I laughed. I cried. I cringed. Sixteen year-old Willow Palin’s now famous rant on Facebook is quickly making the rounds on celebrity news sites like TMZ and the Huffington Post. Seems that a Facebook “friend” named Tre decided to post on his page, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska is failing soo hard right now.” For those who don’t engage in the tribal ritual of Facebook, if you are “friends” with someone on Facebook and they post something, it posts on your page and you can read it. If I were to guess, “Tre” is a friend of Bristol’s not of Willow’s. But, once Bristol commented, then her sister Willow (who is a “friend” of hers) would be able to begin seeing the exchange. Complicated, I know, but this is the seedy, twisted world of social media. Frankly, I love it! But I’m a grown up and I learned my lesson decades ago that getting into a mud fight only gets you dirty. The fact is, Tre knews what he was doing and he easily accomplished his objective to agitate with the Palin daughters only too easily sucked right in.
So, Bristol Palin was the first to comment. [Because girls cannot let anything go.] Boys smell desperation and cannot wait to jump right into the middle of a mosh pit, especially if they are protected by a computer. Willow’s first comment is to “Matt” who I’m assuming “liked” Tre’s comment above and she calls him fat. Matt then says her sister Bristol is fat and Willow says that she’s still hot.
Tre, the instigator of the spiraling dialogue, says “Willow, don’t make me count to three,” and then posts a string of hahahaha.
Willow responds, “haha your so gay. I have not idea who you are…” Blah, blah, blah.
Today’s Huffington Post Headline:
Willow Palin Facebook Posts: Homophobic Slurs, Curse Words & More (PHOTOS)
What about Tre? And, when did it get homophobic? Willow does not know the guy, so it’s not her intent to spew homophobic slurs.
But it doesn’t matter. The Palin’s kids are fair game and so are yours. Tre and Matt were Bristol and Willow’s bulliers and every girl has one or two before they leave high school. It can be a girl or guy and the bullying can be instigated by a post on any “friends” page: “Did you see what Margaret was wearing.” “I think Joe is going to break up with Kate.” The heartbreak of adolescence that you remember as a young girl has just exploded into a digital mob where people can now comment (seemingly innocently) and then other mean girls can “like” an unkind comment and the entire grade/class/school can see it. In a matter of seconds, a girl’s self-esteem can be punctured and trampled on.
Facebook is as intrusive and violating as some assaults, but they are emotional assaults. For adults, it’s a great way to communicate, for young girls it is quickly becoming a weapon of choice to hurt and humiliate. My heart goes out to Willow. She appears to be the caregiver, the nurturer of the family, worrying about what is said about her mother, sister and other family members. Her protection of them is futile. I’m absolutely certain that she went to bed in tears. Facebook is a difficult arena to come away from unscathed if you are in high school.
Young girls are extremely impressionable, socially awkward and way too into what others think of them. Don’t let Facebook be their mirror. You can’t protect them from all of the world’s injustices, but perhaps you can guard them from the likes of Tre and Matt, two boys out to stir up trouble. What do you say when your daughter cries, “but everyone has a Facebook page,” here’s some suggestions:
1) If everyone jumped off a bridge would you?
2) I don’t care.
3) I wish I had a lot of things.
4) Do you want me to take away your cell phone.
5) Be a leader. Don’t follow the crowd.
6) Did Mother Theresa have a Facebook page?