I was once surprised to learn that in certain social circles, people I know tend to bring up politics when I am not around. I was told it was always conservative leaning and often pro-Trump, and I was told this in a kinda humorous anecdotal way like: You’ve done a good job making sure everyone knows you’re the kind of person that’s not going to let that stuff slide without a confrontation, they only do it when you are not around.
Part of me was a little concerned because – at least in this particular social circle – I felt like maybe my voice could make a difference. Often I prefer not to talk politics in person because I’m so awkward around conflict; but in this social circle, I felt like they would have been open and receptive to some of my thoughts. Also, I’m still really empathetic when it comes to those conversations, so I’m not just finger-pointing and politic-shaming. I’ve held my cool and stayed on topic before in really challenging situations, and part of me was sad I missed the chance to be a liberal voice in this group.
BUT MOST OF ME WAS REALLY F*CKING GLAD.
I was told about one conversation about the “concept of white privilege” like this group didn’t think it was a real thing and maybe 20% of me wished I could have been there to talk some truth but the other 80% was really glad that in all the times I’ve been inside this circle, that has never come up. I am glad I’m the one you AVOID saying certain things around, mainly because maybe that means I’ve done a good job in presenting myself as The Person Who Will Confront Racist Ideas Head On.
I tell you ALL of this because evidently I have NOT done a good job at presenting myself as The Person Who Does Not Like Personal Attacks About People’s Appearance.
I’ve been caught off guard a few times recently, suddenly finding myself in a situation where Making Fun Of Someone is something that is accepted/tolerated. I say “caught off guard” because – for the most part – I socialize with people who would NEVER consider someone’s body hair or smell or makeup or clothing choices something that should be mocked. I mean, I think I could even say that of my good friends, no one ever makes fun of anyone for anything superficial. I do have some circles where some political view points get mocked, but only when we’re in our “safe place” in a “trust circle” kind of situation. BUT NO ONE EVER MAKES FUN OF PEOPLE’S APPEARANCES.
Somehow I’ve NOT done a good job presenting myself as a killjoy in those situations and I’m kicking myself for not speaking up the last time it happened. I think I prepare for political conflicts constantly, but I never seem to have a script on hand so that I can quickly pull out the, “If you can’t say anything nice,” lecture to another adult.
WHY IS IT OKAY TO ACT LIKE THAT AROUND ME? UGGG.
So I’m taking this public space here to say: I AM NOT OKAY WITH MAKING FUN OF PEOPLE IN GENERAL, BUT SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THEIR APPEARANCE.
A few examples include:
- Negative comments or memes about the President’s hair.
- Posting pictures you have taken without someone’s permission to make fun of them on Facebook.
- Picking on someone’s clothing choices.
- Negative and snide comments about another person’s hair style or cleanliness.
- Criticism of that girl’s makeup.
- Acting disgusted that someone NOT in perfect shape wore white spandex at an athletic event.
- Ridiculing the President’s weight or body.
- Mocking that guy who tucks his shirt in.
I guess I need to get my script ready for the next time. I’ve let these comments slide too often. I have called out a few people for the second offense on Facebook because I can take time to compose behind my keyboard and not get too emotional, but for the most part I’ve never called anyone out (except anyone in my family, THEY KNOW BETTER) for criticisms like that.
WE ARE GROWNUPS, DAMMIT. We should know better!
Or maybe I just need to remove myself from these type of groups permanently and just only hang out with the beautiful souls I know and love who would NEVER make fun of a person for the clothes they were wearing.
I’ll probably do both, prepare the script, but still avoid those circles because I don’t really need that kind of energy in my life.