How Miles McKenna is trying to put an end to bullying
Being bullied is—put lightly—the biggest bummer.
There are bullies at school, work, online...the list goes on. That's why #BeMore, a bullying-prevention campaign from Ad Council, has teamed up with influencers like Rebecca Black, Ricky Dillon and Mile McKenna to fight harassment and shed light on how common bullying really is.
These influencers are no strangers to bullying. Being on a platform with thousands—sometimes millions—of followers means that there are thousands—sometimes millions—of chances for someone to drop something no-so-nice into their comments. Miles knows that struggle pretty well.
The trans teen is an LGBTQ+ activist and bullying-prevention supporter who's found himself on both sides of the bullying equation: the bully and the victim.
"It’s a misconception that a 'bully' will always be that one kid on the playground who tries to make your life miserable," Miles says. "Sometimes it’s a joke between friends or it's a teacher’s off comment or it's even your parents. I’ve said things without intent to hurt someone and I felt awful."
Read on for more on why he wants to bring attention to the very real, and very hurtful situations that occur every day and ways *you* can prevent bullying from happening.
Girls' Life: Why do you think bullying is so common?
Miles McKenna: Sometimes in the shock of the moment it’s hard to stand up for yourself. Leaning on your community to have your back in times of need is so important, so standing up for others is how you #BeMore.
GL: Have you ever been bullied?
MM: Yeah, in my adolescence I would often try so hard to be what I thought others wanted me to be. I’d try to blend in as much as possible. At the end of the day, I wasn't happy.
GL: That's so relatable. How did those experiences change you?
MM: It’s a hard decision to let go and be you. But once you disregard others’ opinions and you do what’s authentic to you, good people will gravitate toward it. You'll meet new friends that you never would’ve otherwise.
GL: Have you ever noticed your actions or comments made a negative impact on someone else? How did that make you feel?
MM: Definitely! It’s a misconception that a “bully” will always be that one kid on the playground who tries to make your life miserable. Sometimes it’s a joke between friends or it's a teacher’s off comment or it's even your parents. I’ve said things without intent to hurt someone and I felt awful.
GL: What do you recommend someone do if they are being bullied?
MM: If [you're] being bullied, you have the options of telling a teacher, removing yourself from being around them or talking to [the bully] about it. It’s different for every situation, but just know that no one ever thinks they're the antagonist to their own story.
Typically, people aren’t trying to ruin someone’s day and their actions reflect what is happening in their life right now. Whether they are being bullied at home or are insecure with themselves. Just don’t let it stop you from being you.
Check out @ISeeBullying on social media for tips on how to handle bullies and to learn more about the cause.
How are you going to stand up to bullying? Let us know in the comments!
Photo credit: Miles McKenna