This post is to address the question that I sometimes get when I speak out against bullying : “How can you stand up to bullying when you are on a television show like Jersey Shore?” I would be lying if I said it didn’t upset me to be criticized for standing up for something of great importance to me. But I have done and will continue to be an anti-bullying advocate so I am not writing this article to justify myself to haters but rather to tell victims and bullies why it is ok to listen to me. The “what gives me the right” question is fair due to the fact that there is name calling and violence on my show so I am willing to answer it. The first way I would is by saying I only represent myself when I speak out against bullying and not my show or any of my other cast mates. Filming Jersey Shore is one thing. When I do PSA’s, blog, campaigns against something that I passionately believe in,etc…it is something else. So, if this is Vinny Guadagnino promoting anti-bullying and not Jersey shore, what gives me the right to speak out? Well although I am a party going “guido” on TV I don’t think I have been represented as a bad role model. If the criticizers watched Jersey Shore (which I assume they do if they are judging me and stating that I am not a good role model for bullying) they would know that I don’t really fight or like drama, I love my mom and my family, I have a Bachelor’s Degree with honors,have fun, party, dance, enjoy life, and this is not to mention the areas of my life in which I have succeeded that you dont see on camera. Such as being able to buy a house and cars for my family of, lets just say, “humble” beginnings. I’ve also recently opened up on camera about suffering from anxiety to try to help others identify with someone who is going through mental or emotional issues. If I was your son, I think you would be proud.
But you may be asking “What about the bad stuff you do on Jersey Shore?” Well as far as bad goes from me, you might hear the use of the term “grenade” or catch me saying things like “the chicks in this club are not attractive at all so I’m out of here!.” Or perhaps be in an argument and tell a certain cast member, “You look more like Rob Kardashian you ugly bitch!” Yes, you figured me out. I am no saint. If I have offended you I sincerely apologize for doing so. I will not try to justify my actions but would like to educate the audience about the term “grenade.” Through the evolution of Jersey Shore, this word has taken on the meaning of an ugly, heavy, unattractive, female that nobody wants to talk to. I must inform you that this is inaccurate. On Season 1 of Jersey Shore we were introduced to this word when Mike brought home two girls. According to Mike and Pauly’s standards, one was cute and the other was not attractive. Lets face it, not everyone is physically attracted to each other. This girl (the grenade) was not heavy at all and in fact may be appealing to many other guys, but not us. She adopted the name not because of her physical appearance but more so for the fact that Pauly had to entertain her so that Mike can continue hanging out with his girl. You can then draw the paralel between this and an actual grenade which is used in combat. Your true army buddy would jump on it for you so that you can continue fighting your war.( I know me explaining this sounds ridiculous but I am willing to do anything to help the fight against bullying.) So if you ever hear me use the term grenade please note that I am not calling a girl fat or getting into any specificities of her personal appearance but instead saying I am not attracted to her. This would not be a girl I would pursue. If anything I would sacrifice entertaining her to help my friend work on her friend. Please know that I am not trying to justify name calling in anyway or say that this is right or wrong. I am just giving you the actual definition in case you were confused at why someone who uses the word can advocate anti-bullying.
Is this right or wrong? Is it ok to label someone as unattractive or to call them a name in the middle of a fight? You can be your own judge of that. But I will be the first person to tell you that I am not perfect. In fact I am far from it. I have been a bully, called others names, given into peer pressure, let my temper and ego get the best of me. On the other hand I have been bullied. In grammer school, high school, and now that I am famous I have a 24 hour feed of ridicule that comes through my social media networks. I may not be a perfect angelic public figure who’s every statement is predetermined by a publicist.( If you are one of those I am not judging you, I think the more people who stand up for an issue the better.) I am telling you who I am. I am a role model who is on a show that captures me really talking the way I and many children of our generation do. I curse, I fornicate, I fuck up, but the bottom line is I want bullying to stop. I want kids to stop killing themselves. If a bully calls someone a name, I want them to realize that they might have harmed another and apologize as I am doing so in this post. If someone has bullied a thousand people in his or her life, they are the ones who I want standing up to bullying and making a change besides the countless victims.
So if you don’t think I am a good role model for the victims of bullying. Fine. But then let me set an example for people who slip up and bully. You always have the right to change your actions or help others who are being picked on. If you stand up for a kid who is about to get beat up, no one should say “Hey! You can’t help him, you’re a bully yourself!” But instead you should be applauded and be proud to be lending support to a much needed cause. This is the only way it will stop. With the collective idea that many people are being hurt and it takes everyone to speak up and stand up to bullying.
You can read more about my opinion on this subject in my new book Control The Crazy (out April 17, 2012.), Dosomething.org , MTV Act, A Thin Line, It Gets Better, vinny.halfofus.com , GLAAD, and campaigning for the new movie BULLY.