The Bitch Slap: Please Don’t Talk to Me Like That

bitch slap don't talk to me that wayOn Sunday morning, I woke up excited to go to brunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. I got dressed, headed to the gym, and when I got home, I made some coffee and dug into the interwebz to see what was what on a Sunday morning.

Not 15 minutes later, I was sitting on my sofa with tears rolling down my cheeks.

My readers only have access to the parts of my life I choose to share while certain people in my life have access to me. And that’s because (to be quite frank about it) many of you haven’t earned it. But it’s the same for me – I haven’t earned the right or privilege to sit at your family’s table and share in your news and memories.

But today, you’re going to get a straight-up shot (not a glimpse) of The Girl behind RedheadWriting. And that’s because I’m growing a pair and finally saying something I should have long ago:

Stop talking to me that way.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

Facebook. It’s the place where I stay connected with family and friends, new friends and old. It’s where my audience shares in my life (what I reveal) and I can keep up with what the people in my life are up to – and choose to share.

On Saturday, this is what I chose to share:

Innocuous. And not that it’s any of your fucking business, but I’d spent the day hiking. With my dogs. I love to go hiking and loaded up Beatrice Olivia the Mini Cooper with Big Dog, Small Dog, and a Camelbak and headed out for 3 hours in the hills of Boulder, Colorado. The weather was perfect. The dogs were soooo great, especially considering their off-leash adventures have been limited, and I got to spend a few hours with me – someone I’ve been missing (a lot) over the past year. I always seem to find her outside.

And Then It Goes Left at Albuquerque

The comments on the thread start rolling in. And suddenly – people who are supposed to be my friends just fuck it up. Some of the comments were deleted after I posted my response (which you’ll find below).

And Here is Where I Cry

You can think I’m a big ol’ pussy all you want, but when I came home from the gym and looked at all of this again, I just started to cry. The last comment in the thread got me thinking about “being dressed that way” and being a bawdy femme. Do I invite this? Do I grant permission? Am I telling people it’s okay to talk to me that way? So I sat there on my sofa wondering, as this wasn’t the first time it’s happened. So what did I do?

I grew the pair that I tell all of you that you should be growing on a regular basis.

So Don’t Fucking Talk to Me That Way

Do you know why I make jokes about my tits? So you won’t. Why does a woman say she has a big ass? So you won’t say it first. I fully own the fact that I am a foul-mouthed, no-holds-barred writer along with every ounce of whatever that comes out of my mouth. I own it. And even if I walked around dressed like a hooker, it doesn’t give the people in my life the right to talk to me that way. I sat on my couch on Sunday morning and cried. I was late to brunch because I had to pull my shit together and de-swell my tear-stung face because people who were supposed to be my friends thought it was okay to talk to me like that.

Well, It’s Not

I think poop jokes are funny and I can never get enough of Archer. I have been known to use the word “fuck” as a comma, adverb, and noun – and all in the same sentence. But given that information, it does not give you the right to shit on my life. And in return, it doesn’t give ME the right to shit on anyone else’s, either. It’s all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out – and I got mine poked out on Saturday and Sunday.

I think the world was possibly a better place when men wore hats and people danced – where there was a certain amount of decorum and respect that ruled (at least) our public-facing lives. While I can’t speak to the other social norms of those days and fully admit that, from a woman’s perspective, they were less than diverse or ideal, there’s a certain amount of validation in a woman being able to haul off and issue a gloved-hand slap to someone who’s disrespected her. And it all goes back to the perceived level of permission granted in the online space…and who you think you know versus who people really are.

Permission: What You See and Who I Am

I created RedheadWriting. She’s a persona. She’s a lippy broad and that’s why people love her – or hate her. She says what many wish they had the balls to say and riles-up others when certain topics arise. She takes a great professional photo and welcomes any opinion to be shared on her blog and Facebook page (so long as you identify yourself – there are no anonymous comments welcome). She swears enough to make a sailor blush and has an inexplicable affinity for hedgehogs (in the non-Ron Jeremy sense).

