I am going out on a limb here and fully admitting that this might be the scariest post I have ever written.
Last week, I posted a story about a 5 year old boy who wanted to dress like a girl for Halloween. I’m not talking about your average teenage boy who is doing it for kicks. I mean, this 5 year old wanted to dress like a girl in as serious of a way you can be about a costume for Halloween. To be specific, he wanted to be Daphne from Scooby Doo.
His costume was pretty awesome. He was decked out in glorious oranges and purples, complete with a scarf around his neck like the Scooby fashionista Daphne is. But several moms at the child’s Christian preschool didn’t see it that way. They questioned the mom about this choice, and were not private about it in front of the boy. The mom felt bullied, and felt that these moms were also bullying her preschool aged son. In her own blog, she described the actions and called them out. That post she wrote was circulated across the nation, including in this blog. And the general consensus was that these moms were horrible people to have infringed their opinion on a little boy who only wanted to be someone else on a day reserved for just that.
This was the shared opinion over here too, save for one. A woman wrote her reasons for believing that there was another side to this story, citing her religious beliefs for thinking along those lines. “It’s not his responsibility at 5 years old to be some sort of freedom fighter for the transgender community.”
Well, let me tell you all something. As someone once quoted to me: “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.”
But before you assume I am referring to the above stated commenter as an asshole, let me correct you. The asshole would actually be ME. The conversation that continued after this woman gave her opinion turned from the article, and instead focused on slamming this woman. Some did it just as agreeably, politely disagreeing. But several others turned downright nasty. And it took the last commenter on the article to finally shed some light on what exactly was going on.
“If you missed it, here’s a thought: You’ve proven yourselves no better than the bullying Moms described in this article…”
So why am I the asshole? Because I allowed the conversation to continue. I fully admit that I disagree with the statements provided by the bullied commenter. And because of my disagreement, I was unable to see the mob mentality that was going on as anything unfair. I was swept up in the mob as well. And it took a clearheaded individual to actually point out the absurdity that was going on for me to be able to see this for what it was.
We were no better than those bullying moms.
But here’s one further. How about those bullying moms? On the actual blog entry by the mom of the 5 year old, there are currently over 42,000 comments. Quoted on her twitter: “Can we all agree that predicting something will go viral is virtually impossible?” Thanks to sites like Babble.com, CafeMom.com, this site, and every other family site that shared this story, countless people are badmouthing these moms. She was even on the Today show, sharing the story with the nation about these moms. They are now the enemies of the nation, as their actions are no longer a single action that took place in a small classroom, but are instead the focus of discussion among millions of people.
Who are the bullies now?
I stand by my opinion that a little boy can dress like a girl if he wants to, whether it be Halloween or not. I stand by my opinion that every person is entitled to their own opinion, whether anyone thinks it’s right, wrong, misinformed, brilliant, or outdated. I stand by my opinion that disagreeing with another human about their opinion is totally fair – if done so without abusing the other person or their own personal rights. I stand by my opinion that people who judge others scare the bejeezus out of me, because I am one of those annoying people who actually value the opinion of others in regards to what they think about me. I stand by my opinion that writing this is one of those scary things that will leave me open for judgment. And I stand by my opinion that in this scenario, I was wrong, I judged, and I was no better than those who pick on others, strengthened by the mob.
To that bullied commenter, I am so sorry. To the commenter who put everyone in their place, thank you. Sure, let’s end the bullying of others. But let’s also check ourselves and be sure that we aren’t guilty of the very thing we are fighting.