Bullying is bullying, no matter why

It came to my attention that someone had plagiarized at Babble a few days ago.

I noted in my head that their response was respectful of all parties involved by not naming and went clicking on over to Strollerderby as I often do.

Done, over.

As it should have been.

Then I saw a post on Twitter that drew my attention.

I read it. And clicked on a link. And clicked, and clicked.

I’m in an awesome community of bloggers, where every blogger I’ve personally met has been gracious, supportive, caring, and friendly.

I was heartsick to see this kind of negativity strewn across the web, some by people I have admired.

Facebook comments, tweets, a meme created liking her to Casey Anthony, someone emailing all of her sponsors to tattle, a husband compelled to defend and being attacked in turn.

Bullying is bullying.

Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power. It can include verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. – Wikipedia

I don’t care if there was something illegal that happened.

I don’t care how many times or when she did it.

Just because you were wronged doesn’t mean you can sick the hounds on someone.

Just because you think they made a bad excuse does not make your abuse acceptable.

Just because you don’t think they apologized right does not make it acceptable to point out how much you were wronged by posting private conversation.

I really started getting serious with blogging over a year ago, and luckily have found only support and acceptance. Even when I figured I made mistakes, I got help correcting it and then everyone moved on.

If I had seen anyone treated like this when I first started, I wonder, would have I tried to fit into the clique by also poking fun? Could I have then ended up with my turn in the harsh spotlight? Or would they have rejected me anyway after the naive support, turning their backs to sit at the same lunch table every day together.

Am I supposed to keep respecting some of these ladies who are showing the wrong example and then spout about their own children and friends being bullied?

We are all bloggers.

We are all writers.

We are not supposed to be high school girls, forming cliques and poking fun at anyone.

We may not be all professional, but we are examples of real life in the public eye. We are constantly being watched by companies, brands, other bloggers, society, and our families.

Every word you write is a reflection of yourself. So choose your words carefully, even if yours have been taken away. Take the higher road and earn respect, instead of degrading someone else.

Don’t attack just because everyone else is.

You don’t know who is reading and judging you.


P.S.  Razing Mayhem wrote a wonderful piece I shared with my followers showing exactly how a few people’s actions can cause judgement against a whole group of people. I would be afraid to meet some of these people now too, although I don’t have a BlogHer ticket to consider selling. And don’t forget to read her addendum afterward.

P.P.S. I chose the Wikipedia definition because I like how it was written, not that I think Wikipedia is the ultimate source of knowledge.


16 thoughts on “Bullying is bullying, no matter why

  1. Jamie

    It’s kind of scary how one mistake, one mishap can get spread over the social media world in a hurry.

    I know, now, or in the future, if a mistake is to be made, that both parties would be able to talk it out privately before it blows into something huge like this whole situation has.

  2. Florinda

    “We are not supposed to be high school girls, forming cliques and poking fun at anyone.” No, we’re not, but it happens. I often wonder if the ones who perpetuate it now are continuing high-school behavior, or capitalizing on a post-high-school power shift that’s taken them out of the “victim” position.

    Plagiarism is wrong, and plagiarizing from someone whose work is fairly well-known is…well, let’s just say it’s compounding the poor judgment that led to plagiarizing in the first place. But the piling on is just unnecessary.

  3. Adrienne

    Yeah, I just caught wind of everything today. I’m so glad I am not in the “in crowd” so that all that ugliness usually passes me by.

    Good on you for taking the high road.

  4. The Mom Pledge

    The mob mentality that can go on in the blogosphere is indeed scary. Many times it becomes a force of its own; sometimes it is driven by a particular individual. Either way, you are absolutely right – it.is.wrong. Bravo for this post!

  5. Brandi

    What’s interesting to me, is that there are so many amazing writers in the group of folks that have been bullying, and it seems like they’d be able to be more creative about voicing how they feel about the actual ACT than to bully the person who committed the act.

  6. gigi

    Amen, amen, amen.

    You can say to the world, “I think plagiarism is wrong” without the level that our community stooped to last week. Even friends of mine got caught up in the frenzy. No one is talking about the fact that the accused came out, owned up, said she was sorry, said she made a mistake. Did she screw up? Yes. Do we all have the right to publicly flog her and get nasty? Not unless two wrongs make a right.

    Sharing this for sure.

  7. Ashley

    Nicely said, I read the post when it first came out and while I was SHOCKED that someone would plagiarize someone who was so well known AND another writer at Babble… I thought the pile on was excessive. As was the posting of private conversations/emails that they had had regarding the issue. The whole thing was just too mean to even read without squirming. Why can’t we just be nice to each other? Jeez.

  8. AnnasThirtyOne

    I love how you compared this to Mean Girls! It’s like high school never ends; it’s a terrible thing. I agree we need not bad-mouth other people because we all make mistakes. Stopping by from SITS! Have a wonderful week.

  9. misssrobin

    Beautifully said. I have no idea what’s going on either; I must not follow the blogs you’re talking about. But I have seen people rip others apart on their blogs. It will earn them a big “unfollow” from me. There’s more than enough negativity and unkindness in the world around me without purposely bringing it into my life.

  10. Morgan (The818)

    This is a really thought provoking post. When everything first came out I really felt like the blogger in question had made her own bed (and she did), but no good comes from kicking someone while they’re down.

  11. Summer

    Yes but where is the “imbalance of power” and the force or coersion? It’s hard ot be the guy that people gang up and flog when you screw up, but if you do illegal things publicly, the argument can be made that you are creating an environment where this can and likely will happen.

    This woman wasn’t attacked because she is a brunette, a heterosexual or an athiest. She was attacked because of an ACTION SHE TOOK. My daughter was attacked at her school for years because of who she is: what she looked like, who she slept with, and her religion. She started a GSA at her school to combat this sort of behavior. However, when she was a genuine asshole, and when she got suspended from school for telling a teacher to fuck off, the GSA wasn’t there to defend her against the remarks she endured from the other kids. Because facing the music is part of living inside a community

    Don’t cheapen the definition of bullying by aplpying it to people who react to other people’s mistakes. Then you’d need to go after every stand up comic on TV or the Internet in defense of every right wing senator caugt with his pants down in the men’s room. It’s just not the same, and it would be too much work.

  12. Buzz Bishop

    I will plagiarize myself and repost comments from Razing Mayhem’s thread for those here to see as well:

    Plagiarism brings all bloggers down. The petty fighting brings bloggers down even further. Which brand would ever want to wade into these shark infested waters?

    That said, when you look at the history of the accused (and husband) it was something that needed to be stopped. Is a public hanging in the town square stockyard enough? One should hope so. A bannination needs to happen. Brands need to be aware that bloggers are not like these 2 and we care about our content and our readers.

    I agree, it’s time to stop the catcalling, it’s making us all look worse. That said, it had to be done.

  13. Trina

    Totally agree. I mean in the end, we’re just writing about the things we love. Hopefully the bullying has stopped by now and won’t happen again.


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