Yesterday, I was looking through magazines, books, and my iPad to inspire me for my upcoming Bully Proof/Leadership Program. I came across a great article about Zooey Deschanel in the February issue of Glamour. I am a big fan of the Deschanel sisters and reading Zooey's article in Glamour made me admire her a little more. The article talks about her career, success, style, and childhood. It is inspirational to read about her confidence and how she does what she wants regardless of criticism. She mentions, as a kid, she went through a difficult time with friendships. Girls were mean to her and she had more guy friends in her tweens. She talks about her experience and how she dealt with it.
Here is what I like about this article:
1) Zooey talks about her success and launching her own website. She is not only an actress but also a producer and entrepreneur. She shows us that there is more to her than acting.
2) When she refers to the mean girls from her past, she does not refer to bullying but explains the situation in an adult matter. She gives an example of how she was bullied but not once tries to leverage the word for attention. Zooey talks about what she went through and how it was a difficult time for her. But she also emphasizes that she got through it.
3) Zooey shares her story about finding the mean girls on Facebook. She is not looking for revenge but for them to feel bad about what they did to her. She wants them to know that they were acting like jerks and hurt her. With that said, she didn't do anything to them; she does not use her status to hurt or belittle others.
4) She talks about how people hide behind computers and criticize her. Zooey is only being who she is and these people are not going to take that away from her. She does not let anyone take her power.
5) Zooey protects her personal life and keeps her love life private. She is showing youth that you don't have to expose yourself online in order to be heard or popular.
6) She does not value her self-worth by how skinny she is. She talks about how skewed our perception is around body image and being thin. She makes a point and we can relate it back to tweens and teens. The message is about taking a stand against how youth might perceive being thin can make them more successful or popular.
The article represents a strong, mature, and honest woman!
With the media, TV, and internet, messages that are out there often portray revenge, retaliation, and criticism. Think about what are some of the TV shows that target tweens and teens: Revenge, Pretty Little Liars, 90210, Gossip Girl, Arrow, Glee, and I can go on. Moreover, celebrities are often getting into cat fights over twitter and social media sites. It gives our kids the idea that it is okay to overexpose yourself, and retaliate against each other publicly. The world of celebrities is often seen as high drama with gossip and rumors. People being vulgar and mean to each other is accepted. Basically, it is like middle school but with more power, money, social status, and fame.
I am assuming Chris Brown will never read my blog, so it is safe to say that sometimes his tweets can really be offensive, vulgar, and disrespectful. Don't read into to this and assume I am calling Chris Brown a bully. I am not! I am saying that with bullying comes vulgarity, violence, revenge, relational aggression, and conflict. Bullying does not stem from nowhere but it starts by seeing, hearing, and following people that model the negative behavior. Overtime, children exposed to this type of behavior start to act the same way.
So my point is Zooey Deschanel would be my first choice for a role model. She is honest, smart, strong, confident, and she is not seeking attention. In the article, she refuses to comment on her divorce, dating, and the gossip around her personal life. I want to shout out:" Go Zooey!" She is giving the perfect example: you do not have to spill all your secrets to the media or online. Privacy is important. She is about protecting herself. She is modeling what we try to teach in our anti-bullying and leadership programs.
I also liked her comment on how people criticize her: " They hide behind computers and judge all they want..." That is very powerful to hear a celebrity acknowledge that people hide behind technology and say hurtful things because they feel safe and all mighty. I would say to Zooey, " Those people are cowards and just sit there judging others before really taking a look at themselves."
I see it everyday, it starts with mean posts to another kid (as a joke) and escalates by sharing and posting more negative comments. I often read adults cruel comments on blogs or reviews. Then, I wonder how we are surprised about cyberbullying incidents. Have you seen what people wrote lately online? Do people know how to give constructive feedback without being hurtful or inappropriate? Do we expect our kids to understand how to be kind when we judge people, stereotype, and gossip? It is time to start looking in the mirror. I want us to start pointing the finger back on us and think about how our behavior impacts our kids. Let's stop the blame and learn more about accountability. We can't control the media and celebrities but we can model appropriate behavior.
So to step off my soapbox and conclude my thoughts, Zooey is an inspiration to tweens and teens. She is unique, cool, confident, smart, classy, mature, and beautiful inside and out. She follows what she believes. I would give Zooey Deschanel a big hug and tell her that we need more people like her in the public eye. Zooey gave me a lot of inspiration for 2013 and she totally rocks!
Until Next Time...