Not exactly how I wanted to relaunch my blog but recently I was reposted on a stranger’s HUGE Instagram account and my boys and I promptly became the center of a very heated and horrible conversation about the #vaginachallenge. For those of you who have no idea what that is it was a recent challenge brought about by Vagisil to raise awareness about women’s health and essentially try to stop the taboo around the word “vagina”. People were to post a video saying the word in a public place and tag friends. For each video shared Vagisil would donate $5 to Planned Parenthood. I participated in this challenge willingly and I was compensated to do so. My boys and I went to our local supermarket and yelled out the word “vagina” for this challenge and we posted and the overall response was positive. It was cute and harmless. Unfortunately some conservative individuals and groups made a case about those “crazy, liberal feminists” and turned what was meant to be a positive, inclusive and honestly silly challenge into a way to fight. Well my video apparently found its way to youtube because of this backlash (according to the guy who posted it- I have yet to find it and if you do PLEASE send it to me) and into some stranger’s Instagram where it received 14,000 views and 80 plus horrible comments about myself and my children.
I spent the day shaking with anger, trying not to throw up and run out of my job or get fired because I was on my phone attempting to erase every last bit of me and the kids from the internet. I questioned if I should just call it all quits and forget this blog, all the work I have put in, the Instagram, everything. But I decided I WILL NOT. The internet is a scary place full of child pornographers, people trying to steal your identity, your credit card numbers, people selling sex, drugs and other people. The internet is full of lonely trolls who have nothing better than tweet mean things to celebrities or fight about vaccines or anything that provokes an opinion from Trump to how you put your kid in a carseat. People who stir the pot, sip their tea and watch the fireworks from the comfort of their own living room or in traffic on their phones.
The internet is also full of funny cat videos, ALS Ice bucket challenges, people who give money to people fighting cancer and raise money to buy a car for homeless guys who walk to work. Mommy bloggers made me feel like a human when I was covered in breastmilk crying in my bed at 3AM with a baby who couldn’t sleep. Full of wonderful, amazing people who live on the other side of the country and the world who I have never connected with and I refuse to let some sad man with an inferiority complex take me away from what I love to do most WITH my family.
It’s a mom bloggers worst nightmare. I don’t want to live in a world where people think that its okay to take pictures of others and use it as fuel to whatever fire they’re stoking. Especially pictures of children. Most especially pictures of my children. I hope that we can find a way (I’m looking at you Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) so those “mommy bloggers” out there who are brave enough to share of themselves and their families to make everyone else feel normal don’t have to shut things down because people are creeps. I know people will blame me for putting it out there. Well to that I say, I have a lot to say, to advocate for nurses, for patients and for Moms and Dads who want to be real and connect with others. That’s ultimately what the internet was supposed to do. Connect us. To blame me is to take the responsibility away from the man who decided to search for and find my video that had NOTHING to do with him and had minors in it and post it front of 170,000 other people for ridicule. To say keep your children off the internet is silly and no longer really possible. To keep it private is helpful, but blogging is a business. You wouldn’t expect a pacifier company to never show a picture of a baby and keep babies off their Instagram or website. Blogging should be respected in the same way.
Let’s start to hold the perpetrators of the problems accountable instead of the people giving them the content. It’s only a matter of time until it happens to you. I thought it couldn’t happen to me and anyone who uses the internet to blog needs to be aware that it is happening but instead of hiding and quitting and shutting down we need to demand that consequences be put on accounts like this, who do this type of reposting of pictures without consent. Until we start standing up for it it will continue to happen.
Beyond that it’s just sad that this is the world we live in. Reality or not. It’s really sad for everyone. Including our kids.