What happened to being kind to one another ??

Recently I came across something that disturbed me. In my travels on the web I saw a photo that had been put up on a blog – of a woman. Well a woman’s behind actually. When I first saw it I thought ‘WOW’, how cool. A celebration of this gorgeous piece of female form.

Now we females, we come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us have actually been all shapes and sizes. Over the course of 54 years my weight has seesawed more times that I like to think about. There have been times when I was very unhappy with how heavy I was and the shape I was. In a recent post I even mentioned a photo of me on a beach.

There have also been times when I was happy until someone made some unkind remark that hurt. For example, as a young woman one day I was out at the beach with two friends. One male, one female. I was happy, having fun, until my girlfriend made a remark about my ‘flabby belly’ and my happiness meter took a nosedive. I’m sure she meant well. And we were young. Sometimes the young speak before they think of what their words will do.

When I look back at that time – honestly I would kill for the body I had then. So I guess what I want to say is it is all relevant.

Not so long ago I was – well BIG. For years I had battled my weight due to two broken backs which meant a rather sedentary lifestyle for a while. More mobility of late and a healthier lifestyle have luckily meant a reduction in size.

When I was big I tended to hide under both dowdy and large clothing. Most fashion tips tell you this is NOT the way to go. You just make yourself look bigger they say. I never possessed the confidence to wear figure hugging clothes. Trinny and Suzannah would have had a field day with me. But oh how I loved looking at women who did have that confidence. I still do.

With their beautiful bigger bodies they flaunted larger than life colours and clothes that gave them curves. As the mother of a daughter I have from day one tried to make her understand that no matter what shape she is she is beautiful. I have also tried to teach her that she MUST march to her own drum [she does that all right], no matter what others expect of her.

So where am I going with this you ask ?

Why was I disturbed by someone’s photo ?

Along with the photo [in my opinion], came words that mocked and ridiculed this woman’s decisions regarding the clothing she was wearing. With words the blogger invited others to mockery.

Here’s my submission. Be prepared to laugh!

Is what was displayed asking people to visit the blog. But in my opinion worse was to come. Above the photo of this woman’s bottom were more derogatory remarks.

In the past I would have simply done nothing. But the times they are a changing. So I politely commented that I was dismayed at the post and what it represented. An exchanged ensued. I thought it was quite a polite exchange on both sides as to the pros and cons of her stance. I was even complimented on how I look and dress, to which I said thank you.

I made the point that I thought her post a little unkind, hurtful even to this woman. She replied that the woman’s clothing was inappropriate for her size. I responded that I thought it was a little presumptuous of her to feel she should dictate how this woman should clothe herself. Still all very polite conversation.

Now back to the whale [me] on the beach. You see had someone taken a photo like this one [other than the friend I was with] and then placed it in a public forum such as a blog and invited discussion as to whether they should tell me my attire wasn’t as great as I thought it was, I know how that would have made me feel. I am warning you – DO NOT zoom in !!!!

You tried to didn’t you ??? Doesn’t work people. I’m not completely silly.

Which led me to wondering if the blogger has ever thought about; “What if it was me they were discussing…or my daughter?” And what if that daughter came across the post. Read that others were snickering about her. Unlikely ?? Perhaps, but I garner from our conversation these two women live in the same town…so possible. Stranger things have happened.

To cut a longer story short I replied to a comment by this blogger that I thought she was actually missing my point. We are [or should be] free to be ourselves.

She deleted all comments by me – as is her right. But I did send her this comment.

I am sorry that you felt the need to erase my comments on here. I did not think they were disrespectful…just merely pointing out how others may read your words. I am sorry if I hit a nerve.

To which I received the following reply.

There is something seriously wrong with you. You need to see a shrink or head doctor. You are some fucked up broad. Do yourself a favor (and me too) go back into your world of illusion.

Ummm…I should point out here that I never actually leave my world of illusion.

