Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Try A Little Tenderness

'Say Something Nice On The Internet' sprang forth from Emily McCombs of who proposed that February 29th be a day of positivity online (and in real life also!)

"Being insulted is just par for the course when it comes to participating in online culture.
It's happens to all of us: Like when Lesley's piece about sexism in video gaming made it to the front page of Digg and inspired a flood of comments on the relative fatness of her hands, when I write about rape, or when Cat writes about pretty much anything. I suspect that a barrage of direct, immediate and viscous criticism will in the future just be part of the deal when it comes to being a writer.

But it's not just writers who are affected. Anyone who has ever posted a photo, video or comment anywhere online has probably had the experience of having their appearance, life choices and perceived character flaws announced, dissected and harshly judged. And look, it's OK to disagree with one another. xoJane in particular is devoted to a diversity of opinions. But I find it hard to believe that all this knee-jerk nastiness contributes in any way to public debate.
We're not suggesting that everyone be nice all the time, no matter what. After all, the admonition "Be nice" has been used throughout history to keep women quiet, polite and compliant. But so many of the nasty comments leveraged online relate directly to tearing down women -- our appearances, our sexuality, our choices. And while we advocate criticism and debate and the calling out of wrongness wherever you may find it, deliberately tearing people down through personal attacks and cruelty is not making anything better."

When i see people tearing strips off each other online (I'm not talking about intelligent, measured debate but rather the more typical examples of personal attack) I always wonder would you say that to somebody directly? When it comes to online activity I adhere to one simple principle: If i wouldn't say it to someones face, then i sure as shit ain't going to type it or hide behind a computer screen.
I don't know a single person who isn't wracked by self doubt or loathing at times; for others it's a permanent state of being. My friends are wonderful, kind, loving, generous people but they usually spread the love to those around them rather than themselves. In the spirit of 'say something nice', I sat down and identified five things i like about myself. 

Let's just say it's interesting and not the easiest of exercises but I wholeheartedly encourage you to try it out!
A lil' self love:

1) I am honest. By that I mean I think about, examine and then communicate my 'how/why/needs/wants' to those I interact with and to myself. Some people are repelled by it but it's a useful litmus test!

2) I am sensitive. Not so long ago i would have marked this as a negative but I've learnt to embrace it as an asset. It plays a big part in who i am.

3) I have a scar at the side of my mouth or i like to call it half a Chelsea smile! It gives my lips a distinctive curve.

4) I'm courageous. I've taken some big risks. some have paid off, some have not. This does not deter me from continuing to do so.

5) I'm a dab hand at baking and my gluten free dark chocolate and raspberry brownies have brought more than one person to their knees.

Spread the love on Twitter with the hashtag #saysomethingnice
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