Several of the more popular mommy blogs are part of my daily computer routine. And wow, some intense things go on in the comment sections of those blogs. When it comes to huge sites like Dooce I don’t bother to glance at the hundreds of comments posted, it is just too overwhelming. And I basically know what they are going to say. Most people comment in adoring agreement, and a minority are bizarrely cruel.
On the sites with smaller readerships I will often see what is going on in the comment section, the conversation usually ranges from kind of boring to an interesting dialogue on the topic at hand. But some bloggers with decent readerships often have “haters” (oh, how I hate that term!) who comment frequently.
Bullying is a hot topic right now, particularly because of the extensive coverage of the suicides of several gay teens in the last few weeks. I am terrified of T’s adolescence for so many reasons, but bullying is a big one. Were any of you bullied? I was. We moved to a suburb of Chicago before I started 5th grade. It will come as no surprise to you all to hear I was a major nerd. But up until that point I had not been bullied. The town we moved to was very money conscious and I had never dealt with that before. On the first day of school kids asked me what kind of cars my parents drove. They were not impressed with my answers of a Datsun 210 and an Oldsmobile Cutlass. One particular boy made it his mission to make my life hell. At first his mother was sympathetic and tried to control him, but he wouldn’t stop and she basically told my mother I was making it up. It got so bad that I ended up in the doctor’s office with intense stomach pains. I was actually writhing on the floor of the waiting room because the pain was so bad. The diagnosis was stress. I was eleven.
I never want T to go through that, but if I was forced to choose I think I’d want him to be bullied rather than be the bully himself. If you bully people how do you live with it as an adult? And if you don’t have a problem living with it you certainly aren’t someone I want to have in my life. Those are the people who are being cruel on the internet. I am assuming many of them are parents. They are reading and commenting on parenting blogs, so it stands to reason. They are raising T’s contemporaries. If they are comfortable with bulling others their children probably will be as well.
Thankfully I have not been bullied as an adult. But the author of one of the blogs I read is currently on a hiatus because of hateful mail and comments she has received. I can’t imagine how terrible it must feel to be on the receiving end of that hate. Her blog is often outrageous and honestly I disagree with her a lot. I even have been moved to comment negatively on her posts, but I am always constructive and never ever cruel. I’ve thought about staying away from her site, but she is pretty entertaining and I just can’t look away. When the negative comments start coming they create a feeding frenzy. Lately, even when some negative comments that aren’t the least bit unkind are posted her main readership transforms into troops that rally to her defense with comments that criticize any difference of opinion with swift cruelty.
Why are grown women engaging in this behavior? What are these women going to teach their own kids when they start having disagreements with their peers? The name calling and pack mentality these women are a part of is frankly terrifying.
On a much happier note we had a visit this weekend from Z’s sister Ellie and her wife. As I’ve mentioned before, Ellie is a photographer and she did a quick photo shoot with us. Here are a few of my favorite shots.