This year’s pink shirt day was a huge success as children, teachers and parents across North America wore pink shirts to support anti-bully campaigns. A spate of unfortunate incidences, including suicides, have exposed bullying in schools and the negative effect it has on children. Now pop icon Lady Gaga has joined the fight to stop bullying in schools. Gaga launched her ‘Born this Way’foundation on pink shirt day at a gala Harvard University event.
Lady Gaga’s support of the project stems from her own experiences of being bullied at school. She talked about her experiences in a recent interview: “The boys picked me up and threw me in the trash can on the street, on the corner of my block while all the other girls from the school were leaving and could see me in the trash.” Lady Gaga says she never really felt like her experiences were so bad because there were other kids at school who had worse experiences. She also never told her parents or teachers about the incident. It’s only now that her fans are going through the same thing that she wants to change the socially acceptable bullying that takes place in schools and on social media platforms. She wants to make it cool to be kind; “I’m doing everything that I can, working with experts, really studying the statistics to figure out a way we can make it cool or normal to be kind and loving.”
Lady Gaga wants students to be brave and not only stand up to bullying, but take steps to make less popular children feel accepted and loved. When Lady Gaga was asked how an 11 year old girl could change her social behaviour to combat bullying she had this to say: “She could go up to one person in class who maybe is not one of the cool kids and say, ‘I really like your T-shirt.’ That would be her one great loving and accepting deed for the day.”
Lady Gaga is careful not to ostracize bullies as she says that they were ‘born this way too’, instead she wants to help both bullies and victims toovercome their issues and live kinder, happier lives.
Lady Gaga will be working with some impressive organizations like the MacArthur Foundation, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society to find ways to change the social behaviour that makes bullying in schools acceptable. The foundation will launch several campaigns later this year aimed at not only helping children to speak out about bullying, but will also give them the requisite skills to deal with bullying when it does occur.