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Why Secret’s #MeanStinks Campaign Stinks
By: Cindy Wendland
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Secret Deodorant wants to put an end to bullying. That is an admirable social activity. They want you to join the movement by painting your pinky blue. Nearly all of what Proctor & Gamble does is successful and worthy to copy. However, this #meanstinks campaign just stinks.

According to a study at Elon University, this is the background of modern-day bullying: “Bullying has been engrained in American society since the country’s founding. Bred from a capitalistic economy and competitive social hierarchy, bullying has remained a relevant issue through the years. Technological bullying — cyberbullying — has allowed the problem to expand, become more elusive, and even harder to define.”

It turns out that there are fewer than five states that do NOT have anti-bullying laws. From the same Elon study: “The problem is that 25% of the school resource officers and over 40% of the traditional law enforcement officers did not know if their state had a law specific to cyberbullying.”

Secret’s Mean Stinks website offers feel-good information and charts and tips on what to do if bullied, what to do if a bystander, and what to do to be a good friend, etc. Ask a child who has been bullied and who has not gotten appropriate support, and they will tell you that it is the adults that make the difference. To really stop bullying, schools need to focus on changing their school climate — the values and beliefs of the school — so that bullying is no longer acceptable to staff or to students. We have seen cases of administrators who are fooled into inaction. It is sad when children turn to e-learning or home schooling because the situation has gotten so bad.

Counselors at schools will tell you that the bullying problem gets worse after they have a bullying prevention seminar, because now the bullies get smarter and know what others will look for. Giving those who have been subjected to bullying a place to go and feel support is important, and Secret’s site does that. But that is where it ends.

Social endeavors are important, but they need substance and backbone. What would be interesting is to find out how many actual bullies have painted their pinky blue!

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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