Home Serious Ones How has it come to this and when will it stop?

How has it come to this and when will it stop?

by Prabs
Published: Last Updated on

I thought a lot about the title of this post. I mean, how do you distil that feeling of ‘For crying out loud, what the actual heck is WRONG with people?’ into a snappy and less immature headline?

I also contemplated a fair bit how to write the post itself.  Sometimes, when you feel really strongly about a subject, the words just pour out of you, so fast that you in fact struggle to get them down quickly enough. Other times, you are so incensed, so utterly furious, it’s just impossible to find the words because you can’t even ‘think in a straight line’ through the hot anger.  The screen remains as blank as your mind.

Maybe I’m just premenopausal or highly strung and need to take a gigantic chill pill in the form of a massive suppository to put up my uptight bottom.  Yes I said that.  Keyboard warriors are welcome to latch onto that and do their thing.
Maybe I should just accept things have always been this messed up and it’s naiive to think it has not and I’m simply noticing it more now that I’m an adult and because of that pesky ‘can’t live with it-can’t live without it’ thing called the Internet.  After all, you can’t fight every battle and you just drag yourself down if you try.
Maybe I should just stay off social media as there is increasingly some sort of poison on there and the only way to avoid it is…well to just avoid it!
But I’m a blogger so social media is an essential tool for me.

Or maybe…just maybe…I simply care.
Maybe I simply give a damn in this age of apathy.
Maybe I’m really really tired of the dumbing down of society, of stupidity and vulgarity being the new aspiration whilst intelligence/intellectualism (which used to be the aspiration) is increasingly reviled and mocked.
Maybe I’m simply staggered at the malevolence and cowardice of keyboard warriors who probably shouldn’t be allowed within a mile of a device because of the long lasting damage they inflict with a comment that took seconds to type, without so much as batting an eyelid…

Blimey…what’s eating at her then?

Frankly, there have been many things causing me a heavy feeling of despondency and despair for some time but inevitably there is usually that last straw to break the camel’s back.

Talk about my frustration over not being able to just let my children listen to the radio on the school run without me constantly assuming the job of lyric police because it’s become the norm, certainly where I live, to air songs full of the F-bomb during the day.  No 9pm watershed.  I could then go on to mention how it’s not just on the radio but at playgrounds, like the one near my kids’ school that also has an outdoor cafe where you can relax with other parents and chat over a coffee while your kids play.  Sorry, let me rephrase that: where you can relax while your kids play until the sound of their laughter is sharply interrupted by the foul words in the music coming through the speakers.   I could then further elaborate about my despair that this has spread to places including retail outlets.  Imagine just popping into town with your kids and as they’re in a changing room trying on essentials, humming along to some song, that same cool track descends into a shocking chorus consisting of F this and F that, leading your six and nine year old to look like rabbits caught in headlights.

How has it come to this?

How have we got to the point where those involved in the entertainment industry have so little integrity that they give higher priority to shock value and the almighty dollar than protecting young eyes and minds?
When will the foul language in the music our kids are singing along to stop?

Air my utter sadness and confusion over the endless breast feeding dramas that hit the headlines and wonder why there is such an outrageous incomprehensible double standard going on.  I barely have the energy to write much about this because frankly I’m tired. Tired of one of the most natural things being maligned by narrow-minded ignoramuses.  Tired of it being acceptable to see a barely clothed woman on a magazine cover promoting something banal like a hair brush, or to drive down a road past prominently placed advertising boards showing boobs spilling out of teeny weeny bikinis just to advertise sunglasses.

How has it come to this?

How is it deemed perfectly acceptable for women’s breasts to be used in unnecessarily provocative images by the advertising industry but woe betide a woman who actually breastfeeds her child in public?  When will women stop being treated like lepers for using their breasts for one of the main things they were designed for?!

