Flooding the Internet
NEDA supports the building of positive online communities, using the same tools that often spread harmful ideals to drown out the negative messages. The Proud2BMe initiative that Mysko oversees aims to do just that.
However, Wilder said such messages are far more effective when coming directly from teens themselves.
"We trust each other," Wilder said. "I don't want to see another PowerPoint from someone who's 50 about how to use Twitter, but I have seen that PowerPoint a thousand times."
It's also more effective at reaching retailers. One of the reasons why Abercrombie and Fitch reacted so swiftly to the rising "cool kids" controversy, Wilder said, was because the teens themselves — the clothing retailer's customers — had begun rejecting the brand.
It was the Internet that made that fast, brutal rejection by teens possible, she added.
"You can cut through the bureaucracy online," Wilder said. "You don't have to go find an organization and work your way up. I was able to make a video and put it online the next day."
Streech, who is aging out of the teenage demographic, said she too believes this sort of online activism is the wave of the future — in fact, when she gains the technical expertise to do so, she plans on designing an app to complement her website. Until then, if you send her an email, she'll gladly reply with a positive message.
"We're the kind of society that always tells you you're not good enough," Streech said. "But your weight doesn’t tell you what kind of person you are, what kind of person you will be.”
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