I opened the paper to see the gorgeous Chrissie Swan staring back out at me with her infectious smile this morning. I adore Chrissie Swan. To me she is approachable and relatable. She is my age and juggles two sons. She is smart as a whip and funny to boot.
I went on to read the article, which outlined the hate attack she has come under from anonymous folk, tucked up behind the safety of their keyboards.
I felt sick.
I might be a bit raw at the moment. I was picked apart, shredded and crucified in the comments section of the Sydney Morning Herald last week for no other reason than I was a female with a voice that I dared to use.
My mum sent me an email. She wrote of small penised men with downtrodden wives. Mum is a woman with a strong voice. She has been on the local council for 20 years, pushing snowballs up volcanoes, being patronised and bullied by the men she worked with. A picture of her head superimposed onto a bikini model, threats and other lovely tactics.
And all because she was a woman with a strong voice.
I was meant to appear on a high rating prime time show this week to talk about blogging. I had the pre-interview with the producer who asked me whether I ever felt the pressure to have more children so I could continue to be a mummy-blogger. And what my income was. And no, I am not kidding.
My guard went up immediately. I got off the phone, just knowing that no matter what I said, I would be stitched up somewhere. Because it seems to have become a national sport.
I cancelled the segment.
The truth is, I am just not that tough. Do I have to be? Why can’t I just write my stories, have a laugh and enjoy the process, connections and opportunities that come my way?
Why are women who dare to show an opinion, or even just share a story with an audience, deemed as fair game by any half wit with an internet connection?
I am so naive. I just do not get it.
Are the only people we want to see representing women in the media are those chosen based on aesthetics by men? Scripted voices, nodding and smiling along. Making no waves?
Do we want to be bombarded by perfect images of perfect scenarios so we can look at them and take away a feeling of inadequacy?
Do we continue to accept vanilla because we are too afraid to ask for a different flavour?
people retreat and don’t speak up, or dare say something in the world. It’s such a shame. The people who stay small out of fear .. often turn on the people who aren’t staying small. Because how dare somebody else do something that we are too scared to do?”
I often sit and ponder about trolls and nasty fold who take pleasure in putting others down online. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel in a lot of ways. What sort of pleasure does one get from typing such vile offerings.
I am trying to understand. It seems I too, am pushing a snowball up a volcano. I got in touch with Chrissie.
It is weird to be in it.”