Remember the 2004 movie ‘Mean Girls‘? The one that catapulted Lindsay Lohan’s fame upward a level? It told the story of her character’s rocky transition from home-schooling to the jungle rules of high-school, encountering psychological warfare and unwritten social rules that teenage girls face today. Nice. Like this:
Cady: [voiceover] Ms. Norbury had us write out apologies to people we’d hurt in our lifes.
Michigan Girl: Alyssa, I’m sorry I called you a gap-toothed bitch. It’s not your fault you’re so gap-toothed.
There wasn’t a lot to love about the movie and neither is there with the online attacks this week directed toward Chrissie Swan and Mrs Woog for daring to be different, voice an opinion, or just even being honest for that matter. This is not the first time we’ve seen such a horrid and public attack just snowball though. Remember Master Chef winner Julie Goodwin when she rejected Jenny Craig? And more recently Delta Goodrem in her role as coach on The Voice (and now ‘it’ girl and soft target Lara Bingle)?
Have we learnt our lesson? Have we, indeed, learnt anything? Lately it seems not, except how to keep ourselves in the bitchy, bitchy mindset of high school. It’s incredibly easy to tear someone down and criticise ideas or effort and as online guru Seth Godin notes; often the more vehement the opposition to someone, the deeper their own fear.
In a not too distant past-life I was a bit of a reality tv junkie and watched all five franchises of the Real Housewives (Orange County, Atlanta, New Jersey, Beverly Hills and New York). Initially I was attracted to the escapism of lives so far removed from mine. Then after the shininess wore off (it only took one season) I noticed that the women, who were on some level friends before the show, began to tear each other down. They back-stabbed, they plotted, they confronted (often publicly), they cried and they (far too frequently) brawled. It was ugly. I made the decision to stop rotting my brain with these shows and now refuse to watch anything where women tear each other down. I might only be one person, but I’m taking a stand.
I’ve never understood why it’s ok for women to tear other women down? Often anonymously via an online persona, where’s the sisterhood in that? Successful, intelligent and talented women that I would be proud to call a friend or grateful to have even a milligram of their abilities. And they are being shredded like tall poppies.
When did we forget that everyone is learning and everyone is trying and not everyone gets it right, all the time? And everyone is vulnerable. Those comments don’t go unread, they often wound.
The single most appropriate question to someone who attacks, dismisses or trolls: “What are you afraid of?”- Seth Godin [Tweet this]
That’s why this time it’s really great to see the internetz and twitterverse just explode overnight with supportfor these two women in response to the backlash of pure venom and jealousy. What was going on was like it was right out of a scene from Mean Girls. It was shameful, so hurtful and just purely bloody awful to watch.
Reading other people’s accounts of their fears, failures and triumphs makes me feel far less inadequate and less like I will never have my shit together. It gives me hope, it makes me sigh and often nod with that ‘hey, I feel your pain sista’ thing as I read their stories. I don’t ever want to stop reading good, honest, well-articulated accounts of major good or bad things in people’s lives.
So the next time you feel the need to pass judgement and stick the boot in to someone else in order to make yourself feel better, just stop. Be better than that.
- Inspired, with jazz hands!
- Motivated, like riding a unicorn!
- Like I need a nap
- Indifferent, like butter vs margarine
- Less words, more pictures/ interpretive dance