ADA, Mich. - Girl bullying. Women or girls can experience it in some form, and all too often, it comes at us through social media.

But an Ada-based entrepreneur is using her company to send a positive message to moms and their daughters. Becky Vanderbroek is the founder and owner of Girlpalooza, an online beauty store dedicated to clean, cruelty-free beauty products. 

"Our motto is to be good to yourself, which means be good to yourself not only physically but mentally, as well. Buying products that are safe and non-toxic and just being good to yourself by using good, clean ingredients, and giving moms access to safe products," Vanderbroek said. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, "In 2017, about 15% of students in grades 9–12 reported being electronically bullied during the previous 12 months. This percentage was higher for female students than for male students."

Vanderbroek said their products are sending out a "positive girl power message."

"Really instilling in girls that you’re more powerful in numbers and as a gang of girls—total girl gang and girl power—than you are individually and trying to tear each other down," she said. 

Lyndsay Volpe-Bertram is a clinical psychologist at Spectrum Health. She says “bullying” can create a lot of problems, especially with the self-esteem of young girls.

“There is definitely research that supports that women are meaner to each other than to the opposite sex and they say that it has to do with how we are raised and brought up, we’re socialized to be kinder and be gentler and so there’s a little more behind the scenes action so people that are talking about you behind your back,” said Volpe-Bertram.

“A lot of self-doubt, a lot of anxiety about what they’re presenting or what they are putting out there. It can cause us to overthink so much of what we say or do. There is always this need to put on the right face or to say the right things or dress the right way. How important to you is it that one viewer out there says one negative thing about you? Do they know what your values are? Challenge them and ask themselves really how important is that person’s opinion about me?” Volpe-Bertram said.

13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke to Michigan Women Forward for tips on how to handle a bully:

  • Look at the kid bullying you and tell him/her to stop in a calm, clear voice. You can also try to laugh it off if joking is easy for you. This may catch the bully off guard.
  • If speaking up doesn’t seem safe, walk away and stay away. Never fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.
  • Stay away from places in the school that bullying seems to regularly happen, and alert an adult to these areas.
  • Have a “buddy” if you need to pass through an area where bullies are present. Tell a teacher/trusted adult that you would like their presence in this area at a certain time. Bullying happens much less frequently when an adult is present.

For cyber bullying:

  • Always check your privacy settings to make sure who has access to your posts.
  • Keep your password secret, even from your friends. Let your parents know your password.
  • Always be kind with what you post, you never know who will see it or interpret it. Do not share anything that may hurt or embarrass someone.
  • Keep your parents in the loop. Let them friend or follow you.
  • If you receive unkind or inappropriate messages, talk to an adult immediately so that they can help you report it.

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