But do most of you know who I am? Apparently I have to share this information with you so you realize that there’s a person behind this persona the next time you feel entitled to haul off and make a comment on my life:

  • I put up my first Christmas tree in over 9 years this past weekend. It’s lovely.
  • I love kids and hope to have some of my own someday soon – and you can go fuck yourself if you want to chime in about me being a certain age and how I should write that shit off. I wrote a book about it. Holler. And last week when I included a linkbait headline alluding to being pregnant (in jest), thanks to all of you who sent me emails through my contact form expressing relief when you found out it wasn’t true. Because apparently, the idea of me becoming a mother at some point is terrifying to you. Whether you meant it or not, that hurt, too.
  • I slipped and fell in love in late 2010. His name was Jason. He died unexpectedly from surgical complications on October 31, 2010. And I miss him. But my life is better for him having been in it and there’s not a day that goes by that the thought of him doesn’t make me smile.
  • The last time I tried to date, the guy showed up drunk at my house with a gun. I don’t really know if you know the terror of hearing a round being chambered or chamber being cleared behind you. But I do. And maybe you don’t know what it feels like to have someone digitally stalk you for a month, calling you every name in the book for breaking up with them. But I do. And y’know what? There’s a certain humor to the entire situation. A certain bone-chilling terror as well to know that all of that crazy relationship shit you read about ? Yeah – you’re not immune to it. And no – I don’t hate him.
  • I miss my brother. We were best friends growing up – geeks in unison. He’s on his own path right now and chooses to not connect with our family much. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in life is respect that it’s his path to follow. Even though I miss him.
  • I have a niece and nephew. My niece is the spitting personification of me (my entire family says that by all rights, she should have been MY daughter so I’d have to raise her 🙂 ) and my nephew is autistic. He’s amazing and autistic and my sister is the biggest hero in my life for doing all she’s done to ensure he has a path equipped with tools he can use – and in his own way.
  • I love getting dressed up, and not because I get to wear a push-up bra. Because I love dresses and skirts and the way I feel in them. I’m not so much a jeans or shorts girl. You’ll find me in a sundress before shorts and a dress before slacks. Every time.
  • I struggle with my business and chosen career every day, not unlike many of you. I love what I do and am damn lucky I get to do it. It’s just an ongoing struggle to separate the “easy” path from the one you know you really should be taking.

I’m human – just like you – and while I might have a pair of balls, it doesn’t mean I’m immune when people are less than respectful of me and the person that’s behind this site that you keep coming back to time and time again (for which I thank you).

So, Who Are You To Talk To Me That Way?

When it comes to my blog and my Facebook page, they’re all about persona. Really – have at it. If I initiate the blue streak, you’re welcome to join in. But when it comes to my personal life, do the same as you’ve had done to you: don’t hijack someone’s life for your own amusement.

Because it hurts.

And I’m telling you – you don’t have the right to talk to me that way. I don’t have the right to talk to anyone that way, either.

I even asked someone I was with last night if this is something that men encounter, to which he responded no – not really. I’d love to hear from the men who read my blog (as there are many of you) on how you set the guidelines for speaking to the women in your life. I certainly hope I don’t talk to the men in my life in such a manner. Mostly because doing so would send the wrong message. Which leaves me wondering about the message of permission that I send. Madonna/Whore complex is a brilliant explanation when it comes to psychoanalysis, but why am I left always wondering if I’m seen as one or the other…when neither is optimal?

And Please Don’t Give Me the “Dressed in Such a Manner” Argument…

It won’t hold up in a court of law and it won’t hold up here.

What sucks is when you’re placed in a position – by the people in your life, no less – to consider the type of people who are in your life.

And it’s something I’m doing a lot of thinking about right now. Because I’ve let people talk to me like this for…well, ages. Something told me that it had to be okay, even though it made me feel sick to my stomach sometimes. I realized it was time to take the advice I’d recently given to a friend’s daughter when she was made extremely uncomfortable while visiting a local business (who shall remain nameless) by what the proprietor assumed (incorrectly) were some innocuous remarks about her chest-region gifts (WTF – who SAYS things like this to a female patron?).

It doesn’t matter how you’re dressed, honey. You still deserve respect. It’s our obligation, however, to think about what we say so as to not invite conversations we don’t want to have. But sometimes, it doesn’t matter if we invite people or not. They’re going to have the conversation that they want to have. And that doesn’t mean it’s okay or you have to put up with it.

We won’t go into the phone call I made to the local proprietor. I will say, however, that I handled it professionally.

Game On or Move On?

So the next time you want to say something off-color or twist someone’s line of conversation, understand that there’s a person behind that digital persona. A keyboard and a screen doesn’t lessen the impact of words thrown around in what you perceive as “fun.” And regardless of whether you perceive someone’s words as being “dressed in such a manner” as to invite a bawdy return, maybe think twice. Permission once doesn’t mean an open-ended line of consent. And now, not that you’ve earned it, you know a little bit more about me. What’s private. What wasn’t yours to know in the first place. But what else is going to let you know that I’m human – that I have feelings – and they’re not yours to twist into some fucked-up bendy straw variety of amusement?

So please don’t talk to me that way – and whether you believe it or not, I am a goddamned lady and should never have to ask to be treated like one. And the only reason you’ve been slapped today is because you slapped me.

And it hurt. Fuck, did it.

Your ball, my friends. I’ll be over here holding the two I just re-discovered.

