Anyone else asking themselves, ‘What the *CUSS WORD* is going on?!’ I am. So are a lot of women right now. – Kelly Fitzharris Coody

For starters, let me be clear: since my last post, things have gotten much, much worse in terms of cyber bullying and trolling. 

 

“My blood pressure has stayed at heart-attack level for days.”

“I have actually gotten sick over this.”

“I can’t be online right now…for my own mental health and sanity.”

[Actual Facebook feed quotes from two women and from one man.]

“So glad to be rid of this imaginary white privilege!”

“The red states are sane. The blue ones, I’ve named, “dumbfuckistan.”

“What did you do? Why are so many people mad at you? What did you do?”

[Actual Facebook quotes from men. Two of them avid Trump supporters, one just kind of clueless in a lost-puppy sort of way.]

What, in God’s name, IS going on? Unwarranted trolling has been happening on my page for quite some time now, pretty much right when my book was released, but it was all vulgar in its content. (Sexually explicit kind of vulgar). 

Now, it’s all become violent, threatening, and disturbingly mean. And, I might add, it’s all coming from my fellow Americans. Isn’t that something? That we’re so torn apart by politics that we are dividing ourselves from one another and isolating others left and right. We’re blocking each other, telling them we hate them, and we’re even screaming at people who are on the same side. WHAT THE FUCK?

Having been on the receiving end of a lot of misdirected hate from a lot of misguided men and women, something IS, indeed, going on.

My apologies for this letter being as brief as it is. I have come down with a cold. And for my sanity’s sake, I need to lie down again.

Kelly Fitzharris Coody

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You have no idea what you’ve done. You’ve elected The Hunger Games. – Kelly Fitzharris Coody

A few words on bullying, misogyny, racism, harassment, and the future of our nation. 

“Ignore it — they want you to react.”

“Don’t engage with them; it doesn’t help.”

When has ignoring a societal / cultural behavioral shift ever worked to our advantage? EVER?

Never.

Does ignoring racism work? How about rampant sexism? Bullying? Then why the hell should I be so inclined, as a woman, to ignore this intrusive and disgusting brand of depraved behavior exhibited by so-called internet trolls? Does the fact that it’s Facebook somehow excuse this harassment? Or make it any less hurtful and destructive?

Absolutely not.

It’s never okay for a grown man to harass a woman – I don’t care if he’s written it to me on a scroll in Olde English in expert calligraphy. A spade is a spade is a spade. Had Hillary won, do you think I’d feel the need to take to a stranger’s Facebook page – a Trump supporter – and start throwing stones? What I have said on Facebook about this election is minimal in comparison to how I really feel.

If you wonder why I wrote, “You have no idea what you’ve done,” then, you either don’t understand or are corroborating the problem. Casting a vote for Donald Trump, in his opponents’ hearts and minds, means that you’ve been complicit in setting the stage for violent domestic issues as well as violent foreign issues to arise and explode.

And as for the Europeans who are demanding answers from people like me? You don’t think that we’re scared shitless? Trump has no political experience. The things he says about women rival those said by serial killers, serial rapists, and convicted women-hating criminals. He’s a bully. He’s made nothing but enemies as far as his stances on race and sexual orientation and gender. His words alone threaten to tear apart the fabric of our existence as human beings, much less his election to office. The way of life that we’ve lived is in the hands of a volatile, power hungry child. His extremist supporters (let me be clear – I am not saying ALL of his supporters; I am saying that there ARE Trump supporters like this) are aggressive, limitless in their anger against minorities and women, and seemingly unaware of the damage of an impending nuclear war.

The more aggressive male Trump supporters are no different than the middle-eastern men that they claim to hate so much.

I hope that this letter jinxes us and that none of this happens – that’s what the other side does not seem to understand. We aren’t hoping for Trump to fail. We are scared. We’re scared that he’s said, “I don’t understand. If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them? Why can’t we use them?” And now, in less than two months, he will be our commander in chief. He will have access to these weapons. We are fucking terrified that his anger and volatility, coupled with the trigger-happy side of him will start World War III. You think that WE hope for this? We’re angry at the people who voted for him because we see them as the ones who hope for this.

“So sorry for someone like you.”

“You’re a fucking hypocrite.”

“Bitch.”

“Stupid bitch.”

“Another dumb cunt.”

Shall I go on? Make no mistake, ignoring this behavior from men on social media WILL NOT make it disappear. If they’re allowed to write things like this on my timeline, why am I being discouraged for calling it out? And for fighting back?

“You can’t reason with people like that.”

I couldn’t possibly give a shit.

