Kind Campaign

When I was 10 years old I moved schools. Nothing particularly unusual about that, but what makes it particularly memorable to me is that it marked the beginning for a period in my life where I was bullied. There wasn't anything particularly 'different' about me, except that I was new and someone felt intimidated and scared that I might upset the balance of friendships and clicks. The details aren't too important. I got over it eventually, changed schools and moved on. Although the scar has long since healed, I still carry my fragile 10 year old self around with me, nursed in cotton wool, fairytales and dreams. Every now and again she gets bumped and, being a little more sensitive than she perhaps should be, I find myself having to cajole her back into good spirits by whispering sweet nothings about how wonderful being 12 or 20 is going to be.
I'd like to say that this was a childhood thing. That girls get over it. That we grow up and become independent, loving and caring women who have enough self-confidence to be content with ourselves. But we all know that isn't true. I have a colleague at work who is mean. She's a mean girl. And she is mean in a way that makes me think that she has perhaps always been mean. She's crafty and manipulative. I am younger than her and better educated. While I spent my time in school, she worked. I hoped I could learn from her experience and instead I find myself trying to untangle myself from her tricks.
Why are girls so mean? I am not immune from meanness myself. I am not only a victim. I watched my year 8 class bully a girl and said nothing because it was easier to be silent than stick up for what was right. I've said horrible things about people - often behind their backs. Once, I slapped a girl. And the question is always, why?
For a little while now I've been following the Kind Campaign on Twitter. It's a movement to stop girl-on-girl violence. Not surprisingly, it’s something I feel quite strongly about. So strongly, in fact, that I've been working on a little "photo-blog installation thingy" to help promote the campaign. There's a great little area on the Kind Campaign website where you can apologise to girls for the mean things that you've done. I've taken a few of these and some of my photos and created a few "I'm Sorry" pieces. But now I need your help.

I want your photos and I want your apologies. 

And then I want to create an international "I'm sorry" installation for the Kind Campaign. If you're interested in joining in, then I invite you (yes you!) to send a photo or an apology my way.

Any photo, any language. 

If you're embarrassed about your apology, then you're welcome to use the 'Anonymous' comments, otherwise drop me an email with an apology and/or photo. I will try to use everything that I receive, editing and compiling to have them looking something like the two examples here. All photo contributions will receive a happy credit and all apologies will be kept anonymous.

The 'photo-blog installation thingy' will "go live" while I'm holidaying in Australia. So join me in saying Sorry.  I'll be accepting submissions until the end of the month.


Barndi said...
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Brandi said...

Clare, this is a wonderful project and such an important one. I think it's particularly hard growing up and being a girl and sometimes I worry all the tv out there makes it worse by teaching young girls that's just the way things are. I will admit to being mean in high school at one point -- I was hurt, I felt betrayed by this friend and I was cruel as a result. Since then I've really tried to avoid being around people who speak negatively of others and if they do while I'm there, I try to speak up.

Croatian_Latina said...

What a honest and well written post. when we moved from Mexico to Texas, My older sister and I were bullied.( about bringing our homemade burritos wrapped in foil, about our long braids) and we weren't allowed to play together during recess. They said these were the rules. We didn't understand the language and we went along.

Why are girls mean? I will pass this on to my older sister. I was mean to her and my younger sister. thank you for the inspiration.

Ashley Sisk said...

This is such a good post and I think we can all relate. I'm struggling with even attending my HS reunion because of that kinda stuff and I see myself as a strong, confident and beautiful young woman but it still eats with me. Why do we compete against one another instead of embracing and lifting up one another. I'll have to think about a photo...I'll try to submit. Great work!

Kate said...

This is such a lovely idea. I wish you all the best with it! :)

Kate x

Krystal said...

Office politics are sometimes so horrible...and the more genuine of a person you are sometimes, the meaner certain people get - I've been in that situation and it was horrible!

Karli said...

I love this! I was never bullied, and I pray that it doesn't happen to my children. The statistics are insane about the number of kids that have actually been bullied in their lifetime - how sad! So very many. Great post!

Dieirdra said...

Love the idea. To this day I have far more (casual) male friends than female ones, because of the girl being mean to girl thing. One thing I would say though is that I have found the girl friendships I do have to be deeper than the males ones.

Jamie said...

What a beautiful project, such a gift you are giving to women worldwide.

Punctuation Mark said...

i have been going through something similar the past couple of weeks and all the extra drama has been terrible... finally on friday i released myself from the bad girl but had to give up something i really wanted to do for a long time and that did hurt... a friend said that the worst enemy of women are women themselves... so true!!!

Suki said...

Wonderful idea! Such important message. Keep the kindness up to stop girls from bullying.

Em said...

What a great post and important message!

Jess said...

I would take part but the next month won't be the best time for me to do so. Great idea though!
Thank you so much for the colour package that you sent. I haven't been at home the last week so it was so nice to come home today and find it waiting for me. Hopefully yours isn't too far away if it hasn't already arrived x