Last week my best friend, Jack Lemmon, called me concerned: “Do you know there are people on the Internet saying horrible things about you?” I told her that I did know, yes.
“Do you know who they are?”
No, I have no idea I told her. What shocked me more than anything was that my friend Googled me in her spare time. She doesn’t quite believe that the Internet is indeed a very small place, but it is regardless of if she believes it or not. Was I pissed? Sure. But I currently live in a basement and, coupled with my Literature degree, I am very aware of how my life falls right into a joke. Comments on my pathetic loserness are pretty much a given.
Could Get Off My Internets have come up with something better than Six Year ASS Itch? For sure. That is something that put a little bit more sand in my vagina.
Over the weekend Get Off My Internets (GOMI); the snark site and forum dedicated to ripping bloggers a new asshole was threatened with closure after Federated Media pulled their ads. GOMI supporters rallied and raised thousands to keep the website and the forums running for the foreseeable future.
How do I feel about this? Is GOMI hate or criticism? Bullying or snark? Necessary or just evil?
I have friends that would dance on the grave of GOMI and there are people I really respect as writers that view the site and its forums as a necessary evil. Until this weekend, I took a very meh attitude about it. I did block direct links to The Six Year Itch from GOMI, but that was about it.
Rather than wade into a debate about criticism verses snark, I would rather focus on
three four things:
- Why is there no male equivalent to GOMI?
- Bloggers, again, need to cut the shit with personal branding
- Not everyone will like you; proceed accordingly
- I’ll clear up some things that were mentioned in Six Year ASS Itch
GOMI is not the only place where women feel the need to “expose” other women for their inconsistencies or to “bring them down a peg.” This is, unfortunately, how women interact with one another. On the one hand we’re supposed to be polite and likable and then on the other we claw the fuck out of each other. I don’t get it and never have. Bitches will cut you wherever they congregate. Honestly, join Girl Scouts and you’ll have your own local version of GOMI. Whether it’s the office, the Internet, the boardroom (if they’re even there) or Mommy and Me. Men do not do this. They will pull out their dongs and measure and move on. If women spent less time focusing on “exposing” other women, our political capital and power would rise quicker than an over-the-hill guy popping a blue tablet.
I am in a small minority (which also happens to be the right one) that bloggers who consider themselves brands are bullshit. You know what happens when you write about “personal branding” beyond looking like a pompous jackwad: customer service comes home to roost. Bloggers are people, not products. To transform oneself into a brand, you must reach Oprah status and no one in blogging has done that. NO ONE. I am not a brand, I am a writer that uses the platform (online publishing) as a means to an end (a book). When a blogger is consumed as a brand, consider yourself about to be Yelped. This means that the way a consumer freaks out about a downed power line or inflated cable bills: that’s what you have to look forward to. Proceed with caution because this is the new byproduct of becoming a blogger.
As Jessica Valenti so aptly wrote: we don’t need everyone to like us, we need a few people to love us. That is an important distinction. Yes, there needs to be a shift in how women interact with one another and how powerful women are viewed, but we also need to do the hard work in not caring so damn much when people do not like us. If it’s libel, lawyer up. Threatening behavior? Do the same and begin by filing a police report.
Over at GOMI, there are a few untruths I would like to personally clear up:
- There are worse things that I could be called then Cecily, Jr. She is a friend and I love her dearly. Our similarities begin and end with being two fat women who live in Philadelphia. I no longer have red hair.
- The post that won BlogHer Voices of the Year had absolutely nothing to do with adoption. It had to do with slut-shaming and empowering girls. You can read it here.
- Last summer was the most terrifying time of my life. I am not pampered or lazy. To make ends meet, I have cleaned houses, I have worked minimum wage jobs, I have tutored students for their GED and more. I have literally cleaned other people’s shit to provide and that should speak for itself. I am thankful everyday for the people who cared enough to help me.
- I took the criticism to heart in this post and know that my daughter deserves to meet me and that it’s “not about me.” It came out of a very real conversation I had with a friend. This is the first place I have ever written openly about adoption and until I did, I never met or had spoken with another birth mother. Adoption is complicated and it’s very easy to judge me. I will proceed how I want to regardless of what others think, feel or write on the Internet.
- My iPad was a gift, I did not buy it. My BlogHer trip was paid by a job.
- I eat my feelings, it’s well documented.
- My 25,000 “talking about this on Facebook” is from this picture. Not GOMI.
- The anonymous poster that started the Six Year ASS Itch GOMI thread can feel free to say this shit to my face during our next Philly Moms event. Grow a pair. No one uses “bimbo” to describe me you fucking idiot. Other than that, all the rest of it: carry on.