Monday, November 12, 2012

women who put other women down …



Today I stopped by The Bottom of the Ironing Basket and read Simone’s post about her first ever blog conference and her curious –and disappointing—experience with Liz Jones, a writer and former editor of Marie Claire who was described in the BlogFest 2012 program as one of Britain’s most well known journalists.

Apparently Simone had been employed in the publishing world prior to becoming a stay-at-home Mom and a successful blogger, and has been a long time admirer of Liz Jones, describing her as an excellent editor and writer.

So you can imagine how it must have felt when Ms. Jones wrote this scathing article about the world of blogging and the 300 blogging “mums” she met at the conference.

Liz Jones had been one of the speakers on a panel entitled, “Private Lives on a Public Stage: how much should you reveal online?”

And following the event Ms. Jones shared her impressions of the women she met and mingled with throughout the conference.  Evidently, she was not impressed. In fact, in her article she seemed unable to contain her disdain for the “little women who instead of tapping away at the glass ceiling swap recipes and tips for getting a child off to sleep” on their blogs. The idea that some of these women were earning money to “post pictures of bars of chocolate” appeared to trouble her artistic sensibilities. After all, Liz Jones is a self described “gut-spiller” who is known for her controversial and confessional brand of writing that she readily acknowledges has “pretty much ruined” her life.

However she believes in honesty at all costs, even if it hurts or offends.

Which explains a lot. Because this is the perspective that Ms. Jones viewed the writing world that bloggers inhabit. This is why she felt entitled to judge an entire swath of women by the “queasy feelings in her empty womb.” And to share her stinging indictment of mum-bloggers as women who’ve been “duped” into thinking that real life revolves around the trivial burps of their children.

Ouch. Pretty cruel words and why?

Why would a fantastically successful woman with a job she loves so much feel compelled to put down so many other women?

Why the mean-spirited, biting comments if your life is so fulfilled? Well, maybe that’s the real lesson.

It seems to me that a woman who has achieved her version of success would want to extend her hand out to other women who might still be grasping at their own goals. Maybe offer a nod and an encouraging wink in spite of the many differences…


…because we’re all works in progress. Struggling, learning, evolving.

All of us are, but especially mean girls. I know this because Mindy taught me this lesson.



I met Mindy in my twenties right after I landed my first “real” job in the psychotherapy field and Mindy became my co-worker. It was one of those ironies of life. Here I was at my most vulnerable professional period, already feeling like an imposter because I was still a grad student, and I was thrown into daily contact with a classic mean girl who was sure I was an imposter who didn’t deserve to be there.

Needless to say, she proceeded to make my job miserable for months with her catty, malicious gossip and her destructive ways until eventually she wore out her own welcome. And I was left standing, quite stronger I might add, because Mindy had taught me a powerful lesson about myself, even as she exposed the true nature of women who need to put other women down and create cliques and exclude others and gossip.

MIndy taught me that ‘mean girl’ behavior happens at all ages. And if you happen to be the target of someone’s petty, mean-spirited ways, you should know that it’s not about you.

Because the truth is, mean girls never get to know you, not really. For whatever reason they see you through a distorted lens that somehow threatens them, blinds them to your whole person. Because despite their bravado, women who put down other women operate from a place of self doubt, down deep.


It’s something to remember as you allow people into your life. And it’s actually quite simple. Women who feel genuinely good about themselves don’t need to create a false world where they’re on the top and you’re beneath them. They don’t need to constantly measure their worth by comparing themselves against others.

Which means, they can afford to be kind.



So Liz Jones, on behalf of women bloggers everywhere, please realize that we’ve read your harsh, belittling words from a deeper perspective.

And it’s ok, really. We understand.








…as always, I’m humbled by your visit.

Share your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.




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Unknown said...

Duped Indeed??
Blogging reveals how unique people are and the beauty they have inside. I have discovered that bloggers come in all shapes and sizes. Age colour, culture or the country where they live does not matter. The inner person is lovely and gifted.
Sometimes a blogger is house bound, suffering financially or even bedridden because they have no choice.... through blogging they discover a life beyond the four walls of their bedroom or restrictions of their circumstances. They can give expression of who they are on the inside beyond the struggles and challenges of life and can connect with others that give their life some colour or meaning. They can visit worlds beyond horizons through picture blogs; they can gain perspective and knowledge that enriches their intellect. All this and more they have at their fingertips. More importantly they are not judged by where they live, what they have, what they know or what they look like, they are known by who they really are on the inside.
I have been amazed to read and see what people whom I know come up with. The diversity and individualism astounds me. I am a preacher by profession although at the moment my pulpit is not in a building but in the highways and byways of life. People are suffering out there and if by blogging one can bring a smile to their face or a word of encouragement and hope then it is worth it.
So I salute the generous bloggers who do not mind sharing their beauty.
So Ms Liz Jones if I too may put my oar in. Someone once wrote;
Eternity is not a variable it is an absolute and in comparison this “life” on earth is but a moment in time.
We do not take our glamour, high minded opinions, money or possessions with us into this unknown eternal life but only that which we carry in our hearts. The big question then; what do you fill your heart with because it will manifest in your life?
The door to the other side can open suddenly – no time for regrets, no time to forgive, no time to say if only, no time to make right and more importantly no time to be kind to people and tell people you love them.
Live life gently, esteeming others as unique individuals yet equal before God.
I have five children; four are married so I have nine children. In April my tenth grandchild will be born. Today I am a career woman but there were many years when I was a housebound mom with toddlers. Blogging did not exist in those days. How fortunate moms are today when the world can come right into their home.
I am a proud “blogger”, sometimes it is about profound truths, other times simply about a lovely sunset, a baby’s new tooth or a delectable recipe.

