Pin Ups Stand Up to Bullying. by Guest Writer: Heather King

When one thinks of bullying they think of their lunch money being stolen by a schoolyard tough guy, but it is a very different situation when bullying follows a person into adulthood. No matter the experience or when the bullying occurred, it is a very real thing plaguing people everywhere, and the worldwide Pin Up community is taking a stand.

Worldwide group against bullying gives hope to victims

Giving support to people worldwide who are affected by bullying, body shaming and negativity is Pin Ups Against Bullying, Inc. Founded by Mrs. T Marie, the group of beautiful Pin Ups of all shapes and sizes are located in ten countries worldwide including Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England and 50 chapters in the United States.

“Lots of us have been victims of a bully in our lives. The majority of bullies [do what they do] so they don’t become a victim themselves,” says Derby Dollface, leader of the Australian Chapter. “We see it everywhere these days, social networks and cyber bullying, apps that help you bully, pages dedicated to slander and humiliation of others.”

The group’s mission is to bring Pin Up communities together to take a stand against bullying, “so women and men know they are not alone and we are here supporting them and saying no to bullying,” says Dollface. She also says there are several resources for people to reach out to if they are not sure how to confront bullying. “
Stand up to your bully if you can and feel confident enough to do so. If you don’t, reach out and talk to people about it. Family, friends, teachers and colleagues are all great people to talk to and they will offer you support and can often provide even ideas on how to stop the bullying,” says Dollface.

There are other options if confronting a bully is uncomfortable or unsafe, says Dollface. Calling the Australian-based crisis call line, Lifeline, is one option; logging on to reachout.com is another safe way. Representatives are there day and night to help. Dollface is no stranger to being bullied. “I have been bullied all my life but not always for the same reasons. I moved a lot during my youth due to my Dad’s work requirements with the Australian Navy. I was always the new kid who didn’t fit in because I had red hair, or because I was considered too smart, or too chubby, or too much of a tom boy.”

When she was 17 years old she was prescribed antidepressants to help cope with the resulting depression she experienced from being bullied. After seven years of working through her feelings and anxieties Dollface was able to stop taking the medication. “It has taken me years to realize and appreciate that all the things I was bullied for when I was younger are the things that truly make me special and that’s why people made fun of them because they couldn’t say the same about themselves,” says Dollface.

“In my adult life I’ve been bullied for my weight, then my weight loss, [and] my choice to not solely focus on pin up modeling,” says Dollface. “My past experiences with bullying have taught me not to take those words on board.”

The Vintage Doll’s experience

Another frontrunner in the fight against bullying is Emily Doll, 26, the proud mother of two little boys. She is more widely known as The Vintage Doll, and she has been a part of the Pin Up and Rockabilly scene for over a decade. “I never really expected to be a model when I discovered and became apart of the rockabilly culture. I don’t really like attention; I have anxiety and the whole thing really made me nervous,” says Doll. “When I purchased my first car magazine and discovered pinup modeling I was hooked.”

“Right after I had done my first professional shoot I was attacked by a group of personal friends. They shared my photos and tore me apart all over social media calling me ‘fake’ and a ‘poser’ and that I ‘needed my ass kicked,’” says Doll. “It was really hard to endure because I loved these people and I looked up to them and the life style they lived and wanted to share it with them. They turned on me in a heartbeat.”

Emily Doll’s experience with being bullied went beyond this, and she still experiences harassment. “They still to this day harass me at local events and call me ‘The Vintage Fake,’ make posts directed at me on Facebook and make up horrific rumors about me,” says Doll. “I grew up and have been proving them wrong for over 6 years.”

Outside of that experience, Emily experiences every day bullying and harassment on her modeling work. Whether it be harsh words about body type, general cattiness or even being told to take her own life, she has experienced it. Some say it comes with the territory, but more and more people, like Emily and Pin Ups Against Bullying, in the industry believe it is time for a change in this mentality. Fans and followers on various social media sites look to Pin Ups, such as Emily and Derby, for advice or just to vent their frustrations.

“So many women and men of all ages send me messages with their stories,” says Doll. “They’re lost, they feel like they will never go anywhere in life or have no purpose just because someone feels it’s their job to tell them daily they are worthless.”