You are probably asking yourself why am I bothering:

  1. To even engage the blogger
  2. To raise this with you

Because it saddens me. It is to me a statement of the loss of kindness and empathy that infects this world. It is a statement about how judgmental we have become as a species. I am reminded of a news item I read recently about a young female broadcaster.

Jennifer Livingston spoke of trying to laugh of the very hurtful attack on her appearance but how her friends and family could not. The blogger I speak of would possibly respond that  Jennifer dresses appropriately. This was one of her points in the comments she later deleted. I have difficulty in seeing any real difference. Both are attacks on the way someone looks.

Livingston replied on air that “the truth is, I am overweight — you can call me fat — and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. But to the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? That your cruel words are pointing out something that I don’t see? You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family…you know nothing about me but what you see on the outside, and I am much more than a number on a scale.”

She also talks about the problem that this type of bullying has become in society and on the internet. Of how the internet has become a weapon. And of how internet bullying is a behaviour that is learned, passed down from the adults who indulge in it, to the children who see Mummy and Daddy using the internet to criticize and ridicule others.

On air she says: ” If you are at home, and you are talking about the FAT news lady, guess what ? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.”

She’s right. These children then go on to bully other children on social media websites. Ridiculing their peers and sometimes driving these vulnerable children to suicide.

So for me [like I said - the times they are a changing] it is time to speak out when I see behaviour that is unacceptable. Yes I have always been quite vocal when I see injustice. Now I see I have not been vocal enough. Because apathetic responses to injustice only allow this type of behaviour to flourish and garner an appearance of acceptability within society.

I believe that along with kindness we need to also learn responsibility. And not just for our own behaviour but for those around us. Silence is what allows bullies to get away with it. How often have you stood by while another was bullied and badgered ? I have, to my eternal shame, stood by in the past.

I justified it with: “After all it’s not my problem. Why should I get involved ?” That makes me just as guilty as the bully. I can’t change the past. But I can and will change the way I behave both now and in the future. I will no longer watch – afraid to step up and speak up.

My hope is that my behaviour will teach my children to do the same.

Have my words had any effect ? Probably not going on the blogger’s last comment to me. What I do hope is that by speaking out I will encourage others to do the same in similar situations. And if enough people say: “stop, this is unacceptable”, maybe, just maybe people will think before they do things such as this a second time.

Related post: Kindness need not apply if you’re overweight apparently…

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86 thoughts on “What happened to being kind to one another ??”

  1. Kindness has gone the way of the typewriter. Nearly extinct. Sadly. Very sadly. Some people should wite out their thoughts and work on thinking before they inflict pain. Do a little good and pay it forward. I’m with you, Jo.

    1. Me too Tom. I was just doing the rounds of a challenge when it was in my face. At first I avoided it – but the photo, and the words attached, kept drawing me back. I was so surprised at them. And in truth at some of the comments as well. Though I guess we will never know how many comments that were not favourable towards the post she deleted – as she did mine, and one other I saw there that was also later gone.

  2. When I walk down the street, I see myriads of people with their faces glued onto their hand-held devices, smart phones, whatever. They don’t even acknowledge the world around them. They bump into one another and don’t even say excuse me. They’re probably texting a “friend,” likely someone they’ve never even met. Instead of connecting people, all these social media are isolating people. The social skills of people are going down the toilette. It’s a sad commentary that this woman would use language like that at you, when face-to-face she wouldn’t have the nerve. Sometimes I think the pre-Internet world was a lot nicer. And when you had to look information up, you needed to consult a book, or (gasp!) even a librarian.

    1. I think you are right Russell. They believe anonymity allows them to step out of what is right and proper and behave badly. Because the internet separates us they feel they have a safety zone to operate from.

  3. You are definitely not the one that is f’up. I’m glad you stood up. It is the only way to help put a stop to these useless attacks. What happened to living by the golden rule? If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.

    1. So glad to hear you don’t think of me that way…hehehe
      She couldn’t even be nice on the comment page of the challenge – posting what was really a taunt. I will never understand that ever.

