The “new f word” and what it means for bullies


“Fatty, faggot, freak… We don’t think so. How about FRIEND.”

If the idea of bullying is to tear a person down, then the antidote is giving people the strength to stand up; with that in mind, the Friend Movement has started a fundraiser on Indiegogo to support their new campaign, “The New F Word — Giving Bullying The Bird.”

Described on the project page as “an edgy anti-bully campaign and brainchild of producers Ronnie Kroell & Elliot London, photographer Ryan Forbes, and branding guru Bianca Kosoy,” The New F Word is a part of the Friend Movement, which aims to produce art and other media with anti-bullying images and messages. The Indigogo video features famous faces already behind the movement, including Tim Gunn serving as narrator.

The team plans to shoot 10,000 photos in 90 days, in 40 cities across the nation—and to get people talking, those photos will be of people giving a middle finger to bullying.

Though there is undeniably some anger behind the idea, The New F Word is neither denying that, nor considering it a bad thing. The campaign’s home page on Indiegogo reminds us that anger can be a source of passion: “It’s OK to be angry… we must get angry, but it is how we channel that anger towards finding positive solutions that makes all the difference.”

An art project consisting of people flipping the bird might itself seem spiteful, but Kroell told 429Magazine it isn’t like that: “It’s about taking something negative and turning it into something positive. We give value to the middle finger as a gesture of hate, but who is to say that we cannot reclaim that power and assign a new meaning? We are not literally giving bullies the bird, rather we are giving the act of bullying the bird.”

In the photos, the subject’s middle finger is blurred out, but Kroell said it’s not censorship for the expected reason: “The middle finger is blurred because we are censoring negativity… [turning]something negative into positive.”

Reclaiming power is really the idea behind the whole campaign. “When someone is being bullied, we want them to have an inner monologue of ‘F-U I’m amazing… I don’t need your approval.’ By doing so, they can reclaim their power and rise above the fear that can prevent them from being the diverse, confident, and beautiful individuals they were meant to be.”

The group is shooting for the goal of $99,000 for their nationwide, ninety day, forty city trip. Being on Indiegogo, unlike Kickstarter, it will receive all of the funds contributed regardless of whether the goal is made; the fundraiser, a verified nonprofit, ends on July 7.

Watch the video and make your tax-deductible donations here

Visit the official site for the Friend Movement here.


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