Describe the ugly incident I endured recently when I went to a sports shop to collect the kids’ kits for their swimming course and was told to “shut the **** up” by the Neanderthal who barged into the changing room where my son was waiting for the correct size of trunks.  When I expressed dismay over him using such foul language in front of children, a barrage of further insults came at me…in front of my kids and other children.  Sadly, it was one of those times in my life where I knew that had I been a ‘lighter’ colour, this man would have had no issue with me.  In fact, one of the mortified female shop assistants agreed when I quietly mentioned this to her.  Equally sad, other customers simply looked on.  I’d be unable to stand by and do nothing if I saw someone going through that! Talking of the assistants, I pray there will be no employee of the year prize for the male shop assistant, whom I begged to help me, who simply replied with a hostile “What do you want me to do?”

This was just one week after a cyclist (in London) called me every name under the sun including a few I’d never heard when I mistakenly walked across a pedestrian crossing thinking the green walk sign was on.  Yes, I know, my bad (well actually my mum’s as I followed her) as it would have been nasty if he’d fallen off.  I get it.  (And maybe my face just invites trouble!)  But given there were no other vehicles on the road and he had ample space to ride, the tirade of abuse that continued in my direction was unreal, especially as he carried on shouting it from half way down the road, again in front of children who were waiting at the kerb.  I’m not some Dolly Daydream wandering about picking flowers and wondering why everyone isn’t singing the Sound of Music score all day (you should see me behind the wheel of the car here in Malta) but it’s the sheer level of hate that falls out of people’s mouths that just astounds me.

How has it comes to this? 

Why are people SO ready to just sound off at someone with unjustified vitriol?  How has society abandoned its belief in the importance of collectively raising the younger generation?  How have we got to the point where people don’t want to help someone in trouble?  If there is a fear of being attacked for intervening, fair enough I guess, but this is a small Mediterranean island, not New York or London, and that isn’t common here.  I’ve experienced this before (the infamous fishmonger incident) and again, people just looked on in silence.  When will apathy and non-reaction stop?

But actually, the thing that has really jolted my blog brain back into action after it was melting in the Maltese heat upon returning from my UK trip, because it has irked me so much, is…

the absurd reaction by many to the picture of Victoria Beckham kissing Harper, her daughter, on the lips.  I’ll just let that hang in the air for a minute…

Yes, VB, former pop star, now fashion designer, mother and occasional smiler, posted a picture on Instagram of herself and her baby girl in a pool with a caption wishing her daughter a happy birthday.  A picture that anyone well meaning or with two brain cells to rub together or just anyone capable of loving another human being, would surely view as a gorgeous testament to a mother’s love for her daughter (and presumably vice versa)?  Nothing more, nothing less.  Or am I just mad?

Now, let me state I am not a fan of Mrs Beckham.  I’ve just never warmed to her, I think mainly because of the non smiling thing.  BUT I am a fan of common sense prevailing.  I am a fan of showing kids they are loved.  I am a fan of behaving with dignity and not spewing out spiteful rash remarks on people’s social media posts.  And I am a huge fan of butting the heck out of someone’s right to show their love for their kids rather than viewing them with narrow-minded suspicion.
Let’s play devil’s advocate for a second.  Let’s say we’ve all been played.  Who knows?  Maybe this is one of those fake ‘I’m the perfect mother with the perfect family and every day is wonderful and nothing bad ever happens’ posts.  Maybe this was the former Spice Girl’s PR team calculatedly planning that day’s IG feed.  Maybe it’s just an excuse for a spot of narcissism (isn’t the very essence of Instagram a bit narcissistic?).  In that case, I suppose if VB cares – and I hope she doesn’t – it backfired somewhat, given the nutty comments.

But I’m willing to bet money it’s just an innocent picture of a mother kissing her daughter.  That. Is. All.  There is no scandal here people! There is no wrong doing or image showing dubious intent here!

Can’t we just see images like this as a welcome relief from those we are seeing in this awful period of massive political divides, terror attacks, political party leaders treating their jobs like a game of Musical Chairs and the horrifying growing influence of that toupéed one they call Donald.  Some light in the darkness, right? No harm done, right?  Nope, apparently not.

Have people just seen so many images of global atrocities, paedophiliac poison, inexplicable murders and children being abducted, that it’s darkened their very souls leaving them unable to recognise a wholesome positive image when they see one?