If, by stalking my Facebook page, they’ve been able to surmise that I’m not a Trump supporter, and can string enough words together to make a sentence that says, “You don’t even have what it takes to have a man like me for one night, so sorry for someone like you!” WHY are my so-called friends and family yelling at ME for responding, “What in God’s name are you talking about, you ridiculous, moronic, ego-maniacal fool? I feel sorry for someone like you. And, by the way, I’m married.”

Here’s the thing: I DON’T WANT TO REASON WITH THEM. I WANT TO HUMILIATE THEM.

I need to address the amount of unwarranted, outlandish behavior that is becoming not only socially acceptable, but laughed off, even, by the mob mentality that is Facebook. I have not been on the receiving end of this much hate, bullying, and harassment since I was in middle school. It shouldn’t have happened then and it sure as hell shouldn’t be happening now; do you realize that you’re a grown MAN harassing and denigrating someone’s daughter, mother, wife, and sister? Does that thought even cross your mind? You’re so safe behind your computer that you spew malicious words as though it’s your job. The things that you say to me on here, in your comments, etc, would never be said to my face. At this moment in my life, I think I actually prefer getting pushed and laughed at by German adults – at least they were “man” enough to insult me to my face. Shame on you. Shame on all of you for your depraved behavior (this is going to those of you who have been especially malicious; not to my friends and fellow writers, human beings who display common decency no matter the color of their skin or the political party they choose to identify with).

The ever-growing monster that’s Facebook has given everyone a computer to hide behind as they say horrific things to one another, even without provocation to do so. Interestingly enough, when I had some time a few days ago, someone who called me a “fucking hypocrite” and kept doing so and wouldn’t let up, was quiet and calm when I sent them a private message asking them what was up.

I will be silenced no longer.

I don’t have to put up with endless sexual harassment, childish name-calling and blatant disrespect, even when it’s “JUST on Facebook.” Even my peers, mentors, supporters, and friends try to silence me when I call someone out for their idiocy and ignorance on social media.

STOP THIS. YOU ARE UNKNOWINGLY MAKING IT WORSE FOR US. BY DIMINISHING OUR WORTH. BY CORROBORATING THEIR MISOGYNY WITH WILLFUL BLINDNESS.

I will speak my truth and I am unapologetic. I am unafraid.

I remember a few months ago getting a grossly blown-out-of-proportion (and also a snippy, asshole comment, assassinating my character) comment on my profile picture. I looked at it. I was upset.

“You just want to argue with people,” said those around me. You know what that sentence did? It cemented in my mind that I was somehow to blame for the comment.

When, in fact, in reality, the funny thing is that the comment came from left field. It was unprovoked. So, yeah, sure, I play along that I’m always wanting a “good fight.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Fights upset me; they’re hurtful.

“Don’t feed the trolls.”

“Get OFF of there!”

“Why are you getting so upset about FACEBOOK, Kelly? It’s fucking FACEBOOK!”

Before I’d fed the trolls. Or done anything except be who I am.

She’s a woman, so surely she did something to provoke that person. It’s her fault. Now she’s arguing all over the place; she is so embarrassing .

Remember that an argument against Trump does not equal an endorsement for Hillary. 

Let’s say, for a moment, that America, as a nation, is an addict. And this election was our wake-up call; our rock bottom, if you will. We’re only seeing the beginnings of how truly divisive this election has been thus far – and what’s to come remains to be seen.

We’re exhausted. We’ve been fed poison for far too long.

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Kelly Fitzharris Coody

Chin Up! You Should Just be Happy You’ve Made it THIS Far! – Editor in Chief – Kelly Fitzharris Coody

“Complain to me when you’re talentless and homely.”

“I’m jealous of how thin you are!”

“My, my, with that red hair, you could break everyone’s heart in this room.”

“Woooo!!I just got my royalty check and oh my god! Kelly, can you edit half of my next book for free?”

“I do love a good story… however I’ll just keep the memory of how insanely beautiful you are with me to sleep:)”

GUESS WHAT?!!!!! I am writing my own books, juggling staying at home with my children, being a good wife, running this web site, collaborating with another author on a book, and making sure there’s food on the goddamn table.

This is fun?

This is productive?

I’ve worked so goddamn hard on this book – on making it a really, really good book that I’m proud of.

The other “authors” don’t consider me a peer because of my fucking appearance. (As you can already tell, I’m going to swear a lot. Be advised.) What do you want me to do, put a bag over my head? This is my face. I won’t apologize for being a woman.

I’ve never felt more underestimated, undervalued, or disappointed in my life. Do you want to know how many times I have been asked to “sex chat?” Or if I’m “happily married?” Rather than asking me about my writing or anything else.

Oh, and while I’m here, I need to address this.

What gives?! I asked  you guys nicely if you would share a link from Underground Book Reviews’s Facebook page for me, as I was up for being reviewed by them, as I had made Pitch Perfect Finalist.

BUT ONLY ONE PERSON DID.