203 comments
themadscientist
themadscientist

Just sent here by an acquaintance to check out the site and tripped over this, but  I'll jump in. I don't care how you dress. I agree that that that gives no one any special right to speak to you with disrespect. That being said, we are who we hang around with, like it or not. I would suggest that your "friends" who keep "fucking things up" are not living up to the title. This is clear to see yet you let them somewhat closer to you than complete and total strangers, close enough to hurt you. Why do you do that? It's a rhetorical question for your benefit not mine, something to ponder. If you are going to put yourself out there, even a little bit you have to know you risk being harmed in some way and should manage your risks by choosing carefully who you let close to you even in cyberspace. Good luck with this thing you are doing here. I hope it brings more positivity in you life than negative. Now, I am off to yell at total strangers under a pseudonym. 

Cheryl Hopper
Cheryl Hopper

AMEN!  Victim blaming pisses me off.  NO ONE deserves to be given crap or assaulted because they act/talk/dress in a certain way.  Ever.   Even more uncalled for is a response like the ether comments when the original remark was totally PG-rated.  That women are on more equal terms in the world now than we used to be is *not* an excuse for men to treat us with any less respect and politeness. Anyone with manners isn't going to comment on the size of a woman's breasts, butt, or any other body part unless they know they have her permission.  That we feel like we need to beat others to it should send up red flags that there is something very wrong with the way things are in our society.  If a woman remarked about the size of a man's package, she'd be ridiculed and get all manner of remarks about how she's oversexed and is acting like a slut.  There are some limits on what men can get away with, remarking on a woman's appearance, but it's still pretty much open season, especially if she's dressed, or is perceived to be dressed, in a certain way.  Because if you wear something that's low-cut, you're clearly looking for attention, so if someone makes a lewd remark, you invited it so stop bitching.  *twitchtwitchtwitch*  Society needs to stop sending the message that the amount of respect a woman 'deserves' to be treated with is determined by how much skin she is showing.  It doesn't matter if she's buck naked or wearing a burqua (sp?), she should be treated with the same amount of respect and dignity regardless. You, my dear, do not have balls.  You have ovaries.  Solid brass ones, as do I.

Lauren
Lauren

I made a post on my own website about some harsh criticism I received about my business (and my life in general) and decided to browse other writer's Blogs to see if they'd been in similar situations.  Your post was by far the most beautiful, vulnerable, and human post I saw.  I think it's wonderful that you were able to express all of this and still keep it clear that you're an authority in your field--so many Bloggers are afraid to show the "real" them because they're afraid they'll no longer be taken seriously.  I try to keep this kind of honesty in my own writing, but you definitely took it a step further.  Kudos to you!  And I hope your "friends" learned their lesson and are treating you better!

Deanna Warren
Deanna Warren

This post has been out here a while, but I am just now reading it as I am a newer fan myself.  I have a persona that the majority of people see and only a very few, and I mean a VERY FEW, know the real person behind it.  Being disabled, housebound, and just pretty much in physical distress most days necessitates a public persona.  Publicly, I am a fun-loving, happy girl who can take a joke any day.  But inside, where they can't see, sometimes those jokes hurt.  I understand where you are coming from on that aspect.  I have a real problem standing up for myself, and to read such a brilliant post makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside.  This is a poem I wrote on the date shown.  It was a time when I was made to feel like what you felt on that day when this all went down.  My fault most of the time, as I don't let people past the public self, because the physical pain is NOTHING compared to the emotional pain that those who claim to love us can inflict. I’m short and cute, And crazy, to boot.They all love me, When I make them hoot.They call me devious, And, oh, so hilarious.But what happens, When I’m serious? My words don’t matter, They kinda splatter.They blow me off, To the winds I scatter.They take what I offer, From out of my coffer,But I’m too blunt, They want me softer. I must confess, I give them less,Because they think I’m quite worthless. 2/26/05

domed labels
domed labels

Being a blogger your points are very important to create a check and balance regarding comments on our blog and make these comments spamming less.

Soness
Soness

Yes!  I just found your blog and love your statement.  I had to stand up for my name and character, again, this week.   I've spent 9 years touring Japan nationwide in a musical in which I often wear pink.  Don't crack it, I love this group.  During the week I teach at an Ivy League university in Japan and facilitate seminars on creativity.  I'm fairly respectable as "Soness Sensei."  But it happens.  The nicknames.  Abbreviations of your name in half, or maybe just the first syllable, with a cutesy ending.  In Japanese, giving someone a childish nickname shows endearment, but it also can show their higher perceived status. It has taken my whole life to learn to love my unique name.  Imagine trying to find pencils with Soness in the 1970s--now I can afford to buy customized if I choose.  I nicely asked my client who is also 37 years old to please not call me a nickname.  She agreed respectfully as she squeezed my cheeks. 

