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.