Years ago — before blogs or public writing sites, I read something that changed me forever. The only people writing online were the few that had the savvy to build their own site and columnists.

A writer shared an exchange with a reader. He’d written a column for the paper he wrote for and got some nasty vitriol from a reader. Back then, papers invited readers to email the writers. (Lord, what a nightmare bad idea)

Then he shared the entire mess on his geocities page. lol.

Basically, he told the reader something to the effect of:
Look, this is my job. I show up five days a week and crank out my column because it’s how I feed my family and provide for my disabled child. And frankly, if I lost my job, you would not be there to help me provide and you would not give a damn about my kid. So tell me, if you can’t even bring manners to the table, why should I give a damn what you think? Get some manners or keep your opinion to yourself. PS. I showed this to my boss before I sent it. He approved it.

The nasty reader wrote back and apologized. I have never been fond of the idea of numbing ourselves to abusive comments. I’d much prefer to call it out. As they say, we teach people how they can treat us.

As a person who writes about feminism now and then, I get a lot of this. I will never be numb to it. I will call it out. Every time. As Mama said, it’s not “what” we say, but “how” we say it. Readers need to learn that too, and bring civility to the table. The world has too much rude.

Sorry this was so long — lol. :)

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