Momaquery on Criticism vs. Cruelty

I really liked this article on Momastery. It discusses the differences between a blog comment that is constructive criticism versus being cruel. This is the reason I do not publish personal attacks. A personal attack is not a criticism.

This is my favorite part:

But I am worried about the next generation of truth-telling sisters who see all the internet cruelty and wonder if truth telling is worth the risk. Anne Lamott once said that the great thing about being a writer is that “they can’t boo you right away.” This was important to her because writers have to make themselves so incredibly vulnerable.  It seems crucial to have a buffer between the writer’s offering to the world and the world’s response to that offering. But it’s different now. In the internet generation, our writers are getting booed right away and that changes some things. It really does. Writers tend to be sensitive souls and many of us can’t withstand the barrage of negativity and anonymous pot shots and judgement. So some of us decide to stay quiet. And in turn, the rest of us miss out on hearing some really important, precious, life-giving voices. I know this for a fact, because I know many writers who’ve decided to lay low, to stay out of the internet fray by keeping their writing private. I know brilliant women from whom you need to hear but they can’t stand the idea of laying themselves and their families on the internet chopping block. And I get it.

You can read the rest of the article on the link I posted. Thank you to my sister for pointing it out.


17 thoughts on “Momaquery on Criticism vs. Cruelty

  1. I liked how Glennon explained the difference between a critique of a person’s writing and a critique of a person’s self/life. I think that is a hard line for many people to recognize – everything just gets filed under “criticism.”

    I would add this: I think criticism descends into cruelty when a critic starts questioning a person’s right to their own experiences. For example:

    “You shouldn’t feel bad about what X said, X was only trying to help.”
    “{Subtly racist/sexist/ablist/etc} thing X said was really minor and mild and/or was just a joke. You should, not be mad about it. Just let it slide.”
    “That [situation/taunt/epithet/etc] wouldn’t offend me, so it shouldn’t offend you.”

    Telling a person how to feel is always shaky ground, imho. Especially if person is in a different social situation than the “should-er” (e.g. should-er is white, tells non-white person that use of racially derogatory term shouldn’t be considered offensive because non-white people use that term. Or should-er is male, tells female person that she “can’t take a joke” when she points out that rape jokes aren’t funny to her. Or able-bodied person tells developmentally delayed person that “retard” isn’t a rude term, and they should “get over it”.) I could go on and on, obvs….

  2. I came across your blog through the huffington post article and I have enjoyed reading through your posts, especially the one about moms. It resonated with me. This post however struck me as a little odd considering the one that brought me here. Yes, I understand your post was satire (and that it wasn’t actually a comment on her blog. But you did link to hers, and people in her comments linked to yours). The satirical critique of Mrs. Halls post seemed to cross over into critiquing her personally, not her writing. It seemed a little cruel after re-reading Glennon’s post here.

    1. I was critiquing Mrs. Hall’s ideas and arguments, which I believe need to be challenged. She’s perpetuating slut-shaming and rape culture and I’m really tired of it, especially coming from a mother who had absolutely no self-awareness that while she was shaming actual real girls that she knows in real life (who are friends with her sons or probably go to school with her sons or church with her family) she posted pictures of her sons half-naked, flexing on a beach. The hypocrisy was blinding and sad. And yeah, this post was satire. Biting satire. It wasn’t meant to be nice and hand-hold Mrs. Hall while it gently walked her through why I believed her ideas are harmful and mean (other blogs have done this and I credit them for it). I tried to be bitchy without being a bitch. I’m sorry if that fell flat for you. Like Mrs. Hall I’m a multi-faceted person who can write many different things, and depending on the topic, the tone is going to be very, very different each time.

  3. I understand it was satire. I don’t know that I agree it was only attacking her ideas since your post portrayed her as an extreme caricature of the real her that the rest of her blog posts (did you read any?) portrays. And since you agreed to have yours picked up by the huffington post, potentially millions of people will use your satirical version of her to pass judgement on her. She admits that she has had her eyes opened to a different way of looking at things. But she was telling her own truth in her own way and obviously made herself very vulnerable. My comment was only to point out the dichotomy I saw between your saying Amen to the Momastery post and your encouraging the shouting down of someone to the point that the rest of us might “miss out on hearing some really important, precious, life-giving voices”.

    1. If you were a long-time reader of Iron Daisy you might understand that I’ve had to change blog addresses many times to try to get away from blog stalkers who have in the past wished my family dead (and would laugh if they did). You would know that I liked the Momastery article because of the many personal attacks I’ve had to deal with in the last 5 1/2 years. I also hardly remember the Momastery article as this is only like the fourth of fifth post I’ve written this year as I’ve had my hands full with a newborn baby, plus three children. So you can try to catch me in your little gotcha game, but I really don’t have time to play it today.

      And I’ll gladly shout down the voice of any woman who slut-shames teenage girls, like my daughter, with her blatant hypocrisy (half naked pictures of her sons on the beach, a post full of pictures of Mr. Hall half naked hanging out a window, and a video of her sons dancing in the kitchen while they thrust their hips, shake their butt, and lick their nipples). If this isn’t your cup of tea, you are free to move along.

  4. It’s interesting to watch those who love to point out the hypocrisy’s in others get their feathers ruffled when their own hypocrisy’s are pointed out. It kinda takes the glee out of geeking out about your mean post being picked up by Huffington. It’s worth remembering that meaness begets meaness.

    1. Kat or Kristin,

      You can post by two different names but I know it’s you. Maybe I should be a total hypocrite and take down posts that “make me look bad” like Mrs. Hall did when her post went viral. My feathers aren’t ruffled and I’m tired of trying to explain to you why my satire has nothing to do with the Momastery post. Yes, meanness begets meanness. You’ve proven that today….haven’t you?

  5. Yeah, way weird. From what I understand keeping track of people by IP address is really flawed because anyone sharing a wifi shares an IP address meaning places like universities could potentially have thousands of people with same address. Same with cell phone data. Anyway, sorry for nitpicking your posts. Crappy days make me ornery and I apologize.

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