Originally published April 24, 2013.
Revised and republished November 21, 2015 after a web host transfer.
Girls grow up learning to judge each other according to four cultural themes of betrayal. Bad and ugly gossip are one method of betrayal. When girls and women respond to each other according to these cultural themes, they respond as if there are growling at each other. Think about all the times you’ve heard the term “cat fight” applied to women. I am tired of women starting cat fights that hurt and insult and betray instead of gab fests that heal and encourage and support.
I had hoped to start a gab fest with a woman who edits a print publication. I sent her the following email (with identifying details removed):
“I am currently collecting examples of amateurs with passion. The founding members of the MREA were amateurs at hosting an energy fair, but they were amateurs with passion. Their passion created the longest running and most successful renewable energy fair in the world.
It seems to me that you were an amateur with passion when you started this publication.
Am I right?
I especially want to collect examples of amateurs with passion in Wisconsin. If you know of any others, please share them with me.”
This was her response:
“Thanks for the email. Passion is a requirement for any member of the Fourth Estate.
I have looked up your website, and I didn’t see any affiliation with MREA. I would be willing to share my experiences, but I would be be remiss in my duties, and in violation of our code of ethics, if I were to pass along non-public information regarding our sources to a third party without expressed written consent.”
You can see that the editor’s response was a growl. In order to respond with a growl, she had to stereotype me negatively. In order to stereotype me negatively, she gave herself an unprofessional image of incompetence and ineffectiveness. Her girl growl backfired.
The editor’s first image of incompetence was her supposed inability to recognize the word “examples”. The fifth word in my email is “examples” and I used “examples” a second time near the end of my email. The editor can read. She knows the word “examples” when she sees it.
The editor’s second image of incompetence was her failure to recognize the example in my first paragraph.The editor is an intelligent woman. She knows an example when she sees one. She also knows that examples are situations people can see from the outside. No sources required.
The editor ignored my double use of the word “examples” and pretended I had asked her for sources. My supposed request for sources required an extremely negative response because she wanted me to feel I had committed a sin.
As far as ineffectiveness, either the editor really was ineffective or she intentionally ignored one whole page of my website. That page describes my affiliations to the MREA. I made a documentary about the MREA. The MREA used quotes from my documentary in their book about the first 20 years of their fair. I would never consider asking anyone for their sources within the MREA because I have my own sources. I’ve known some of my MREA sources for 30 years.
When I wrote the my email to the editor, the title of the page about the MREA was “Documentary.” That does not excuse the editor’s failure to find my affiliation with the MREA. This editor now writes investigative articles for her newspaper. Every time I see one, I wonder what she missed in her “investigation”.
Intelligent people can do foolish things, and the editor’s response to my email is an example of foolish failure.* She turned down an offer of free and admiring publicity. I wanted to put her in the same “amateurs with passion” category as the founding members of the MREA. From what I see, she looks like an amateur with passion who became a professional with passion. Why would the editor object to being in the same category as the founding members of the longest running and most successful renewable energy fair in the world?
I am tired of women responding to my goodwill offers with growls that stereotype me negatively. The editor’s growl was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Because of her, I came up with the term “girl growl”. I also decided to add the “Girl Growl Backfire” category to this blog. I had already created the Girl Goodwill page on my website. But the above growl from an intelligent woman proves that girl growls need to be addressed. Below are my definitions of both girl goodwill and girl growls.
Girl goodwill is any intentional effort to create success for other females.
Girl growls are any intentional efforts to sabotage success for other females.
My goal in adding the Girl Growl Backfire category is to convince women that both goodwill and growls are invitations. Send out goodwill and you invite other women to respond with goodwill. Send out growls and you invite other women to respond with growls. Instead of responding to this editor with a growl, I chose to expose how her growl at me backfired on her.
I also think it is time for women to hold each other accountable for betraying other women. The four cultural themes of betrayal create inequality between women. We can hardly expect men to create equality for women when women create inequality for each other. Equality between men and women will follow equality between women.
If the editor uses her intelligence and starts responding to other women with goodwill, I would be happy to write something positive about her. I still think she could be in my “amateur with passion“ category. I name the people I write about as examples of success. Free and positive publicity for a woman who did so well that she went from being an amateur with passion to being a professional with passion. Do you see anything wrong with that?
Since the editor growled at me, it is likely that she has growled at other women. That means the editor has repeatedly sent out invitations for other women to respond to her with growls.
The editor wrote an article about a local issue involving a resident. A number of the resident’s neighbors wrote comments to the article supporting the resident. Several online comments from the publication day of the newspaper disappeared. I know this because I read comments from a number of people wondering where their previous comments had gone. I went back to that article a few days later. All of the comments wondering about the disappearance of the earlier comments had also disappeared. Few comments remained. Apparently, the editor believes in freedom of speech only for herself.
Please join Paula Kramer’s Girl Goodwill Facebook campaign to create more success for all women. Unfortunately, Facebook moved my Girl Goodwill email to a different page, created a new password for my Girl Goodwill page, and has ignored all of my requests to give my administrative access back to me.
* Foolish failure
Failing to see opportunities for serendipitous success in people who are different from you because you do not understand that your success is connected to their success
Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)
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Updated July 31, 2016
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