And the Butthurt Began...How Some People Totes Overreacted
I'll set it up for ya: I posted a very light-hearted, fluff post here on my blog a little over a month ago. "7 Things You Totes Need to Stop Saying if You're Over 30 (Oops, there's one of them)". It was pretty popular, one of my most popular posts, in fact. A few thousand views in just a couple of weeks, which is huge for a small potatoes blogger like me. People who read it, mostly my target audience (women in their 30's and up), loved it. Got lots of fun feedback, lots of LOLs and suggestions of words to add to the list.
People read it in the manner it was intended to be read: LIGHTLY. God, I hope nobody saw that title and hunkered down for a serious read. I mean, if you see that title, do you think to yourself, "Ah...this is sure to be a thoughtful, deep, probing article about the linguistics of women in today's culture!"? If you do, you have my sympathies. I wonder if you also thought "13 Going on 30" was a film about the accelerated maturity of prepubescent girls due to growth hormones and antibiotics used in today's factory farm industry? It's not rocket science, folks.
And then, Huffington Post Women picked it up. Ran it on a Sunday morning. I, of course, shared it on my personal facebook page and on my blog's facebook page because, you know...self promotion and all.
I had things to do that day, real life things, so I didn't know how my seemingly innocent post was spreading like crabs in a frat house. When I peeked at the facebook later that day, I had a bunch of notifications from friends telling me that "Totes" was going crazy.
Curiously, and very cautiously, I checked it out on the site. I have a love/loathing thing with Huffington. I hate that they use people's work without compensating them, but love their reach. Some of my most loyal readers found me via HuffPost. You cannot buy that kind of exposure.
The love/loathing thing goes for the comment sections there as well. For some reason, Huffington Post seems to attract a particularly vile batch of internet readers. Nasty, trollish readers. Not everyone who comments there fits that description, of course, but an alarmingly high number of them do. Likewise for their facebook "fans".
I've learned my lesson after having several pieces published there: don't read the comments. I always read the first few, just to sort of gauge the general reaction my post is getting. Sometimes I'll engage with the readers via the comment section, thank them for reading and sometimes I plead my case to the haters. I get a little interaction in and then I back off. I shut my laptop and that seamy side of the world disappears.
And so it went with the Totes piece. I refused to check out the comments, even though my friends were reporting back to me: "Holy shit! It's going crazy" and "Some of them are getting so mad...it's hilarious!" and "You were just told to go fuck yourself!".
The response I received here on my blog was unanimously positive. Thankfully, most people who read it in the HuffPost and then journeyed here to check me out did so in a friendly, civilized way. There were a few who didn't like it, and let me know, and I engaged with them, too. In a sort of civilized way. Here's one exchange that I thought was kind of funny:
School marm? The irony is, I REALLY AM A SCHOOL MARM! And enough with the yoga pants. Is it too late to add "yoga pants" to the list of things that everyone on the planet should stop talking about?
Here's the thing that makes me laugh about these comments: they are so damn serious. Like, these women (all seeming to be in the late 20's to mid-30's) read my farcical, giggly post and thought that I was actually on a language warpath, that I was out to eradicate these words from the English language. These people read my words and somehow came away with the idea that I give a shit about how they talk.
I read one comment (yeah I know, I had to peek at a couple of them) that accused me of bullying women (??). And another guy, Troy from Santa Cruz, posted on my facebook page: "It's nice that women have someone like you to knock them down a peg. All they normally get is love and acceptance, so your criticism is very refreshing. Keep up the good work." Oh Troy. I bet you pee sitting down, don't you?
The ones I loved the absolute most, though, were the comments that said "I have never said any of these words before but you'd better believe I will now! And the author can go fuck herself!" This type of comment led me to imagine packs of 30-something women roaming the streets in cities across the country, carrying torches and screaming out "AMAZEBALLS, MOTHER EFFERS!" and "I KNOW, RIGHT? MY FEELS ARE ALL MAD RIGHT NOW!"
I also imagined that the majority of these chicks are driving around with Coexist stickers on their cars.
Bottom line is this: say what you want. I don't care. Nobody cares! Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing, but let's keep in mind that it goes for everyone. Even people who like to poke fun at society now and then. I am pleased to see that my skin has toughened up, and even getting told to go fuck myself by perfect strangers rolls right off my back. In fact, it makes me (and my friends) laugh. Girls, I've faced divorce, poverty, bankruptcy and foreclosure. Believe me when I say that the self-righteous indignation of a few overgrown adolescent harpies doesn't faze me in the least.
Now I think it's best if I stick to writing less controversial pieces. I believe I'll start with one called "10 Things You Totes Need to Quit Wearing if You're Over 30: The Jeggings Stop Here"