You probably heard the story of Amanda Todd, the young girl from BC, Canada, who posted a YouTube video about being bullied and then sadly took her own life.
Her story was awful, but unfortunately, not entirely uncommon. Bullying, especially cyber bullying, despite all the hopeful messages from celebrities and almost everyone else in the wake of one of these tragedies, isn’t going away. Sure, we can all talk about how terrible it is, but the hard truth of the matter is that there will always be people who bully and there will always be victims.
What struck me though was sitting in my living room the other night with my 14-year-old daughter playing on her iPod who turned to me and said: “You know that Amanda girl? She was a slut.”
I was stunned. This poor girl who died, who took her own life because she couldn’t stand the pain she was living in, being reviled by my own daughter. But I didn’t want to just fly right off the handle at her and start yelling (okay, I did, but I wanted to talk even more) so I asked her what on earth would make her say such a thing about a girl she didn’t know?
She told me that she had read some stories online about how this girl had had sex and how she had sent a topless picture to a boy.
“So what,” I told her. “She was a teenaged girl. Teenage girls have sex and sometimes they send pictures to boys. But what makes you think that reading a story tells you who she was, or that a particular story means that her memory deserves ridicule?”
She looked down. I went on to talk to her about the news story I had read. The one which explained how a boy pressured her into the picture and then spread that picture online to everyone they knew. I mentioned to my daughter how only months ago a boy had asked her for the same thing and, though she didn’t send one, she did talk to me about it because it freaked her out. I asked her if I had told her own story to a friend, would my friend have the right to call her a slut?
She apologized to me, but I told her I didn’t want her apology. What I wanted was for her to remember that everyone has their own stories and that whenever these stories get spread around, as can happen, often the facts are distorted.
We hugged and I know that she spent some time that night thinking on my words, but so did I. I wondered why it is, when we women are already so damn hard on ourselves, are we so incredibly quick to judge one another? I know that I have hard days with my body image, but that doesn’t make it okay when I am in a bad mood and refer to another woman as fat. I don’t know if she has health problems, or if she is truly happy with the way she looks; moreover, it’s really none of my business. Why is it okay for us to trash one another to make ourselves feel good? Because in the end, that is the act of a bully and a coward.
I think it’s time we took a long hard look in the mirror anytime we have an urge to label someone as slut, whore, fat or bitch. Because as long as we throw those words out onto other women, they will surely eventually be thrown at us.
I’m tired of all the hate.
Curvy Girl Guide Contributor, Nuala Reilly, is a mother of five from Tillsonburg, Ontario, who spends all of her free time either trying to promote her books or talking her kids out of making her officially loopy. Bargaining with them only works if she uses cash and/or access to the car. You can read her blog at www.nualareilly.wordpress.com and buy her books at www.nualareilly.com , as well as follow her on Twitter.
image via Facebook