Friday, October 28, 2011


I know this isn't something that should annoy me.  Or, at least, I shouldn't really let it get to me one way or another.  But I've seen several examples of this lately and I'm just going to vent about it for a few minutes. 

Why do so many people feel the need to push their choices on other people?  Last night, one of my Facebook friends posted a status about Pinterest.  I love Pinterest so I "liked" her status.  Then I saw the comments.  The first one was from someone who mentioned something about also loving Pinterest.  But the next few were basically telling my friend that they had chosen not to use Pinterest because either they had tried it and found it to be "addictive" or they had "heard that it was addictive" so they had chosen to not even try it.  Then, the first person, the one who had initially posted they love it, chimed in with how she hardly ever goes to the site out of fear of getting addicted.  What?  It's a website full of creative words and ideas.  It's not meth. 

So I chimed in that I love it because I find it to save time, since I can use it as a one-stop resource for creative ideas and recipes rather than having to look at multiple sites and blogs for ideas.  Several other people posted that they agreed with me.  Then I jokingly told one girl (and who also happens to be my sister) who had commented she doesn't use Pinterest that I was going to peer pressure her into using it.  I even wrote "PEER PRESSURE!!" in a silly comment and followed it with a fun, winking smiley face like this one ;D.

And... wouldn't you know, that someone had to comment directly to my sister that she really should avoid it.  And this person also took the time to mention that she had deleted her Facebook app from her phone because it "consumed" too much of her and her thoughts.  Who are these people??  I have personally found things like Facebook, email, texting, blogging, and yes, Pinterest to be very convenient for me.  I've connected with some great people I wouldn't have met otherwise, and yet it allows me to form these connections on my time.  I can utilize these resources on my lunch break or when I just want a moment of me time or after the boys are in bed.  I have never been unable to turn away from them or ever felt "addicted" or "consumed."  Sure, I might jokingly say that I'm addicted to Pinterest, but to me that is just another way to say I really enjoy it.  The same with saying I'm addicted to coffee.  I do really love coffee, but the truth is I rarely have more than two cups a day.  It's an expression, people.

Really, I'm fine with other people not using Pinterest or Facebook or phones or laptops or any other kind of technology if it isn't good or convenient for them.  That isn't my issue here.  They can be Amish if they want.  Whatever they feel is best for them and their family, as long as it isn't harming others, that is their right and I will support it.  For them.  What I don't get is this constant need to push these decisions on other people and treat people who choose differently as though they are participating in some kind of illicit activity.  Would it be bad if we spent all our time on our phones or laptops and neglected our loved ones?  Sure.  But can most people control themselves and only spend time on these things when time allows and it is appropriate?  Certainly.  So what is the big freaking deal?

The same goes with so many other things.  Music, television shows, movies, tattoos, not having kids vs. being a working mom vs. being a full-time mom, etc., etc.  I'm fine with people making their own decisions about these things, but when they start sharing their choices in a way that makes it sound like what they've chosen is the only good or acceptable way, that just gets under my skin.  Don't we all have enough to focus on in our own lives without constantly criticizing other people and trying to get them to conform to our choices?  Are you listening to me you people who don't like me or how I live my life?  You do what you need to do and let me do what I do and we can all just get along. 

Okay.  So maybe we won't all be BFFs, but at least you won't be annoying me and that is what I really care about.  :D

Monday, October 24, 2011

Little Women, Little Men

One night when I was bored and on Facebook and I was actually paying attention to that annoying real-time feed on the right side, I saw that a friend of mine had commented on her teenage step-daughter's photo.  It was a photo of her tagged with her brother on vacation or something like that and I hadn't seen a picture of the kids in several years, so I opened it.  Then, because I was bored (and, okay, I am nosy), I clicked to the next photo and was shocked to see that it was a picture of the girl side-by-side with a photo of another girl with a bunch of people tagged and the caption, "Who's Hotter??" across the bottom.  The next several photos were the same thing, only with different girls.  And they all had multiple comments voting for one or the other, often making derogatory comments about the one they didn't think was "hotter."  There was only one girl who had consistently commented on each of the photo pairs, stating that it was sick that people were even doing this.  And her peers pretty much told her to eff off.

I closed out my browser window, but I kept thinking about it.  Sure, I've heard and read about these kinds of things, but to actually see it on a real person's Facebook page made it so much more than something mean rich kids do on smut television.  I so wished that I could have commented.... said something to make all those kids think about what they were doing and feel bad for treating their peers like some kind of rate-a-girl pastime.

Then, a few days ago, my friend Jenny posted this link right here that you should go and watch right now (unless you are very easily offended, as it does contain some mildly explicit material).  I know some of it was a little over-the-top, (for example, perhaps some smart women purposely choose to stay out of politics because they realize there are better ways to affect social change).  However, they really do make quite a point.  Why do we just accept the way women are so often portrayed in media?  And why does it have to be so difficult for young girls to go against this cultural phenomenon?  I do think that as women we need to support other women and help young girls to see their potential goes so much farther than some guy's fantasy or some model's photo shoot.

Only I don't have daughters.  I have sons.  Certainly girls need to be empowered to buck stereotypes and to embrace the talents and gifts they have that have nothing to do with their looks.  But I think that another big part of this is what boys are being taught.  How do I raise boys who would realize that it is not okay to participate in a "Who's Hotter??" poll on Facebook?

Gender stereotypes are so ingrained in our culture that just being different from the norm is not enough.  My husband and I both work full time, but one of us is always home with the boys.  I work Monday through Friday and Ryan works Friday through Sunday.  I work from home on Friday and my sister comes over to help me out.  Working opposite schedules like that, we both have to share responsibilities for the boys, for cooking, for housework, and whatever else needs to be done.  I still cannot believe how many times my boys have told me that I can't do something because "girls can't [fill in the blank]."  What the heck??  Where is that even coming from?  They are only in first grade and preschool and we strictly monitor their media consumption.

Clearly, teaching boys to respect girls has to be intentional.  I can't just sit back and think that because my husband his very respectful of me or that he and I share responsibility so evenly, that my boys will automatically pick up on it and act accordingly.  Sure, kids learn by example, but there are some lessons that need additional reinforcement.  And this is one of them.  Now all I need is a strategy.