Laura England-Biggs
Laura England-Biggs

Rock ON. You are a fabulous rockstar, Erika, and deserving of all the things you want in life and more.  Thanks for standing up and saying enough is enough.

Brooks, James E., CIV, NAVWARC
Brooks, James E., CIV, NAVWARC

I'm one of those people who leave snarky comments on Facebook posts.  There have been a few I wish I didn't post.  This blog gives me pause to reconsider before hitting the reply button.  I guess no one else has grown balls yet to put me in my place!

Heather Atton Cook
Heather Atton Cook

Wow. I really enjoyed not only this post but the comments as well. I have struggled with this type of identiy crisis (if it's ok to call it that) where I seemed to allow people to treat me like crap. I've left situations where I had allowed it to go on so long that those around me could not change how they treated me ... so just by leaving I respected myself where they could not. The interesting thing I found in the comments was how you reacted to Drew versus how others did. I thought you held yourself respectfully, balls in hand, and explained things. And then I found myself disappointed when others attacked him personally... because I think that somewhere in this post there was a point about treating others with respect, even when you think they might be inviting gutter commentary. You remain one of my favourite writers on ye olde interwebs.

jim
jim

i like your style (real to the bone) lady. persona vs. person; digital vs. face-to-face.  you are a true turn on.

Manny Cortez
Manny Cortez

Ignore the Douchebags... and embrace the ones who love you.  Like me!  I love you even more now for teabagging those mofos ;)  (just trying to run with the whole "found a new pair" theme) 

GW
GW

I just bumped into your site on facebook by "accident", not even sure how, but when I did I shared it with friends before even exploring all of it.  Today I hit this particular post.  I was impressed by how you crossed the line and posted all of this personal background on your "persona" site.  More than that, I'm impressed that you shared this.  How someone can turn a phrase and twist it for generation of some post to generate added discourse, whether posted in jest or with smiley faces or whatever; is something I don't get.  Much respect for standing up for your boundaries.  Clearly they were trampled in these messages on your private facebook by someone who must not have been thinking when they posted. But thanks for showing your humanity.  NO you shouldn't have to call for respect.  And it isn't a male or female thing.  But, even with that said, a gentleman should consider what he posts.  We should all expect some level of respect, even on the internet and even if we have a persona put forward.  I'm thinking of some pretty blue comedy people that would be very upset if you were to post them on facebook or in person with what they present on stage. All us guys have moms, sisters, girl friends, wives, and just female friends that we'd likely give a guy the furrowed brow look that says, "don't say another word", if we were present in some of the conversations described.  Funny thing, the internet always misses the eyebrows. I really like what I've read on your blog.  If you were nearby, I'd like to have a drink with you.  NO this isn't me crossing a line to Creepsville,   I'm saying that generically.  It's just me saying that you're definitely interesting and would likely be much fun to have a conversation with.  I'll just read the blog as I have time and enjoy the persona you show on your blog.  I doubt you'll continue posting the deeper personal background on this site, but what you did shows you to be more than the persona of "Redhead Writing".  All of us are more than what we show, we'll most of us anyway.  :-) Congrats on growing some, and to all of those ladies who've been enlivened by your post to do the same.  All men aren't jerks, although sometimes even the best of  us step in it once in a while.  I really liked this post and thank you for taking the time to write it.  Sorry for your tears, even though we've never met.  I really don't see any reason to turn a simple post into a reason for hijacking the electronic conversation into a totally different direction.  Yes, you are a LADY.  :-) GW

Michele I. (Morland)
Michele I. (Morland)

You are amazing. Thank you for saying what I should have a long time ago! I just re-discovered mine as well. Such an inspiration. Thank you!!!! 

Erin J
Erin J

I just stumbled across your blog today and am already in love. Loves it! Everything about it. That's one thing I had to learn the hard way: Don't let anybody steal your joy. You tell 'em girl! 

Jennifer Baldillez
Jennifer Baldillez

I'm visiting your site for the first time and really like it from what I've read so far! Well, except for this post which makes me sad. It's always sad when we are hurt by people we believe to be our friends. Sometimes it's friends and family who say the most hurtful things unintentionally(hopefully) since they think it's safe because you aren't going to leave them. I'm so glad you stood up for yourself and said what needed to be said! And you said it very well! Good for you!  Your new fan, Jenn

mike
mike

2nd post I'v read.  Sorry for the shitty morning.  I hope the rest of Sunday was better.  Hiking is always awesome especially with unassuming devoted life long friends.  The proprietors comments to your niece were just ignorant and stupid.  Stop assuming the comments people gave were any less so, they can write what they want with impunity as there is a sense of annonimity. That stalker stuff and dates with guns (and personal experiences when my business got blown up with viruses). is a huge part of my reluctance to be as open as you are.  Those readers that were less than thrilled with the prospect of you being a parent don't know what's going on daily.  2 posts I think you would be awesome.

