Related rabble.ca story:
Amanda Todd is now a household name, her story has been written about in media outlets large and small across the country, she has been invoked in the House of Commons around a proposed anti-bullying bill, and the emotional video she posted on youtube before she ended her life has been widely shared on social media with over 4 million views.
Everyone is talking about Amanda Todd and the horrific bullying and harassment that she went through.
When I was around 10 and 11 years old, at an old fashioned Jewish summer camp, I found myself surrounded on all sides by bullies -- people who I'd thought were my friends who turned out to make great sport of moving my mattress, while I soundly slept, from the summer camp cabin all the way to the docks where the canoes and kayaks were.
Or there was the time that they stole my Walkman. Some may say that this is a relatively minor case, "boys will be boys" and so on. And compared to the cases of bullying that we've been hearing out over the last few years, it is a minor case, though it presented an institutional context in which there was no mechanism with which to deal with bullying even in its most simple form.
Talking about the suicide of 15-year-old Amanda Todd, it's tempting to look for quick answers, to condemn the technology she was using, to believe we can prevent future Amandas from making the same choice by speaking out against "bullying."
But calling it "bullying" or even "cyberbullying" doesn't do it justice. "Bullying" erases specific social factors and makes it seem like something that you age out of. Adding the "cyber" prefix doesn't necessarily make it more accurate. Technology was a catalyst, but webcams, cellphones and the Internet aren't the key to understanding what happened to Amanda; systemic sexism was.