So, just over a week ago, I saw the above image at my local Big W store.
And honestly, I was horrified.
I snapped a photograph + posted on Instagram/FB/Twitter saying:
Ummmmmmmm WTF Big W???? Nope. Nope. Nope. Fucccck noooooo. This is sending the worst bloody messages to our daughters. Not even teenagers. Not even Tweens. Bloody TODDLERS being showered with the wrong fucking oversexualised message about what it is to be a girl and woman. Love, Fuming Mama Bear
I thought nothing of it, until it EXPLODED on Facebook.
And man… some people did NOT appreciate my views on this matter.
So much so, they needed to advise me that I’m a “loco bitch”, a “stupid asshole” and I’m “sick in the head” for having these views.
Even when I clarified, by adding:
EDITED TO ADD
::: 5 IMPORTANT THINGS TO READ BEFORE YOU COMMENT :::
1. No, I don’t judge you if you buy these clothes. Yes, it’s fine for you to feel differently about this than I do. That’s totally okay. If you feel attacked by what I have written, please know that is absolutely not my intention.
To be utterly clear: I don’t see any issues with girls (or boys) wearing tutus. But I have a huge issue with a toddlers (and tweens and teenagers) being dressed in a brand that is oversexualised. By dressing them in Kardashian clothes, we are beginning to teach them that to be a Kardashian is the ultimate in success. I believe girls are at a crisis point, and we absolutely need to protect them from this kind of shit, and let them be children. Allow girls (and women) to know they are okay to be themselves, and worthy without looking “pretty” or “perfect” or having to be overtly-sexualised. Because that is very much the impression our girls are getting from the world, and research supports this.
Family psychologist + best-selling author Steve Biddulph is sounding the alarm on the craziness that is happening to our girls, and the very damaging effects it is having on their development with teen girl suicide, mental illness + self harm at all time high. I would absolutely recommend reading “Raising Girls” by Steve, and following his Facebook page. This information is essential.
You might also like to read my notes from a lecture with him which discuss this very issue.
2. Wow, this was a useful way to ban out some pretty abusive people on this page. I’ve never hit the delete + ban button so often on a post. So useful… I certainly would never wish to work with someone who calls me a “loco bitch” for having a different opinion than they have. It was a really useful decluttering of crap energies.
So… before you comment… you might like to choose to speak gently + respectfully. Because my finger adores that ban + delete button. Abuse = not okay here in this part of the internet.
3. It’s absolutely fine if you disagree with me. Totally fine.
And honestly, I would have ignored it myself a few years ago until I started researching the current girl crisis + getting myself well + truly fired up about protecting the childhoods of our girls.
Even if you still don’t agree with me, that’s cool lovely. We can still be mates. Let’s still speak gently with each other however. (See also: loco bitch = not appropriate.)
4. I think we need to take responsibility for where we choose to invest our money. How you spend your money is investing in what you want to see more of. I am 100% not perfect of this, but am always working on how I can make sure my purchases are in alignment with my higher values + who I wish to support in the world.
5. Yes, I swear, and yes I’m okay with it. No, threatening to unlike me won’t change that. Further reading here.
6. I’m eating a gluten-free melting moment, and it’s delicious. Come around for tea + we’ll have some together.
Big love + gentleness,
EVEN when I posted all of that, the comments continued.
“im not even going to read half of that you wrote but you are seriously stupid.”
“you are slut shaming”
Bitchy parenting groups started pointing at it.
And the horrific comments continued.
Jeeeeeepers. I can talk about vaccinations. I can talk about post natal depression. I can talk about most things on the Internet. SAY ANYTHING BUT DON’T YOU DARE SPEAK BADLY OF THE KARDASHIANS.
I’m totally cool with having a discussion about things. I’m cool with people asking questions, or wanting further clarification, or simply saying: “That’s not my read on that.”
But the name calling? The abuse?
Absolutely 100% not okay.
(I should say I found the “slut shaming” comment completely baffling. Because IDGAF how a woman lives her sex life. But I sure as FUCK give a shit if people who are famous for “sex sells” are DESIGNING + SELLING CLOTHES FOR TODDLER GIRLS. Seriously. The conversations of sex + our toddler girls can be FAR, FAR APART here.)