Here are just four of the bizarre (in my view) remarks posted by people in response to the picture:

  • “Gross, it looks like they’re making out.”
  • “This is so inappropriate and so lesbian.”
  • “It’s weird.”
  • “It’s nice but you’re not supposed to kiss you’re children on the lips. I’m not trying to be rude but it’s true.”

I totally understand each to their own and all that.  If you’re not comfortable kissing your child on the lips, that’s your prerogative.  Just as it is Victoria’s prerogative to kiss Harper on the lips.  Making offensive judgemental remarks like the above is just mind boggling to me and I say to those specific commenters:

  • No it doesn’t look like they’re making out.  Clearly you don’t know what making out looks like.
  • The only thing inappropriate here is your own twisted reaction to this picture, not to mention your obvious anti-lesbian attitude as well.  Let’s trash parental love and have a sideswipe at female gays too while we’re at it.  Way to go. Two insults for the price of one.
  • Nope, not weird.  I’m looking at the picture trying very hard to spot the weirdness but nope.  I just can’t find it.
  • That’s just it, you are being rude actually.  Telling VB (literally stating it as if it’s gospel) that she is not supposed to kiss her kids on the lips (or in fact telling her what she is or is not supposed to do at all) is…  What’s the word?  Oh yes.  Rude!  As for the ‘true’ bit.  Seriously?  Obviously I can’t be aware of every law that was ever passed but I’m pretty sure that kissing one’s child on the lips has never been outlawed. PS What you’re not ‘supposed’ to do is batter your child or sexually abuse them.  You are supposed to shower them with love, however.

And then there are the social etiquette experts (there’s an expert for everything) such as Liz Brewer who claims “Normally with a member of your family you don’t kiss on the lips unless it’s your husband”.   You can read more in this BBC News article.  I have to say I would have thought someone who is an expert on social etiquette would realise that actually the only ‘normally’ should be that:

Normally people determine within their own family unit what they consider to be appropriate expressions of affection because this will differ from family to family, culture to culture.

(I also would have thought they would be aware that not every family has a husband and that there are different types of partner but there are only so many battles I’ll fight in the one post.)  We are not in the puritannical 1800’s or the repressed 1950’s where any form of public display of affection was frowned upon.  Now obviously, forcing oneself upon somebody is unacceptable.  Obliging another human being to engage in physical demonstration of affection against their will is not on.  And Cathy Bussey does raise some interesting and valid points on this whole issue about the blurred lines in her Daily Telegraph article.

How has it come to this?  

We can’t get away from the culture of sexualisation of our children from an early age.  The music they are hearing is filled with filth.  We are surrounded by provocative advertising just to get us buy a ruddy chocolate bar.  And there are those who raise their girls to be hot for the opposite sex from an early age.  But the trolls don’t bat an eyelid about these very real problems because apparently, they aren’t worth their energy.  Meanwhile a mother posts a picture of her and her daughter in what is an innocent affectionate act.  Keyboard warriors go crazy, call it sexual and turn a non-issue into an issue.  As blogger Helen puts it,

The world has become so angry and people’s minds explode over the smallest thing.

World’s gone mad.
When. Will. It. Stop?

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20 Crazy Things About Malta I Thought I'd Never Get used To! - AbsolutelyPrabulous October 10, 2016 - 7:47 pm

[…] Anyway, I can’t let a Malta anniversary go by without writing something.  So after the hard-hitting but honest Dear Malta You’re Breaking my Heart and the pensive How Has it Come to This? […]

Tim July 28, 2016 - 1:15 am

Great piece, Prabs. I also despair at times, especially at the way people don’t think twice at swearing in front of kids. It’s wonderful that we are so much more open about how we feel and so much less repressed, but the outpouring of anger we see both online and offline is, quite frankly, appalling.
The suspicion that the colour of your skin causes some people to react more negatively to you is something I’m also familiar with. I tend to bite my tongue now and give people the benefit of the doubt – sometimes people are just rude, full stop, or having a bad day, or whatever – but it does gnaw away at me. And there have been times when I have said something and someone has told me not to be so sensitive. Funnily, that person is usually someone from a demographic majority – a white person in a predominantly white community, or even a mum at a parent blogging event. Because, of course, they know what it’s like to be on the end of racist abuse from an angry driver on the road or at a football match. Of course. Hmm.

prabs July 28, 2016 - 1:42 am

Yes the ‘sensitive’ accusation from majority demographic members. It’s just incredible. This darned world… Thanks for reading Tim.