Barbara Skinner
Barbara Skinner

or, as my ex-husband used to say, 'joke 'em if they can't take the fuck'!

Lexi
Lexi

You didn't discover balls. You discovered a pair of child-bearing hips! (Much stronger and sturdier than balls! Absolutely preferable to balls, which are kind of weak and can't take much of a beating at all, when you think about it.)

Downtown Denverite
Downtown Denverite

I don't know why your blog keeps eating my comments... but the short version is:  a buncha dudes are idiots on the internet, and it doesn't matter what you do or don't do. 

Bee
Bee

I'm brand-new to your blog, and after reading your post about Facebook message notifications, this was the next one I read.  And I can tell you right now that any blog post ending with the utterly priceless line "I am a goddamned lady" is one I'll be subscribing to immediately. (Also, my heartfelt congratulations to you for writing a letter to the local proprietor instead of punching him in the eye, which would have been my first, second, and third impulse.)

Alison Hicks
Alison Hicks

Thank you for explaining -- I'm sorry you had to, but it really helped me, at least.  I just found your site today and have already Shared it on Facebook. I wonder if some readers and friends mistake your awesome and animated writing for an attempt to get the party started, joking and jabbing, like when everybody first meets up at the bar on a Friday night after work and nobody is saying much yet.   But to compare, for whatever it's worth, here's the type of Facebook feedback that has reduced me to tears.  When I write on my Facebook page about standing up for justice in any of a zillion ways -- from rescuing some neighbor kid from an attack of bullies on the street to Occupying Wall Street -- I get responses from Facebook Friends advising me to stop being so angry, just let it go, and forgive -- and it will set me free.  OMFG.  I know for a fact my purpose on this earth is to stand up for justice in day-to-day life.  I've always been this way.  I don't want my ardor tamped down by belonging to a lukewarm group of freedom fighters.  I don't require a label for my crusade to leave the world a more just place than I found it.  It seems obvious to me that this is what we all would want to do as often as possible -- bring more justice into the world.  That we all have my secret desire to help every single downtrodden person as often as I can.  But most of the time I do this alone.  Fine.  But it's the quizzical looks, the occasional slowly shaking head, and the advice to forgive and forget that hurt.   Fine if they don't want to participate in promoting justice, but why don't they get it?  Isn't it a fundamental thing?  So it hurts my feelings so much to hear this pablum of bullshit from people who don't know ME very well, but who should KNOW better.   And after all my efforts, they just don't get the point?  I share with them how it's done, saying to them, "See?  You too can do this, in your own way, whenever you want to."Plus they are adding insult to injury -- they make my crusade harder by choosing to be on the wrong side.  They aren't backing the comic book character who helps the little guy. They speak out on the side of the guys in the black hats.  Who does that!So, yeah, my bottom line is that THEY should be saving kids from bullies, too, and also expecting and insisting on a healthier food supply for us all.  And more honest politicians.  And more lenient voting laws, not restrictive ones.  You get my point.  This is me.  This is what I care about.  They can take it or leave it, but blaming it on anger or some need to forgive-and-forget diminishes our human need for justice.  They don't get it, and that makes me cry.  

Dr Beckett
Dr Beckett

Logic need not apply My Good Vulcan. Just your unthinking sympathies and blind platitudes please!

Andra Zeppelin
Andra Zeppelin

Drew- there is at least one fatal flaw in your argument- Facebook personal pages are different from business/blog pages. RedHeadWriting page = fair game. Erika Napoletano page = not fair game. RedHeadWriting page = anyone can 'like.' Erika Napoletano personal page = needs confirmation of friendship. The beef in this blog was about friends, actual friends that she knows, likes, likely cares about who got a little carried away, confused and treated her personal page as her writing persona. It isn't complicated or unusual. And she does deserve respect just based on the fact that she is a human being, like you and I. That's all. 

Andra Zeppelin
Andra Zeppelin

You have a special way of getting my skin full of goosebumps and my eyes full of tears. Seriously. I know exactly how it feels. For some odd reason, if you are 'strong,' somehow you are insensitive; if you are tough, somehow you don't hurt; if you are independent, you don't need support. And we do- we all do. Thank you for saying it- I am still growing the balls to do the same. 

Jo Guerra
Jo Guerra

Red Head Erika, If it makes any difference, I always use you as an example of being authentic and being yourself. Something I think I am just coming to my own in my life and following my dream. Your story and writing always touches me. What you reveal about yourself is amazing and how you write is every writer's dream. Keep being you.

