Clicking “Follow” Isn’t Your Cue to Be the Boss of Me

Edit: Clarifying the roles of White Knight and Mem after some confusion. 

 

First of all, if you’re one of the lovely people who chose to get butthurt about my use of the word “mansplain,” or thought you should lecture me about “not all men,” when I last talked about women being harassed on the internet, you should step away from your screen right now. This post isn’t for you, and I don’t honestly care to entertain your patriarchal, asinine opinions. Don’t come at me with “but you married a man!” as an argument because that doesn’t work here.

They gone?

Ok good. Now, with proper warning, if anything I’m about to say offends your delicate sensibilities, after a proper warning and the opportunity to examine your values and the places from which they stem, that’s on you.

 

Let me tell you a story about the Most Entitled Man, and his role in my life as of recent. We will call him MEM for short.

 

Y’all know that in December and January, your Instagram feeds are cluttered with essentially a series of reposts of people doing their top 9 of 20whatever, where a website makes a cute little collage of your most liked posts of the past 12 months. I’m not immune to this level of narcissism, so you know I went and did that goddamn thing. Sure enough, a nice little college popped up. I was surprised that so few of them were stage shots or even flexies, seeing as I spent a majority of 2017 on contest prep, and competing in my first season as a professional bodybuilder. Extra refreshing was that in my top 9, several of the posts with the most likes were ones that were attached to MESSAGES, with one of the most liked being my post about birth control and the current White House administration, on the say that I went and got my IUD switched out a bit early just in case. My top 9 posts MEANT something this year.

Mostly.

Some of them were blatantly look-at-me photos from photo shoots and whatnot. C’mon. I looked pretty dang good this year, and I’m not trying to let that slip by without documentation.

Anyhow. In that top 9 was one particular photo that caused some of the people who saw that little tiny thumbnail in my top 9 to scroll back SIX MONTHS through my post history to go find the original. Umm, is that creepy? Because I sort of feel like it is. Honestly. But whatever, that’s the thing about social media. I posted it, you can see it. It’s fine.

But ONE of those scroller-backers came up on a comment I had made on the original, months before. A man had left a bunch of kissy faces and flames emojis and a comment of questionable taste that just rubbed me the wrong way (because that’s what turns a girl on, amirite?) and I sort of… called him out on it. A quick click into his profile showed me that he valued God, his daughter, and his wife, and here he was making gross comments on my photo? Umm, no. He must’ve agreed with me, because he never responded.

 

 

This is how we wave hello to WK.

But soon- and by soon I mean several months later- we have a White Knight. He believes that I should just shut up and accept that this is how men talk to women they find attractive.

 

 

Ok White Knight.

 

 

 

 

Months after this initial interaction, White Knight encounters my reply to Original Creep and takes it upon himself to speak up for his Brother in Creephood, stoically defending a man’s right to creep. Why shouldn’t he be able to comment whatever he wants, and what did I expect when I posted “a pic like this?”

 

Oh. Sorry dude. I didn’t realize I had been asking for it.

 

So here’s what’s great about this photo: in it, I am wearing literally an outfit that I have worn to school before, to teach. I have a pair of jeans, and a white button up shirt on. The only difference is, my shirt is open and I am wearing a bikini top underneath. I was also cold as fuck because I was standing in the freaking ocean and it was incredibly windy and cold that evening. Fun fact: the Pacific Ocean is really, really cold in San Diego. ALL THE TIME. Anyhow, I was wearing more than a bathing suit- literally all of my clothes, but holy cats, you could see my abs. THIS apparently, is the amount of clothing you must be (or not be? I don’t know, I’m still confused) wearing in order to expect harassment.

WK had me pretty fired up with that little bit. I fired back, didn’t say anything too wild, just told him he was wrong and that was gross, but WK wasn’t about to let it die. He accused me of belittling and mocking himself and Original Creep, then told me that this sort of behavior (from myself) was unprofessional. That I should be able to take it, especially as a bodybuilder who “hadn’t yet made it.” That apparently, creeps are part of my sport- because every person with eyes is apparently a bodybuilding judge, and therefore can make judgements on my body as such.

Which is… interesting. I don’t remember signing that contract when I earned my pro card. I must’ve missed the line where it said I was to allow any and all commentary on my body from every person regardless of their qualifications or intent.

