Today I stopped by The Bottom of the Ironing Basket and read Simone’s post about her first ever blog conference and her curious –and disappointing—experience with Liz Jones, a writer and former editor of Marie Claire who was described in the BlogFest 2012 program as one of Britain’s most well known journalists.
Apparently Simone had been employed in the publishing world prior to becoming a stay-at-home Mom and a successful blogger, and has been a long time admirer of Liz Jones, describing her as an excellent editor and writer.
So you can imagine how it must have felt when Ms. Jones wrote this scathing article about the world of blogging and the 300 blogging “mums” she met at the conference.
Liz Jones had been one of the speakers on a panel entitled, “Private Lives on a Public Stage: how much should you reveal online?”
And following the event Ms. Jones shared her impressions of the women she met and mingled with throughout the conference. Evidently, she was not impressed. In fact, in her article she seemed unable to contain her disdain for the “little women who instead of tapping away at the glass ceiling swap recipes and tips for getting a child off to sleep” on their blogs. The idea that some of these women were earning money to “post pictures of bars of chocolate” appeared to trouble her artistic sensibilities. After all, Liz Jones is a self described “gut-spiller” who is known for her controversial and confessional brand of writing that she readily acknowledges has “pretty much ruined” her life.
However she believes in honesty at all costs, even if it hurts or offends.
Which explains a lot. Because this is the perspective that Ms. Jones viewed the writing world that bloggers inhabit. This is why she felt entitled to judge an entire swath of women by the “queasy feelings in her empty womb.” And to share her stinging indictment of mum-bloggers as women who’ve been “duped” into thinking that real life revolves around the trivial burps of their children.
Ouch. Pretty cruel words and why?
Why would a fantastically successful woman with a job she loves so much feel compelled to put down so many other women?
Why the mean-spirited, biting comments if your life is so fulfilled? Well, maybe that’s the real lesson.
It seems to me that a woman who has achieved her version of success would want to extend her hand out to other women who might still be grasping at their own goals. Maybe offer a nod and an encouraging wink in spite of the many differences…
…because we’re all works in progress. Struggling, learning, evolving.
All of us are, but especially mean girls. I know this because Mindy taught me this lesson.
I met Mindy in my twenties right after I landed my first “real” job in the psychotherapy field and Mindy became my co-worker. It was one of those ironies of life. Here I was at my most vulnerable professional period, already feeling like an imposter because I was still a grad student, and I was thrown into daily contact with a classic mean girl who was sure I was an imposter who didn’t deserve to be there.
Needless to say, she proceeded to make my job miserable for months with her catty, malicious gossip and her destructive ways until eventually she wore out her own welcome. And I was left standing, quite stronger I might add, because Mindy had taught me a powerful lesson about myself, even as she exposed the true nature of women who need to put other women down and create cliques and exclude others and gossip.
MIndy taught me that ‘mean girl’ behavior happens at all ages. And if you happen to be the target of someone’s petty, mean-spirited ways, you should know that it’s not about you.
Because the truth is, mean girls never get to know you, not really. For whatever reason they see you through a distorted lens that somehow threatens them, blinds them to your whole person. Because despite their bravado, women who put down other women operate from a place of self doubt, down deep.
It’s something to remember as you allow people into your life. And it’s actually quite simple. Women who feel genuinely good about themselves don’t need to create a false world where they’re on the top and you’re beneath them. They don’t need to constantly measure their worth by comparing themselves against others.
Which means, they can afford to be kind.
So Liz Jones, on behalf of women bloggers everywhere, please realize that we’ve read your harsh, belittling words from a deeper perspective.
And it’s ok, really. We understand.
…as always, I’m humbled by your visit.
Share your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.
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