  4. Reblogged this on Alastair's Blog and commented:
    There are far too many people who are willing to throw criticism around onto people they don’t know. Whether it is people battling weight problems, depression, even children with ASD’s. Apparently October is National Anti-Bullying month in the US … All bullies should be dealt with and shown the error of their ways. I went through 12 years of school being bullied and more in work places …

    1. I LOVE that you reblogged this Alistair. I doubt it will make any difference to the blogger. She thought that she had every right to say what she did. I really hope she never approaches the woman. The blogger actually asked another commenter if she should go up to her and tell her that she didn’t look great. Astounding. But then so was her comment on the challenge page. Just an outright invitation to ridicule this woman and her bottom.

      1. It is bullying and it’s not fair. Sometimes though, people don’t see the hurt they cause. Not that I am justifying what she did, there is no justification

  5. Well said Jo. It really upsets me when people are nasty towards others, it is totally unnecessary as you say. You probably really hit a nerve and this other blogger didn’t know how to respond except to attack back, particularly whilst saving face on their own site. Hopefully they have put themselves on the naughty step and are having a good hard think about their attitude though.

    1. Thanks Georgia. I wish I really thought what I said to her made any difference…but I really doubt it. Still – it needed to be said. I think she’d probably feel the other woman should be on the naughty step for not following “glamour magazines’ advice” regarding her clothing. I would also be condemned to it I fear for daring to challenge her views.

  6. I think there is only one person who is f*** up and that is the blogger in question. I agree with you entirely. If I want to post a picture of my big arse to my blog and ask for feedback that is fine, but to post a picture of someone else that is just plain cruel and unkind. I’ve come across cyber bullying before when I first started blogging and I was horrified at the nastiness and the sheer intensity. I was in contact with both parties behind the scenes and tried to reason with both – I lost two buddies and neither blog now and lost touch. I feel sad and wonder what happened to them. Geeesh life is too short!
    PS who are Bert and Ernie?

  7. I hear ya and I am totally with you. It’s sad that in this world of so-called diversity, we are all categorized and judged by “acceptable” or unacceptable,” with most of us making the “unacceptable” column for whatever reason. Personally I prefer to be there… it’s where all the cool folks are hanging out!

  8. well, i agree with you.i can be a nasty mouthed and mean,don’t much care how much i hurt someone type,but ONLY when they are disrespectful / mean to me. i think you had the right to speak your mind and from what you have told us of the convo. you were nice to her. the other blogger above is right she’s the messed up one. by the way…what blog was it? come on pretty please?? tell us??

    1. I thank you for that. But I am messed up…just about other stuff…hehehe
      I debated linking to her blog…but after thinking it over – nah !!!
      Two reasons.
      1. That would be just another form of bullying.
      2. I don’t want to direct any traffic to her site.
      There’s three reasons actually…
      3. She’d probably come here and abuse me. And I would feel the need to give her comment/comments a fair airing and I just don’t want that sort of negativity around me or Chronicles. As another blogger I know who tried to comment on the post and also got abuse in return said: “She is toxic…we need to stay away from her.”

      1. your more kinder than me for sure,:-) i’m not so nice when messed with and i did link to someones blog. but then tthey had attcked me and called me a faker about my breast cancer on twitter and been mean to me in the prison forum i had been a part of.they all had this mob mentality there andf would gang up on me and others they were jealous?of. then i made my blog to vent my anger and frustration over it. they never let me get a word of defense in on the forum so this blog was my chance. i let them no i was blogging about them. then they all came here and jumped on me through replies on a wp blog a member has here. even said i was to stupid to know my blog is a piece of shit. so we had the ‘blog war’ so to speak. then i decided that i had my say and enough was enough and took down most of my post on them UNTIL i found out the other blogger kept hers up.so i broke out the few posts i didnt delete….

