I am a part of many online social media groups. Groups that focus on professional women, former journalists, mommy life, womanhood…and so on.
If you are part of those groups then you know…it’s a great resource for finding referrals, venting…it’s basically one giant tribe of women who offer a much-needed support system.
But…there are times it morphs into something that leaves me asking: “where the hell is the supportive tribe?”
Look, this blog may tick people off. But for as much as I talk, post and blog about bullying and mean-girl nonsense…I would be the biggest hypocrite to sit back and say and do nothing.
I get it, online groups are great for asking for referrals, questions about anything & everything, and looking for support. They’re safe zones.
But there are FAR too many times they have become the hot spot for defaming someone individually, slandering their good name and character, and basically…talking grade school level crap about them. At this point, they can’t be defended as “safe zones” when posts are ripping lives apart. And we can’t stand by quietly and let it happen.
I’m used to being the topic of conversation. It became second-nature for me to log onto social media to read something about my lipstick, hair or weight. My name would get thrown and flipped through the mud without a second of hesitation. That came with the territory of being on TV. You learn to have extra-thick skin…but the hateful words still cut.
But recently, my friend came under attack.
I’m not going to go into the details of what was said. But my initial thought was: everyone wants to know why the bullying epidemic is so bad?? Look no further than the adults…look what they’re posting. It’s all learned behavior.
Instead of sharing what was SAID…let me give you some insight into what happened AFTERWARDS. My friend, the one who was the topic of the vile and hate, is also my midwife. You know why she is my midwife? Because when I had my 3rd child, she was one of my nurses at the time. I trust her. She knows her stuff. She puts EVERYONE else’s needs before her own. Her patients become family. She will answer a question about my pregnancy in the middle of the night if I text her. She saw me at my most vulnerable and she helped me through those tough moments (Do you really have to be in here when I bathe?? ) My friendship developed with her because of the AMOUNT OF RESPECT I had for her PASSION for her job.
So when I saw the vile things that were being posted about her by an individual…I became a little irate, to say the least.
I saw her today. And as I was hooked up to the monitors checking out these contractions, we sat and talked about all of the drama. I saw absolute HURT in her eyes. I saw a woman who spends more time with her patients than she does with her new husband. I saw a woman who is deeply affected by hurtful words.
I get it: we’re not going to like every doctor we see…every nurse…every teacher…every manager…the list could go on and on. But rather than putting someone on blast on the BIG, BAD INTERNET…how about we “woman-up” and have a one-on-one conversation with that individual who “did us wrong?”
Why do we continue to post shit online in an effort to stir the pot?? Online groups should NEVER allow one person to start attacking another. You may feel big and bad while posting trash…and you may feel like your words are helping others…but have you ever thought about what you’re leaving behind? You’re destroying another person. You cannot mend the cuts made.
Yeah sure…freedom of speech. Cue the eye-roll.
Freedom of speech doesn’t give you a free pass to wage an all-out verbal assault online.
The fact is this: bullying among our kids is worse than ever.
Maybe we should look no further than the people who are driving around town in mini-vans, station wagons and SUVS…shuttling kids to and from practices…volunteering on the PTO…having spa days…having OB/GYN visits…organizing bake sales. Because in between all of that…some are spending too much time being keyboard bullies.
We may be the problem. But we can fix it.