Today I decided to express my thoughts on a troubling and destructive trend I’ve come across in over the last few weeks. While I know that a number of women often fall victim to the comparison monster and their images of self to become warped by it, I’ve never grown accustomed to those who choose to victimize other women rather than seek the necessary healing and personal development that is needed to break free from such destructive processes!
What do I mean? Well, I’m referring to a toxic interaction I had with another female author regarding the issue of “fat-shaming” and it’s effect on those who have been victimized by it. Unfortunately, this individual choose to engage in a form of cyberbullying rather than express her opinions and move on (i.e. agree to disagree). It is never a good or honorable thing to project one’s issues, pain, insecurities or perceived shortcomings, onto another individual regardless of your stance on a particular topic!
Women face a constant barrage of noise and obstacles (gender inequality, skewed images of beauty, misogyny, etc) from both society and media in general. My point is this, I refuse to remain silent in the wake of such toxicity without both challenging and speaking to the issue of bullying in larger terms. We live in an age when hate is being normalized, misogyny is being masqueraded as “plain speaking” or “politically incorrect” and body-shaming (fat shaming and body shaming in general terms), is being viewed as appropriate, justified, humorous and everyday speech!
IT IS NOT OKAY TO BULLY ANYONE REGARDLESS!! I can recall an old African proverb that states “Ashes fly back into the face of him (or in this case, her) who throws them.” It is my hope that all the “adults” in this digital space, have made the same calculation and are evolved enough to state their peace and move on, without attempting to demean or bully others in the process.
It is true that in some instances, the abused often becomes the abuser for a variety of reasons (unresolved pain points, lack of treatment, etc)I’ll leave it there because I feel that this is best left to the experts and is tangential to my current discussion. Regardless of gender, we have all been wounded at some point in our lives, but the real victory, healing, and wholeness (and by extension, personal growth) come from facing and or addressing those issues rather than projecting them outwards with the aim of deriving relief through the victimization of another. Experience and observation have shown me that this is neither healthy nor sustainable; ultimately it is self-destructive and fosters an inauthentic and toxic version of oneself.
In “female” terms, that incessant need to compare oneself to another woman with the desperate hope of becoming “her” or tearing “her” down (like crabs in a barrel), will never fill the void left by a wound that has been left to fester through either neglect, ignorance, choice or some combination of all three. Add to that the dimension of socio-cultural pressures and it becomes a toxic yoke that requires a level of personal (i.e. internal) work that can be very difficult to achieve without professional help (depending on the degree of deep work needed) and a willingness to embrace one’s authentic self. While I’m intimately acquainted with being a victim of this, I made the personal commitment and decision to get off of that crazy train, embrace my authentic self (yes, flaws and all!) and free myself in the process.
Every day, I witness the array of images and myths (some truths thrown in too) presented by both the media and society and I literally make the decision to own who I am and not allow anyone else to dictate my truth. We all have to make that decision, the question is, are you willing to grow or stagnate? To devolve into bitterness, pain, and destruction or chose to live a life of freedom and authenticity? It’s much easier by the way!
I understand and recognize that we are all at different places in terms of personal development, life journeys etc, but the fact remains that we all have a choice they might not always be the ones we would like or find comfortable, but we still have to choose! I hope you choose one that honors the inherent dignity of all human beings and fosters peace and growth rather than discord narrow mindedness. Be careful of what you allow to grow in your garden…