Wednesday, May 23, 2012

{please don't fling your friends off of mountains}

i got mad. 
yesterday, i mean. 
and i was mad until i went to bed.
when i woke up this morning, i was less mad.
but still mad.
and i will probably be mad until tomorrow.

before i say why i'm mad, i'm going to say some other things. things about how i'm not going to be posting any links or names; and how this isn't a snarky post meant to make someone feel bad, and how the person i'm talking about doesn't read my blog, as far as i know, and how i'm not even mad at this person, necessarily; i'm just mad at a situation and the general population of the whole entire world and internet. except you, of course. 

i'm also going to say that if the person i'm talking about were to happen upon and read this post: good. i'd love that. besides, i've always been taught that if you're going to say something about anyone, be it on the internet or in real life, you should say it as though they were listening. because, you know, they could be. especially when you're in high school and you're talking about someone in the girls' bathroom. 

but the point is not that.

the point is that yesterday, i was reading this girl's blog. she had several pictures of herself and, yeah, i noticed how incredibly skinny she was. which is fine, right? some girls work to look that way, some girls look that way for no good reason, whatever. the point is really, really not that. anyway, someone had commented, asking her how she got/stayed so skinny.

to her credit, she didn't just say, "i'm not skinny! i'm a pig!" or "i eat soooooo much, all the time." {because sometimes when skinny girls say that, they're just saying that, i've noticed.}

but to my dismay, she gave an overly specific example of her teeny-tiny daily food intake. she had an example of a "bad" day too. which was still much less than the average person needs to eat to keep healthy alive. and then, instead of leaving it there, she added, {and i'm paraphrasing only slightly slightly} "the bottom line is, if you want to lose weight, eat less and kill yourself at the gym."

hey guys. hey blogosphere people. hey world. 

there are so many things wrong with this, above and beyond what i'm going to mention here. i'm not one of those people. you know, the ones who are going around all the time singing, "the most important thing of life is to learn to love and accept our bodies, you are beautiful no matter what you look like, embrace your imperfections, etcetera etcetera unicorns lol!" i've written about that before, about how our society has elevated the importance of being beautiful to this massively unhealthy level and how frustrated it makes me. so i'm not going to launch into a discussion about how you are perfect the way you are. {maybe you need to lose or gain weight to be at your personal healthiest, i don't know.} 

but. 

i find it so frustrating when we as women grab each other by the ankles and fling each other off of mountains. {you know, figuratively speaking.} and who has that power? people with voices. in this case, bloggers. me. you. whatever you put out there has the power to help, and it has the power to HURT. 

the reason i'm not mad at this particular blogger is that i don't think she even knows that {if} she has a problem. she probably thinks she's being helpful to the poor souls who need advice on how to look better. she doesn't realize that there are teen girls on the internet who will take her advice very, very literally. right down to the juice and piece of cheese that she eats for brekkie. right down to the "killing" herself at the gym. {if you're scratching your head, puzzled about why this bothers me so much, please do some research. ask a nutritionalist, hire a personal trainer. someone who knows what's up and who can explain to you what your body needs, what your body can handle. maybe her diet and her exercise routine are ok for her, but the way she explains them as though they are universal truth for every body shape and size are what i find so dangerous.}

anyway! the reason i'm mad at the blogosphere is that it's made up of so many of these people who are so quick to offer "help", often without being qualified to, or knowing the exact specifics of their readers, like a blindfolded guy performing brain surgery. 

and i'm not just talking about advice. i'm talking about all of the words you put out there. bragging, teasing, admonishing, helping, opining, sharing. these things aren't bad; they just need to be approached so carefully and with so much thought. it's not a one-on-one conversation with a close friend. it's an open letter to whoever wants to read it. you could be writing to someone struggling with anorexia, loss of a loved one, divorce, depression, etc etc etc. of course you can't control those things, those peoples' reactions to your writing, and you shouldn't censor yourself right out of your online existence, but you should be aware.

and hey. if i ever put something out there that is insensitive, stupid, offensive or whatever: EMAIL ME--STAT. that's absolutely part of the reason my address is in the sidebar, along with a contact form. i'm serious. i don't ever want to be the girl flinging friends off mountains by their ankles. i hate that mental picture of me. i want accountability and honesty, because those are just straight-up good things. 

23 comments:

  1. Wow Suzy, rock the fuck on! First off, I love how this was written because frankly I love everything you write.

    I totally agree with you. Beyond the obvious issue with encouraging girls to starve themselves, how on earth do you build muscle and strengthen your body without CALORIES? You're just running on an endless treadmill to nowhere! NO SENSE.

