I recently watched a documentary on the BBC about Shyness and what it does to people. I mean did you know that at least 50% of the UK population admits to being shy? This got me thinking about actors, singers and artists who get up night after night entertaining crowds from a few in a small room to hundreds and thousands in an international stadium and yet claim to be introverted or shy.
I think sometimes there’s this misconception that all actors must be extrovert just because of what they do for a living. But often what they do is just a way of dealing with shyness and being an introvert in a controlled manner where the attention is given on their terms. This doesn’t mean to say that every actor feels socially awkward away from the stage or camera.
But I think it’s so important that there should be more of an awareness and consideration of this especially audience members when they head to stage door hoping for an autograph or photo with their idol.
But I think we have to remember that while a lot of people are naturally introvert, on rare occasions that shyness or quietness could very well be related to other issues here like bullying, abuse and mental health. So while we should never assume we should always be aware of these issues.
There people who are shy that go on to do great things, some of those who have even become household names all started with a push. Take for example Rod Gilbert, well known for his work on the comedy circuit, but away from the stage he finds it hard just to have coffee on his own in a café. He admits that is was an ex-girlfriend that had pushed him into the training to be comedian that got his foot on the ladder.
Or Emma Watson, she made her name as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies and is now the UN’s Goodwill Ambassador for Women’s Rights. She once said about herself, ‘I’m generally a shy, socially awkward, introverted person.’ I am sure it would have been her parents encouragement to audition for Harry Potter that has been the catalyst that puts her where she is today on the international platform.
But why would I pick up on this documentary in a blog that is related to the arts industry? Simple. A recent survey found that up to 40% of people working in the art industry have been bullied and 30% have been subject to sexual harassment, with a further 8% having experienced sexual assault, including rape. This is outrageous for an industry that is supposed to be teaching the world to be a better place. The figures don’t look any better for students in drama schools 35% claim to have been bullied and an outstanding 20% have been sexually harassment, however schools do seem to deal with it better.
But what these figures also show is that people will speak out against Bullying. So in essence someone who bullies may choose someone quiet or shy, but just because they are that way it doesn’t mean they will keep your secret. So what is this industry coming to? Apparently these figures are all up since the report ‘Bullying in the Arts’ was compiled in 2011, but I wonder if this is actually the case or it’s just that with all the increased press and media surround abuse and bullying that more people feel comfortable talking about it.
Bullying has no place in this amazing industry, while we need to keep the figure showing the problem real and honest we need to drive bullying out by giving those who are being bullied the confidence and encouragement they need to speak out about their ordeals. It is what we all deserve, to be looked after by each other.
~ Just Be Kind, Always ~