Annette, 3 Little Buttons July 25, 2016 - 8:47 pm

Loving the keyboard warriors mention. Arghhh times are really different, and things are changing and not necessarily for the better. I know exactly what you mean with all the points you have raised. People seem much quicker to jump to conclusions and the term ‘double standards’ comes to mind also. A fab read. Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam. One of my top reads this week. xx

prabs July 25, 2016 - 8:54 pm

Thanks love. Glad you liked it x

Maddy@writingbubble July 21, 2016 - 9:13 pm

Yes, yes and yes – I’m in total agreement with you! The breasts issue has been ridiculous for years and the Victoria Beckham thing was just weird – the reaction I mean, not the kiss! I think it’s awful that you’ve personally experienced those nasty incidents too and that no one jumped to your defence. Horrible. #thetruthabout

prabs July 21, 2016 - 9:53 pm

Thanks Maddy re all 🙂

Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows July 21, 2016 - 8:50 pm

It all makes my heart tired. I’m unhooking and heading for camping the Lake District for four days in hope a disconnect will help me rebuild my barriers to all the nonsense. I think for all the numpties out there in the comments sections there are a lot more people shaking their head at the insanity. At least I hope so. I don’t read any comments other than the ones in response to my post anymore.
In a side note the phrase ‘and need to take a gigantic chill pill in the form of a massive suppository to put up my uptight bottom.’ is absolutely prabulous (sorry, couldn’t help myself) and will keep me smiling despite all the awfulness.

prabs July 21, 2016 - 8:53 pm

Ah the tired heart. Indeed. What better place to disconnect than Wordsworth country?
And glad you like that other bit. Put in there especially for you lol. I did have fun being totally irreverent with that line actually! Thanks for reading.

Sally July 21, 2016 - 2:04 pm

What can we say…the world has gone mad…utterly mad!! #coolmumclub

prabs July 21, 2016 - 7:47 pm

It has rather…

teacuptoria July 21, 2016 - 1:24 pm

Fab post Prab! I particularly love the point about boobs being used to sell everything and anything but when used for what nature intended…it’s offensive??!! The world is bonkers at the moment so I wasn’t surprised when that VB picture created such a fuss. People like to get their knickers in a twist about something. Hilariouslu written as always. Tor xx #coolmumclub

prabs July 21, 2016 - 7:47 pm

Ah thanks love. Lovely to see you over here again. Yes people and their incessant knicker-twisting just boggle my mind.

Sarah - threediferentdinners July 21, 2016 - 1:11 pm

I get so cross with the language thing….it’s just ridiculous how free and easy some people are with their words….especially in front of kids. What went wrong with our world?

prabs July 21, 2016 - 1:17 pm

I honestly don’t know 🙁

prabs July 28, 2016 - 12:16 am

Just tried to reciprocate and comment on your stayclassymama linked post but got a message I’ve not seen before saying you have a private site…

Turning Up in Devon July 21, 2016 - 1:24 pm

Well said, I was with you all the way! And I enjoyed your fresh/insightful style of writing too x #stayclassymama

prabs July 21, 2016 - 7:45 pm

I salute you for staying with me all the way as I did go on a bit! But thank you for the lovely words.

