I'd like to clear the air and have some open communication
about something that everyone seems to still want to talk about.
Quite a while ago I wrote a facetious article about how disapproving I was of the content labeled "Lifestyle" on A Beautiful Mess. I made it very clear that that Elsie herself is probably a nice person, but her blog was projecting fake content and presenting itself as very real. This comment pissed a lot of people off. I can't exactly tell you why, I suppose that they all took it very personally (though it had little to nothing to do with them) but I can tell you how many "you're a bully" emails I received. I just want to say this now: just because I am saying something that you do not want to hear does NOT make me a bully. I explained to the world that I didn't have any problems with people selecting moments of charm and blogging only about those, but I stuck to my guns when it comes to calling it "real life". I fielded the mean emails the best I could... I even wrote a Q&A post to clear up the misconceptions that I was a heartless woman hating bitch; to no avail. One of the larger lifestyle bloggers I advertised on refunded my ad saying that she couldn't support me because Elsie was a "dear friend" and I was being a bully (again, with the overuse). It was infuriating. I handled it (sort of) well, but after it all calmed down, I removed the post for one major reason:
If you walk into a church and yell "god doesn't exist!", no one will hear anything you say after that.
I write on this blog specifically to offer women permission to think for themselves. To love themselves. To break social norm... and Elsie's blog is a social norm. But there are also bigger more important things out there to publicly disagree with... like patriarchy, slut shaming, fat hatred, "crazy people" stigmatization and woman silencing to name a few. My point is: by calling Elsie's blog into questioning I was making it easier for a small part of my reader base to walk away over a topic that simply wasn't worth it. I would rather remove the insignificant post and have women stay and read more about self love than never have them listen at all. I want every woman to have the chance to love herself unconditionally. I want every woman to have the option to make her own choices. I want every woman to allow herself to choose what is best for her. Whatever that is. I personally believe that these options are more efficiently communicated through well researched feminism/acceptance/educational posts. Maybe if women read those they will figure out the rest for themselves.
This brings me to another point:
It has come to my attention that there are sites that simply bash on bloggers. I know, I know, where have I been. I say bloggers and not blogs because the destructive comments that make their way onto the threads are by and large meant to jab, poke, cut and otherwise brutally destroy the blogger of choice. I absolutely do not like this, not even a little bit. I feel like the concept of constructive criticism is lost here, and it becomes a individualized bloodbath with nothing accomplished after it's over. Elsie and many others are victims of this verbal violence and to this entire form of personal humiliation I say NO. I firmly believe that there is a marked and permanent line between a person and a position. A distinction between a politician and a policy. This is a really important concept, so hang in here with me for a moment.
When you talk about a person, you are talking about something that you literally know nothing about. A person is a living breathing walking jumble of atoms that has a brain that is wired uniquely from their past experiences. NO ONE knows another human being thoroughly except themselves (and sometimes, not even then). Not their mother, not their husband or wife, not their childhood friend, and most certainly not a stranger behind a monitor. Humans are too complex to judge. This is a fact. Sure, sure we can throw judgements around all we want, but every time we do the second it leaves our mouth... it's incorrect. How could it not be? We couldn't possibly know what we're talking about, because it's not about us. Now, a position? That's a whole other story. We can wrap our minds around a position. We have the right to decide if we support or ignore it. If we love it or hate it. If its pure gold or bullshit. Its a one dimensional concept that we can own or throw away. We choose the positions we want in our life. That is our right.
Politicians and policies are similar. A politician is multifaceted and a human to boot, so there is an array of tangled thoughts feelings and beliefs in there. A policy on the other hand we can nail down on paper. We see it in black and white, made out of 32 letters stating exactly what it is. This is why I like to debate policies and not politicians. Always. Just don't get me started on how policies aren't nearly evolved enough to encapsulate the complexities of human beings, much less be forced upon them. Another rant, another day.
This whole thing gets messy and uncomfortable sometimes. I have to elect a politician that represents the majority of the policies that I like. I don't get to choose my preferred sides, I have to chose an entree. In a perfect world, maybe it wouldn't be this way... I don't know. People and positions are the same way. We choose to surround ourselves with people that we share a common group of positions with. Are we going to agree with every position they hold? Nope. So we do the best we can and we make the calls the way we see them. For me, this translates into a persons actions as well. I do not judge a person by their being, but rather by their actions.
I from a personal stand point believe in being real, maybe even being real to a fault. This is a core concept for me so I surround myself with people and positions that support this. I also challenge positions that don't. I don't challenge people when it comes to this unless they are enforcing some sort of law that doesn't allow me to make my own decisions. Easy peasy.
Don't hate on people, folks. Its cruel and inefficient and it make you look like a big meany head. Try hating on policies or positions instead. While I say that, I also say: it's your life. Do what you want. If you want to decide that someone is a piece of shit based on their photos, I guess it is your right. If you want to question someones intelligence because of the state of their marriage, I guess technically it's your right. But these are not steps towards change. These steps will get all of us nowhere. I stand wholeheartedly behind supporting what you believe as well as countering what you don't. DO IT! Stand up against things that you don't believe in, just make sure you spend the majority of your time supporting the things that you do. Its better for our emotional welfare this way. I really think that even this comes down to balance... you need a little of both. I support writings that reflect my core beliefs and I question those who do not. But I mostly support those that reflect my core beliefs. See how that works?
Let me be clear: this is not a war, and there are no sides.
People can't fight people, people must disagree with positions and policies. It must work this way or else we would have a very scary reality that looks a lot like the verbal slaughter on the hate forums. Hate is not a gateway to change. Constructive opposition and healthy confrontation is. Make no mistake; they are very different.
I know why I write here on The Militant Baker. I have done a lot of studying to get to this state of consciousness and I have also learned is that this is just the beginning of my educational journey. However, my personal reality is clear and my positions are solid. I believe in demanding freedom and promoting change. Confronting oppressors and supporting free thinkers. I believe that I am allowed to be an outspoken female and that this is not a negative characteristic by nature. I believe that I can use it for greater good. I believe that I am human and will make mistakes. I am okay with this. I believe that many of the worlds issues can start to be resolved once we become comfortable talking about them. I strongly believe in talking about them. I believe that the reality that all of us grew up in is ass backwards whether we know it or not. I don't believe in minimizing this fact. I believe that people should be held accountable for their actions. I believe in righteous indignation and healthy aggression. These primitive emotions are as necessary for survival today as they were years ago. I believe in being grounded, aware, and empathetic. I believe that every human being on this planet has the right to feel good about themselves. This last one, I believe most of all.
Please feel free to leave your comments below. I love communication and I value your input. Also know, that if there is cruel commentary that I deem unfounded it will be removed. This is my blog and I want to only promote critical thinking, conversation, and change.
With all of that said, what do you think?