Bullying has become prevalent in our society today and, unfortunately, no amount of chanting, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,” seems to be working.
Bullies find their way into our minds in the most disgusting tactic of psychological game play there has ever been.
From cyberbullying to hotel hallway harassment and sidewalk snickers, the world of pageantry is full of both beauties and pretty uglies, too.
But, you can combat the issue and be the bigger person in the long run. (Read: Pageant Queen Teaches About Overcoming Obstacles)
In fact, Iyonia Boyce, America’s National Teenage Scholarship Organization’s (ANTSO) Jr. National Teenager, speaks out against bullying and offers the following tips.
4 Ways Strategies You Can Use to Stop Bullying
1. If you see someone being disrespected or mistreated, be a friend by standing up for them.
Bullies target who they see as weak: a new contestant, a contestant who has gone through a major change, a contestant doing something unique, or a contestant who may be struggling somehow. Stand by them and stick up for them.
Bullies tend to back down when they are no longer able to get to their target with ease, which is why cyberbullying is so prevalent today; there’s not really someone to stop them.
Be prepared to take some hits yourself, though, as no hero ever walks away completely unscratched, but stand together and your bully is sure to back down. (Read: How To Compete In A Pageant With Confidence)
2. Be friendly and approachable to the other contestants.
It’s easy at a pageant to become focused on ourselves, but be the girl others are willing to come to for help. Even if you just help with a zipper or butt glue, it’s certainly appreciated when you’re the girl other contestants, especially newbies, can go to.
Sometimes, if you’re experienced, you might know that someone who is coming off as a bully doesn’t mean anything by it and should, in fact, be ignored. This can help a contestant who is feeling a bit victimized to not sabotage themselves in the long run.
Remember, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so when the judges ask the girls for Miss Congeniality votes or who contestants think should win, you can be sure they’ll mention your name.
3. Be brave, be confident and be fierce when you encounter a bully.
Bullies love the weak – they help them feel stronger – so when you stand up to them and are even stronger than they are, they don’t know how to respond. (Read: How to Keep Your Pageant Confidence High During Competition Week)
Never waiver in your stance when you believe in something, even when standing against someone who appears stronger. Elephants walk away from mice, not because they are afraid, but because they don’t know what the mouse is really capable of.
4. Accept others for their differences because that is what makes us unique.
Getting to know your fellow contestants is one of the best things about competing in pageantry. Enjoy it! Find out about each other: What makes you the same and different, and what led you all to be on the same stage together?
Misery loves company, so while you’re all sitting together gabbing and chatting away while your bully is sitting in the corner applying makeup, know she wishes to be in the crowd.
So, invite her in. Ask her questions, put the line out there. If she bites, reel her in. If not, you still have a whole group of friends that are bound to prove to be a great catch. (Read: Why Sisterhood is Important in Pageantry and How to Create It)
America’s National Teenager Scholarship Organization
Curious about the system that brought to us this young lady full of insightful wisdom? ANTSO is the longest running teen scholarship program. No longer a teenager itself, the pageant has been around for 47 years.
It offers divisions for ages 10-26. The 2017 Nationals will be held in Houston, Texas, on November 22-26, 2017.
State pageants and appointed titles are still available, so contact America’s National Teenage Scholarship Organization for more information.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” Eleanor Roosevelt said. So don’t give anyone, yourself included, permission to make you feel as though you are not worthy of the title you are pursuing.
Hold your head high, walk tall, stand your ground, and go to sleep a queen no matter the score.