Τρίτη 25 Ιουνίου 2013

No, it's not my Fault. It's your Dirty and Envious Mind

“There are no 'good' or 'bad' people. Some are a little better or a little worse, but all are activated more by misunderstanding than malice. A blindness to what is going on in each other's hearts... nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. That is the way we all see ...each other in life. 

Vanity, fear, desire, competition-- all such distortions within our own egos-- condition our vision of those in relation to us. Add to those distortions to our own egos the corresponding distortions in the egos of others, and you see how cloudy the glass must become through which we look at each other. 

That's how it is in all living relationships except when there is that rare case of two people who love intensely enough to burn through all those layer of opacity and see each other's naked hearts. Such cases seem purely theoretical to me...” 
― Tennessee Williams


I frequently get writing inspiration from my facebook page.

I guess I am not the only one.

Wanting to post something about positive body image and about taking photos of oneself as a tool in self acceptance, I was inspired to write:

''It's ok to post pictures of yourself on your blog or facebook wall because you are proud of who you are and you want to encourage others to feel good about themselves--NOT because you're trying to "get attention".

My comment helped me reflect upon and then led to writing this post about harrassment on facebook, or online perceptions of a woman in general,  that is specifically linked to the fact that any attempt on said woman's part to look attractive and yes, sexy on the internet and especially on facebook,  results in most mens' and some women's’ behaviors changing towards her—not always for the worse, but not always for the better, either.

yes, I post pictures of myself on a regular basis. no, this is not ''just attention seeking''

Whenever I upload a picture of mine on facebook, there is invariable someone -usually a man- that will either privately text me or publicly declare it, that I am hot, seductive, revealing too much or plainly 'asking for it'.

We’ve all heard the excuse before.

 We’ve even been told it, as if it were some kind of balm to soothe our harassed hurts. “Just dress less provocatively” or  or “don’t post pics in such sexy poses”—as if these things could somehow be quantified into a value.

And while that’s as stupid an argument as it gets—blaming the harassed person for the behavior of the harasser—what I don’t see brought into play is what I’ve seen in my own life experiences, virtual or otherwise.
Namely, the fact that even when I dress 'modestly' or just post a picture of my face, someone will succeeed in distorting my image into their own version of it, describing it as seeing a 'sexy, seductive and all-inviting' look on my face, even when it clearly is nothing of the above.

yes, you can see the straps of my bra. no, this does not mean I like showing off my assets
What I learned was this: It does not matter what you wear. or what you look like.

 If a harasser or troll chooses to latch on to you for any reason, any excuse will do. 

If you happen to be dressed in a manner called “sexy”, or to be moderately attractive, that simply becomes the easy excuse.

Those of you who know me also know that I tend to go for a take-no-prisoners approach IN ALL my social interactions. I’m generally nice to everyone, and if I can’t be nice, I settle for  dismissive. “Hi, thanks for the compliment, bye.” 

Frankly, if I take the time to look extra cute,both online and offline, I appreciate the fact that it’s admired. Nothing wrong with that, right?  Looking good and being admired runs deep into a woman's -or any man's for that matter- psyche.

But it’s not always about looking cute and nice.

yes, I pose in front of a mirror, no, your comments about my figure are neither welcome nor appreciated

If I find myself in a situation where men are making sexual comments about me online, most of the times  I dont even bother to either block them or answer back (unless I do know those guys in person and it's an inside joke between us.) 

Why bother?

My philosophy in life is 'live and let live' .

I won't deny, however, that sometimes I am painfully aware that I am out-numbered and extremely vulnerable when it comes to such matters, especially when expressing myself in the virtual world is considered a provocation  instead of an inspiration. 

Yes, it is not trolls or harrassers I am concerned with. It's the fact that they act on a general consensus axiom that angers me.

Meaning, I do know that there are several men and a fair amount of women too, that are of the same mind as the occasional troll or harrasser when he or she declares that it is acceptable for a woman online to become the target of such comments just because she shows up.  

Yes, the majority agrees, they just dont have the audacity to openly say so.

And that hurts. It is only human that it does.

And it can all too easily turn to rage. 

Of the kind 'fuck 'em, why do I have to do this anyway'.

But then again, I remind myself that it's not about me.

yes, my legs are showing and I'm wearing denim shorts, no you cannot be justified for making inapproprite comments about my figure because of this

You could be the nicest girl or woman on the block, but that’s just not the point.

 Like your choice in clothing, harassment isn’t about you. It’s about the judgment the harasser has already made in his or her head about you—without any help from you. 

