“One of the biggest problems we have...

which we believe is the core reason for bullying in this country, is that New Zealand has a culture that is suspicious of ‘difference’. It has a blinkered, conservative view of people who are different, in which misinformation equals ignorance... We need to become a compassionate community whose members want to look after each other... If people know more about how it feels to be the other person, then they are going to have greater intuition in knowing how to deal with and behave toward others.” No, it’s not ok – how to stop the cycle of bullying, 2009.

Why not start a “(different) and proud” selfie movement aka #beyourselfie to recognise each other’s beauty instead of attacking each other for our differences! Set up an event where everyone can come and create their own 'beyourselfie'... Each person holds up a sign saying something that is different about them followed by the words ‘and proud’, take photos and post them online, have a wall in the school or community somewhere that they can be put up and viewed all year, put them in the notices etc. Let's take the power AWAY from bullies!

To do List...

  • Put posters and examples up around school and the community to get people talking about it
  • Do a talk in assembly (example for you to use below)
  • Spread it around other schools, family and friends and challenge them to do the same
  • Put it in the notices/facebook (we advise that (to help create a 'do not harm' safe environment) you should only post the selfies to a page where comments and posts can be monitored fully)
  • Use the #beyourselfie so that everyone's awesomeness can be viewed together (see link below)
  • Have prizes for the most creative and/or honest ones etc

To do on the Day...

  • Ask people to bring cameras/borrow some from school - ask the photography club to help
  • Find an area in the school with a nice wall to use as a background or use a whiteboard and draw a speech bubble or thought bubble with your ‘something different’ inside
  • Set up a table with blank pieces of paper and felts so people can write their down the ‘difference’ that they are proud of (and make sure you have a few pre-made “AND PROUD!” signs too) OR stand in front of a whiteboard and draw your quote in a speech bubble!
  • As well as inviting people to “come to us at lunchtime” for their photos, during lunchtime send a group around the whole school and ask students/teachers (who might normally be too shy, or are on their own) to come & join in

An Example Assembly Speech...

Speaker 1

“Friendships, expectations, bullying, negativity, social media. These are problems that we go through every day and for some reason are often accepted as “just a part of normal teenage life” and that “we just have to get over it” – except that’s not true – there IS a better way of living and we don’t have to put up with these negative issues.”

Speaker 2

“We now have a challenge for you! We know that one of the biggest problems we have, and which we believe is a huge reason for bullying and similar issues, is that the world has a culture that is suspicious of ‘difference’. It has a close-minded, conservative view of people who are different, which can cause ignorance… We want to become a compassionate school where differences and diversity aren’t seen as sources of division, but of strength and inspiration”

Speaker 3

“So we’re holding a #beyourselfie day next (insert date) at lunchtime & challenge you to help us recognise everyone’s differences as a positive, rather than as something to attack each other for. We’ll be starting a new #beyourselfie trend on (insert name) facebook/Instagram/twitter page, where your “something different and proud” photos will be posted. We will also be creating a wall in the school (or workplace etc) where these can be put up. Be a part of this movement to stand up against oppression! All you need to do is think about what makes you different and special... Rather than hiding your differences, we want to celebrate them – celebrate what it means to be YOU.”

Speaker 4

“For me I would write “short (add your own examples) – and proud (holding up the ‘AND PROUD’ sign)” or “(example) - and proud”. There will be example posters around the school of differences that we have chosen to celebrate in ourselves, things that at one point have been called out in a negative, bullying way, but that are actually awesome because they make us – US! Come to (insert room or area) at lunchtime next Tuesday with your word and be part of this epic movement! There will be prizes for the class that has the most students take part, for the most creative and for the most honest photos.”