When women like Ms Jones belittle women who are doing and being who they were meant to be; women, wives and mothers; multi-faceted, multi tasked intelligent women, I just smile knowingly because I realize she has not yet discovered her true identity.
And by the way Ms Jones the trivial “burps” of my children are some of my most treasured memories and motherhood my most cherished achievement.
Here’s to all the Bloggers out there, especially the moms. Keep blogging

Laura said...

What a good post- I really enjoyed reading this. Though Liz's comments are hurtful, I realize that everyone has a different perspective- and some people's perspectives are very narrow.

Leslie Harris said...

Wow. Thank you Maria and Laura for taking the time to share your reactions. Maria, these are words I wish every woman-mother-blogger could read. Once again, I'm humbled whenever I get a glimpse at the kind of readers who visit my blog. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom here.

Kari said...

OMG its like the universe is speaking to me!
My latest post is partly about how a former friend cut me down.
On my own blog.
Why are women so mean to each other??
Love this post.
And not a fan of Liz, thats for sure.

Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

I don't think anyone here on blog land is forcing anyone to read their posts...including and especially Ms Jones :) Respect is expected...always. I think there is a better way to be a human being :)

Sew a Fine Seam said...

If you can't say anything kind - don't say anything at all!

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

Hi there,
An old friend gave me that advice a couple of years ago, when I was fretting about someone else. She said, "Barbara, it's not about you.". Great advice! Sometimes I/we get so me-centered/self-centered, that I think it's got to be about ME! ...not.

Unknown said...

Leslie, this is such a brilliant post. Thank you for writing it.

I really apologise for not reading & commenting much much sooner.

I did see your comment over at my blog, I read all the comments as I always do. The response following Saturday has been enormous. Absolutely crazy. Almost all positive though thankfully.

I've had calls from other national papers, that's how big it got. Quite scarily big. In the end I have just had to step away from it because it was beginning to overwhelm me. Today was the first day that I've begun writing again - and visiting everyone who left me such wonderfully kind & supportive comments.

And I made the mistake of reading some of the comments on the Daily Mail website - very mean & personal comments about my blog. They made me sick to my stomach, even though they were just a handful of horrible comments amongst many many nice ones.

I really appreciate you writing about the whole situation, you write beautifully and have expressed everything that I feel about what happened. I nodded my head in agreement all the way through it.

I had my 11 year old daughter read my blogpost and it led to a great & very valuable discussion about girls/women and how to behave with & towards each other. I also explained to her that instead of being mean & b*tchy back to Liz Jones...actually my response was to say that I was totally disappointed in her - which is sometimes the best response.

I am going to have her read your post as is full of great lessons.

I truly believe in women supporting other women, there is nothing more important....we need to understand, to look & see the bigger picture. There is nothing worse than women being mean to each other, just nothing, I can't bear it.

Thank you so much, you writing this post speaks volumes about you & I really appreciate it.

Love and best wishes,
Simone XX

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Hello and Bravo!

You said it all and more. I have never been a fan of Liz Jones although I have read her for years, I have always thought she was a little too honest and harsh. And that is ok, just not for me.

I love Simone and have read her blog almost since the begining, she is thoughtful, eloquent, kind, talents and genuine.

Through her I have found you! Cannot wait to follow along and continue to catch up with your beautiful writing.


Unknown said...

Such a brilliant post, Leslie...I'm so glad I've found you via Simone's blog. I love the quote by Theodore Roosevelt; a new one for me ;-)

Lori said...

What a fantastic post ~ I am a friend of Simone's and she posted a link to your blog. This is spot on ~ I agree we need to stand by one another and not be catty bitches ~ we are all sisters aren't we! So glad I came to visit.

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

I also read Liz Jones' post-blogfest article and was rather, well, not even upset, just thought Poor Woman! You really need a hug. I also wrote about the sistahood (or sistabitches) and how Liz's misogyny just shows a huge lack of self-love inside. Great supportive words.
ciao cat

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

I also felt the need to react to Liz Jones' words. Not angrily, but sending her the hug she needed about thirty years ago. She is welcome to delve as deep as she wishes into her own life, but the lack of perception she displayed in her article was unnecessarily harsh. Silly woman! No need to be such a sistabitch! Ciao cat

Eliza Gray said...

Hi ladies, Just reading this lovely post and all the comments... and with the other half of my brain, trying to upload video highlights (lowlights?) of the Liz Jones panel at the Blogfest. It's funny, sitting up there on stage I got a slightly different perspective of what she was saying, but watching from the front ... well, she does seem pretty sad to me. Her face was almost devoid of expression - and she said it makes you a harder-hearted person who doesn't feel things as much. I guess we should all be truly thankful that we *feel*, that our full range of human emotions (and relationships) are intact. Eliza x PS I'll put a link to the video on my blog

Chocolate is not the only fruit said...

Thank you for voicing these sentiments. I was asked earlier this week if I'd write a blog post about women hating other women and I'm so glad you've captured what I would have tried to say.

I've been so kindly supported as a blogger and women have been brilliant at giving me encouragement so Liz Jones picking comments from my blog to illustrate her points was quite hurtful.

On the other hand friends have reassured me that it's a badge of honour to be hated by her.

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