The next hot topic

A few months ago, it was that New York Times article on “Emerging Adulthood.” Now the thing that people can’t stop telling me about is The View‘s former co-host Lisa Ling coming out about her miscarriage.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am glad that celebrities also have miscarriages, and I am glad when they are brave enough to talk about them.  (Lily Allen said of her first miscarriage, “I was really depressed… and I… kind of lost the plot a bit,” which is heartbreakingly accurate.)  And I am glad that my friends are making the connection between celebrity miscarriages and my blog, because I’m pretty sure this means they also consider me a celebrity.

Back to Lisa Ling.  I guess the story goes that her miscarriage inspired her to start a website, The Secret Society of Women, where women could anonymously confess their secrets, ask their questions, and share their wisdom with each other.  A good idea in theory, especially because many women are afraid to talk openly about things like divorce and miscarriage.  (I know I am an anomaly in this.)

The problem with Ling’s website is this: it allows women to anonymously confess their secrets, ask their questions, and share their wisdom with each other.  And women – especially women who know they won’t have to answer for themselves later – are catty and bitchy and haughty creatures.  Couple that comfortable anonymity with the touchy subjects of love, marriage, family, and babies, and you have a virtual plague of unsolicited advice and berating.  From what I read, perusing the site for a few minutes, I would be terrified to post anything there, knowing that for every woman who answered with the intent of building me up, there would be five more who were all too excited to tear me down.

Maybe this is a little rash and unfair.  But I am slow to trust women I don’t know as it is, so opening myself up to a whole internet of unfamiliar women just sounds like a nightmare.  Even though, technically, that’s what I do here, I feel safe here; like I have all the time and space I need to prove myself and explain myself, and like the people reading this know me because of it (even if they don’t all know me in real life).  We women were biologically programmed, I believe, to love and support each other – to hold the tribe together while the men were out hunting – but somewhere along the way, we’ve been conditioned to do the opposite: we make snap judgments about each other; we constantly place ourselves in competition with one another; we use each other as stepping stones, to make ourselves look better and feel better.

We are ridiculous.

As for Ling’s Secret Society, maybe it’s because the conversations are all in print, where tone of voice and intent get lost in the uniform lines of letters, but I do not believe the site is serving its intended purpose.  Or maybe I’m just looking at it through the eyes of a woman who is quick to make snap-judgments about other women.

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2 Responses to The next hot topic

  1. Arohanui says:

    I agree with you about that secret women’s site, I find the whole thing a little bizarre. I was quite surprised to find that the miscarriage topic was so taboo in the US. I guess it’s good that the celebrities are “outing it” but I’m not that into grandstanding gestures. You’ve got to feel for poor Lily Allen though, what an awful, awful time she has had.

    Now, my sincerest apologies if I have made you uncomfortable. I had no idea that the cherry cupcakes award was a ttc-only thing? Thank goodness I didn’t award one to Peter’s Paris then. I interpreted it to be for any blog, on any subject, that had that little bit extra. I would go nuts if I only read fertility blogs.

    I’m not sure if you realise that the extensive community of bloggers I have found myself a part of, tends to term themselves ALI for adoption, loss and infertility. So the whole trying to conceive thing has been a part of the story somewhere, but it is not the only story. Bakery Closed is as valid a part of ALI as any other blog, but I can totally understand if you prefer not to be labelled in such a way. I tend to steer away from labels myself. Usually. But I can be inconsistent here.

    Are you happy for me to keep your link on my post or would you prefer that I remove it? Don’t worry too much as I don’t have all that many readers anyway 😉

    • Marie says:

      You didn’t make me uncomfortable at all, and I do understand that I fit in to the ALI community. And you can link to me all you like.

      The part I’m not ready for, I guess, is posting it and passing it on – maybe I’m not ready to be part of a blogging community in general, aside from wanting to read and be read, comment and be commented. When I started this, I was doing it for myself, for the sake of writing and healing, and meeting other bloggers and forming those connections has sort of been a pleasant side effect. But I still like to think that I’m doing something different, a specific project, which is why I gave the thing a specific start and a finite end date. I may feel totally differently about all this after that point, when I move myself somewhere else, to blog indefinitely about whatever I like, but who knows? It could be that I’m just a bit of a snob in that respect, but I prefer to think I’m just still easing myself in.

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