        1. Well if you hurt either my kids or my furry kids I am quite capable of running you over. The rest – I don’t have the time to waste on it. Too many good people and good things to enjoy. I am sorry they got so nasty to you. but I sense you can more than stick up for yourself…hehehe

  9. i’ve never been one to approve of apathy… people often stand by and are silent, which is almost as if they are saying that something is ok… i have found when struggling with a conflict, to first ask, ‘ is this about ego? if so, remove the ego, and the problem usually goes away.’ the next is to decide if it’s kind and/or necessary.. sometimes it is necessary, and i applaud you for speaking up.

    ah, if the world was populated with decent people like those above! but then we’d not be tested and emerged with stronger values and backbone!

    ‘smooth seas never made a skilled mariner’

    z

  10. Wow Jo this is indeed very disturbing but one thing I’ve learned and remembered about the blogging world is to not let one of the wall person bring you down. This woman sounds like she is the one who is f’ed up! I get so annoyed by how women and their bodies and looks are constantly objectified and commented on. It makes me feel like we are the lesser sex and it makes me so angry. Weight is such a tricky issue and I think every woman constantly battles her own view of her appearance her entire life. It is so sad. I am thin but never am happy with it. Now at 40 I’ve decided to not let society tell me anymore what is beautiful. Women need to love their bodies and themselves for who they are not what. I really can’t believe this woman blogger would make fun of another woman’s figure online and then react so poorly to yor comments. Some people are just awful. Keep blogging and live yourself! You rock Jo!!!!

    1. Thanks Nicole. What annoyed me most was the way she felt superior to this other woman. That was just awful to me. But I am glad i spoke up here…the response has been amazing and given me heart that there are many who condemn and dislike this type of thing.

  11. I don’t know what to say. What you are describing is sadly real. In my head it seem unbelievable for someone to judge someone else in such a cruel way without giving a damn about that person. Sometimes i think, “screw them i am me, i don’t care what others think”, other times hearing this kind of critisism makes me mad and want to slap those people in the head or try to explain that we are not all born super models and that obesity has serious psychological routes. Most of the times though i just hide. Judging people in such a cruel way is sad, yet i don’t think those who do that can change through talk…. They just erase the comment and they are done.

  12. I’m re-blogging too,hope that’s okay.
    Well said Jo, and Jennifer, what an amazing lady. Bullying sucks, a few ugly words can sit with the receiver for a lifetime, I know this from personal experience. It’s time for change.

        1. I have to say that I have actually contacted her. I felt that she had the right to reply. This is what I said: I have debated about telling you that I blogged about this post of yours because I was unsure as to your reaction. However, I feel you have the right to know I discussed this and what I said. I will give free reign to your comments so long as you remain polite. Which is what I tried to do with you before. You are of course also welcome to post any of the comments I made on this blog should you wish to.

          1. At the very least I hope she sees how your voice was one of very very many. And maybe, just maybe, she might think twice next time. Jo? You make the world a better place, my friend.

          2. Thanks Brynne,
            Though it would seem not in her eyes. She replied…oh boy did she reply. I posted it on a new post. And now I am done. I do feel sorry for her. So much twisted emotion must be hard to live with. But time to forgive her and forget her.

  13. Jo this is an extremely important post. I can’t believe the blogger had the audacity to ridicule a person in such a public forum. How is this acceptable in her world or any world? Several of my close friends have struggled for years with eating disorders and body image issues and I’ve seen how much pain they go through. I’m not saying that the woman in the photograph had an eating disorder or body image issues. what I’m saying is that you never know what is going on with someone you see in public. Like Jennifer said, you don’t know me. I often wonder why we can’t just get along. good for you for speaking up. That takes courage and integrity. All people deserve respect. And there is no place for bullying in society.

    1. Seems she’s not done yet. She intends to confront this poor woman in the street. Tell her she is FAT and DISGUSTING. She left me a LONG comment which I posted in a new post. Other than wishing I could say sorry to the woman in the photo…I am now moving on.

