This post comes care of a suggestion made by a loyal Satcheling, which was cemented by the surprisingly lively, yet not entirely positive, reaction to last week's 'Cute & Chic' post.
In the spirit of the Girl Guides, Pollyanna and our feminist friends at Jezebel, I've decided to implement a GWAS Code of Commenting Conduct, according to which I will be vetting comments.
Until now, I've pretty much approved every comment based on the idea that open dialogue is what blogs are based on and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Often these opinions are extremely well articulated and add a valuable dimension to an otherwise one-sided or insufficiently thought out post, as would an interview subject in a magazine feature. Also, as this blog's main meal is often critical magazine reviews, I have to be prepared to get as good as I give. Many readers are passionate about their glossies and understandably defensive.
But when the feedback descends into the realm of personal attacks, I have to say enough's enough. As one reader joked with me recently, "everyone knows you sit at home and live off your rich husband and rip off the government by claiming back mags at tax time". Thankfully, I can shake off those sorts of comments because they are so ridiculously far from the truth. My husband is cute (see him in an upcoming post!), but rich he is most certainly not.
The reactionary and largely anonymous nature of the blogosphere – in addition to the pervasively snarky nature and influence of many blogs, web forums and even magazines – means we are often quick to comment without consideration for a person's feelings. And not just mine – I'm talking those of fellow commentors (you are all valued – even in your anonymity), women who work in the industry, celebrities, and other women I choose to feature on the blog.
As Gordon Ramsay so eloquently demonstrated with his unprovoked attack on Tracy Grimshaw, this snark might just be reflective of a relaxing of standards in society at large: Therese Rein, Susan Boyle, Beth Ditto and Gretel Killeen are just a few more women who've fallen victim to media nastiness of late. But we can all do better than that.
Petty bitchiness, particularly when it comes to a woman's appearance, is diminishing, and not just for the victim of the attack. I know that every time I post something that verges on the bitter side, it kills a little part of me. And no amount of chocolate can console a girl's soul. Deep down, I think we all want to be good and positive and encouraging, but sometimes we give into the persuasions of our lesser selves, like partaking in an office kitchen bitching session that leaves us feeling utterly deflated. Being critical and using your university educated cerebral faculties to articulate an argument is one thing; unwarranted snark is another.
On my MacBook, I have a Bible verse, which I try to consult before posting (often, in haste, I don't). It reads: "The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control... We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another." (Galatians 5: 16-26). These are the values GWAS attempts to espouse.
In the Bible it also says: "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45).
So, if you're having a shitty day, or shitty life, try not to bring that to fruition via a nasty comment. Go have a coffee with a girlfriend. Or see a shrink. And if you don't like what I have to say, just turn away. Blogs are subjective and personal – as much as I shoot for the journalistic principles of fairness and accuracy, as well as the GWAS mission of "finding the good in gloss", I will offend, annoy and irritate some of you.
In short, to have your comment approved and ensure the positive, salutary spirit of GWAS lives on (even on the crappy days we all inevitably face), it must adhere to these principles:
- Constructive criticism.
- No personal character attacks.
- No attacks based on appearance.
- No swearing.
- No hating.
- No bullying.
Grace, poise and nobility are valued. For example, a recent worthy comment from Liz with regards to my recent post on Vogue:
"GWAS, I do love you so, but I sometimes feel that you pick on Harper's Bazaar whilst ladle praise upon praise on Vogue (bar that one article). Now I don't think HB are going such a great job, but in fact both magazines are lacking that certain 'must-read must-buy' factor right now. Whilst I understand the current economic climate (the 'R' word) is making them look both magazines inappropriate, it seems that Harper's bears the brunt of your insults whereas Vogue always seems to get away relatively scot free."
A+. Tick. Approved.
I am fully encouraging of diverse, interesting, witty, informative, funny and insightful comments: particularly those framed in a positive way. Even what might seem a banal thought in your own mind ("I liked that cover because it was pretty") is worthy and adds to the GWAS commenting community. So, stand up and have your thoughts counted. No use storing them up for a rainy day.
If you would like to take me to task on a subject, or even send in some positive reinforcement, please don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for visiting and for your time. Please do come again!
Girl With a Satchel