Yeah, I'm finally going there. I'm SICK of it. I'm sick of this hashtag, and I'm sick of people wading in the pond of things they've been taught, and not LISTENING. Guess what? You learn more when you listen than when you talk. That being said, I did totally word vomit all over this guy in the post. I hate the word, but I'll use it for lack of better options. I was triggered. You see, this image was posted in a boudoir group I'm in.
Now, I cropped out his name and the group we're in just to save me time, but the artist that created this image is Craig LaMere. Just saying his name in boudoir groups gets everyone excited. He blew up some years back into the photography scene with his classic, stylish, creative bad ass-ness and grew to be a leader in the industry. Craig and I don't know each other too well, but we met at After Dark Education- the best photography conference I've ever been to. It's smaller (like 500 people or less) so you have your regular people and you get to know a lot of them quite well. It's a very special conference, and I think Craig and I met at his first one. We enjoyed breakfast together and share mutual photographer friends. We connected over photography and a few other interests and he shared with me some of his knowledge in the field and life. He's sarcastic, hilarious, and makes everything he does seem like the easiest thing, ever. We are in a few groups together, but this one in particular is hosted by another one of the leaders in the industry, and I don't know if she'd like to be called out but if you're in this line of work, you know her and you know she's a breast cancer survivor and she has implants. That being said, I'll just let you read the comments for yourself.
Now this (conversation?/commenting?) took place over about 24 hours, but it took that long for me to explain to this man how ONE comment was rude, degrading and harmful. Now sure, it was a simple comment; nothing really blog-worthy. It was one comment that some would say I'm blowing way out of proportion. "So he said he likes natural breasts versus implants... so what?" The WHAT of it is this - he didn't need to comment. He didn't need to spew his negativity into the world. He didn't need to comment his unsolicited opinion, as a man, on what his preference was for a woman's chest. Even scarier - he didn't even realize what he was saying. He legitimately felt that his words were valid and I'm just some feminist trying to start a fight. It's called cognitive dissonance. It's the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas or values. This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief clashes with new evidence perceived by the person. When confronted with facts that contradict beliefs, ideals, and values, people will try to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort
I get it. We're in this political climate where everyone is annoyed by everyone else - regardless if your views half match, or not at all. We've stopped listening. You hear people say these phrases that put us into an uncomfortable mindset, and immediately we shut down. "Not all men." "Feminist." "Survivor." "Believe Women." "Triggered." "Me too." "Black Lives Matter." "Blue Lives Matter." "All lives matter." There are so many more things that set us off as people and we stop listening. We stop listening and we stop learning and worst of all - we stop caring and we turn into exactly the thing we don't want to be. So here's my challenge to you: Next time you hear something you don't want to hear, don't shut down. Stop. Listen. And Learn. You might just make a friend out of it.
PS- When you're apologizing, don't say "I'm sorry IF..." No, you're "sorry THAT..."