  14. I have come across a few things like this on the blogosphere. Generally I just move on. If it is someone who has liked my blog, I may look for another inoffensive post I can like, but I do not return. Magazines like Heat, in my opinion, fuel this type of remark. There are photos ridiculing women for being the wrong size, too fat, too thin, and for sweating. God help us, if we didn’t sweat there would be something seriously wrong. It all feeds into and off the image of the perfect, unattainable shape. The person who blogged this is sucked into that as I am sure you are aware. Well done for your stance.

  15. Well written and thought provoking on so many levels. For some reason, the Internet can bring out the worst in people and I usually do not engage with that element. However, good people at least need to speak up and make the voice of reason be seen online. It might keep someone from joining in.

  16. Jo.. yes what ever happened to Kindness…. as people judge and condemn, with their assumptions and prejudices,… Today I did a course of Equality and Diversity… regarding the Law past here in the UK in he Equality Act of 2010.. Which refers to discriminations against Age, gender, disability, race, Sexual orientation , religion, Pregnancy, etc…. I think this lady needs to look in her own mirror at her self…
    I was extra THIN.. and got called names as a teenager as I was like a stick, straight up and down… people do not understand the hurt caused via this type of behaviour and bully tactics…
    We ALL of us have responsibilities within our communities to not judge another by appearances or their culture or beliefs this is so wrong…
    To be honest JO…. these people who find amusement in ridicule are not worth another thought… for they have much yet to learn in this cycle of living and life… and no doubt are very unhappy people themselves….
    Send her some Love…. She is obviously in need of some …..

    Thank you for adding your thoughts to my post Jo…. lovely to see you and hope you are well… xxx Hugs to you Sue xxxx

    1. Very true Sue. You always see right to the centre of it all. I think she needs a {{{hug}}} or two or three. Though as I apparently have a mental breakdown happening [she commented on this post - it was so long and vitriolic I gave it a post of its own] that might be best to come from someone else. But I forgive her…and now intend to forget her. Though I hope I have learned from her.

      1. You know Jo, we always learn from those that rub us up the wrong way Jo… they get to that part we think we had pushed aside… But then you see WE are ALL HUMAN … and if we didnt Feel there would be no point in our experience! LOL. She obviously has great issues with over weightness! if there is such a word LOL
        You do right in letting her go… Im sure however your words will rankle inside her long after you have forgotten all about her… Unfortunately People cannot SEE themselves, more’s the pity… and she is to be pitied that she cannot see how prejudiced her derogatory comments upon another’s shape is..

        If we were all the same… ‘Clones’ what a sad world we would inhabit…
        Love and blessings to you Jo… And a BIG HUG to YOU!!! xxxxx :-) xxxxxxx Sue

        1. I think I have learned a lot from her Sue. How not to let judgement fester and twist me. I from this experience I have learned a lot. I was able to say what I think…remain calm, polite, and now walk away knowing I didn’t ignore it but I didn’t let it get to me more than it should. I do still feel enormous sympathy for the woman she held up for ridicule. But I feel good about myself that I stood up for this unknown woman.

  17. Jo, this post reminds of one of my favorite quotes: “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good people to do nothing” – Edmund Burke. To beat any sort of evil/bullying/negativity it all starts with speaking up about the small things. Bravo to you.

  18. I am proud of you for speaking up! The internet can be used to spread love in the most incredible way or it can be used by narcissists, (1 in 25) to spread their insecurity and cruel comments. IF we all were more aware of narcissism we would be more prepared for when they lash out. I was married to one for the last 20 years. Cruel comments about strangers appearances is text book for them. They are empty inside. Sucking the joy out of life is sport for them. They don’t feel better for it either, but I bet you do for speaking up. Good for you, you are beautiful. They have no heart, empathy and they don’t feel love for anyone, including themselves. It is epidemic, but we love bugs can stick together, I love you dear blogger for your courage and awareness that your children need to understand empathy and love.