Baby Anon July 21, 2016 - 12:12 pm

You have said exactly what’s been in my head about VB (including not being a fan of the ‘occasional smiler’). So now I don’t need to say it as you’ve said it so eloquently – hear hear. Michelle x

prabs July 21, 2016 - 12:14 pm

Ah thanks love. I actually had t rein myself in a bit too!

justsayingmum July 21, 2016 - 7:38 am

*hear not here – obvs!

justsayingmum July 21, 2016 - 7:37 am

Wow! This is certainly a rant – but a rant well needed and exceptionally well said. I totally agree and it infuriates me too – the anger in people, the quick to explode, the defensiveness, the judgemental – so many uptight people with opinions and words that perhaps should be uttered only to themselves – the problem is social media has opened up a platform for these such people that they can shout even more loudly so even more people can here their vile opinions – and for those who aren’t venting on social media they are seeing it more so deem it acceptable to behave like that in their day to day – I love the idea of a bubble somedays – away from it all with my beautiful children – house on the prairie kind of stuff. Well said Prabs xx

prabs July 21, 2016 - 7:48 pm

We really have become so very angry haven’t we? I’m not going to pretend I’m the calmest of people and that I don’t lose my rag…but jeez louise not like this!

Agent Spitback July 20, 2016 - 1:43 pm

I have to admit that I tend to steer away from these topics because there is always something else the other side would have to say. It is a never ending “discussion”, to say it politely and I just cannot see what the fuss is all about VB. I am sorry that you had to go through what you have and it is indeed appalling to think that we do live in such an apathetic real world. Love your “ranting” and we have to go on shouting, if not our voices would be drowned out, would it not? We have to be heard. #bigpinklink

prabs July 21, 2016 - 7:50 pm

Oh I’m more than ready for the other side El! I can’t put myself in a straitjacket..I’d just stop blogging if I had to do that. Thanks for reading.

Mouse Moo Me Too July 20, 2016 - 5:07 am

“Keyboard warriors” – brilliant! You’ve hit the nail on the head with so many of these. I’m really angry about the man at the crossing in London – some people are just so tightly wound up and angry that they’ll unleash their rage at the first thing to piss them off in that second, minute, hour. Thank you for linking this to #effitfriday – it’s a superb read xx

prabs July 20, 2016 - 12:22 pm

Thanks Samantha, yes I think I’ll remember the cyclist for a long time to come. I’m not a calm person yet even I wouldn’t carry on and unleash that much on someone. Just so full of anger.

mummy here and there July 20, 2016 - 4:36 am

Social media can be good but also bad. Not a real fan of Victoria Beckham but the way she got slaughtered for kissing her kid on the lips on social media was shocking, come on people it is beyond rediiclious, I seriously, can’t understand what the big deal is, she kissed her so what, she is a mother showing her affection, big deal! X #bigpinklink

prabs July 21, 2016 - 7:50 pm

Slaughtered is well put. Madness. Thanks for reading.

Pen July 19, 2016 - 10:27 pm

The reaction to the VB / Harper kiss really angered me. I think it is absolutely lovely. I regularly kiss Cygnet on the lips as does the rest of his family. If people decide that it is inappropriate to kiss their child then that is absolutely fine, but they have absolutely no right to comment what others should or shouldn’t do in their families. Rant over. Pen x #thetruthabout

prabs July 19, 2016 - 10:34 pm

Yep exactly what I said. Whole thing’s amazing.

Lisa July 19, 2016 - 7:09 am

Meant to add #fartglitter to last post!

Lisa July 19, 2016 - 7:08 am

Fab post, totally agree that things are getting out of hand and I think social media has a lot to answer for there. It’s just so quick and easy to comment on anything and it’s sneaking across into real life. People are losing respect for each other. And don’t get me started on the breastfeeding thing – double standards of people who shame breastfeeders yet happily look at adverts with half naked ladies . Thanks for posting this!

Jaki July 18, 2016 - 9:02 pm

Absolutely bloody brilliant! Shared everywhere. Written to perfection& I agree with everything you have said. #fartglitter

prabs July 18, 2016 - 9:33 pm

Ah how sweet of you. Thank you very much. Seems to be striking a chord.

