Bully for you

By on April 2, 2015.

Bullying comes in all shapes and sizes and happens to all sorts of people. I was bullied at school by two girls in particular who managed to turn an already stressful experience (school) into something really horrible. I left school with a spring in my step and joy in my heart that it was finally all over but I also left school with the firm belief that girls and women were to be treated with suspicion and caution if I was not to become victim to their cruel and vicious nature again.

Earlier this week Jessica Valenti wrote this piece, Social media is protecting men from periods, breast milk and body hair, on The Guardian website and while I completely agree with the general premise of the article and the fact that sexualised suggestive images of women under 25 are generally deemed acceptable but that anything that deviates from that is not, breast-feeding, periods, body hair, non traditional body type being particularly problematic but I am not convinced that citing men as the main perpetrators is helpful or even that accurate.

In all my years of blogging, particularly those in which I have posted self-portrait images nearly all the shaming and negative comments I have received about what I am doing have come from women. In the scheme of things I have got off lightly when it comes to such interactions compared to some other people I know but I have certainly received them. They have ranged from snide remarks about my age and my ‘behaviour unbecoming of a Mother’ to full on derogatory comments about how my willingness to show myself naked speaks to my level of intelligence and or lack of self-respect/esteem. I have also experienced the ‘you are only submissive because you have been brainwashed by men’ lecture and one occasion was even told quite firmly by a women on Quora that it was not possible for me to have an opinion about spanking and BDSM because I only did it in a desperate bid to keep the man in my life and so my opinion was warped and therefore invalid.

Last weekend @Charlieinthe (one of the bloggers who takes part in Sinful Sunday) experienced some fairly unpleasant negative responses to the image she posted, and this is not the first time this has happened to her. On this occasion it constituted a series of really negative body shaming comments in Twitter that, whilst not @ directly to her were, as time went on, very clearly about her. They included comments like, ‘put your knickers back on’ ‘no one wants to see that’ and ‘if you thought last week’s image was bad’. Every single one of these comments came from women who also seem to have a real issue with the concept of Sinful Sunday. The women commenting seem to be fine with posting images of themselves in their underwear showing off their gym fit bodies, and one of them wearing bright red lipstick and sucking on a strawberry. Suggestive? Very much so, however for them, a women posting an image of herself naked on her blog because she wants to, was something they felt perfectly OK with mocking and ridiculing and shaming her for doing so.

Over and over again I see it, women attacking women, belittling them for their choices and championing their own choices as being better, more worthy, more moral, more ‘classy’ but there is nothing classy about shaming another women for her body shape or a decision to share images of herself in an attempt to try to learn to love and accept how she looks. Maybe in your book that is not brave, maybe she is not saving the world, or rescuing a drowning puppy but for her, it took serious guts to press that publish button and put herself out there in such an open and honest manner. You do not have to join her in doing the same thing, you do not have to like her image or the way she looks, you do not have to even look at it, but as another women I think the very least you can do is respect her choices and celebrate that we live in a country where you get to go the gym in your tiny gym shorts and crop top and she gets to post images of herself naked.

It is all very well blaming men and patriarchy for the suppression of women (just to be clear I am not denying that there is not some truth to this) but in my experience the real bullies out there, the ones who will happily strip a women of her self-esteem, belittle her, shame her and mock her, for her choices are nearly always other women. That was my experience at school 25+ years ago and sadly it is still my experience today. The only difference now is that I know who I am and have chosen to express it in a way that makes me happy

Molly in polka dot dress poking out tongue*This is the 2nd post (and the letter B) in the A – Z blogging Challenge

A - z Blogging challenge


Molly Moore - Author, Blogger, Photographer, Speaker
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  1. OMG I want to run and give you the biggest bear hug right now! You are an amazing Lady. As you, I know from personal experience the bullying that other women can do, as I survived my High School, barely.


  2. Haha, what a fucking fabulous image!
    I still cannot fathom what makes anyone think that the kind of behaviour Charlie was on the receiving end of is OK, I just don’t understand how belittling someone achieves anything, other than showing yourself to be a fucking lowlife ofcourse. It engenders much anger in me to see it happening, sickening that they knew what they were doing, chose, as bullies do, an easy target, and went in for the kill. Pathetic doesn’t even come close to what that is.