Once that judgment is made, the harasser will use any details about you as justification for his or her choices.

For me, it's about my posting couples in 'suggestive'poses. Because that means I'm 'asking for it'. 

Plus the fact I post pictures of me sporting a bikini or sexy outfit.

 Which makes facebook a more hypocritical medium of expression than even a country where bourga-wearing mandatory because it is automatically assumed that any showing of  female flesh is an open invitation to rape .

And I say, fuck you. Well, not you, whoever is of the same opinion, of course.

Dressing the way I do is an expression of who I am, my tastes and personality.  

I wont dull that because of some jealous piece of shit or other or a prude who thinks all women are whores or a chauvinist pig who is in a love/hate relationship with everything female.

yes, this is a picture of me drinking coke from a bottle. no, this is no sexual innuendo for my sucking skills

yes, this is a picture of me in a bikini . no, this is no invitation on my part for you to bang me, virtually or otherwise, in fact just the fact that this thought even crosses your mind makes the chances of me ever considering you in that light, even if I were single, dropping to zero. Not even one chance in a trillion , pal.

For other women their harrassment is seen as a result of their outspokenness which is considered the sign of a 'dirty' mind( as if we are the only ones on this planet priviledged enough to be in possession of one.

For others it is because they post romantic pics because hey, that means they are sexually deprived, right?

Or maybe they talk too much about politcs and current affairs and that's a sure sign of sexual deprivation too.

The list goes on indefinitely.

The only ones who might escape such harrassment are the ones hiding behind a 'mask', fake identity or fake pic or the ones posting lol cats and sunsets .

Conformity and anonimity is a safe option, of course. But then again, it's dead boring

Guess what guys.

Facebook and online mediums are a mirror of life after all.

Actually there is no 'real life' and online life.
 All part of life. All interconnected

If you are too scared of online expression, 9 times out of 10 you are scared of real life too.

If you choose to see online communication as a game, that's what is going to be for you for ever and every experience you'll ever have from there is going to reinforce that belief for you.

If, like me, you see it as just another beautiful medium to express yourself and your thoughts and heart and inspire a few, that's exactly what you'll be getting too.

All a matter of perspective.

It’s Not Your Fault. Period.

If you are a ballsy female presence online and you are being harrassed or trolled for your daring to be so, here’s the kicker:

 it is not your fault if you are harassed online, sexually or otherwise.

Unless you are wearing a sign that proclaims Free for Harassment! Belittle, joke, ask me dirty questions!, in your profile picture,  you are not responsible for someone else’s decision to make you uncomfortable. 
You are not to blame when someone chooses to outpour their dirty mind on you without your consent.
You are not at fault if someone chooses to virtually corner you, to make inappropriate comments or to make you the butt of their jokes.

yes, this is a picture of my crotch. no, this doesn not mean you are allowed to make sexual comments about it, just as you would be inexcusable to do so for a woman walking down the street.

You are not to blame, ladies.
It is not what you are wearing. 
It is not the look on your face. 
It is not your make-up, or your pose, or your loudness, or your shyness, or your beauty of your physical and spiritual self
 It’s not the shoes you’re wearing, or the jewelry you’re sporting. Or your enticing body figure.
It is not your posts or your status updates.

Be prepared and sensible

Life is dangerous, uncertain, and often unpredictable.
 Virtual life is no more full of assholes and assaulters than parks are of pedophiles and rapists. 
Every community has its bogeymen, and like most bogeymen of the modern world, they’re real and we should all prep ourselves on how to handle it if it ever comes up.
As a woman, I am constantly aware of what could go horribly wrong when it comes to my inrteractions in the real world
As a social media frequenter, that doesn’t change.

yes, I post pictures of myself in various moments of my life. no, this does not mean you too are entitled to a piece of my life .

As a person who chooses to ride public transport or walk out at night, it still doesn’t change. 
The more people that crowd into an environment, the greater the chance assholes are among them.
Don’t hide, don’t assume that an entire community is colored by a few douchebags—but do remain prepared.
Namely, report, blog, ridicule and mercilessly expose those assholes.
(Having said that, I am tired of maintaining mental lists of “guys that get it”, “guys who mean well but sometimes fuck up”, and “guys it’s just not worth talking to”.)
But then again, here's the age-old question:
''If you dont want such stuff happening to you, why don't you avoid frequenting the place (in this case, social media) altogether!''

This is why I keep doing it

I really like the internet.

