At a recent screening of Lee Hirsch’s documentary Bully, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said, “You can’t be against bullying without actually doing something about it.” Recent tragedies have pushed stories of bullying into the national spotlight, and organizations and individuals have responded with tactics for recognizing, confronting and opposing bullying.
Schools have implemented anti-violence curriculums and conflict resolution programs to address bullying. One common approach is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, developed in Norway, which trains people to identify bullying in the early stages.
For younger children, the PBS Kids website contains accessible content to help children understand what bullying looks like, and also offers a “Beat the Bully” video game in which the player travels to the future to attend Britney Spears Memorial Junior High and answer trivia questions about conflicts.
Other organizations take a creative approach to address this issue. X OUT is behind a new campaign to prevent bullying. Arianna, the writer of the popular blog Runway DIY, explains the project:
“X OUT enlisted the help of DIY bloggers to make dresses that will be part of an auction with all proceeds going to Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center. I truly hope that we can change the behavior of bullies by changing people’s attitudes and changing the rules in schools and offices, making this a zero tolerance hate crime.”
Her design, fashioned from an American Apparel bandeau dress and then artfully shredded and embellished, is one of several creations for benefit auctions hosted on eBay. Check out this punked-out yet pretty X Out dress, designed by RunwayDIY.com! (one of a kind!)
This blogger channeled her “inner Banksy and became a graffitist in the name of fashion” by spray-painting metallic X’s on her dress and embellishing them with glitter and glue.
The intrepid DIY-designer rallied through failed dyeing attempts and resisted the temptation to go the glue-gun-and-feathers route, resulting in a more minimalist “black high-low mini with a (leather) peter pan esque collar, and an extreme low back trimmed with leather.”
By now you might have noticed a pattern. X marks a spot on every dress, an allusion to the X OUT campaign. All funds raised by this series of auctions benefit PACER.org, a national nonprofit that provides anti-violence educational materials for children, teenagers and adults and spearheads bullying awareness campaigns. The organization’s motto: “The End of Bullying Begins With You.”
Designing and wearing these dresses will not bring an end to bullying, but the campaign sends a message that we recognize bullying as a problem and are committed to doing what we can to stop it in its tracks. In the words of Laura, a 15-year-old from Minnesota who wrote on the PACER.org website, “In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope.”