    1. Everything you say is very true. I had not thought of her being a narcissist – but it seems to fit. She certainly seems to feel she is what the rest of the world should model itself on. And there is no empathy there for other human beings. Were that so she would never consider approaching a total stranger to tell her that she is fat and disgusting. I really feel for that other poor woman. Actually I hope she has a bit of oomph and either laughs herself silly at this idiot or bops her on her arse. Though, as it is in America this narcissist would probably sue. So maybe just laughing her arse of would be the way to go. My empathy only stretches so far it seems. She makes me sad…for she has nothing inside of her but a big black hole of venom. What a horrible way to live.

  19. I saw that photo and got the same feeling as you, but you had the guts to comment back to the blogger about it – good on ya!
    I think some people need to put their mind into gear before they put their mouth into action – had that blogger done that, she would have thought twice about leaving such a nasty comment.
    Bravo, Jo, brilliant post.

    1. Thanks Barb. I don’t usually say something. Mostly I just leave and avoid such things but this really struck a nerve with me for some reason. I guess I would hope were someone to do something this nasty to me that there would be someone willing to stand up and say STOP…you are out of line !

  20. Internet anonymity lets people say the cruel things they wouldn’t have the courage to say face to face. People lack empathy too. Despite the reaction you got, it was brave to say something and not just go with the flow.

  21. I hate bullying!!! And I agree with one of the commenters that people hide behind their keyboards to say things they would probably never say in person. In that sense, I dislike the fact that the Internet and the forum of blogging has given bullies a new tool.
    Also, empathy seems to be dying a slow death. The rise of those with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) is very disturbing.

    1. It really saddens me how disconnected we as a society have become that people feel it is okay to behave in such a way to others because they think they have the anonymity and platform of the internet to protect them as the spew their words out.

  22. I had an exchange with the same blogger and now I wonder if she deleted my lengthy comment about our prerogative as women to dress as we wish… My Define Yourself post hinted at it… Sad really.

    1. It was still there until she deleted the whole post. I saw that you said something as well. That gave me heart to talk to her about the post. You and one other blogger who called it UNKIND were the only ones to speak up.

  23. I can never understand peoples need to be judgemental! That post was unkind and totally unforgivable. And it is back, by the way. Your comments have been deleted, but Eliz’s have all been restored!

    1. Neither can I. But if you read just about any of her posts it shows someone who is poisonous and full of vicious spite. I feel only pity for her and those around her who must endure such hate. I think she took it down to avoid a lot of comments from people going there to view it and that maybe now she feels safe.

  24. OHHHH Goodie! A classic online fight! This calls for a celebration! WOOOHOOO!!!

    Can’t we just all be friends? BWahahahaha

    No seriously, I’m still reading your other post and I just saw the root (the post origin) of all this. Will come back for real comments.

    Anyhow, a brilliant post nonetheless because it addresses online bullying.

    1. I’m appalled by Anonymous Photography. Geez, I’m about to vomit here. The hate in his opinions and mentality, he/she is lost and it hurts to think about these people. Such self-righteousness.

      I stand with you on this one, Jo. Go at it, and take a stand. And not just because you’re my friend. The blogger has crossed the line with foul words on his/her slandering anyways.

      1. Well said Rommel. She certainly crossed a great many lines with her foul words. It’s funny – she pops in to check on here – I see her IP address every now and again. I can only hope that one day she will learn something from all the comments and stop being such a poisonous person to others. I don’t hold out much hope – people like her enjoy their vindictiveness too much to part with it usually. But as they say ‘KARMA IS A BITCH’, so hopefully what goes around will come around and give Anonymous Photographer what she deserves.

        1. Honestly, I pay no mind with those kinds of people. It’s really is quite disturbing that people think that way. Her justification, more like alibi or damage control, tt really just doesn’t give her a license to laugh, point and ridicule other people like that.

    1. Thanks Patti. I certainly agree with you on that. I don’t know if you read her reply to me in the next post…but she is so vicious and mean [to the woman in the photo - and she does tell me I need help with my mental issues] that…well I just have no real words for it at all except to say it really, really disgusted me.

There are two things I know for certain. One: Bert and Ernie are gay. Two: I want to hear your opinion.

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