Coffee & Bubbles July 18, 2016 - 4:33 pm

I kiss my 2yo son on the lips and honestly, before the VB incident, had never even for a moment entertained the idea that something might be wrong with that. Until the day he asks me to stop I shall continue to show my affection in this way. The breastfeeding bullshit is something that has really pissed me off for some time now. I just want to smack all the people that criticise it. Honestly, how do they expect women to feed their babies? Their ignorance astounds me.
I’m really sorry for your experiences in the changing room and on the street too. I can’t imagine how awful that must have been. And infront of your kids. Horrific. It’s a wonder how some people sleep at night.

prabs July 18, 2016 - 11:25 pm

Thank you for the lovely comment. I honestly don’t know how they do sleep. And keep kissing your son xx

Rhyming With Wine July 18, 2016 - 4:11 pm

So incredibly well written but sadly so poignant and true! I agree that we are being programmed to accept shock and vulgarity as a day to day occurrence, and that it is socially acceptable to now spit vile comments all over the internet on even the most innocent of posts with zero consideration for anyone else’s feelings. How can we be so eager to accept such offensive things and yet keen to judge where it isn’t our place or business to do so. The mind truly does boggle, but reading your outstanding post and the lovely comments on it gives me hope for ourselves and our little ones. Very well said Prabs xx

prabs July 18, 2016 - 11:26 pm

Thanks Dawn. That’s so well put about being programmed and spitting out comments. It seems trite to say ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with people’ but honestly I don’t!

heidi williams July 18, 2016 - 4:06 pm

Fabulous post. It’s hard not to be disgusted when hate is valued more than love. The internet is amazing but there are alot of cowards who feel entertained to be hateful because they know noone can do anything. #bigpinklink

prabs July 18, 2016 - 11:32 pm

That is so well put about hate and love. I feel like amending posts to include people’s comments!

Emma July 18, 2016 - 12:10 pm

Whoop Prabs. This is such an eloquent piece of writing. You have expressed all of my concerns so brilliantly, no holds barred, and I love it. What kind of world are we living in when the F bomb is dropped all over the shop and no one bats an eyelid! However, when a mother shares a lovely photo, wishing her daughter ‘Happy Birthday’, then everyone is in uproar. We all need to get a grip. The F bomb is disgusting! The photo is lovely, not the other way round people/media! I really worry about what is going on in our crazy world. I used to watch Eastenders (I know, shame on me) until a couple of years ago when they showed a graphic rape scene before the 9pm watershed. I found it so upsetting, but not only that, I was disturbed that this was on pre-watershed. I have not watched it since. I switched it off. How long will we be able to shield our children from the radio, the F bombs and the news, filled with hate? It gets harder and harder. I have spewed words all over your wonderful post – I’m sorry :-/ #Bigpinklink

Alan @ BabyPinkandtheboys July 17, 2016 - 11:09 pm

A great post Prabs.
Ive started this reply about 20 times and have come to the conclusion that it would take about 20 blog posts to say everything I want to on the subjects.
I know you like your music so I’ll let the great Bob Dylan answer for me.
“The times they are a changing”
Certainly not for better.

prabs July 18, 2016 - 11:34 pm

Ah and that reply is more than enough. I agree. Dylan…what a wise man.

Helen, mess stress and fancy dress July 15, 2016 - 1:02 pm

The VB situation shocked me and left me feeling frustrated and confused – for many of the reasons so eloquently discussed here. It feels like the world is a very angry place at the moment, and people heads explode over the smallest and most irrelevant thing. It saddens me that this is the case. The culture of celebrity is largely negative (and I love that culture as much as the next man) and we are used to hearing people slagging people off for all manner of irrelevancies. We suddenly feel that we have the right to comment and reply on other people’s lives. When did loving your child become a bad thing?

prabs July 15, 2016 - 4:43 pm

Brilliant comment and I shall in fact amend the post to reflect one of the things you’ve said about people exploding the daftest of ‘issues’. Thanks for reading love.

Saira SAH_Grumbler July 15, 2016 - 11:27 am

This is by far the best rant I have heard on the issue! I kiss my boys on the lips every evening to say good night and they come to me randomly throughout the week just to kiss me….on the lips! It’s a wonderful thing as its just so innocent yet full of love.

prabs July 15, 2016 - 4:44 pm

Thank you Saira. Honestly the whole thing is unreal.


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