    Bloggers, at least big ones, are in a unique position and I agree that too many of them squander it. I hope the blogger that you mention here gets healthy and starts loving her body instead of punishing it.

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    1. haahaha it's so true--people don't realize: CALORIES ARE YOUR FRIEND.
      sigh.
      anyways, i think all bloggers, not just big ones, are in that position--as long as SOMEONE is reading, we're responsible for what we're putting out there. kind of scary. :S

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  2. Yeah, I get what you mean and I totally agree. I've been oversensitive for people giving "advice" and sharing "experiences" (yep 17 long years of being alive) and got really usffocated and depressed by it. I felt like everything that was out there, was to be taken seriously; it was a terrible period. Then I realized there are better things to do than reading and listening to this people. So I took a break, unfollowed everyone and everything, also in real life, and all it waaay better. When you don't get influenced by this, you see people who do get influenced as stupid, but honestly it's not that hard to fall in this trap if you're reading only this kind of things.
    Also if it's virtual it influences real life of people. Having said this, I am happy you didn't share the links, otherwise I would probably have clicked..
    Have a nice day Suzy!!

    Juliette

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    1. good call--people don't realize that all of these virtual, faceless readers are real life people. :) haha, and i figured i shouldn't share links or too many details, because then i'd be guilty of the same thing i'm accusing others of!

      you have a good one too juliette!

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  3. This was really well said, Suzy!!
    I've always tried to be delicate... but not ever even considering "who" my audience may or may not be. I sure hope I haven't ever been that insensitive! WOW. Things to think about. Thanks.

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    1. thanks liz!
      {and for the record, i've never thought of you as insensitive. :)}

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  4. Good post. We do need to be careful what we say on this town square. Everything we put here is the same as standing on a busy intersection with a sign. Many of my posts and almost all of my responses get sat on for a bit before I make them public because of that. (Including this. I read this in reader first before I decided to respond). I try to remember that the written word is more dependent on the reader than on the writer.

    And I wholeheartedly agree with the statement that we women have got to quit "[grabbing] each other by the ankles and [flinging] each other off of mountains." All too often we women are our genders worse enemies!

    Anyways, good reminder! While it is "my blog" I need to be willing to take responsibility for what I put out there.


    Lily-Thinking Thoughts

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    1. exaaaaactly. there are far too many people out there saying things like, "it's my blog, i can say whatever i want." while that's true...it's not always good. i appreciate those who take time to "sit on" their words before throwing them out into the internet... :)

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  5. As someone who will always be fighting against a history of anorexia, I appreciate this post more than I can say. When I was younger I DID take any piece of advice literally. And then I strived to beat it (because if you're consuming even less than your idols you can finally feel safe, like you must finally be acceptable...ha). And I was encouraged...which is awful. But perhaps that's another tangent altogether. Anyway, thank you.

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    1. thanks so much for this feedback. :) i knew i had to be careful even in writing this post--so i'm glad it was well-receieved. i think the whole eating disorder "trigger" issue needs to be discussed more--people are way too quick to share food diaries or weight loss pictures without realizing that it could be an issue for someone who's struggling. :S

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  6. I haven't noticed you be insensitive, stupid or offensive, but THIS - this is perfect.

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  7. i saw that post yesterday, and it struck me the same way it did you. i take issue with the concept of someone telling people that they should 'kill themselves' anywhere for any reason. also that anyone eats half of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for dessert.

    i can't stand a lot of these healthy living blogs that dispense advice without any kind of thought as to who might be reading. i also can't stand the mindset that food is something to be feared. being healthy requires a balance. and eating a piece of cake doesn't always require you to 'kill yourself' at the gym.

    ...clearly, i have a lot of thoughts on the matter. sorry for the novel.

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    1. so agree. obviously i have a lot of thoughts on it too, so don't apologize! haha.
      sigh. the internet, hey? agggghhhhhhh....

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  8. This is such a great post Suzy because it's so easy to forget that your words are out there, and even if you take them down they aren't necessarily always gone. Any post of mine that is a bit of a rant or something gets read over and over again before publishing because I don't want anyone to be offended. Blogging shouldn't be used in that way! Anyway, yeah cool post girly :)

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    1. thanks suzy! :) cuz i love your rants--so i'm glad you've found the balance.

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  9. Yes! Agree! Very much!! And if I ever do it, call me out on it, too. For serious. I try my best to write in a way that says "this is what I do because it works FOR ME. you should do what works FOR YOU."

    So, yea. Amen to this.

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    1. deal! :) i've never found you to bug me with your bloggings though. you're fantastic.

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