It is the percentage of people in the United States who are mothers (according to the census last year).
That means that more than one fourth of the country belongs to this elite group. The percentage of women is even higher -- 55%. So explain to me why we are so mean to each other?
A blog that I follow, The Underachiever's Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess, is the most recent victim in an ongoing battle with cyber-bullying between women. Her blog and Facebook page were the target of a grown-up "Mean Girl" attack from another blog. It makes me angry. And it makes me sad. I have many "friends" that I have never met except through the collection of circuits and wires that I am typing on. As a stay-at-home mom, most days my only contact with the outside world is through my computer. I count my circle of fellow mom-blogging friends as real friends. We comment on each others pages and blogs, we share, we support, and we are all women and mothers. We draw inspiration from each other and we take personal attacks very seriously.
My friend was personally attacked.
Another blogger -- someone who should be one of those who supports her fellow blogging women -- dedicated an entire post to tearing The Underachieving Goddess down.
My first reaction was to retaliate. I wanted to spread the word about the hate by posting links on my Facebook page and here on my blog to tell my fans to go get her. But that was, as my first reactions generally are, the WRONG response. That would be spreading the hate, giving it wings, so to speak, and allowing it to spread. So instead, I posted links to The Underachieving Goddess -- both to her blog and her page on Facebook and I asked my fans to lift her up.
As a certified "Snark Queen" I had a lot that I wanted to say to this other blogger, but I refrained. In holding back, and thinking through all of the things that I wanted to say, I realised how incredibly easy it is to be drawn into BEING a bully. When you sit behind a keyboard, it is very easy to let the insults fly with little thought to how they make the person on the other side of that screen feel. I believe that if you follow a simple rule of thumb in all of your posts and comments, you can avoid becoming the bully -- don't type it if you wouldn't say it to someone's face. Now, for me (and I imagine for some of you) this will curb very little of your on-line activity, but just imagine if we all followed this simple rule. Imagine the most recent on-line discussion that you participated in as an actual conversation, with real people -- because, newsflash -- that is exactly what it is.
So what is bullying? Is voicing an opinion that differs from one posted bullying? It depends upon how you voice it. If you can voice a different opinion respectfully, then no. But if you cannot say what you want to say without insults, cursing, and addressing those who differ in opinion from you without accusatory tones, then keep your mouth shut (or sit on your hands).
And what should you do if you are bullied? Scroll on by, unengage from the conversation, "unlike" the page on Facebook, quit reading the blog, or, if you are in charge of the page DELETE, BLOCK, and BAN!! On Facebook, us page administrators have a name for cyber-bullies -- Trolls. So whatever you do, DON'T FEED THE TROLLS. It is what they want -- they came looking for a good, cyber throw down, and if you comment back or do anything to engage them, they feed off of it. It fuels their fire and causes more bullying.
I do not know why women are so catty to one another, but we are. It is not limited to the computer -- we are mean all the time. Even now, as I think about the weight battle that I am waging, I know that I am not doing it just for my husband. I am not doing just for myself. I am not doing it just so I can be healthier, live longer, or just because I want to wear all the clothes in my closet that don't have elastic. It is for all of those reasons, but it is also for all the women that I encounter both on the computer and in real life -- at the store, at the pre-school, at the pool, EVERYWHERE. Women who's genes or metabolism have kept them fit and trim even after they had kids, hit 35, and discovered the Internet. Women who look down their noses at my yoga pants and ponytail and lack of make-up to hit the local Kroger. I am doing it so that they have less to judge. In fact, if I took the judgey, catty, women bullies that I know out of consideration, I would probably be content to lose less, lose it slower, and would give little thought to whether I was ever wearing make-up.
I am taking a pledge and I hope you will join me:
I pledge to lift at least one woman up per day. I will compliment someone I do not know, even if I get weird looks. I will offer help to a woman in need whenever given the opportunity. And I. Will. NOT. Be. A. Bully. EVER.
UPDATE: The blogger who attacked my friend has apologized. She sincerely did not mean to tear anyone down, and has said so publicly on her blog. I hope that if I am ever forced to take an honest look at something that I have written that has offended someone, that I handle it with the integrity I believe that she has. As The Underachiever's Guide To Being a Domestic Goddess has posted on her page -- "Peace and love to all."
Thank you for reading! Do me a favor and go to the right hand side of this page and click that top button to go Circle of Moms and give me a vote in the Top 25 Funny Mom Blogs contest! This contest only lasts for 2 more weeks, you can vote every day, and I just need to stay in the top 25! (Also, my friend, The Underachiever's Guide To Being A Domestic Goddess is there! You can give her a vote too!) You can vote on Top Mommy Blogs and Picket Fence Blogs too, but those two are ranking sites and the voting never ends! :)