Thursday, October 7, 2010

Confidence and bullying, oh and art class

the issue of bullying seems to be the "it" topic in the media. hopefully this means drastic measures will finally be taken by everyone to end this form of particular abuse. what i've found most frightening is reading stories of youth and teen suicides as a result of constant bullying. no child should be made to feel less than anyone else -- no matter what. when i was a kid i was very shy and eccentric and despite my parents efforts to quell my unique creative outlets (through fashion, drawing, painting, dancing, etc.), I had other members of my family and teachers who embraced my unique outlook on life and what's more, encouraged me to be different. sure older or bigger kids (i was always the shortest and for a time, the fattest, in every grade of elementary school, plus you add jesus freaks for parents and well --), but i didn't let anyone talk down to me. and i'd be damned if i let anyone do it to someone else (too many comic books, i had to be everyone's hero). it's mainly because of my aunt and my grandmother i am who i am today and i can be confident and proud that i'm different. i embrace my individuality and strive to teach that in my students during art class. i am a confident, happy person because i like myself. i want my students to feel the same way. there is absolutely no bullying or anything of the sort in my classroom/studio and i make it a point to explain why at the end of a long project we have a constructive round-table critique with the entire class. art class should be a place of unity where the geek, the jock, the shy one, the popular one can all coexist together in harmony. sue me, i grew up watching the breakfast club over and over again.

that brings me to the present as i begin building a new program of art classes with a basis of building confidence in students as, yes artists, but also as human beings. i often try to find images or music to help set the scene or create a probable environment in the studio based on every lesson. it's these subtle touches that can sometimes make all the difference. unfortunately i've come across more or less of the same thing, with beauty not in the eye of the beholder, rather the continuation of a very fake and plastic society. it's sending the wrong messages to kids and undermining everything i'm trying to build (and i just can't have that)! for example, bruno mars' new video for his song, just the way you are. a wonderful song that talks about loving a person for themselves and nothing else, yet in the video the singer is professing his love through his song to a drop dead gorgeous woman of paragon virtues -- why wouldn't he love her when she's so gorgeous to behold? i would have loved to have seen mars use a beautiful woman who doesn't have the ideal figure to show young men and women his words are true, "-- you're amazing just the way you are." i will continue to applaud christina aguilera for her song/video titled, beautiful. aguilera uses real people to show we're all different, but that we're, "beautiful, no what they say--." why can't we see more of this in popular culture? hopefully with people paying more attention to the effects of bullying, we'll see more positivity and confidence building in our music, television programming, movie watching, and celebrity publicity.

there is one event i hope that all who read this will participate in. on october 20th, in memory of those who have taken their life due to abuse because of their homosexuality, everyone will wear something purple. this brutality has to stop and we need to stand and speak out against it -- TOGETHER.

for more information on how to prevent bullying please go to,

this post is dedicated to aunt sis who let me be me (a unicorn/wonder woman/cher loving boy unashamed to speak his mind)

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