When I was a child, I was the kid who would fight the bully. Not for myself, for my friend, or for the kid being punched, kicked, tripped, be given a wedgie or shoved into a locker. Boy or girl, if you were the bully, sooner or later, we would go toe to toe. Whenever I saw someone being bullied I would get fired up and want to stop it.
Everyday, I am sad to say, I see at least one woman being ugly. Ugly to herself, her child, her stylist or to me. Gossiping about the woman who just left, pointing at her daughter’s oily scalp, teasing her 15 year old son that he must be a girl under all that muscle because he likes his favorite hair gel, or pointing at my (faded) thyroidectomy scar and saying “don’t you want to cover that with a necklace or something?”. It’s time like these that, for a split second, in my minds eye, I am back in the school yard and am about to go toe to toe with the bully.
A few days ago, I read something I found to be pretty ugly.(I try to stay off of the soapbox but couldn’t shake this one.). A well known website with a huge following, aimed at women, empowering women and giving them a voice and a forum, tweeted how they were “going to ask someone to work with them, until they read their Twitter stream.”. You see, they didn’t agree with the opinions/expletives expressed on this person’s Twitter stream. Before you get all “freedom of speech” and “everyone is entitled to their opinion”, calm the hell down and let me explain. For a site that stands for empowering women – how is gossiping empowering? Yes, gossiping. Yeah, I said it.
Think about it, how is tweeting “was gonna choose someone until I read their twitter stream” any different than telling everyone but your stylist that you hate your new color? There is no difference. If you have a problem/issue with someone, speak to them directly. I would not have agreed, but I could have respected them if they had named said “offender”. How many women read that tweet and began to doubt themselves? How many women read that tweet and thought they needed to edit themselves to be accepted into the inner circle of this website that is for women and mothers? How the hell is that empowering? As women, we need to raise each other up, not push each other down. Generations of women fought for our equality, fought for us to have a voice, fought for us to have more options than housewife or secretary, fought for equality in the workplace, fought against the stigma that all women do is gossip and pick apart other women. Heading a company/website/twitter feed that is aimed at empowering women, you need to show some professionalism, and the above was anything but. If the aim was to help women watch what they tweet about and how they handle their twitter feed, they missed the mark. All it did was remind us of the high school cafeteria, being asked to sit at the cool kids table, only to have someone pull the chair out from under us.
I am 100% for free speech. I believe everyone is entitled to an opinion. I am a firm believer in being yourself, saying what you want and allowing others to say what they want. I do not think I need to agree with everyone nor like everyone, nor do they have to agree with me or like me. What I am for is kindness. Plain and simple.