Sticks and stones may break my bones…
Yeah, you know the saying. That’s what we try to tell ourselves when a cutting quip has assailed our ears and egos.
But words will never hurt me.
This saying is a half-truth. Because words do hurt and they do damage lives. While some of us have learned the art of letting insults go in one ear and straight out the other, not everyone has the fortitude to do that. Or perhaps an insult has hit at a moment of weakness—while someone is already weary from the stress of relationships or finances, or everyday life. And they cannot deflect one more thing.
Last week, reader Terri of Rags Against the Machine left a comment on my Friend Friday: Blogging and Negativity vlog and asked if we’d take up constructive criticism as a Friend Friday* topic (thanks, Terri!). I suggested it to the group, and it was selected, and I think the timing of this topic couldn’t be better.
Negative comments and actions DO hurt.
Allow me a moment to digress, because negative commentary and criticism on fashion blogs is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how cruel humankind can be. I’ll spare you the details of my own experience as a girl who was teased quite often—I’m fine, I made it through. But not everyone does. So before you watch my video, I hope you’ll watch this one with the amazing Tim Gunn. This PSA was recorded after Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student, leapt to his death from the George Washington Bridge last week after learning that a video of him engaged in a gay sexual encounter was broadcast on the Internet by his roommate. You can read more about what happened in Private Moment Made Public, Then a Fatal Jump.
Bullying, negative comments, and being hateful all have consequences for the bully and the victim. Suicide is an extreme response, but not uncommon. If you feel suidical, or suspect someone may be suicidal, visit The Trevor Project or call The Trevor Lifeline at 866.488.7386 (866-4-U-TREVOR).
UPDATE: Since this post was published, blogger Perez Hilton recorded a heartfelt video about how recent suicides (as a result of bullying) have affected him. Watch I’m Going To Be Doing Things Differently. JOIN THE KINDNESS MOVEMENT!
On blogging comments and criticism…
Here are this week’s Friend Friday questions:
- Do you allow comments on your blog? Why or why not?
- Do you think at times people leave comments that are insincere or not well thought out? (like the ones who write two words and just seem to be trying to comment on as many blogs as possible.)
- Would you ever leave a comment that could be considered negative?
- Most people claim to like constructive criticism. Do you really and how do you offer that kind of criticism to others?
- Some bloggers don’t allow comments in order to cut down on negativity. Do you think that is the way to go or are there other ways to deal with the negative vibes?
*The Friend Friday project by Modly Chic is a way for fashion bloggers to share more about themselves and create a friendly connection with other bloggers. Join the conversation by joining the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group.