As someone who spends a lot of time reading and writing online, I have learned there are hot issues that come and go. For awhile there was a lot of talk about the ridiculousness of slut shaming. (Which I also hate, if there was any doubt.) Then we talked about fat shaming. (Let’s just stop ALL shaming!) And lately I’ve been reading a lot of commentary about how saying, “That girl should eat a sandwich,” is just as insulting as making fun of someone for being fat. (I have totally said that same thing in the past, not thinking about how insulting it is.) I’ve read many fascinating articles full of wisdom and they always shed new light on these type of ideas. Thumbs up from Kim!
Here’s the thing. Every time I read this type of editorial that encourages the masses to quit insulting a group of people (“Bottle Feeding Moms Need Support Too!”) I think, Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just stopped picking on everyone for everything? And then I laugh to myself because – seriously? Like that’s ever going to happen.
But you know what? I’ve got to say it. No matter how unrealistic it is that this would every happen, I need to at least propose it to the world. And stand by my words and see if – at least in my life – I can create a microcosm of support that would tend to stifle any environment of shame. If I hate the realization that my snarky comments are insensitive and possibly upsetting someone, then why don’t I stop THEM ALL TOGETHER?
SO! Here is my Brave New World idea. As long as we – as a society – continue to find humor in the ridicule of others; or build ourselves up by degrading those around us – there will always be a group of people being wrongly insulted. Instead of writing about how we shouldn’t set double standards and shame women for what we praise men for, why don’t we just STOP SHAMING EVERYONE? Instead of talking about how we shouldn’t criticize a woman for bottle-feeding because that’s her choice, why don’t we just STOP CRITICIZING ALL PARENTAL CHIOCES? Instead of pointing out that picking on a girl for being skinny is just as shitty as picking on a girl for being fat, why don’t we just STOP PICKING ON EVERYONE?
Here are little things that have become acceptable (or always been acceptable) in our society that I feel breeds this general “LET’S ALL JUDGE AND MOCK EVERYONE!” attitude.
- Snarking to a friend about how another friend should NOT be wearing flip flops with her gnarly toes.
- Taking pictures of people at Wal-Mart who are wearing hideous outfits comprised entirely of hot pink camouflage.
- Posting on Facebook about how many people you see in bikinis at the beach and how you don’t think your body should be in one and you’re half their size!
- Tongue-in-cheek commentary about the mom in your kid’s class who insists they not have any refined sugar EVER.
- Rolling your eyes with your co-worker about the person in the office who drinks a Diet Coke with their double cheeseburger from McDonalds.
These are all very minor moments that we’ve all participated in. But I truly feel that this general trend of building ourselves up by tearing someone else down, is simple creating a society that entertains itself entirely at the cost of others.
And I know, I KNOW, it’s never EVER going to change. It’s human nature to make ourselves feel better by trash-talking others. I KNOW. Trust me.
But…what if I could just change my own little sphere of influence? What if I could just focus on myself and maybe, just maybe, create a little more positivity in the world to battle ALL negativity.
So, instead of fretting about whether or not I should be shaming or ridiculing or mocking a certain behavior from a certain type of people, I’m just going to blanket eliminate it all. Unless my snark or laughter can make my community, my world, MYSELF better in some way, there is no need for it. And – as of right now – I haven’t come up with a situation where poking fun at another person can do anything positive in my life.
Granted – I was picked on a lot as a kid. I went to a daycare as one of the few Catholic school kids who showed up in uniform every day. I had frizzy hair and acne. I wore a headgear. I’ve always been sensitive to making fun of others and would rather there be nine million pr0n sites on the internet than that one site: People of Wal-Mart. I just have never really succumbed to the trend of laughing at strangers, because I still remember too vividly being laughed at as a child.
But still…I have poked fun of an outfit with a cohort. Or at least laughed when someone else did it. So, I’m not perfect. I’m no angel.
And while the world isn’t going to change. I know that. At least I can rest easy knowing that the next time I read an article where someone points out the insensitivity of something, I won’t have to worry about feeling bad for doing that same thing. I can go to sleep at night not worrying about the ripple effect my words my have in my community. I can sleep better spreading positivity instead of negativity.
And I can focus one Target to mock, ridicule, and laugh at: ME. Because Lord knows, I provide plenty of material to make fun of every day.