We are in a scary and exciting time right now for women. With all the movements and people coming out to tell their story, it feels as if women are taking steps in the right direction. It is not like we are asking for anything crazy, either. We merely want to be looked at as equal, to be able to wear what we want, and to not have a fear of being molested or sexually harassed everywhere we turn. The only problem I have with all of this is that, while we are asking for others to treat us better, we are still tearing down other women.
You see it all over social media. A girl posts a cute little photo and the hate pours in. When you actually look closely at those hate comments, it usually tends to be women who are sending the nasty messages. Why is this? Women should be encouraging others to be their beautiful selves and supporting others, and yet all we seem to do is tear the other person down. Is it out of jealousy or something else? While I can't correctly answer that question, I do know it needs to stop.
At the end of the day, we cannot expect other genders and people to treat us respectfully if we haven't even learned how to do so. I am not saying every woman is like this! There are plenty of amazing women out there who support and lift up others. I am also very much aware that the gender gap is ridiculous, and we need to be treated equally across the board. We also need to stop and take a look at what message we are spreading.
We live in a world of hypocrisy. Some people spread loving messages like, "You should love your body exactly how it is," and then they turn around to send a nasty comment to someone who posted a picture in a bikini. I have never judged a woman based off of her looks because I have no right to criticize. We are all unique and beautiful. Flaunting your body because you feel gorgeous has never put me into a rage or made me feel disgusted. My judgments lie with how you treat others and how you treat yourself. In my opinion, that is how it should be.
One thing a lot of these "haters" need to realize is that what other people post or share does not actually affect their lives. Does Kim Kardashian's bikini post change what is happening in your life? Most likely the answer is no. So why hit send on that comment? Maybe it is purely out of jealousy, which, if that is the case, means you should probably start pointing that finger inward to see what problems you have going on. We are at a critical point in society where we need to create the change we want to see in the world.
Think about this for a second. If we were to start supporting each other entirely, it would give each and every one of us the strength to speak out and stand up. With that much support, we could conquer anything life throws at us (like pay inequality). We won't be standing alone anymore. That type of community would be a force that no one had ever seen. This would force people to stop what they're doing and actually listen. A change wouldn't just be a dream but a tangible goal. So how do we get there?
Think before you press send.
Did you just come across a statement or picture that enraged you? Before you hit send, ask yourself why it angered you. If it was out of jealousy or a petty reason, it probably does not need to be sent. Will this picture or statement affect you in a week? A month? A year? If the answer to all of these questions leans towards no, then it is not needed to blast that hate.
Instead, use your words for empowerment. If you see a woman flaunting her beautiful body, then send a little note of praise and happiness her way. This doesn't mean you cannot comment on things that anger you, just make sure to do it correctly. I have plenty of posts where I have mentioned my disdain for. For example, videos and statements that tear down another human or spread hate are things I cannot just sit back and watch. Sending a nasty comment, however, won't do anything but turn me into the same person who the comment originated from.
If this happens, you should try to educate and politely share your opinion. Some people will always live in blissful ignorance while others are utterly unaware of what they are sharing. By teaching, we can help share knowledge so that they can change their ways. It might not always happen, but it will be a lot more likely than if you just sent an equally mean reply back. Standing up for your beliefs doesn't mean tearing others down.
Say it privately.
There are times where I see a woman posting something that makes me feel uncomfortable for one reason or another. Usually, it is because I find it to be triggering to people with mental illness or spreading a wrong message to others. If I do feel this way, I'll send a private message to them about my thoughts and feelings. The entire world doesn't need to see everything we post. You can choose to share it directly, so only the party involved sees it.
If you do go this route make sure you are sending a constructive thought and not an ignorant statement. Constructive criticism will be a lot easier for someone to digest than just, "I hate what you posted." You can politely let them know how you feel and why you didn't like a particular post. This way you are sharing your opinion without being brutal. I personally love constructive criticism. At first, I might become a little defensive, but after a few moments I take the comment into consideration and start to notice how my words could have come off that way.
Not everyone will change because of your feelings, but it is the fact that you shared them (politely) that matters. Have you ever been in a fight where both parties were jabbing with hurtful words? How did that fight go? The second hate gets thrown at us we immediately become defensive and shut down. You get nowhere in your argument, and both of you leave feeling gross about the entire conversation. Hate will never be looked at in a good light. If you want your words to actually be heard you need to make sure your approach is calm and constructive.
If you like it, then say something.
While we should avoid the adverse comments, we should also encourage positivity. If you like a photo, blog, post, etc. then say something! That nice comment could make someone's entire day. Spreading love and happiness is contagious. I have noticed, even in the blogging world, that when you post a comment praising someone, it is usually reciprocated. After all, a support system helps give strength to reach higher and accomplish our goals.
Next time you read something you like, take a few seconds to comment. It doesn't have to be a paragraph for the message to get across. One sentence is all it takes to spread love and start a journey of empowerment. If we all began voicing positive words of encouragement the world would become a better place for everyone.
Again, not all women tear down others (and it isn't just us who need to change). If we start making these simple changes in our community people will begin to take notice. Other people will start following suit, and more women might come out and stand up for their beliefs. The more people reach out, the better chance we have of change. It only takes one person to break down a spirit. Don't be that one person.