Do you ever run into Internet crusaders who feel it’s their duty to shame other people for the things they post? I do. For some reason, I have an uncanny knack for attracting overbearing older men who feel perfectly fine giving me shit for being irreverent. On my old blog, I used to post a lot about “Papa Smurf”, a guy I met on Epinions.com. I used to think he was nice enough, but then we became Facebook friends and I became the subject of his fondness for preaching. I finally got rid of him after I endured one too many Catholic tinged “daddy” lectures from him about being “inappropriate”, “irresponsible”, “hateful”, or “rude”. I believe my last two words to Papa Smurf were “fuck off”.
Tonight, as I sit here digesting the chemical laden Kraft Macaroni & Cheese I had for dinner, I am also ruminating on an encounter I had with some guy named Mike who follows Janis Ian’s Facebook page. Earlier today, she posted this. It made me laugh, and my immediate reaction was to post a comment…
Now… keep in mind, I am certainly not the only one who responded to that photo, nor am I the only one who suggested a hammer. However, I noticed Mike didn’t comment on the first person’s “hammer” comment. That person was evidently a man and he wrote “Hammer time!” complete with a hammer emoji. Here I am a grey/blonde woman with blue eyes and I get Papa Smurf junior, a complete stranger, chastising me for expressing myself in a way he feels is “inappropriate”.
I will admit, there have been a couple of times when I have responded with mock outrage when people have celebrated depictions of violence. Like, for instance, I once annoyed some people on Cake Wrecks because they posted a picture of a wedding/divorce cake with a bride and groom cake topper, and the bride was holding the groom’s severed head as strawberry sauce flowed, simulating blood. My comment was that if the groom was holding the bride’s severed head, people probably wouldn’t find it so funny. For that, someone told me I should “rent a sense of humor”. Boy, if she only knew! It’s not so often people accuse me of being humorless. I’ve been accused of a lot of things, but lacking a sense of humor is definitely not one of them.
It was not so much that the wedding/divorce cake offended me as much as I just don’t like double standards. I doubt people would be amused at the sight of a divorce cake photo showing a groom cake topper holding a bride’s severed head. And really, if you think about it, it is kind of a gruesome and disturbing image… although perhaps it’s understandable, under some circumstances. If you’re having a party with your besties and your ex husband was truly a bastard, maybe it is appropriate to have a cake topper flowing simulated blood from a headless groom. I don’t know. My comment was just an immediate reaction. I had a feeling people would think I was being “overly sensitive”. Perhaps I was.
But maybe Mike has a point. Maybe I shouldn’t have blurted out, off the cuff, that someone should bash the slut shaming person in Janis Ian’s post over the head with a hammer. I guess I posted that because it’s frustrating to read and hear shaming and victim blaming comments from other people. In Trump’s era, it’s getting worse and worse, even though Trump is himself a crass, vile, disgusting pervert who grabs women by the pussy. Mike reminds me that people are watching and reading and some feel fine about correcting others– perfect strangers, even. He thinks I’m “hateful”. Ironically, if I’m feeling hateful, it’s not toward the person in Ian’s post. It’s toward condescending assholes like Mike. I know… one of many issues I need to work on.
Mike’s comment really annoyed me. It still does, mainly because I didn’t see him leaving chastising comments for other people. I have a feeling that if I were a guy, he wouldn’t have said anything. I note that he’s a pretty old dude… graduated college the year before I was born… and figures I need schoolin’. Why do I keep running into these people, and what can I do to discourage them from communicating with me? I would have happily told Mike to “fuck off”, but I know Janis Ian doesn’t like swearing on her page. I respect Janis Ian more than I do Mike, who seems to have a “Papa Smurf” complex.
I don’t often comment on things, mainly because of people like Mike… and other people who feel it’s okay to PM me with hate mail inviting me to “go die”. It’s almost always men who do this. It’s like they can’t stand it when a woman posts something “offensive” to their senses. I want to ask him if it makes him feel better to shame other people. And then I would like to tell him to fuck off. But, because I’m a “lady” and not actually that hateful, I usually refrain… the first time, anyway.
Edited to add: This morning, I saw that I got responses from Mike and Janis Ian herself. I decided not to read them, because it’s just too early in the day and it’s likely they would only annoy me and cause me to blog again. Instead, I’m going to write about something else. Sometimes, I think we should all practice the art of scrolling by… Stay tuned.