Recently a movie entitled The Duff came to theaters.
The anagram stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend and according to the movie’s heart-warming resolution, it also stands for equality.
Though the message of the movie seems to be that Hollywood’s young actors are ironically un-frumpy, it is actually, word for word, that “we are all somebody’s duff.” Believe it or not that is supposed to make us feel better. Leave it to the entertainment business to call us ugly and fat and pass it off as uplifting. In the moment, it may seem empowering, especially to someone who considers themselves in the duff category, to find oneself equal to instead of beneath others. And it is, in that one miniscule moment. In the long run though, this does not promote high self-esteem.
It is like finding out that the person you hate for being too perfect got the same bad grade on a math test you did. Welcome to my world you say in a mocking tone.
You can bask in the glory of this fact for a couple days but eventually it will lose its luster and you are back to feeling inferior.
This is why the duff theory is problematic. It is trying to bring these guys up by tearing those guys down.
The true solution lies in the elevation of confidence. Eliminate words like ugly and fat and promote those with a positive connotation like shapely and becoming, or dare I say, pretty. It is cliché? Yes. Is it pretentious to even suggest this? Maybe so.
Anyway, it is just an idea, expressed for the millionth time, while this on the other hand is a fact. Kids all across America suffer from inadequate self-esteem, and high school is where the inefficiency peaks.
It is what spurred the creation of the movie Duff, which despite its backhanded message, competently acknowledged the heavy hand bullying plays in our youth’s low self-esteem.
Spreading the word is integral to the decline of bullying, and changing what the “kids are saying these days” can’t hurt.