This exchange went on for a few back-and-forths, ultimately ending in myself giving an impassioned “men are trash” rant and blocking WK, as well as the friend that he tagged in when my thick-headed female brain simply didn’t seem to be understanding.

 

So here’s where we meet the Most Entitled Man.

Everybody say hi to Mem.

 

Mem is the White Knight’s white knight.

 

Mem dared me to accuse anyone of sexism (I think he doesn’t know how sexism works, so I asked him to please tell me the story of the last time he was oppressed and objectified by a woman), and was kind enough to alert me to the idea that when people said things I did’ like on social media, I could simply block them and move on- ironic, right? Anyhow, I did just that. I just ran out of time and energy to dedicate to educating men.

 

 

Fast forward about a week or two. I get back to work after my lovely winter break, not having spent a single additional second worrying about Mem and his friend, when my principal walks into my classroom and asks to set up a meeting with me regarding an email she received over the break. She indicated that I might bring my union rep to the discussion.

This motherfucker EMAILED MY BOSS. This man felt so entitled to be able to say whatever he wanted, and that ALL men should have the right to say gross, sexually suggestive, unwanted comments towards a strange woman on the internet, that he searched my name (which it not listed on my Instagram profile, by the way), found out which district I teach in, then which school, and emailed my boss.

He was kind enough to attach a tiny snippet of a screenshot, of course, of what it was I said that had him just so hot and bothered, but none of the preceding disgusting, sexist, entitled rhetoric. He “respectfully requested” that she advise me to “conduct myself in a more professional manner in the future.”

 

In a somewhat, somewhat but not really actually comical move, he also apparently relayed this exchange to a friend and asked him to send an email as well, but the email was pretty comical, in that it 1. got my name wrong, and instead accused my principal of acting inappropriately on social media 2. said it all went down on Twitter, and 3. claimed to be a parent of one of my students after all of this. Good try, Mem, good try.

Imagine feeling so entitled to do and say as you please, regardless of how hurtful to another person, that you literally tried to ruin their career- the thing to which they have dedicated year of education and practice to, literally their livelihood- over it. He went so far as to concern troll about how my behavior not only reflects on myself and my school, but my husband’s job, as well.

That’s next level entitlement, Most Entitled Man.

Actually, Mem, your opinion is shit and you are trash. Sorry that’s exactly the term that sent you over the edge. Sorry you went right ahead and proved it.

He went so far as to suggest that I was unfit to teach my students, what with a mentality as I seem to have. How would my male students feel if they only knew?

I’ll tell you how: they’d feel exactly the same as they do right now in my class. They’d feel like, yeah, we’ve talked about this. We know Ms. P is not to be trifled with, and neither is Any. Other. Woman. We’ve talked about privilege. We’ve talked about the objectification of women in our society. We’ve talked about patriarchal systems in which men are inherently the oppressors, yes, even if you’ve never physically assaulted someone, yes, even if the joke was funny. We’ve talked about #metoo, and #timesup, and how those movements have impacted America as a whole, and our own communities and families as well. We’ve discussed the actions of our President, and the reactions (or lack of reactions) among Americans. Yeah, we’ve talked about that. The young people in my classes are well aware.

 

Honestly, I think the questions is, how would my female students feel-

Supported?

Safe?

Empowered?

That would be just terrible, wouldn’t it?

 

 

 

A fitness professional, a model, an athlete, a YouTuber, an influencer, or anyone else on your social media feed doesn’t owe you jack shit buddy friend. They don’t owe you booty pics or answered DMs or a minimum number of posts to entertain yourself with, or a free license to say whatever disgusting thing pops into your head, in exchange for a follow. Honestly, I’d rather have 60 followers who cared about who I am as a person than 600,ooo who thought my only purpose was to look pretty while they touch themselves. The fitness industry is rampant with sexism, with sexualization and fetishization, but we don’t have to be complacent in that, and we shouldn’t be. You can opt not to participate in it, you can call it out when you see it, you can stand up against it even when you don’t see it, you can apologize for previous participation, you can choose to empower rather than exploit. It’s not that hard to simply do better. It’s not that hard to stop acting like you are the lord and master of everything and everyone on your feed.

Anyhow that’s the story of the white Knight and Mem.

Don’t be like Mem.

Don’t be a jerk on social media.

Don’t mess with women.

And definitely don’t fucking DOX PEOPLE WHEN YOUR SENSITIVE FEELS GET HURT WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU.

