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.
I MEAN I COULD:
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?