This is what’s wrong

15 Oct

Last night I decided to have one last look at Facebook before going to bed. It turned out to be a bad move. I went to bed seething with anger.

I have quite a few young friends on Facebook, many of whom are people we met when we lived in Fort Liard, and who were barely teenagers when we moved to Whitehorse. One young man I’ll call “M” posted a status update he clearly thought was hilarious. And I didn’t. Well, have a look for yourself.

I enjoy irreverent humour, naughty humour, and sometimes even bathroom humour. But this is not irreverent or naughty; it’s degrading and abusive. I could see that my young friend M didn’t get it. What was even sadder is the person who posted “LMAO” is a young woman.

I was so so angry, I shut off my computer and headed for bed. I started brushing my teeth and thought about M. At barely 20, even though he “should” know better, he’s still at an age where this kind of stupidity, er, ignorance is not surprising.

So I came back on Facebook and posted my second comment.

In fact, I don’t think it’s funny in the context of the movie. (I’ve never watched Goon, but based on this glimpse, I suspect I’d find a lot of the movie disgusting.) I was trying very hard to set aside my anger and explain what makes this kind of public declaration unacceptable. It’s so hard to be reasonable and coherent when I feel this way.

I knew posting this comment made me look like a killjoy; to the group around this young man, I would probably appear to be just another a humourless adult who takes pleasure in berating youth. But to me, this kind of attitude is absolutely dangerous, especially in a community where violence against women is all too common.

After posting this, and fully expecting to be called out, I went to bed shaking.

You’ll be happy to know that I found a contrite message from M this morning. I’m proud of him. A few more people had chimed in on the thread to say they thought it was funny, but no one yelled at me. I’m glad I did a little something. I hope that speaking out this once makes a difference in M’s life, that he’ll think twice next time.

I never watch movies anymore, but it makes me wonder how much popular culture out there promotes this kind of degrading attitude towards women. I can’t do a lot about that. But at least I can help shape some small attitude shifts, just like this, every once in a while. It’s better than despairing.

6 Responses to “This is what’s wrong”

  1. Bubblybunny October 15, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I think you did the right thing by speaking up. Young people seems to think that things they post on FB/Twitter doesn’t matter, but it does. I watched the video Amanda Todd posted on youtube this morning after reading an article about her on the Globe And Mail. I was horrified to see what this girl had endured. Someone commented on Globe and Mail asking where were the girl’s parents during all this time? I think instead of laying blame on her parents, perhaps people should be asking “Where are these bullies’ parents ?” I don’t understand how these kids, young as they are, can feel good about themselves after taunting the girl and telling her she should kill herself. Perhaps if they had someone like you in their lives to point out their unacceptable behaviour, the world would be a better place.

    Thank you for posting this. I truly hope you’ve made a difference in M’s life.

  2. Nita October 15, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Good for you, Fawn! We all need to speak up when we see an injustice, bullying, slurs, etc. I wish someone had spoken up to Amanda Todd’s tormentors. And since it does take a village to raise a child, it is perfectly okay for you to have said something to M.

  3. wenttofaro October 15, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Good for you for leaving a comment. Actions like that need to be called out and awareness/education promoted.

  4. Doug Rutherford October 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    I suspect that things get posted along these lines because no one has ever taken him to task. Maybe this will start him thinking that such an attitude is not acceptable.

  5. yukonchatterbug October 17, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    I applaud you for speaking up, Fawn. I did the same on my nephew’s FB status when he posted a comment (or lyrics, whatever) that were demeaning and disrespectful toward women. I never heard back except for a […] from his girlfriend. Yes, a simple ellipsis.
    Neither of them “got it.” And like you, it upset me. I know he’s better than that; at least I like to think he is.

  6. Scientific Chick November 9, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    I’m so glad you acted on this, Fawn. Young people need to be exposed to strong women who will stand up for what’s right in a situation like this. Well done!

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