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« I'm A Girl | Main | Michele Yulo of PFZ on "Chick Talk" »
Sunday
Aug192012

Why I Won't "Get the F-ck Over It"

by Michele Yulo

Why is it that there are those who feel the need to be hateful, mean-spirited, or demeaning to others in order to express an opinion? I've been in this blogging game for awhile now and am no stranger to the random comment from a troll or person who prefers to make their point by simply being rude. And yet, shockingly, I am still affected by the coarseness of uncivil discourse. It's not like it happens every day, but when it does, my stomach becomes a cauldron of doubt and I usually look back at whatever it was I wrote and think, "Was it something I said?" Then I get really, really angry and usually read aloud the comment to my husband with a "can you believe what this person wrote?" before going in to try and bring the conversation back to a nice place. 

Here's one of my recent FB posts that inspired such a comment:

I was at an outdoor arts and crafts festival. I was looking for something for a friend of mine's daughter who is ten months and stopped at this really cute booth that did tye dye tees. When I told them who it was for, they pointed me to the girls side which was, of course, where everything was pink and flowers. I said, "No thanks, I think I'll get her the fun goldfish." [which was on the boys side]

Along with the post was a picture of the onesie I actually purchased:

 

Now, I wasn't trying to incite any kind of angry debate by posting this and, honestly, thought it was pretty tame compared to some others. I was simply making the point that this goldfish onesie shouldn't be relegated to the "boys side." The fact that it's not pink is what placed it in the male domain and unless someone makes it a point to take off the gender blinders, some little girl will always end up wearing a tee with a cupcake, flower, or butterfly. God forbid they wear blue or like sea creatures!

While most of the commenters on the thread seemed to understand and agree with the message (which is what PFZ and its product is all about, after all) that children should be exposed to all colors among other things, there was one who took a different stance. Here's what she said: "Girls like pink. Get the f-ck over it." Only she didn't use a dash in place of the 'u'. 

I find myself scratching my head often in moments like this. Did this person simply "like" my page so they could insert their nastiness whenever the moment strikes? Or, as another person commented, "I simply do not understand when people like Facebook pages with a clear mission that they disagree with. Why join the page? Is this just a way to spew anger?" Perhaps. And what was it I said to provoke such a response? Was I offensive in tone or language? Did I say something akin to an attack by implying that girls deserve to know that they do not have to like pink, desire to be a princess, or even want to be pretty? The same goes for boys who should be able to like butterflies, stars, and even the color pink. My intention is not take away from the girlhood experience, but to add to it. 

I have to admit that this person's need to tell me to "get the f-ck over it" doesn't bother me as much as her matter-of-fact belief that "girls like pink." This is what I can't "get the f-ck over" if I'm being honest. The idea that some really and truly believe that girls and boys are prewired to have an affinity toward specific colors boggles my mind (perhaps if amniotic fluid were pink or blue based on the sex of the baby I might think differently), but it also shows just how entrenched in the mindset gender stereotypes actually are, and that...guess what? They work! Fortunately, knowing this makes me want to work that much harder to eliminate them so, for that, I guess I should be thanking this person.

Of course I realize and accept that not everyone will always agree with me, and this particular comment was benign compared to some I've received. I know it comes with the territory of expressing oneself in a very public arena--one that can often be as brutal as the crowd in a Roman gladiator fight. That doesn't mean I understand or condone it. I will still always try my best to maintain my composure and some decorum while attempting to lead a rational and intelligent discussion. But my main concern is for children and how they are being boxed into gender corners that can be very difficult to get out of, and I will happily fight for that every day. Even in the face of someone who tells me to "get the f--ck over it."

Reader Comments (12)

OH, Bravo!! As someone else on the receiving end of anonymous internet rage, I could not agree more. These people need to get 1) therapy, 2) medication, and 3) a life. Keep doing what you're doing. Haters gonna hate. Their loss.

August 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori Day

Well, I think we're all here because we understand that not all girls like pink and that's ok. There's nothing for us to "get over" or feel guilty about because we offer our girls choices and opportunities. She sounds like a random hater, or one of those baby pageant moms. Don't let someone like that get to you, the rest of us here get it.

August 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLilly Sanovia

First of all, I have to say that I've never been one to read blogs. But yours has had my attention from the moment I read it. You are a trailblazer...a pioneer. I love that there is people out there like me who feel the same way. Keep doing what you're doing. We are making a mark!

And as far as the "get the F over it" comment...don't let it incite a reaction that this person obviously wanted to get. It just sounds to me like ignorance and just another person who robotically believes what's been hammered into their brains from the mainstream.

August 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I completely understood your post, and can't fathom why anyone would become angry and nasty over it. My daughter is 18 months old and loves playing with cars and trucks. She also likes dinosaurs, books, stuffed animals, her grocery-cart (handed down from my nephew), and also snags the blue crayon when I open the box (I will be honest and say there is no pink crayon :). When I go into a clothing store I see all sorts of frills and cutesy things on the girls side and on the boys side are all these drab colored shirts with cars and dinosaurs. What, boys can't wear bright fun colors? I love putting my daughter in gingham dresses and ruffle-bottom bloomers (she's just so darn cute) but I frequently dress her in simple t-shirts and shorts. And where is it written that a girl can't wear a blue shirt with a gold-fish on it, or a dinosaur or a car? People who are entrenched in this idea are the ones who need to get over it. I think I finally made a break-through with my mother-in-law who recently brought us rain-boots with sharks all over them. she apologized that she'd had to get them from the "boy" section, because all the girl rain-boots were nothing but pink and purple. Bea's rain suit is blue and yellow, and the blue boots with sharks are perfect. Just remember that nasty comments are proof that you are hitting a nerve. One that needs to be plucked, and plucked and plucked. Anger always reveals more than politeness ever could. And in making your "enemies" angry they will prove themselves to be the petty, mindless, thoughtless people that they are. Good for you and what you do each day. The world needs more moms like us.