Standing up to bullies “in any way you can that can fix the problem and feel safe doing so” is one part of Emily’s advice. “The problem nowadays, and why I think things like bullying are so out of control, is because people get away with too much,” says Doll. “People need to open their mouths and stand up for what is right because too much is left unsaid, and when it comes to bullying that is dangerous. Children are killing themselves. What more of a sign do you need?”

Body positivity above body shaming

Ms. Drea Funk is another Pin Up who is speaking out against bullying. Raised in a family of ministers, she has moved around quite a bit in her life in places such as Southern Ohio, Nashville, Tenn. and northern and central Kentucky. “I started being an actual pinup when I was in college, studying Theatre and Speech at Middle Tennessee State University over 10 years ago,” says Drea. “I knew who Judy Garland was before I was 5 years old.  My fondest memories as a child are of singing and dancing in our house with my mom to the old classic movies and musicals.”

“When I played dress up, I pretended to be Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, or Jane Russell. There was just something elegant, classy, and powerful that I admired on a much deeper level than what most modern artists could offer,” says Drea. “To me, they were living magic.”

In the beginning of her career she battled an eating disorder, “I am not what modern society deems as a desirable body type. I only stand 5’3” and I am what they call ‘Plus Sized.’ It’s both an empowering and degrading term to me.”

“I was absolutely obsessed with making it as a film and theatre actress. I had been convinced by not only my peers, but by my acting coaches and professors, that I had to be a size 4 to be cast in the roles and projects I desired,” she says. “I let it drive me so far that, at one point, I even started losing my hair, eventually I crashed and burned.”

When Drea was 22 she revisited her vintage roots and started to rediscover herself. “Pinup became something empowering that allowed me to embrace who I really am,” she says. After about 21 years as an entertainer she has come across many types of bullying, and she recalls a time when someone she considered to be her best friend bullied her to the point that they were forced to end their friendship. “Even with the severity in some of the struggles I have experienced I still feel incredibly blessed,” says Drea. “These events have given me a much thicker skin, compassion for others, and the determination to work that much harder in everything I do.”

Drea has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullies in her life, and she says to not let what the bullies do define one. “Let it empower you, and learn from it. Use the bully as an example of the kind of behavior to not exhibit in your own life,” says Drea. “Let it motivate you to show more compassion to others on a day to day basis. Even if it is just holding the door for people, every little act of kindness and compassion makes a difference.”

Bullying in the Pin Up community

When asked if there is bullying in the Pin Up community the girls answer with a resounding “Yes!” In a culture of people where one of the main philosophies is to empower each other it is becoming increasingly disheartening to encounter bullying and harassment.

“It use to just be something fun and positive and the more women that get into it the bigger of a competition it’s becoming. It wasn’t like that when I first got involved,” says Emily Doll. “Every girl just did her own thing and had fun and didn’t worry about what other models or Pinups were doing. It also use to be more about the culture.”

Emily adds that some of these women want to make a name for themselves without truly being a part of the Pin Up community, and some have treated others very poorly. She has experienced this herself. “They lashed out at me over social media for zero reasons,” she says. “They also have attacked my friends for no reason. They just go around in their clique and tear apart anyone who doesn’t side with them. They are big online bullies as well.”

Drea Funk has also been a victim of online bullying. “It’s a real shame that a sisterhood that is supposed to empower women and give young girls something positive to learn from, is poisoned by a few bad apples,” she says. Drea adds that online bullies shouldn’t be given the power a response can give them.

The online world is not reality, says Drea, and it can be easy to forget in this day and age. At the end of the day, leaving the online bullies and logging off takes away their control. Getting familiar with security settings on sites like Facebook can also help if someone is experiencing online bullying or harassment.

In the end a bully is stuck in one place, that place is worrying about the person who they are harassing. “I remember when my bullies first started in on me and I felt so hurt and controlled by them. Like I couldn’t do anything because they would torment me,” says Emily. “Then one day I just decided they didn’t matter and I’ve been proving them wrong for 6 years.”

“The only thing them and I have in common is that we both focus on my life. Other than that I am a million miles ahead of them.”

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