A few days ago I wrote a post about a radio station who were running a "Win a Wife" campaign. Along with many others, I thought this was appalling. We decided to gather together like-minded people in a Facebook page to share ideas and information about why this competition was not OK, and strategies to stop the competition. In six days we gathered the support of over 1200 people!
This campaign has been a huge learning experience for me on a number of different levels.
Learning Experience #1
I have been saddened and horrified and depressed and angry at the abuse and pornographic images hurled at us. A few of the less-explicit examples can be found here. I learnt that there are a lot of people with lots of destructive anger out there. This vitriole is reason enough for us all to question what sort of sentiments this particular radio station is encouraging.
*Update: If it's all getting a bit much, the best remedy is laughter. Do check out this post with a choice selection of some of The Rock's supporter arguments.
Learning Experience #2
More importantly, I learnt that there are so many wonderful people out there who are so passionate about creating a just and equal society, and are willing to take action to make this happen. And I just loved connecting with them all. People sharing their knowledge and supporting each other. The Facebook page we created was just a vehicle that brought such people together.
It was amazing to realise that a small action (creating the page) snowballed in to something so much bigger than we ever thought it would. AND WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!
Learning Experience #3
It was a beautiful summer evening this evening. My family was here for dinner and my little boy was being particularly gorgeous. (I know, I know, I am biased, but that's him this evening in the photo below - don't you think?). But I was so angry at the world, having spent the afternoon dealing with abusive people and deleting explicit photos off the Facebook page, that I couldn't enjoy the evening. I was grumpy and preoccupied.
So I turned off my computer and went on a lovely walk with my wonderful sister. I raged about it all, and then I realised, over the past six days this campaign had consumed me. I had not been fully present with my little boy or husband, my garden is overflowing with needed-to-be-picked-yesterday produce and I have neglected my writing and positive work with teens and parents. I learned that neglecting these things I love makes me miserable.
So I decided to step down from moderating the Facebook page. (Of course I remain an passionate supporter). And I will not publish comments from others on this blog attacking my stance on the 'Win a Wife' competition. I have had every 'argument' (and more!) thrown at me about this issue and remain strong in my conviction. I have a HUGE amount of respect, gratitude and admiration for people who are continually standing up for injustice and inequality (Catherine Manning, Melinda Tankard Reist, Sue Bradford... the list could go on). I am not sure I could ever do what you do - I would certainly need thicker skin! And for all those wonderful people who are writing the letters and emails and generally spreading the word that it's not OK to treat anyone as second class citizens - you guys are awesome.
I was just saying to my partner today "I dont know how the people who have families are coping."
16/2/2011 03:20:30 pm
Thanks for all of your hard work over the past few days! It's been tough, but I still think we can get there in the end!
16/2/2011 11:59:21 pm
You've been doing an excellent job. Thanks.
17/2/2011 12:54:21 am
Thanks for all your work Rachel, you and all of the other mods have been doing a fantastic job on this campaign. I have been watching the page since it began and I just cannot fathom how much energy you have all put into it. xx
I just couldn't believe the amount of women who were abusive towards us. How can a woman hate feminism? Do they wish we could go back to an age where we couldn't vote or have employment other than sewing?
20/2/2011 03:13:41 am
its amazing that no matter what you do, there are some people just have to ruin anything anyone tries. there aren't enough of these kind of groups yet, so everyone just start hating something, make a page about it, get some fans and in no time at all, everyone will be far too scared of treading on someones toes to even bother thinking about as you put it, having a laugh...
3/3/2011 07:11:43 am
Thanks for all your support guys, you're awesome.
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Rachel is a writer and educator whose fields of interest include sexuality education, gender, feminism and youth development.