*originally published on Feb 12, 2015 at puntifikate.wordpress.com
BULLYING is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others.
My cyber bully told me “Use your Intelligence.” … would that be Academic Intelligence? Emotional Intelligence? Intrapersonal or Interpersonal Intelligence? Who cares, here we go. A week ago, an acquaintance from my high school days left a nasty post on my wall. And because I think these negative thoughts about myself from time to time, it didn’t occur to me that this was bullying or abusive until I witnessed my friends – Facebook and otherwise – respond, react, defend and, you know, stick up for me like friends do. Four hours after the initial posting, the bully removed the comment and himself from Facebook.
I’ve been sitting on this whole event for a week now and I want to share a couple of observations from my experience. 1) The immediate intolerance to cyber bullying was surprising and amazing. 2) The assumption that the bully was a woman. 3) Performer prejudice.
For the record, I don’t think this person is a bully, I think he had a moment. For brevity in this blog, however, I will continue to refer to him as ‘The Bully’. I’ll start with the assumption that the bully was a woman. The bully removed his comment thus removing all the original responses which ranged from eloquent expressions of artists private struggles and democratic explanations of marketing to straight up fire with fire ‘FUCK YOU Bill Whipplesnipple (names have been changed) what have you done with your life.’ This circling of the wagons inspired me to make a response video – which you can view here– and the assumption of gender came from there.
This is what I can remember from his original post:
Katie – You and I have been friends for years. I wish you would use your Alaska Fame for something other than self promotion. Posting pictures to illicit comments like ‘You’re cute’ is getting old. Use your intelligence. We’ve only seen you in a vague commercial. We are all in our 40’s. This is getting old. We’ll definitely be over it by our 50’s.
My question is why did so many people assume that this bully was a woman? What is it about the post that would lead folks down that gender assumption? Is it simply that men bully with brute strength and intimidation where women bully with mind games and catty word play? My recent experiences with male anti socials (aka sociopaths) would not fit that theory. So what is it? Let me know what your thoughts are… Moving on –
Performer prejudice. “So you’re an actor….um–“ during the awkward silence that follows, I can literally see the wheels turning in their brain ‘Do I recognize her from something? Is she someone? How does she make her money? Is she doing that thing where she says she’s an actress to boost her confidence but she makes her money as a waitress and is still just TRYING to be an actress? Hurry say something.’ “What kind of acting do you do? Have I seen you in anything?’ And if they haven’t heard of it, it means you’re a nobody. You are either a celebrity or a failure. You were in an Oscar winning film or you’re just a commercial actress. Media culture feeds on the fascination of celebrities’ financial and personal lives, but the creative contribution that garnered the public’s admiration in the first place is often an after thought. So why would anyone at a cocktail party give a shit about my career?
The entertainment industry has the same black and white attitude towards actors. They LOVE actors, they HATE actors. They dismiss you, they kiss your ass. Leverage your notoriety, you don’t have notoriety. And if we start down the path of actresses vs actor, we’ll really be in the weeds. The point is performer prejudice isn’t new. For hundreds of years in our country, performers were considered low standing in society and were regularly denied charity from most institutions, including many religious organizations. It was not unusual for them to be refused a decent burial. So while this discrimination isn’t new, let’s refrain from adding fuel to the fire; which includes watching exploitive shows like TMZ or reading trashy celebrity magazines. Those media outlets are catering to YOUR passive participation in collective bullying.
For those of you who know me, this one cyber bully comment is nothing compared to the relentless negative, sarcastic commentary that celebrities are faced with as their career ascends. Let’s all do our part to refrain from snarky sarcastic bullshit. The intolerance to cyber bullying I experienced this week has been remarkable. I am still getting supportive text messages, phone calls, emails, FB messages – I went to a party and saw some colleagues I hadn’t seen in 3 years, THEY had witnessed this event on Facebook and it dominated our conversation in person.
We think we know one another because we see our posts. We don’t. It’s an edited life. I don’t post the serious, dark challenges of my life on Facebook. I have them and I’m not the only one. Let’s keep it supportive and not take our abridged online lives too seriously. We’re all in this together. This Neil Young song says what wish I could do in terms of thanking everyone individually. Enjoy.