And Mem, if you’re reading, you’re welcome for not using your real name. I, too, have Google machines.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “Clicking “Follow” Isn’t Your Cue to Be the Boss of Me

  1. Oh dear God, I hope MEM sees this… But on the other hand, he’d probably find a way to twist it into more of an attack than a lesson. I generally make it a point not to take responsibility for the actions of the undesirables like MEM, but you definitely deserve an apology and even if MEM read this he definitely wouldn’t offer you one. I’m sorry that you had to deal with that thin skinned antagonist and the ignorance that came with.

    Like

  2. My first thought in seeing that picture again (iirc it was one of a bunch in your original post way back) was “dang, the light quality is pretty cool, did the photographer get that naturally or was a filter needed?” The classlessness, misogyny, stupidity – pick appropriate adjective of way too many of my gender on the internet continues to astound (and dishearten) me . . . Just keep being you and setting a great example for your students.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you- the sunset was pretty awesome that night but I believe a bit of filtering was involved as well to really pump it up.

      Thanks for the support- you rock!

      Like

  3. I feel sorry for the male students in your classes. I’m sure they roll their eyes behind your back at your sad attempts at political indoctrination. Try to let go of your bitterness, you’d be a better teacher and a happier person.

    Like

  4. LOL at the idjits, because I’m in a position to do so.

    You are dead-on correct. I’m research faculty at a very male-heavy technical university, and these are messages that must go out by every means necessary. I overhear “guys” at the campus gym and cringe. Confronting them there would be difficult, and I have not yet mustered the courage to do so. But I and many others work messages of respect (aka baseline sanity) into as much as we can.

    Also, growing up on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, my first experience with the Pacific was… well… shriveling. Even before I reached the water (SF). I had no idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So this is awkward Its me MEM. First thing, I never contacted your school, that’s crazy so your conspiracy is false. This article is one sided and doesn’t tell the whole truth. I actually have screenshots of the whole conversation if anyone’s interested in seeing how it actually went down. And if this comment gets deleted you all know why, Stephanie I guess it’s up to you if you want everyone to know how judgmental you actually are.

    Like

      1. Well not until the whole truth gets out. You’re smearing good people without putting all the evidence out there for everyone to see. It’s OJ all over.

        Like

      2. At what point do hurt feelings justify attempting to ruin a persons career? That’s way, way out of line. I’m smearing nobody. No names were said- not so much as a screen name.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. You must be confused then. This post is about the person who wrote the email. You don’t need to make it about you or take credit. You aren’t Mem, but my screenshots indicate who you are. You’re excused as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I am MEM teach. You’re confused. I did have that whole conversation with you, the one you posted throughout the whole blog. I just didn’t write the email.

        Like

      2. In that case, I’ve said my piece. That was my purpose. In no way does a difference of opinions online necessitate doxxing- particularly being that one is annoying and the other is illegal.

        Like

  6. Ya but doxxing is only illegal if it’s private information. All that stuff was public. If your account was private it would be different.

    Like

      1. Yes your name is on there 100% and it’s public information at you school so anyone can see it. And it’s only harassment if there’s malicious intent with you fearing for your safety which there was not. No District Attourney would take this case. And if you think about it, what if it was a students parent that saw it and sent the letter? Still gross and creepy or a responsible parent?

        Like

      2. I’ll edit the post tomorrow differentiating between the two participants in the original conversation, absolving you of responsibility for the email. I think we’ve both aired our thoughts in this matter between the two media platforms, and this conversation is neither productive nor beneficial to either participant.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Someone Told me to read this blog.

    Looks like the OP never made a change to the blog post… where is the line drawn where it’s ok to drag down innocent ppl for the sake of smearing others?

    OP your come off as haughty and entitled. your blog posts and IG posts seems like all you do is make mention of what others do for you or what bad things others do to you.

    What good things do you do for others? Why do you have this attitude that you others owe you? What do you do for your community? When have you actually gone out of your way to support your friends and help them? You don’t talk about that much. Your not very well rounded in the sincirety department.

    Your responses to others that don’t share your opinion come off as rehearsed as if you spend a lot of time trying to polish yourself for social media.

    you also like to have the last word to every comment so go ahead and give your haughty retort!

