Tonight I was planning on writing a blog about my recent trip to England and Spain. But something odd has happened and disrupted my plans.
You see, earlier today, I ran into an interesting article, which I posted up on facebook, because I like sharing stories about people being awesome.
The article is worth a read, but I’ll summarize: There was a guy who ran a website for something called “Revenge Porn.” (Which I’d happily never heard of before this.) Apparently he posted naked pictures of women online and encouraged his followers to harass them, call their employers, and generally make their lives hell. Most of the pictures he used were stolen, faked, or handed over by disgruntled ex-boyfriends.
The article explains how a woman found her daughter’s picture on his website, and after finding out what an asshole he was, engineered his downfall in a serious old testament way. It was some lovely not-one-stone-left-upon-another shit.
Anyway, I posted up the link and wandered away. Not thinking much else about it.
An hour or so later I came back and took at peek at the post. I don’t read my facebook comment threads, but I do occasionally look in on them to make sure nothing is on fire.
And, as chance would have it, things *were* slightly on fire. It wasn’t to the point where people were talking about Hitler yet, but a few folks had made comments along the lines of, “She took nude pictures of herself, but didn’t want anyone to see them? I don’t buy it….”
Then some people were kinda pissed about those comments, and made comments to that effect.
Then other people got defensive, and posted some comments to that effect.
We all know where this ends. It’s a spiral into madness. The dirigible ends up in flames, everyone’s dead, and I’ve lost my hat.
Since any plan where I lose my hat is a bad plan, I sighed and sat down to write a quick post asking people to play nice and behave themselves.
Except… well… my quick post ended up being about 750 words long. Surprising nobody but me.
Once I’d finished writing it I just sat there, disgusted with myself. I knew better than to waste my time with this. Trying to have a productive discussion about a complex social issue on facebook is like trying to build a bridge by throwing rocks into a well.
What’s more, this shit is *dangerous.* People get pissed off when you talk about sexism. And not just the people that think you’re wrong, either. Sometimes the people that agree with 95% of what you say are the ones that go positively incarnadine with rage.
Simply said, writing a post on sexism was not on my agenda for the day. And I knew that in terms of bad ideas, posting it on Facebook ranked somewhere between putting my hand in a fire, and willfully slamming my own dick in a car door.
But I’d already written it. And I hate throwing away something I’ve already written. And it was something that really should be said….
So I posted it. Then I shut down my computer and left for dinner.
Hours later I came home and reluctantly looked online. No one was howling for my blood. I peeked on facebook and saw that in the last 5 hours more people had liked and shared that post than anything else I’d ever written.
And the comments were… well… they were delightful. I read about 150 of them and was not once enraged or disappointed in humanity. The posts were kind and honest and funny and endlessly grateful. People shared their own stories. People were occasionally politely disagreeing.
I stopped reading after 150 comments. I didn’t want to spoil it. It was like a beautiful dream.
Thanks for that, everybody.
If you’d like to read the facebook post, here’s a link.