Madonna has added her voice to a long list of celebrities who have spoken out for an end to bullying.
Appearing via satellite on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Madonna said she felt compelled to speak out, and admits she was bullied herself.
“I know a number of people have spoken out about it, but I feel like I need to say something. The gay community has been incredibly supportive of me. I wouldn’t have a career if it weren’t for the gay community…I have a teenage daughter and I have ongoing discussions with her about this topic, so I feel like I need to say a few words,” she said.
“I’m incredibly disturbed and saddened by the overwhelming number of teen suicides that have been reported lately because of bullying,”she added.
“Suicide in general is disturbing. Teenagers committing suicide is extremely disturbing, but to hear that teenagers are taking their lives because they are being bullied in schools and dormitories, what have you, is kind of unfathomable.”
Madonna says she knows what it’s like to feel isolated and alienated as a youth.
“I still feel different,” she says. “I can totally relate to the idea of feeling isolated and alienated. I was incredibly lonely as a child, as a teenager. I have to say I never felt like I fit in in school. I wasn’t a jock. I wasn’t an intellectual. There was no group that I felt a part of. I just felt like a weirdo.”
She tells DeGeneres, “It wasn’t until my ballet teacher, who was also gay, took me under his wing and introduced me to a community of artists of other unique individuals who told me it was good and okay to be different and brought me to my first gay disco and ironically made me feel I was part of the world and it was okay to be different.”
And her solution to end bullying?
“I think it would be interesting for everybody to try one simple experiment…Try to get through the day each and every one of us…without gossiping about somebody. Without gossiping about anybody. And not only that. Not even listening to gossip. Walking away from it. Can you imagine what your day would be like? How much more free time you’d have? I also feel like you’d feel better about yourself…”
Watch a portion of Madonna’s interview here.