As we all know Facebook is a fantasy land of comments and opinions that exists outside of the the normal realms of logical everyday mundane life. What you write on there doesn’t even really count does it. But it does, really. And I’ve quietly been noticing more and more sly shit going down on social media and I have to say, Facebook is ripe with it. Everywhere I look there is some miserable git who seems to think their sole purpose in life is to bring other people down on Facebook. Well I’m here to tell you, it’s not.
Differences of Opinion
There’s a saying that goes ‘opinions are like arseholes, everyone’s got one.’ We don’t all agree, that’s part of the beauty of life. Facebook is a public forum and the differences of opinion and culture and personality make it an interesting online space. I feel if you put something out into the public online space you should be prepared for people to have an opposing opinion. But it seems to be declining at a rapid pace into argument central. I see people (most times women) writing shitty comments even on the most innocent/banal posts. ‘That cat isn’t even cute’. And my point is, we all know you’ve got an arsehole but we don’t always want to see it. Stop flashing your arsehole about like some entitled, insensitive idiot. Because sometimes, your opinion just isn’t needed. Part of maturity is realising that your opinion isn’t always necessary or even, dare I say it, important.
Maybe you’re reading this thinking that being outspoken is a quality you’ve always liked about yourself and I would agree with you there. I have been in situations where my thoughts and feelings have been bursting out of my face. My cheeks go hot and my stomach churns and I feel like Homer Simpson ‘don’t say it Kate, just don’t’ But I have to. Historically this has been where I have observed a considered injustice, and I’m sure you have been in this situation before and can understand just what I am describing. Sometimes, morally I feel like my input is needed. And yes that sounds conceited but I wish everyone felt like that on certain topics like sexism and other blatant isms that need to be regularly challenged if we are ever to hope for a more healthy future for our kids. It’s all the sly underhand comments I personally cannot stand.
Power in the Written Word
I have read so many loaded comments on Facebook. Not so easy to spot sometimes in conversation, in the written word it is plain to see. I posted in a group recently and received a lot these types of loaded comments. My daughter’s school had an opening ceremony that parent’s were not allowed to attend and my post was about how I was disappointed. That’s the general gist of it. The replies were all from other women, who do not know me personally and they were very opinionated, and I thought quite aggressive in places. But not in an overtly obvious way. In that shitty sly way that some women have really perfected. I stopped replying about 2 hours after posting and just watched the post with interest. By the end of the day I had been told I was controlling and unable to let go of my children enough for them to be upstanding members of society. It was suggested I should be more grateful and I should volunteer at the school so I could see with my own eyes how much effort the teachers put in. Instructions to me from people who have no idea of what my personal circumstances are. Most of the replies were patronising and admonished me for what they considered was a trivial opinion. Much of the comments referred back to their own personal circumstances and how things worked for them and that across the board it should be acceptable because it is for them. The old ‘it never harmed me’ argument. On a post that was not at all argumentative by any measure. Or so I initially thought. I was obviously quite wrong. On many levels according to these women.
It really piqued my interest though because I was fascinated with why they felt so compelled to kind of attack me on this very mundane point. I was interested to consider why I posted it in the first place too. I still don’t fully have the answers to this but I do think some of the replies were defensive. Attacking others’ opinions or way of life often comes from a place of feeling attacked yourself. Why did these women feel so strongly about a school rule? It wasn’t their school and even it were why would they feel so defensive about something so banal? I think it’s because they felt like in a way, my post was saying ‘I don’t think the way you do school is right’ and they wanted to defend their decisions and their way of life. Breastfeeding arguments pop up on my feeds all the time, I stay well away from them because I know how emotive they can get and I do not feel they ever really help in any way with providing useful info about breastfeeding. I would say go to a support group, vent to your friends, but you won’t get far on a Facebook thread when it comes to breastfeeding even if you just wanted a bit of support.
Bitches be Bitchin’
The thing is, half of that stuff would never had been said to my face. In real life if I had said in a group situation what I wrote, I think it would have been the people with supportive things to say who would have made themselves most known and the thinly veiled snarkiness would have gotten side glares. I have to remind myself that among the people who feel it is their right and duty to tear apart anything they see on Facebook – from moaning about family photos to how many Christmas presents your kids got compared to theirs – there are the ones who don’t tear you down. There are people who read your post, didn’t agree with it and scrolled on past. I generally keep my posts as light as possible but people will find fault in anything. I posted to ask if anyone wanted to come to the theatre to watch Titanic the musical and someone commented how terrible it is that there are musicals made about tragedies.
Give it to me straight
What do you think? Do you enjoy a little Facebook war? Do you feel justified when you feel you have out-pointed someone on a Facebook thread? Or have you also noticed how quickly things are taking a nose dive on Facebook? I’m at the point where I’m a bit frightened to post anything on there. Where do you stand?