August 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaty Dailey

I am sorry that you have to endure such hateful, coarse comments. I no longer read comments re stories I care about...the election, the cultural war against women, the anti-education/teacher sentiment and other topics because of the venomous mysogynistIc and bigoted comments. Just remember the f word is usually representative of ignorance and a poverty of expression. Keep posting!

August 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterG-ma

You are passionate about a cause you believe in and that is admirable. Not only are you passionate, you are speaking out and educating others. If someone is ignorant enough to post that "girls like pink, get the eff over it" they are just that, ignorant. We all need advocates that are passionate about causes to educate us, and I appreciate what you are doing. With speaking out, comes the risk that not everyone will agree with you. However, don't let the one hater deter you from all of the other positive support you receive. You are a talented writer. Keep doing what you are doing! The effects are reaching so many girls you will never even know about!

August 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiranda Earnest

I loved your post, and the quote of your last poster, " the f word is usually representative of ignorance and a lack of expression." I want my girls not to be afraid, intimidated, or ashamed of language, but rather understand it's place and importance. This is is a great quote!

I think your Like friend revealed her agenda when she added, "get the f-uck over it". Perhaps she could have more politely said, "I have a hell of a time telling a baby boy from a baby girl; I'm so embarrassed when I get it wrong. I really need the help of a clear gender identification from the onesie. A baby with female genitalia wearing a blue onesie with a goldfish just might destroy my otherwise-happy-marriage to a man. Do you realize how scared I am of a baby girl wearing this?"

August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterL9dave

Hello, I'm with you all entirely on all this (that's of course why I'm here), as the pink/blue divide is a very modern construct and was actually reversed a hundred years ago! But I can't help but say that the person who left that comment may well have posted it with a smile on their face and didn't mean to be nasty.. I know a lot of people who talk like that all the time. It would have given me a twisted stomach too when I read it but you can never assume that that was the intention. They're definitely ignorant and rude, but not necessarily malicious.

August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

I'll just say to the F-bomb poster, that not all girls like pink. In fact, my GIRL HATES pinks and cupcakes and lavender and lace and tea sets and fairies and pretty much all "girly girl" stuff. She (and I) thinks it's fine for her female friends to like those things, but she just doesn't and she's ALL girl!

August 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill

I think that Little Miss F Bomb represents two major issues in society: the continues ghettoization of females and the decline in civility that the internet has caused to fester. My daughter went from tomboy to girly girl to tomboy to girly and now is "whatever is comfy".I remember her playing dumptruck in the sandbox with her pink princess outfit on, so she wasn't going to fit into anyone's round hole with her amazing square peg attitude.

And, I can't imagine this woman daring to tell you that to your face, so why does she think it's OK to say that online? Why? Because she doesn't have to deal with the reaction up close. I am glad that they are starting to take cyber-bullying and online comments like the ones made after Amanda Todd's suicide more seriously...Maybe having your boss fire you over something you said might be a wakeup call to all the others out there wanting to be an internet tough guy as well.

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I'm a girl. I don't like pink. BUT...

I have a girl. She loves pink. She has a friend at school named Brody. Brody is a boy. Brody loves pink. She loves that Brody loves pink. What a happy world they live in! :)

Our society has a long way to go in helping everyone realize there is a huge world of color out there and the basic rainbow of ROYGBIV is a small inkling of the vastness of combinations, intensities and hues. To limit girls to pink is an injustice to them and those around them. Colors are genderless and simply are.

November 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I am so glad I found someone else who won't get over it. I get this a ton - that I'm being over sensitive about all the pink-princess-sparkle-pony being shoved on my girl. I'm really proud that she can't pick Cinderella out of a line-up! That said, when she asks to wear pink, I'm forced to take a deep breath and not project my aversion to that color on her. I thank my lucky stars the next day when she chooses to wear black!

I won't get over it, and I edit all commercials out of her limited TV viewing, and put the baby dolls her obsessive relatives buy her next to the legos and medical kit (that isn't pink), and let her choose with which to play. I remind myself it's as you said, about ADDING to the experience of being a girl, not detracting from it. My son had a Barbie when he was her age, why shouldn't she? (Although, the rule is that all Barbies purchased new must have a profession apart from retail.)

When I was a girl, my father agreed to coach a T-ball team, but only if both his children could play (his son AND his daughter). As a result of me being on the team, another man who worked with my Dad let his only child, a daughter, play. All the kids on the team were subjected to "You play with girls!" from our opponents every time we hit the field. By the end of the game, the taunting had stopped, because we girls had been allowed to play, and had done so quite well. I will forever thank my Dad for taking a stand in 1974. It did make a difference.

Thank you for your blog! I am so glad to find a like-minded group of Moms.

December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

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