    Euch, no, I cannot properly articulate on this subject….it’s rage inducing

    Flip xx
    Flip recently posted..AddendumMy Profile

  3. Oh Molly, this post is fabulous! Bullying is wrong. Period. Sadly it’s not only children who do it but adults too. And it leaves its mark. I have proof of that in my own home. Thankfully we as a positive community stand together and protect our own.

    The photo? Brilliant!

    Thanks for speaking up!

    Rebel xox
    Marie Rebelle recently posted..B is for booksMy Profile

    • So far my children seem to have managed to not experience too much bullying although my son has had moments, it does not help when your Mother is a sex blogger, but he seems utterly determined to not allow people to use that against him, which makes me really very proud


  4. YES!! One of the reasons I have trouble embracing the label “feminist” is because of precisely what you wrote about. The judgements some women are capable of leveling at each other are stunning, and I’m glad that the ugliness is, in some ways, balanced by the kindness and support of other women who defy that behavior. Great post, great image, great everything. xxx
    Malin James recently posted..Erotic Fiction: Should You Stay Or Should You GoMy Profile

    • I could have, and very nearly did, go onto to write how in the kink and blogging community I have found a group of women who do not fit into this way of behaviour but that might have turned into another 1000 words!


  5. well said Molly!
    I was told once “women dress for other women.” Because it’s women who judge other women and harshly at times. We need posts like yours that make us aware of bullying & shaming. This is a brilliant “reality check.” Yoir image is perfect with this post.
    SassyCat recently posted..Antiques [A to Z Challenge]My Profile

    • Sadly I think there is some truth to that statement, not that I dress for anyone else but me (and him because it turns us on) but I think that many women do feel very pressured by their female peers to be and look a certain way and sadly bullying, which so often starts at school, is a part of that culture


  6. I am so pleased you wrote this. Really important words! Exhibit A alluded to last week’s behaviour in his blog today and I already have my post done for Sunday, which also touches on it. I hope your words give Charlie courage to keep on posting. Xxx
    @exposing40 recently posted..No Horn HereMy Profile

  7. I remember this image – I believe it was posted when your mom made a comment about dressing/looking your age, though you’ve done some editing.
    I feel bad Charlie was poked at and bullied, I quite honestly love her image, and applaud the message to just shut up if there’s nothing nice to say.

  8. As I read your piece, I sat nodding my head in agreement. It sums up these complex issues perfectly.

    It’s clear to me that we’ve all been on the receiving end of this kind of bullying and criticism from women. Over the course of a year, my own Twitter troll announced time and again in her vicious subtweets that I’m not a “real woman” due to the size of my breasts, that I’m nothing more than a vacuous piece of flesh due to my own self-portraits. That is, in between wishing me dead in the most gruesome ways.

    Now, I can’t help but wonder if Charlie might be saving the world with her bravery and need for self-expression. Perhaps not in big, obvious leaps or moves, but in a more subtle and nuanced way, in a way that speaks to other women who might be lurking in the shadows, who might be struggling with their own body issues and self-esteem, women who might one day step into the light and join us all, slowly revealing a little of their bodies, baring even more of their souls, loving and marvelling at their own unique beauty.

    Beautiful words and absolutely perfect photo, Molly.

    ~M x

    (Sorry about the long-winded response!)
    Cheeky Minx recently posted..On the TilesMy Profile

    • No need to apologise. I have been overwhelmed by the comments on this post today. I agree about the bravery too, sometimes it is the tiny things, the small rebellions that really count. Sounds like your Twitter troll is a real charmer too. I always have to wonder how someone like that got to be so full of negativity and hate for their fellow human beings