Liz Dommer
Liz Dommer

I've never visited this blog before (sincere thanks to my dear friend Melinda who linked this on her FB wall...), but I have to say that I am a devoted follower now :). Thank you, thank you, thank you Erika! Oh my goodness this is how I feel all the damn time! You rock my socks :)

Dragon*Jillian
Dragon*Jillian

A rowdy applause to this.  When a person draws the boundary of what they accept -- that's the boundary. Whether you think that fits with YOUR picture of their boundaries or not, you've received a clear indication that what you're saying is NOT acceptable.  What this post is getting at, I was thinking about during my morning routine: why do people take the liberty of setting OTHER PEOPLE'S boundaries? Socially, we fall back on our peer pressure skills as we tell people "if what I said hurt your little feelings, you need to get better feelings - i'm not wrong, you're weak." And what your post says today strikes a real chord with me: "YOU DON'T GET TO TELL ME WHAT MY BOUNDARIES SHOULD BE. respect my boundaries, period."

Dytzywytch
Dytzywytch

I don't know you personally - but I so wish I did! *smile*  I'll just say I'm proud of you for saying every word of this - and I certainly hope your friends were listening!!!

redwild
redwild

Just one thing - there is no "lowering of the bar" for respect - that is the point!!!  Perhaps you do not understand the description completely - there is a line to grace and humor, and we do not always want it shoved backwards into our lives each day -- just because we have mouthed something at a point in time it does not leave all future comments to be interpreted in the same manner!!!  Assumptions are something that should not be used in communication!!! IF I want to make a joke about my tits or ass, that does NOT mean that I want to hear your mouth back - nor does it mean that I have placed the "bar of respect" at a level that allows you to just decide to mouth away about them!!!  It is one thing for someone to play along - it is another for someone to take off with the conversation on their own path and define it out in the woods somewhere!!!!!

Merredith
Merredith

Drew, Here's the thing.   I happen to agree with a few things in your post -- mostly that  context has a place and that she shouldn't be treated "like a lady" -- because, what does that even mean anymore?  But she *should* be treated with respect, like a person.  I don't think her expressing happiness as *wiggle* should necessarily be license to make jokes about someone putting her out with ether and raping her -- or at least, she doesn't have to think it's funny.   She didn't disagree with your thought process, she disagreed with your attacking.  But -- on another note?  If a guy were to cross the street and get hit by a car, someone just using bad judgment, no one would comment or joke about whether he enjoyed the car hitting him, or whether he secretly wanted the car to hit him, or whether his use of bad language encouraged the car to hit him.  Erika has about as much control over people showing up on this page and taking what she says completely out of context, using bad judgment as over, well, being hit by a car.  It's public. People are occasionally stupid.  But that doesn't make it her fault.

Inga Mader Park
Inga Mader Park

This was a great rant Erika. Kudos to you and shame on them.

Greg Davies/cGt2099
Greg Davies/cGt2099

Hello, Guest.  I see you have no name.  Do you also have one of those cool V-for-Vendetta masks all the hipster kids are wearing now?  That aside, from my perspective, the whole purpose of Erika's post here is to point out that you, her, and other readers, don't have to take this kind of conduct from anyone.  You, like me, can stand up against it...  But more importantly, if someone comes up to you with a shovel full of horse shit, you don't have to take it. 

Greg Davies/cGt2099
Greg Davies/cGt2099

I walk not only into coffee shops, but my place of employment too, cussing like a sailor.  I am treated with respect and courtesy.  How is that possible?  Well, it's because I treat people with respect and courtesy as well - swearing has nothing to do with it.  The ability to accept people for who they are goes a long way in developing firm relationships (personal or professional). 

Joe Fowler III
Joe Fowler III

Drew,    A true friend would never  make abusive comments to another on their Facebook wall for all to see. So the main point of this is, Ericka was hurt by someone she thought was a friend. Maybe she might want to choose them more carefully, but again she is a big girl and can make her own decisions, but it did hurt her.  Drew, let's be honest, Ericka is still a lady and female of our species, which in all honesty are more emotional. A man should know how to talk to a lady PERIOD. Making snide comments to them is not the best way to keep their friendship, or earn their respect. Her personal Facebook page is filled with people she considers, or in this case had considered, friends. Not random people pulled out of hats.  If Ericka doesn't want to be talked to like that she has every right to say so.

