During the Super Bowl, Lady Gaga’s athletic performance was all about celebrating inclusion and the spirit of equality while 172 million American football fans looked on. She wanted a memorable performance at a time of national division.
But the six- time Grammy-Award winner was met with the dark side of social media. Bullying criticism about her figure began within minutes of her show.
Lady Gaga hit back with a positive message.
“I heard my body is a topic of conversation. So I wanted to say, I’m ‘proud’ of my body and you should be ‘proud’ of yours, too.”
She then went on to quote her hit ballad, “Million Reasons.”
“No matter who you are, or what you do, I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed.”
Bullying, intolerance, jealousy, hatred – it’s all out there. It’s everywhere. And more recently it has ramped up on social media with serious consequences to the health of the victims. Cyberbullies and body-shamers use social media to spout hateful hashtags and pathetic posts. This behavior can cause depression, anxiety and eating disorders, especially among teens.
Thankfully, Lady Gaga has used her experiences to help changed consciousness. Already a victim of bullying, and having suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result, Gaga decided to empower young people, and inspire them to create a kinder and braver world. She launched the not-for-profit ‘Born This Way’ Foundation in 2012. Through this, she is inspiring others to seek the help and support they need to recover.
The voices of Lady Gaga, and other celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Ellen DeGeneres, Julianne Moore, Katy Perry, raise the volume so that everyone can hear the STOMP Out Bullying™ message loud and clear:
“NO to victimization, NO to anti-bullying legislation that does not work and NO to the hate and intolerance of others.” “We do say YES to choosing kindness, YES to teaching empathy, YES to accepting others NO MATTER™ what they look like, their race, their beliefs, or their sexual orientation or gender, and YES to becoming responsible and kind digital citizens.”
STOMP Out BullyingTM http://www.stompoutbullying.org
So with this in mind, here are three steps to start you thinking about how we might fight back, and help make a kinder, braver and more tolerant world.
- Challenge others to be kind
“When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself.” Wayne Dyer, Philosopher.
When you’re kinder to others, you are kinder to yourself. Smile at a stranger, remember to say please and thank you, and let another person go ahead of you. The more kindness you give, the more kindness you’ll get right back.
- Stand up for others
If you know someone who is being bullied, say something. Making positive change has to start somewhere. All it takes is to make a stand. Chances are, your courage will inspire others to take a stand too.
Document and report any bullying and intolerant behaviors you see to internet service providers, law enforcement, or school authorities.
- Cherish the differences
One thing of which we can be certain is that we’re all different. Whether you are interacting socially or professionally, challenge the decisions you make about others based on snippets of information – looks, stereotypes, or cultural differences.
National Eating Disorders Association
Confidential information and referral helpline for individuals who are struggling with an eating disorder or know someone who is. – Visit the National Eating Disorder (NED) website.
Substance Abuse Issues
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Searchable directory of drug and alcohol treatment programs. View the location of facilities around the country that treat alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse problems. | Visit the website.
Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
A 24-hour phone and chat service to help victims of sexual assault or abuse. 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) | Visit the website to chat with a counselor.
LGBT and Questioning
The Trevor Project
A 24-hour hotline, chatting and texting service. Trained counselors provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Visit the Trevor Project website.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
A 24-hour, toll-free, confidential, suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. 1-800-273-TALK . Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
GR Employee Assistance Program
Toll-Free crisis line, counseling, referral services, legal services, and other dedicated resources for GR employees. Visit the website on the GR intranet.
Lady Gaga may be an international household name, but her message started out small. Remember that courage comes from the heart and comes in all shapes and sizes. Like Gaga, let negativity be your inspiration to create positive change.
Big change starts with small actions, and it’s never too late to start. So, in the words of Lady Gaga…
“Be you. And be relentlessly you.”
Lady Gaga, 2017