New figures show UK children unhappiest due to bullying

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I always felt as though my rants about the education system and our culture in this country were misguided or even unfounded. So hearing the results of this study today, I feel vindicated and able to say with confidence that we need to do something about the state of our children’s mental health, and to address the arguably wider issue of the causes behind such a low self-esteem and wellbeing.

Only South Korea came below the UK for unhappiness at school, with Algeria, Ethiopia, South Africa and Israel’s children having better experiences at school. Perhaps most upsettingly for me, girls in this country are crippled by insecurity over their looks – coming bottom of the table for ‘satisfaction with their looks’ and ‘body confidence’.
This is something I talk about a lot – the fact that as a ‘first world country’ we are actually anything but rich, other than financially of course. We pity the children that play in the dirt outside crumbling houses, yet we fail to see that our own are in emotional turmoil, dealing with events which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. 

Bullying shaped me beyond belief for many – who can’t comprehend that this was ‘the only thing’ behind the severely poor mental health which plagued me for years, and the residual effects I deal with now. I had a safe, happy childhood, with no other outside influences which would have caused me to feel I wasn’t good enough. But how can you underestimate the effects of being told (and shown, almost like proof) that you are inadequate and ugly all day, every day, for a significant number of years – all at that crucial stage in life where you are just discovering who you want to be? The bullying I suffered turned me into a very young person with a very real hatred of myself – a person who continually tried to self-destruct even after I left secondary school. In fact, had I have died at any point as a result of Anorexia or depression, it would have been directly caused by the bullying I endured. Further research has shown that bullying at school is the cause or catalyst for a myriad of mental health problems, which stay with the person in question for life.

I am immensely worried following the publication of these figures. I would have liked to have been proved wrong. So the question now I suppose is: how can we stop this from happening? What can we do to save our children from cripplingly poor low self-esteem at best, and a life-threatening mental illness at worse?
Since we can’t string bullies up (or even discipline them properly) like the good old days, it has to start with us, and with schools. We need to be able to offer children who are suffering a different perspective – to empower them to live their lives without the damaging influence of others being so dominating. We also need to set s better example for young people outside of school. As adults, we need to stop bullying each other – sending the message that it’s okay to do so – whether that’s people we know, or pointing the finger at celebrities or people in the public eye.

As women especially, it is our responsibility to try to put our own body issues aside for the sake of our young and to campaign for the abolition of this stereotypical ‘ideal’ which makes so many of us unhappy – not to mention influencing young girls to have the same hang ups we do.

These aren’t the only solutions of course, but they are a place to start. If not, I worry we may find our already pushed mental health services will be inundated in years to come with the thousands young people we didn’t bother to look out for now.

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UK children unhappiest due to bullying…

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Lana Del Rey – ‘Tummy Controversy’

It’s such a shame that apparently nobody can be successful without having their appearance torn apart by journalists!

Recently Lana Del Rey has been filming the video for her latest single, in which she plays a stripper. Paparazzi snapped images of her on set, smiling and having a lovely time whilst wearing a few questionable outfits (all for the purpose of the theme, of course!)

However some people feel it is necessary to take this opportunity to berate Lana over her figure, stating that she is ‘too big’ and ‘not toned’ .

No, she doesn’t have the lithe, toned, muscle-and-bone figure of Miranda Kerr, but does that mean she isn’t beautiful or is ‘wrong’ in some way? Of course not, for God’s sake. There isn’t one type of beautiful. She looks normal. Since when did being normal become such a crime?

The Sun reported the story with positivity and praise for the singer, with the headline ‘Lana Del Rey Sizzles in Red Undies to Play Stripper in Video’.

Despite this, certain ridiculous individuals have felt the need to comment on her figure below. Here’s just a couple:

‘A fabulous voice, one of the more genuinely talented female performers around, just a shame she doesn’t tone her figure just a little.’ – Irrelevant?? This was coming from a man, so I can only assume that for him to make this comment he looks like Jake Gyllenhaal.

‘You got to be bacon to sizzle…this is just suet.’ No words for this, frankly. None that are non-offensive at least. Others continue in the same vein.

I’d love to see what these people look like – I’m pretty sure they won’t be oil paintings themselves. It’s pathetic that they feel they need to contribute in this negative, unkind manner – as I always say, bullying is usually borne out of insecurity.

Above all this again proves this expectation that those in the public eye should be perfect; and this expectation of course filters through and into our daily lives until we are all at a point where we are striving to ‘look perfect’ so as not to disappoint others.

My overall opinion is this: firstly, it’s not down to other people to criticize how you look and decide how you should be and how you should not be. Fact.  Secondly, if you are talented or successful people will try to put you down one way or another – they will just find something obvious to them. Finally – I really don’t think it matters that Lana isn’t stick thin. It’s refreshing and pleasing to see a celebrity looking pretty normal. She’s a singer – nowhere in her job description does it state that she should look like a rake. Why do these people care so much that she hasn’t been spending hours of her life in the gym? It baffles me.

Who’s with me?

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Kelly Brook – Would You Call Her ‘Fat’?

Recently, Kelly has come under fire by ‘celebrities’ and the public alike recently for being ‘fat’ – and not for the first time.

In fact, Kelly is being berated purely because she has the confidence to be herself in the glare of the public and media eye. I find that when people criticize others in this way, it is a product of their own insecurity. Perhaps they are crippled by the expectations of others, unable to dress and look the way they want. Maybe this is the reason they feel they have to take a pop at beautiful Kelly – because they are envious of her ability to be her gorgeous self without following ridiculous diets and trends.

Her naturally porcelain skin, thick brown hair and enviable curves would have anyone feeling a little green, however my reaction to this is to admire her, not to bully her. An example of such recent jealousy is the cruel jibe from Glamour Model and all-round Z-Lister Katie Price, who branded Kelly a ‘heifer’. Frankly this reminded me of the sort of insult hurled between girls at school. However it proves my point – bullies are generally painfully insecure and feel they need to put others down to feel better about themselves. Katie is barely recognizable after years of cosmetics procedures have ravaged her face and body. Perhaps she should concentrate on herself (as she usually does), and leave others be.

In addition to this, public bullying (especially involving the rich and famous) set a terrible example to younger people, making it ‘acceptable’ or ‘favourable’ to assault others verbally and psychologically. Not only is Katie a bully, she is a terrible role model to her children and the children of others.

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Would you call Kelly Brook fat?

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