Its a tale as old as time. Women hating on other women. In the 80's, we saw it in the movie Pretty In Pink. In the 90's, we saw it in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, and in the 2000s we saw it in the now classic Lindsay Lohan flick Mean Girls. These are just a few examples of movies that highlight this epidemic that for some reason or another, never gets discussed properly. As much as we try to pretend we haven't been, we've all been a bully at some time or another. I can only speak for myself, but being bullied and being an outcast was what helped me turn to punk rock and heavy metal. At first I always felt like I had a place to go and people who understood. With the rise of social media, it has become a completely different place.
My most recent bully story starts with a Facebook group I was once a part of. It consists of all women who like heavy metal and I believe it has something around 1,000 members. Women who are in bands, the press, photographers, and general fans. The idea sounds like a positive motion but what I learned quickly was that you are not allowed, under any circumstance, to have an opinion that differs from theirs. I consider myself my own identity and I speak my mind. It is always easier to fit in than be the lone wolf so I should have known this before joining any kind of group. I loved being in the group at first it seemed so positive. I even planned the Christmas exchange last year. Over time though it got very hostile and people who stated their own views on things were getting bullied and pushed away. The day someone called me a Nazi (hi, my last name is GALDAMEZ), is when I decided to leave. The admin asked me about it and I explained it wasn't positive for me anymore. She understood.
From that group I had a few Facebook "friends" and a couple weeks ago I posted a "vaugebook" status to my 200 Facebook friends, half who aren't in any music scene. I posted this status after seeing a girl I followed on Instagram, for months, ridicule and embarrass men who were complimenting her. She would post sexy pictures of herself (no issue with that so don't even try to go there), and then when dudes would slide into her DM's and say NICE THINGS, she would screenshot herself making fun of them. If these men been saying rude things to her, I would be laughing. However, they were saying things like "Hi, you are pretty." Or "I know I don't know you, but you are beautiful." She could have easily just ignored them but didn't. In my vaugbook status, I didn't mention a name but several people thought they knew who it was.
Now, I am no angel. I say shit on my private Facebook all the time. I make fun of Toxic Holocaust bathing suits, I laugh about heavy metal cos-play, I even talk about what a joke I think the band Gatecreeper is. I certainly do not feel important enough to think that anything I say on Facebook should offend or matter whatsoever. I am just being goofy and at the end of the day my opinion means nothing. In fact, here is the exact status that caused world war 3.
I was not thinking anyone was going to care about anything I have to say but boy was I wrong. Someone had prompted me to bring up a rumor I heard about a girl we knew of, but again, no names were said. In fact, the kid who said it deleted that comment within the hour. It was too late.
A girl responded with a 5 paragraph novel on her own Facebook. I realized this when she attempted to tag me in it, and told all her thousands of "friends" not to support me or my work anymore. She then went into that same group I had left months prior, and got them started on me. Since I still had some friends in that group I was able to see women bashing me, my website, my support for women. I was really surprised considering that no names were said. I could have been talking about anyone. I started getting phone calls through Messenger (never knew that was a thing) from girls I don't know - and over and over. My phone rang so many times that I couldn't even block the numbers right away. My husband was getting constant text messages. I was told I was "an actual bitch" and another girl wrote another 12 paragraphs about me on her Facebook about how I am not to be supported. One girl told Cvlt Nation to take down all my articles and they did (so fuck them for being unprofessional) which not only took an opportunity away from a woman writer but also all the voices of the women I had interviewed (Kat Katz, Makiko Suda, Kristen Hayter, ect). All of this cause some girl had decided, without confirming or having any names said, that this was about her. She "knew people" and would continue to ruin me as long as she could. Yes, this all over a nameless Facebook status. Here is some of the comments that were left by people whom had never met in real life.
"I don't like her. She shames sex workers and I had to block her for that reason."
"I just saw this a few minutes ago not realizing I still "liked" her pages."
"Pahaha....how many hundreds of witnesses are there when she did shame sexworkers and belittle other woman for their physical appearance and how they dress?! When does she finally give up and SHUT UP. She is just embarrassing."
"That’s awful. I saw some of what was going on in the femme group but it got pulled before I could really get a handle on how insane she is. It’s really sad she’s behaving this way. Being a feminist isn’t just tokenism and rhetoric, it’s about making an effort to be intersectional in your activism and alsoooooo unpacking, sitting with, and processing your internalized misogyny that we are socially conditioned to carry until we say fuck that. This person isn’t doing that and they’re only gonna alienate themselves further if they don’t do some work. "
"I found out many things about her, all of them pointing to severe mental disorders, personality disorders, and a lot of self loathing. There are image/body issues at play, career issues, jealousy, manipulation, co-dependency."
"Unfortunately for her, I happen to know many people and ways to get a hold of who i need to in order to put the shackles on her reign of terror. Cvltnation has since removed any of her articles she has written."
"I know too damn well how to outsmart a bully by now."
My blood was boiling. I saw some people I thought were my internet friends, "like" and "love" the posts. I sat there trying to think of ways to defend myself from the sheer lies that were being told about me. I cried, I felt suicidal, I went Facebooking mad, I had anxiety, I got depression. I shut down the website, my Instagram and the Facebook page. I was mortified that anyone would not only think these things of me, but also believe these things. I couldn't work, I isolated myself and called my lawyer. I started to realize why kids commit suicide over social media and go into stores with loaded guns. I felt what they felt. It was all lies, but when thousands of people believe those lies, its heartbreaking. I started asking myself if what they said about me was true. Was I a slut shamer? Can I really call myself a feminist? Am I insane and bi-polar?
Clearly I am not a slut shamer, insane or bi-polar. I can prove a lot so my lawyer has been helpful and I am filing a defamation lawsuit if this continues. Strangers on the internet can say and think what they want about me. My work speaks for itself.
So, Do I like all women? No. Neither do the women who said these things about me. Do I make fun of people who are rude and vile? Yes. So do they. Do I put my foot in my mouth a lot and regret things? Yes. All the time. Do I make mistakes? Yes. All the time.
Do I write about how we can be better as women? Yes. Do I write about misogamy and women's rights? Yes. Do I reach out when things happen to women to get their side because the other media won't? Yes I do. Do I believe in equality for women/minorities? Yes. Do I try to bring attention to issues that other people wont discuss? Yes. Am I a feminist? According to the general definition, Yes I fucking am. I realized these girls just don't like me because I am not perfect. They have presented themselves as the all-united front yet they are the first to talk about on another. They have let social media dictate their entire life and talk about people they don't even know. I understand now I was a victim of that as well and it wasn't right. I can do better and I will do better.
Bullying is a leading cause for suicide (even at our ages). It leads to bad things and I saw first hand how it felt. To people I have hurt in the past, I am sorry. I got my karma. To the people who can't admit when they do things wrong or apologize, you're just contributing to the problems of this world. I pity you and I am trying to learn how to have compassion for you. I have taken steps personally to disengage with that audience and focus on the true people who support women. I was disappointed about Cvlt Nation. I think their reaction says more about them than anything (which is sad because it is half ran by a women). I don't support nepotism. After all this drama, I realized I can honestly say I have learned to not care what strangers think of me. Keep talking. It fuels me to succeed. Can you out-smart the bully? Yeah you can. Keep going forward, be the better person, let your attorney do the hard work and focus on people who support your cause.
Sorry bitches, I'm still standing.