Ashley Couture
Ashley Couture

I thoroughly enjoyed this article and I can completely relate.  How dare a woman be confident and content in her mind and body.  Thanks for sharing your moxie with us all :)

Sinner Ella
Sinner Ella

Now, I have to admit that I've been a little bit of a slack ass in the blog reading, but you know full well that I am good at the FB and Twitter stalking when it comes to your posts. I blame part on my A.D.D and the other part on my amphetamines for said A.D.D. not allowing me to sit still, though the concentration on a subject is amazing. I first would like to say that if your "friends" spoke to you that way in a face to face conversation, I would be sorely disappointed not to see you high-5 them in the face with a cinder block. Next, I would be forced to ask why "friends" would be friends if they had the thought, let alone follow through, to put you in such a state. I think that the internet and FB is a mixed bag when it comes to it's blessings and curses. It does grant us all with a certain amount of anonymity, but it also grants us a lack of accountability on the other side of that coin. People tend to forget that though their words aren't spoken, they do carry much weight when read. That sticks and stones bullshit from pre-school was a lie. We all know that. So, for anyone who tells you to just brush it off and ignore it, must have never been in a situation to have been assaulted verbally. (or typic-cally?) And if they had been, maybe they have thicker skin. (moisturizer, anyone) No matter how we react to each other, strangers or not, we need to remember that there IS a real person on the other side reading what we type and it's going to have some effect, no matter how big or small. Are you willing to own up to it, should you meet that person in a grocery store? (Or, my favorite, a dark alley?) If not, keep your #DirtyCockPocket shut and find someone else to piss off, cause this Red Headed Barbie has quite the Conga Line and we'll dig out our pitchforks and burning torches and hunt your #DirtyVaginaMouth down! Thank you! And good night!

Amelia
Amelia

Way to go girl! I tried to post this yesterday from my iPhone, but apparently it didn't make it. I'm very proud of you for growing a pair. When I read your post on Saturday, I smiled because I knew it meant that you had had a great day - with you. Maybe it's because I have four dogs, but I knew what the "wiggle" referred to because my dogs all wiggle when they're happy. Anyone who read more into that post that what it meant, well, let me just say they could benefit from the unconditional love a four-legged animal gives. And regarding the use the of colorful language, it always amazes me how when men use it, very little is said about it being inappropriate. Why is it when women use it, we are labeled as less than a lady? Couldn't the same be said of men, and the use of it makes them less than a gentleman? Don't think I've ever heard anyone say that - even in the Deep South where I've lived and worked my entire life. You go, Erika. Continue to blaze new trails using your unique voice and point of view on life and work. Those of us who read you are better for it - because even if we may disagree, you make us think and examine our lives. And that is something we all need to be doing more of these days.

Lindsey Donner
Lindsey Donner

The hogwash that what you (as a woman) do, say, wear, think, look like, brand yourself as, et. al. is a reasonable justification for hateful/objectifying/hurtful/batshit-crazy remarks is just that, hogwash. People have been using variations on this line for years so that women are always, somehow, complicit in their own degradation. I've dealt with this all my life and I can attest to just how upsetting it can be. And Sydney, I feel you. Some of my most  memorable experiences happened at work. No wonder I struck out on my own. I'm clapping right now, even though you can't hear it.

Meg Fowler
Meg Fowler

I get this from guys on Twitter and other spots on occasion, where they'll take something innocent and send back the most bizarrely suggestive comment out of nowhere, or decide that it's okay to fling some innuendo in my direction. I'm not above a sassy comment (and while sexual comments are still not really cool in those cases, at least the genesis is a bit more easy to figure out), but this usually happens in response to something really joyful or something I'm excited about. Some of them even do it in response to tweets at my (very new) husband, which brings new meaning to "what??" It doesn't happen much to me on Facebook (other than the usual non-suggestive comment stream derailers that everyone knows and has and are often related to...) but I could do without it anywhere. The act of being a female online isn't an invitation or welcome to gross or fawning comments. Maybe I would dig them if I was Bibi Jones and posting pinup Twitpics, but I'm a short, round 37 year old writer in a cardigan listening to Christmas music. Know your audience, gents.

Rachel Moore
Rachel Moore

Good on you.  I am consistently amazed at the liberties people take whilst hiding behind a $20 keyboard when you know damn good and well they wouldn't have the cajones to say the same thing to your face.  It's like mob mentality - all human decency or restraint goes out the window in deference to the dog pile.

Sara Beth Allen
Sara Beth Allen

aint nothing like the real thing (this is not an insult).

Legally Delish
Legally Delish

This is the first time I've read your blog (a friend posted it on my FB page), and I just want to say kudos to you.  I'm a new-ish blogger with a fear of putting too much out there for precisely this reason (and, you know, because my dad reads it) so I reign my writing back sometimes.  This is encouraging and inspiring and I adore you for posting it.  You certainly have a reader in me!

