Today I saw a respected feminist writer openly mock another woman on her Facebook page. Not only did she post a picture of the targeted woman’s face, she accompanied the photo with a snarky “quiz” about what the woman’s facial expression showed she was thinking. That is pretty mean, right? We would expect better from our pre-teen kids on Facebook, correct? Not to mention that the owner of the Facebook page has 9,000 followers and the “target,” while she had agreed to appear on a national TV show, was a regular person and relatively “klout”-less.
Yet this behavior was justified by the poster and many of her followers because the targeted woman was “unenlightened” – as it were.
Here’s what I saw: Mean girl behavior, plain and simple. The owner of the Facebook page, perhaps a little giddy from some recent successes by her and her tribe, simply took it too far.
Was it a funny? Perhaps. Did it give her followers a good bonding moment as they trashed the stupidity of the target? Definitely. Did it set a good example for their daughters? Not so much.
My stomach turned when I saw it. I debated on whether to say anything, because the page owner is someone I respect, and I did not want to start a flame war. But, because I tell my kids to stand up when they see bullying, I called it as I saw it. I was mildly attacked by one commenter, but a few people agreed with me. The page owner, though she back-pedaled a bit by asking people to focus on the issue and not the targeted woman, has not said she was wrong nor apologized.
As adults, we need to be conscious of the example we set with our behavior. We need to make sure our behavior lines up with the values we espouse. And then, if we screw up, admit as much, repair the damage if possible, and try to have better behavior next time. That’s what I tell my kids, anyway.