  9. When we think of bullying an image of a mean boy comes to mind. The truth is, from what I have seen and experienced, the majority of bullies are women and adults in general. I was never bullied as a child. I was lucky. I’ve had some mean and bullying comments in the past year regarding some of my posts and through that guy I met at a munch in the Fall, but those I can handle. What I can’t handle is when adults teach their children to be bullies. As a mother I am protective of my child yes, but I also teach him to love everyone and treat everyone with respect. This can be a difficult task with a 4yo. Two summers ago my son was picked on a bullied at a local park because he is of mixed race. The one place I thought he would fit in, in an area of town that is populated mostly by non-white people, was the place he was bullied for being different. One child spit on him, another pushed him and called him names. The one that hurt most though was when he was playing nicely with a young African boy and his father came over and dragged him off, quite forcefully, telling him that “we don’t play with mutts.” That this is what he is being taught by his father was truly horrific. My son was mostly unaware but I cried. I cried a lot that day. I also hugged him and told him he was perfect and to keep being a nice boy no matter what anyone does or says to him. I will never understand why people bully other people. They can’t possibly feel better about themselves for doing it.

    Stella recently posted..B is for…My Profile

  10. “there is nothing classy about shaming another women for her body shape or a decision to share images of herself in an attempt to try to learn to love and accept how she looks”

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

    Not only does the shaming of visual images usually come from women, but in my experience, the criticism over what is acceptable for me to write also comes, primarily from other women. And, strangely enough, the truly bitchiest comments are almost always reserved for the female characters in my fiction.

    So, now that you have had the balls to say this on your blog, I feel a little more comfortable in saying that I suspect, underneath everything, there is a really poisonous sexually competitive dynamic at work. It has always been there, historically, but it has emerged, through the feminist movement in sublimated ways. Same nastiness and aggression (unless you place yourself in some category of victimhood). So, ironically, the ultra conservative women and a certain arm of the radically feminist ones emit the same vitriol, and the same level of bullying towards anyone who has decided to make up her own mind and make her own choices about who she is and how she wants to represent herself.

    On a personal level, I have found your sinful sunday pictures, and many of those who participate in them, incredibly empowering. I may not participate myself, but they serve, from week to week, to remind me of a tenable, realistic version of what beauty and sexiness is. It’s very good for my brain and my self esteem to remind me that we are self-defining creatures and that honesty is the most beautiful and sexually attractive quality of all.

  11. You are bang on the money about this in my opinion. There are, of course, men who do it too, but in general in my experience it is women who attack other women, and they can be vicious. Other women seem to know exactly where to attack to cause maximum emotional damage somehow, I wish we could lift each other up instead.
    Mrs TeePot recently posted..TiredMy Profile

  12. BRAVO Doll! It is sad to say that bullies are more gender related that most people want to accept. Women vs women and men vs men. I think in part it is because we really know how to tear one another apart through our own fears and insecurities.
    I got a good chuckle out of your picture too, classic and sassy.
    A huge hug for you too
    Lord Raven recently posted..Why I do what I doMy Profile

  13. I completely missed this post and the incident involving Charlie as I was on holiday. I have only come to find out about it from Charlie’s post today on Sinful Sunday and it saddens me greatly that this goes on.

    I was horribly bullied at school including high levels of physical and mental abuse which at the time nearly broke me but now leaves me as a person who does not suffer fools at all.

    Well done you for so promptly and eloquently defending a wonderful blogger who did not deserve this and for letting the world know that we will not tolerate this behaviour!

    Velvet x
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  15. I’ve only just come across this post. All I can say is “Hear hear!” As someone who participates in #SinfulSunday I’m always hugely impressed by the courageousness of other participants. Not, I hasten to add because there is anything wrong with their bodies, but because they overcome their insecurities and own self-perceived imperfections. Everyone who participate s should be congratulated for overcoming their harshest critic, themselves.

    I’m fortunate, I’m comfortable in my own skin, I don’t have the perfect body by any means, but I’m happy with it and the #SinfulSunday community always receive my posts with appreciation.

    I’ve never met Charlie in the flesh, but her pictures are always in my top 5. If she reads this, I hope she knows she has a fan, as much for the images themselves as for the courage to battle her demons and hit submit.

    It’s easy for us to say “Ignore them” and “You’re beautiful” because she should and she is. But it’s never that easy.

    So for everyone who is part of this wonderful community, I salute you all. Try if you can to ignore the haters, knowing that we are all here, supporting each other.

    Oh, and I’m going to spoil it all now by reverting to type. Vive la Boobs!

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