Beabe Thompson

Judge Not

copyright beabe thompson 2016

copyright beabe thompson 2016

I just unsubscribed to a writers’ blog. The trigger was a long post that went two long paragraphs talking about People of Walmart. It segwayed from how someone should keep people from embarrassing themselves in public to editing novels. How a good editor would keep a novel from being a literary People of Walmart.
Here’s my take on People of Walmart: it’s mean and an invasion of privacy. Yeah, there are some crazy outfits showing up at that store, but we’ve all had fashion or good taste lapses. Some people dress that way because they don’t have a lot of clothing, or they can’t afford alternatives. Some are truly depressed and have given up on taking care of themselves. Some probably do think they look great, despite internet trolls.
Back when I was an extremely depressed teenager, this same kind of shaming happened to me. I had zilch fashion sense and didn’t the time, interest, or money to do better. A couple of college girls stood in front of me at a large discount store and ridiculed my appearance. Just the thing to do to a girl who had zero self-esteem. I just wanted to melt into the dingy concrete store floor. GroomingIt was a vicious cycle for me. When I did make an effort, I was ridiculed for using too much makeup. That humiliating evening was just supposed to be a quick trip to the store with my mother, which turned into a major shopping trip while I attempted unsuccessfully to make myself invisible.
So I hate People of Walmart, the snarking content, comments by readers, the stolen cell phone pics of strangers. We don’t know the stories of these people being ridiculed, so what gives us the right to make fun? Aren’t we grown up enough to be nice and look the other away from this kind of thing?

Stop the Shaming

Maneatingrose 2

This Sunday I was jumped on twice in a camper group for posting pictures of our new tent. We were sent a used, returned, broken tent with missing pieces.  $429 for crap.

I was lectured about being angry, not being understanding of the seller, not being nice. It was one woman. I don’t know why, but women are often the ones doing the shaming of other women.

I grew up in an extended family of Southern women who repeatedly told me complaining wasn’t ladylike. That I should try to get along with people better. That I embarrassed myself.

My mother was told that too, even when my father beat her. Relatives were so afraid the neighbors would find out, or the church. One even told Mom she’d made her own bed, then she had to lay in it. Nauseating.

Women have the right to stand up for themselves, to complain about bad service, to not be on the receiving end of stupid advice.

I used to be an online merchant. I sold miniatures to Columbia Pictures, Disney Theatrical, to people from Idaho to New Zealand. At one time I was even the editor of a consumer group’s newsletter in New Orleans. I know how customer service works.

I didn’t argue with the numbskull who took me to task but blocked her. I called the supplier and told them what I expected from them. A new tent’s supposedly being expressed.

That’s not being a bitch; that’s showing I have the stones to be a grown up.

Sisters, stop shaming other women when they don’t conform to outdated stereotypes. We can be feminine as hell, be strong and stand up for ourselves. You don’t have to like us to be respectful.

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