So, guess what happened?

A book about quiche won and, yeah, I am sort of crushed. A BOOK ABOUT QUICHE RECIPES WON AND GOT A THOROUGH, WELL-PROMOTED REVIEW. And me? Well, I’m still here. Plugging along. Going back to the drawing board.

Melissa and I have both come down with a cold / flu / plague thing, so we’ve been MIA recently. We will be MIA for a little longer as we figure out the new schedule – the themes are still going to happen, they just may happen after the holidays in order for them to work.

As of right now, we are pushing back publishing to a later date. I will put up another editor’s letter once I figure out what that date is.

Another funny note that I might mention here – half of you are friends with me on Facebook and don’t even realize that I’m the one you email with your submissions – that I’m the one working tirelessly to be a platform for YOUR writing. I created this magazine to give a voice to those who were talented and deserved to be heard.

Most other literary magazines / journals have a minimum response time of three to four months – please begin to expect the same from us. ESPECIALLY if I’ve told you we’ve accepted your work.

I’m the friend who listens to everyone else vent, is there as a shoulder to cry on for them, would do anything for them, but never receives it in return.

My throat is swollen and it’s painful to swallow. I’m going to bed.

I truly cherish the community that I’ve been able to foster here – but, sometimes, it’s hard to be everything to everyone while my own work is collecting dust in the corner. And, I’m still sick.

PS: I’ve mailed off everyone’s Pushcart Noms.

You know who I am.

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“I mean, you’re only like a 6 or maybe a 7.” – Editor in Chief, Kelly Fitzharris Coody

As a woman, I’ve been on the receiving end of this indictment multiple times throughout my lifetime.

Certainly beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this type of “attractiveness” judgment that society thrusts upon young (and older) women can send most of us spiraling down into a shame cycle.

The quote that titles this letter, “I mean, you’re like a six or maybe a seven,” was actually said to me.

I was about to start college in the fall in a different state, at a place where I knew hardly anyone, so I was doing what everyone else did: I networked online and tried to meet some people before I went out there.

But when I sent a snapshot of my 17 year-old self, posing with a friend, perched against oak trees wearing matching red sweaters on Niceville High School’s campus, that wasn’t quite the response I figured that picture garnered. I wasn’t sending it with the intention of receiving any 1 – 10 rating of my appearance.

The only other person I knew going into UT was a friend I’d gone to theater camp with in Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1999. I’d become particularly abhorrent to him in the interim as well, much to my surprise, as we rarely spoke or hung out–we are Facebook friends, now, though, HA! (So this must mean that by now we’re cool, right? Facebook friendships are totally legit. Wink, wink.)

Other peoples’ opinions do not define us.

Their viewpoints, their judgments, their ideas of who you are based on a few interactions or a few photos don’t define you. We live in an age where judgment follows us; critics are far louder than fans and they can get to us any where, any time through various social media outlets.

We talk SO MUCH about equality and freedom, yet at the same time corroborate misogynistic ideals and perpetuate sexist stereotypes against women.

She’s a whore. 

What a bitch!

Ugh, I bet she’s on her period. 

She’s so thin she looks gross. 

Any of these sound familiar? We need to stop shaming one another before we can truly work together toward breaking the glass ceiling and making a change in this world.

To the guy who called me a six or a seven: Fuck you.

To guys who rate women on a 1 to 10 scale: Fuck you.

You don’t own us; you don’t own our self-esteem. We do. And, guess what? You’re outnumbered. And we are stronger, faster, smarter and better than you ever estimated us to be.

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There’s my six or seven self from Niceville High School in the slideshow above. There’s the infamous photo of myself and my friend on the high school’s campus in our matching sweaters that elicited the comment.

Just because I was moving to Austin, Texas from Florida didn’t mean I was going to look like a swimsuit model – that’s like assuming that a person from Texas rides a horse to and from work (if there are people out there who still believe in this cowboy-Texas-everyone-rides-horses-stuff, then WAKE UP! YOU ARE CRAZY!)  every day.

Here lately with all of the media frenzy surrounding Donald Trump and his insanely sexist point of views on women and what women’s roles should be, I felt the need to say something. It’s 2016 and we still don’t make as much money as our male counterparts. This needs to change. As of yesterday.

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The other slideshow I posted above is when my family and I lived in Aschaffenburg, Germany in 1987; when it was still divided into East Germany and West Germany. I thought I’d share. I always talk about it and write about it, but just found the photo albums housing these precious gems last week.

This editorial note is more personal than it is work-related; but the point is that sexism exists in literature, too.

Let’s stop tolerating the way we’re treated. Let’s “get fucking hysterical,” as our contributor Steve Carr said to me this morning, until we see actual change on the horizon.

Cheers, SLM Team,

Kelly Fitzharis Coody

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