Guest post by Alli Grant – www.alliandco.com
Honestly, some days I am ashamed to be a woman. Yes, I know that’s a strong statement, but it’s true. Some days I see my so-called sisters spit such nasty venom at other women that it makes me wish that I had boy bits instead of girl bits. Sure, men fight and disagree and can get nasty, but they’ve got nothing on the bully front when compared with the ‘fairer sex’ (*cough).
Now, don’t get me wrong – I know that it’s always a few that ruin it for the masses (and that most of us are beautiful, loving, supportive creatures), but I have seriously had enough of bullying. Especially online. And it seems to be getting worse – much worse.
Why does social media seem to bring out the worst in people? It should be a place where we connect and make love (figuratively speaking), not war! If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it at all. And if you would? Well, perhaps you’re a bully in the real world too. Just sayin.
And that’s why we created the #banishthebully campaign! More on that in a minute.
Over the last few weeks I have witnessed so much vile behaviour on social media, especially Facebook (my social playground of choice), that I simply couldn’t just sit by and watch it all unfold without doing something.
I created my business, Alli & Co – www.alliandco.com to help women feel less alone and more normal, to help stop the nasty judgement and instead replace it with kindness and understanding. I have to admit it has been quite the challenge lately. This blog begging the mean girls to stop went part of the way, but it wasn’t enough.
Everywhere I click or scroll I see it. Celebrities dealing with mean tweets, Kelly Clarkson being called fat by a professional bully (who sadly has a global media platform to bully from!), small business women reduced to tears because of an innocent ‘snack food’ post and humorous comment that was taken the wrong way, bloggers shutting down their blog from ‘bully fatigue’.
I have seen women call other women bad mothers for not agreeing with their parenting choices. I have seen nasty comments about someone’s weight and size. I have seen swearing and abuse.
It makes me sad. So very, very sad. Because here’s the thing; we all have issues. We are all flawed – perfectly flawed. We all cry and hurt and feel. No one, I repeat, no one deserves to be bullied like this. No matter what opinion you are sharing.
It took me a long time to work out the difference between having an opinion and nasty judgement. But here it is. We are all entitled to our opinions. How boring would the world be if we had the same views? Yawn. But, sharing an opinion becomes judgement when a) it doesn’t come from a heartfelt place of sharing and education, b) you tell someone that they are wrong and you are right, or c) you abuse / insult / degrade someone for having a different opinion to you.
And why do we women judge so bloody harshly? I think it’s because we actually hold ourselves to such ridiculously high standards (don’t get me started on the ‘having it all’ nonsense) that we can’t help but deflect that onto other women. Sigh.
So, this is why we created #banishthebully. Some of my small business and blogging friends and I got together to chat about the rise and rise of online bullying and agreed that we had to do something about it.
Last night we launched #banishthebully and the feedback was amazing! So much support, so many stories of women who have been bullied, and a few messages from women who watched the video and realised that they perhaps bully others occasionally. Halleluiah! And yes, again, this campaign isn’t just about women – but we are responsible for a lot of the online nastiness.
It’s so easy to get involved. Share our #banishthebully images and video with your friends – let them know that you will not tolerate bulling online. Just like our kids are taught to say ‘Stop, I don’t like it’ we should be brave enough to do the same.
Next time you see someone exhibiting bullying or bitchy behaviour online, simply comment with #banishthebully. You do not need to enter into a discussion. In fact, you shouldn’t. It will only spur them on. Just show them that you stand against online bullies.
We need to unite. These cowards who hide behind their computer screens need to know that if they dare step a foot out of line they will be picked up for it – called on their behaviour.
The idea is that #banishthebully will encourage people to think before they comment, to question whether their response is an opinion or harsh judgement. Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place to play in if this happened? Instead of bullying and judgement we want to encourage kindness and understanding.
Enough really is enough. It’s time to #banishthebully.
Will you help me?