ago I found it to be incredibly challenging. I was not physically fit as I did not understand the significance and the benefits of physical activity. I climbed it with my uncle, cousin, two younger brothers and my father. My family are very physically active, my brothers play for our local teams, under-age for Mayo and for Connaght and my father still plays football for our local team at home. They had climbed Croagh Patrick a good few times already. At the time I thought I should probably climb with beginners but I went anyway. I am so glad I climbed it with them. It was a great bonding experience.
Climbing Croagh Patrick was exhausting and also very dangerous as it is a mountain with slippy fields and rocks falling sliding down the mountain. It is amazing to see the amount of people that climb Croagh Patrick on any given day especially on Reek Sunday. I found Croagh Patrick to be an allegory for life. Climbing Croagh Patrick was as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Physically it is intense hard work that must be done but it’s up to the mind to override the urge to quit. When I came near to the top of Croagh Patrick, my body felt like I could not climb any more. I was so close to the top but yet I gave up, my father gave me a pep talk and brought it all into perspective for me. Do I give up when life gets hard? No! Do I give up when I have loads of work to do? No! He will never realise the effect that pep talk had on me. After his advice, I pushed myself to keep going. I would not give up no matter how much agony my legs were in! In fact at the end when I could see the summit in my sights I picked up my speed and gave it all I had. I said a prayer as soon as I reached the top. Climbing Croagh Patrick reinforced in me the important idea that, in life, it’s about the journey, not the end result! Also I realised the importance of empathy and the significance of accepting help off others. Like I said earlier, my father and my two younger brothers are incredibly athletic and fit. (They play 3 to 4 football matches a week). The opposite to me! They found Croagh Patrick very doable but they never complained to me that I was slowing them down. In fact they had empathy for me and they realised how hard it was for me. They offered me so much support.When you see people going through a hard time, offer them support. Be there for them! Do not give up on them!
As a religion teacher, as I walked up Croagh Patrick, I felt Jesus pain. But I also felt Jesus triumph when I reached the top of the mountain. It was a spiritual journey for me.
Life is difficult but we must push on and never give up. Life is a constant rush, running from one way to the next. I like everyone else constantly worry about what I have to do. While climbing Croagh Patrick, I realised that amidst the rush and stress of my daily life, we lose ourselves and we forget what really matters in life. I realised we need to relax more and find time for ourselves. While I was climbing Croagh Patrick, I was not worrying about work or school work or stuff I had to do. That stuff did not matter to me at that moment in time. Croagh Patrick was one of the best experiences in my life. It taught me so much.
I really recommend every teacher to climb Croagh Patrick. Also every school should organise a school trip and encourage their students’ to climb Croagh Patrick.
The students’ will learn resilience, empathy, life lessons and they will also exercise. Life can be hard, we must teach our students’ to not give up when times get tough. It will improve the students’ communication skills as they must really help each other to push each other to reach the top of the mountain. Exercise releases endorphins (the happy hormone) which improve your mood. Bressie really endorses mental health fitness.
Exercise is brilliant for a healthy mind and for helping stress/anxiety. It relaxes you, distracts you from your worries and it clears your mind. School is very stressful. I know I am only five years out of secondary school and I have a younger brother who has just started his junior cert so I understand the struggles teenagers face today. They are living in a highly pressured world. They need a break.
Exercise also produces serotonin which aids sleep. Exercise is also good against the battle against obesity. The National Health survey showed 30 per cent thought children aged between five and 15 were most at risk for obesity, while a further 30 per cent said those aged between 15 and 30 were most at risk of becoming obese. A healthy body equals a healthy mind. It is a fact that exercise in early teens cuts risk of diabetes. Leaving Cert students who continue to play sport while studying for their exams are more likely to go on to third- level education than those who don’t.