    Like

    1. Hi there, “Mr or Mrs!”

      Welcome to my social media, my personal blog, where I, like every other social media user, share SOME aspects of my life with others, but not necessarily every piece. Doing so opens me up to public criticism and comment, and you are entitled to your opinions about me based on this incomplete picture of who I am as a person.

      This blog is largely fitness-focused, and deals with my place and my experiences within that realm. As such, I do not use it to address the many other aspects of my life- this is not a blog about teaching, or volunteering, or how I spend my time or money. To use my social media as a space where I see out a performative signal of my own virtue would be against my nature. I do not need to self-congratulate every time I donate my time or money to a cause that aI support, or give support to someone I care about. What I do appreciate, though, is when people do something for me- and I believe the people who are kind enough to do so are deserving of recognition for those things. This may be why you see me speak on the latter, but not the former.

      I am unsure where you are getting the impression that I believe that anyone owes me anything beyond the respect that any human is deserving of, and the treatment that accompanies that. When I call out the things that “have been done to me,” it’s typically placed within the larger context of societal issues of body shaming, misogyny, and sexism faced by many others, using myself and my own experiences as an example, a launching point for a larger conversation. My forthright approach to this may make you uncomfortable- and that’s ok. They’re uncomfortable topics to broach, and I don’t do it gently. This is a stylistic approach that I have embraced as a writer, and it’s not for everyone.

      This is a space where I talk about many things, but they share that common thread of relating to fitness, and my own personal experiences relating to this topic. I use my real name, as opposed to hiding behind an anonymous avatar, and I am more open on the topics I discuss than many others who occupy similar spaces. Fitness social media is drowning in photoshop and posed selfies, I write for several reasons: for enjoyment and release, to break down and disseminate information, to collect and share resources, to share my experiences, among others. 

It may surprise you that I spend very little time curating myself for the benefit of social media. Fitness, and the accompanying social media spaces that I occupy, is not my life’s major focus, and in fact plays a very small role in it. You may notice that the time spans between posts are significant- and this is a direct reflection of the time in my life that I dedicate to this piece of myself. I have a take it or leave it sort of mentality to this. I do not expend energy trying to cultivate followers, or curating my writing to be gentle and easily digestible for every person who comes across it. There’s plenty of that in social media, of people who choose not to say anything that might be controversial or might alienate someone, who choose not to stand up when they fear someone might tell them to take a seat, and I just don’t care to be one of those people. 

As far as having the last word, you’ll excuse me for trying hard to make every commenter, whether they agree with me or not, feel heard and acknowledged. I am of the opinion that an unanswered comment is perceived as an ignored comment, and I would prefer that people not feel as though their time and effort has been wasted when they are speaking to me. I could have left your comment, for example, unpublished. In order for it to appear here, on my blog, I have to click the “accept” button. I could have ignored it, but I would much rather you feel that your efforts have been validated with some reflection and a response.

      Like

  8. this blog post had nothing to do with fitness. It came off as a childish foot stomping/arm folding tongue sticking out rant.

    Your attitude to the person identifying himself as the MEM person you talked about was rude even before you listened. “You’re excused” attitude without even trying to understand his point is not a character of a woman who rises above and is strong. A strong woman would try to understand where the man is coming from and not be so quick to the draw. A strong and wise human being listens and does not have a retort ready in their back pocket. You took several comments to finally understand the commentor’s point but you were firing bullets b4 that. That is why I say “you owe me” attitude and you do not listen but already have an answer ready to go.

    You want the last word go ahead and have it. Your not doing me any favors by accepting my comment post. Your pattern of fast responses in your blog and IG already are proof that you are glued to your social media. I do not need your comment approval but if you need to put on a show for the bloggers with a classic long “I’m right! Nyah, nyah! I’m right you lose!” response ok please go ahead and be on the same level as the men who troll you.

    Like

    1. To Mr. or Mrs.

      Seriously? Especially this, “A strong woman would try to understand where the man is coming from and not be so quick to the draw.”

      Another uneducated, parochial opinion that ties women’s strength to understanding men.

      Ridiculous.

      Like

  9. good God. the number of disgusting people taking it on themselves to give you shit in defense of other disgusting people. The follow-up to your article is a perfect example of victim shaming, and demonstration of Lewis’ Law in action. I’ll make sure to make my daughters read it. I applaud your strength to keep up with this (and lift the weights you do) in the face of adversity. With strong examples like you we’ll #destroythejoint eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.