I deleted and banned to my heart’s content.
Ridiculous abuse is not ok in the spaces I tend to, either in real life or on the inter webs.
If someone came to my home + started ranting that shit, I would call the police. And when it felt like too much shit being thrown my way, I stepped away. I handed it over to my social media manager to continue deleting, banning + reporting abusive comments.
I took some deep breaths. I talked to friends + members in my tribe who supported me + understood my views. I ranted to Chris, who replied his usual sage wisdom:
You know people on the internet can be real dickheads sometimes.
And I went + had a life outside of the Kardashiangate, as messages + comments continued to pile in (+ abusive ones get banned + reported).
People ask me if it’s okay to ban + delete people, afraid that it will hurt your business.
My experience is that abusive people will ALWAYS damage your business.
If they become clients, you’ll have to fire them anyway because they will drive you, your staff + your other clients utterly batshit insane. So I’m super happy to remove abusive potential clients out of the circle of my business. I don’t want people like that buying from me. They are create more pain + agony than their dollar is worth.
So my advice is always: Fuck ’em. Ban ’em. They can use the rest of the Internet to spray their shit. Let’s keep our sacred spaces safe. If people are abusive, they get to receive the gift of a no from me, and a closed door, so they may be given the opportunity to find a space that does resonate with them. Or you know, maybe do some therapy and work on their shit.
We all need to be responsible for the spaces we craft, the boundaries we enforce, the abuse we allow & our inner shit that needs healing.
If anything, I think I shall become more outspoken about this.
More outspoken about inappropriate behaviour on the internet + how to deal with it.
Because it’s important. And for goodness’ sakes, let’s learn to disagree gracefully if we must.
And I’m going to become more outspoken about the damage that is being done to our girls.
No, they aren’t okay. This isn’t okay.
Teen suicides + self harm is skyrocketing.
(See all my notes from Steve Biddulph’s lecture here.)
I think of the beautiful 13 year old girl who committed suicide in our community last year from social media strange shit.
I hear stories from mums of teenage girls which are heartbreaking + horrific.
Rampant self harm. Drinking of poison.
They are hating themselves, guys. They are being taught from every single angle that they are not good enough, they are not worthy, they are too fat. They don’t deserve to take up space on the planet. Their looks are the most important part of them. Their sexuality is to be used to gain love + approval. They want to cut pieces of their bodies off to fit in, because everywhere they look, there is images of people that don’t look like them. That have been so caked over with makeup + photoshopped to perfection that they don’t realise it’s just a mirage. Our saggy, quirky, assymetrical bodies are perfection. But no one is telling them that. They don’t see that.
They can’t sleep at night. They wake at all times of the night to see what is being said about them on social media. They are hyper vigilant. They are screen-addicted.
They don’t get to have the kinds of childhoods that we had, that we took for granted.
They aren’t getting the time to develop their own personality + sense of self.’
They aren’t developed enough to filter the dross out.
I mean, FUCK… I STRUGGLE when people say asshole things to me on the internet. And I’m a grown ass woman, with a really high self esteem + confidence, with a bonza husband who reminds me that the shit isn’t true, with a life outside the internet that feels pretty damn good.
And here’s our girls. And they don’t have that. And they are struggling.
So yes. Yes I will speak up about it. I will roar like a mama bear when I see things that don’t feel right. I will protect my daughters. I will speak up for our children.
Even if some people think I am a loco bitch for it.
Our children deserve a life + a knowing that they are sacred + divine + perfect + whole, just as they are.
And so do we.
I don’t know the answer.
But I do know we need to talk about it.
All my love,
P.S. If you, your family, your daughter is struggling, I just want you to know, I am so so so sorry. I’m so sorry you are in pain. That is really hard. You must be feeling grief stricken + worried sick. My mama heart aches for yours. I know this can’t be easy. I don’t know the answer.
Here’s where I usually find my answers:
- Relationships Australia (or indeed any kind of family therapist)
- Steve Biddulph
- Carrie Contey
- Ask Moxie
I’m sending you love + healing, compassion + understanding.
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