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June 13, 2013 5:38 pm
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Anne Frank Inspires British Girls to Speak Out Against Bullying

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Anne Frank.

British teenage girls are voicing their concerns about bullying, unrealistic expectations of body image and of their desire to vote at a younger age, and it’s all inspired by the legacy of Anne Frank.

Thursday would mark Frank’s 84th birthday, and to mark the occasion the Anne Frank Trust, a registered charity dedicated to combating prejudice, offered the UK’s Telegraph a snapshot of the project.

The campaign, 13 in 13, is a writing competition for 13 year-old girls and boys across the UK, to get their voices heard by the British Prime Minister in 2013.

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The campaign’s call for entry says: “Seventy years before social media, a 13 year-old girl changed the way we see our world forever. Anne Frank’s diary is now one of the most famous and widely read books in the world. If you are 13 at any time this year, we are inviting you to write to the Prime Minister to tell him what would make a better Britain for young people.”

Interestingly, The Telegraph points out that Frank was grappling with similar cultural influences while she was in hiding.

For example, this 13 in 13 entry from Katie-Emily, touches on themes addressed in Frank’s diary.

“Media has a huge impact on the lives of young people and self-images. Many teenagers take an interest in celebrity magazines. These portray an image that is fake. This has an effect on self-confidence and can make people unhappy with the way they are. Air-brushing photos should be cut back to show that nobody’s perfect and that everyone has parts about oneself that they don’t like,” she writes.

In 1944 Frank’s wrote: “Although I’m extremely diligent when it comes to my schoolwork and can pretty much follow the BBC Home Service on the radio, I still spend many of my Sundays sorting out and looking over my film-star collection, which has grown to a very respectable size. Mr Kugler makes me happy every Monday by bringing me a copy of Cinema & Theatre magazine. The less worldly members of our household often refer to this small indulgence as a waste of money, yet they never fail to be surprised at how accurately I can list the actors in any given film, even after a year.

“Bep, who often goes to the cinema with her boyfriend on her day off, tells me on Saturday the name of the film they’re going to see, and I then proceed to rattle off the names of the leading actors and actresses and the reviews. Mum’s recently remarked that I wouldn’t need to go to the cinema later on, because I know all the plots, the names of the stars and the reviews by heart.

“Whenever I come sailing in with a new hairstyle, I can read the disapproval on their faces, and I can be sure someone will ask which film star I’m trying to imitate. My reply, that it’s my own invention, is greeted with scepticism. As for the hair-do, it doesn’t hold its set for more than half an hour. By that time I’m so sick and tired of their remarks that I race to the bathroom and restore my hair to its normal mass of curls.”

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