James Johnson
James Johnson

What is it that Chris Rock said - People need to understand there's you, and then there's your representative. The Redhead writer whose words we all love to read is a tough, ballsy, no-nonsense, Sucker Punch-style, ass-kickin' chick who we think is kinda cool ;-) Erika may be just as cool, but clearly has a softer side. It does suck when friends misread you or catch you on one of those days where the representative has been locked up for a few hours and you're reveling in being you. Still, no matter what persona you adopt, what clothes you wear, etc. you should always be treated as a lady with dignity and respect. To quote the India Arie song, "Talk To Her", "when you talk to you woman, you should to talk to her like you would want someone to talk to your momma, don't get smart with her, have a heart-to-heart with her just like you would with your daughter....she's somebody's baby, she's somebody's sister, she's somebody's momma." And for anyone who tells you that you're of a "certain age" where you should give up on the idea of having children--fuck them! You're still hangin' in your 30s...I just thought of 5 women off the top of my head that I personally know who had children in their 40s and 50s. This is the 21st century, girl. Go do your thing in your own time. If anyone gives you grief, just tell them to kiss your ass! And not just a cheek, but the ENTIRE ass! Peace and respect for the redheaded bitch-slappin queen.

Guest
Guest

I have never heard of you before, so here's an outside opinion. I read this whole post and I don't get it. I can see that the first mention of ether was easily in poor taste depending on your existing rapport with that person , but the second mention of it seemed like they were taking it back (saying they were putting it all away since they were being too creepy) The rest just seems like commentary on you getting annoyed about it. Fodder for debate, sure. But I just can't see what makes it upsetting. "Do you know why I make jokes about my tits? So you won’t. Why does a woman say she has a big ass? So you won’t say it first."  It doesn't work that way. If you don't want tits jokes in the conversation then don't introduce them into conversations. If you've already lowered the bar for respect then why would others not play along? "I fully own the fact that I am a foul-mouthed, no-holds-barred writer along with every ounce of whatever that comes out of my mouth. I own it." If that's a true description of you then you don't seem to own it. You've attracted others like you. Foul mouthed, no-holds-barred friends. If you were "owning it" you would celebrate the fact that they like you and appreciate who you are, and take moments like these with grace and humor, rather than tears and judgement.

drew
drew

I've already pissed away enough time on this, but to be frank, your position on this is a little offensive to me. So to save you from exposure to the less-than-couth among us, I think you should see how you contributed to this mess: 1) Regarding Facebook: "It's where my audience shares in my life..." - You allowed access total strangers. Really?.  2)  "Do I invite this? Do I grant permission? Am I telling people it’s okay to talk to me that way?" - Yes. Yes. And Yes. And I can't believe you don't see how. You hit the "confirm friendship" button, then publicly offered the kind of strong language and opinions that permits others to do the same. They're doing what YOU DO. 3) "When it comes to my blog and my Facebook page, they’re all about persona." - So don't be surprised when people on FB actually BELIEVE your persona. Furthermore, that description is in stark contrast to how you describe your FB page in the fifth paragraph of the blog. You clearly haven't defined what you want your FB page to be. If you don't know what it's for, how can others? 4) "Id love to hear from the men who read my blog on how you set the guidelines for speaking to the women in your life" - Easy answer: With the respect they've earned. Just like everyone else on the planet. Am I blue, or vulgar with some of women in my life. Very much so. But that's because I know they will join in, or find it amusing. What exactly do you think people with think of you from what you've offered us? This is my bottom line and WHAT REALLY GETS UNDER MY FUCKING SKIN ABOUT THIS: You want respect based solely on your womanhood - your place as a self-proclaimed "lady". You'd like everyone to disregard everything you've offered to us in this space, and treat you politely because you said so. Nope. You'll get judged based on your words and actions just like the rest of us.  Look at it this way - Im quite sure that in your general, everyday experiences people you treat with respect and courtesy. That's because you don't walk into coffee shops and banks cursing like a sailor. But you do online - so that's how you get treated here.  Im sorry that I'm not one of these people patting you on the back here - but I genuinely believe you have a large role in this issue.  Cheers, Drew

Vicki Casal
Vicki Casal

Wow is right.  Thank you for standing up for yourself. Thank you for not letting the cute fuzzy bunnies of the world get you down. Thank you for sharing some of who you are.  Thank you for being able to say some of the things that I can't.

Trackbacks

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  2. […] of looking someone straight in the eyes that your words don’t have the power to hurt. Read this article by Erika Napoletano (better known as @Redheadwriting) one of the most supremely hardcore online […]

  3. […] = 'http://widgets.digg.com/buttons.js';s1.parentNode.insertBefore(s, s1);})(); After last Monday’s post filled with Facebook shenanigans, I guess I should have suspected that said shenanigans would […]

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