It’s my favorite way to reach out and touch someone's life, if you know what I mean and I think you do .

The age-old writer’s adage of “show, don’t tell” is a trite .  Problem is, it’s as true today as it ever has been.
Will you believe me when I tell you that the sky is black, or do you need to see it for yourself?
If I tell you that Carol is very popular with her high school friends, and then show you how they ridicule her, isn’t that confusing?

Will you ever believe me ( or me believe myself) if I tell you to be strong, fearless, courageous, outspoken, positive and taking no shit, a warrior of self acceptance and speaking your mind in spite of everything, if I dont personally set up the example for being like that, online and anywhere else?

-If I hide behind a mask
-If I post only safe, predictable stuff
-If I dull my sparkle to fit standards of propriety that are thought of as acceptable for women by the majority

 then I have no right or hopes to inspire.

Words only inspire so long as they are accompanied by the right actions.

I won't hide behind masks or behind safe, dull posts because some jerk or other thinks that my pictures on my wall make me the rightful object of their sexually inappropriate attention.

I see myself as an individual with a spine in all aspects of my life.

You wonder why facebook and social media are so fucked up and full of bigotry?

It is becaue the loudest voices in there are preaching hatred and bigotry, not tolerance and compassion.
And it is about time this changed.

It is about time those loud voices are silenced .

By you. And me. All of us.

What is and what is not acceptable behavior is only what pertains to me and my needs.

So I am setting the example here and sending an open letter to those 3000 or so people that are on my facebook list both as friends or subscribers and the ones yet to come:

Dear Facebook webamigos and amigas

-If you are a troll or a harrasser, just fuck off. I won't be wasting any virtual breath dealing with you, in fact you are not even in my virtual awareness, forgotten as soon as deleted or blocked.

-If you are one of the guys whom I consider as virtual friends and frequently interact with and you are secretly thinking that yes, maybe I shouldnt be exposing myself like this, here is a list of things for you to consider:

~your issues with women is none of my concern, of course, but if you automatically divide females into whores - virgins, perhaps consulting a psychiatrist about it and stop seeing the world in a bipolar, black-or-white light wouldnt be a bad idea after all.
~then, since you are my virtual friend, actually show some real support to me with your comments and general feedback whenever I am being publicly harrassed on trolled, believe me it is greatly appreciated.

-If you are a woman who, instead of being outraged when this is happening to another woman online, you secretly think I'm a slut and I deserve it or worse say so behind my back (yes, it has happened to me and I was of course informed of it as soon as it was said, because online gossip travels faster than anywhere else), please accept my sincerest condolences. For being a tight-assed douchebag who is secretly jealous of and feels threatened by any and all females she considers either ballsier  or more attractive than  herself  ,the ones that actually do what you'd secretly wish to do yourself if you had any spine in you.

-If you are part of my circle of offline friends or acquaintances, past co-workers, relatives, extended family etc, people who actually know me personally, and yet you too choose to feel the same way as those strangers of the above two categories, I am deeply sorry and ashamed of you.

To have actually met me and/or interacted with me regularly and known what I am all about, then go on and actually feeling offended by my posts or pictures is a sure sign that you have never known me or my heart, or you wouldnt be letting my virtual whereabouts influence your opinion of me. Frankly, I am better off without you in my life. Do me a favor and leave me the fuck alone, as I do not need either you or your hypocricy.

-If you are my current or past or future life partner...

I was/ am / will be so hoping that...
~you'd be my pillow taking some of the blows from the cold, hard, outside world for me
 ( as I would love to be doing the same for you, of course)
~you'd know me so intimately and deeply and passionately that noone and nothing from the outside world would shake your confidence in me, in us
~you'd trust me as completely and unconditionally as I do so as not to ever feel threatened or concerned about my interactions, either virtual or real, with other men
~ you'd want me to be me and express myself freely and unafraidly in all aspects of my life as I do the same for you
~you'd be proud of my feisty, outspoken and truthful expression of my values and beliefs and encourage me to go on doing it
~ you'd virtually or actually kick the ass of  anyone who 'd dare to insult or insinuate anything offensive about the woman you love

if you cannot find it in your heart to do any of the above, or worse yet, you join the ranks of the ones I mentioned above, the disapproving majority, then perhaps I am not the right partner for you.

 Please do yourself and me a favor and consider a safer, duller and more easily manipulated alternative.

-If you are none of the above and I have your unwavering support in this, thank you with all my heart. God bless you and please,please know that your support is both needed and greatly appreciated.

Love, peace and hugs


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