Why we Need to Tell Our Story

I wrote a post the other day about the importance of having heroes. People that we look up to in life, for whatever reason. I said that most of my heroes were people who used their pain and turned it into something creative, writers in general, and then I talked about some of the women who I admire, who are speaking out about being childless, and living an alternative life to the accepted norm. I also talked about Elvis. Mainly because I love talking about Elvis.

Anyhoo, two days later, one of my heroes fell off his pedestal. Well…maybe not fell off exactly…but he’s definitely teetering on the edge. If you know me, then you probably know who I’m talking about. In a nutshell, his ex-wife has accused him of adultery. Not. Nice. Behaviour. But not as hideous as some of the behaviour we’ve seen from famous people lately.

Now, I don’t want to discuss the rights and wrongs of what he may or may not have done. I’ve already given it far more thought than it deserves. (Also, while I’m trying to sort out what I choose to believe, the Psychologist part of my brain is intrigued about why I even care, so I end up going around in circles and wandering off into all kinds of obscure thoughts). What I want to talk about is the way the media have reacted.

I’ve been struck by the way the media have just assumed the accusations are true. And

there’s a part of me that will always side with any woman who makes accusations against any man,

until I’m shown otherwise. I know that’s probably not fair, but women have been ignored for so long, that I feel we need all the support we can get. In this case however, I don’t want to believe that a man I admire, for his creativity, his writing, and his willingness to show his vulnerability, is capable of behaving so badly. Sigh. But I know it’s possible.

So far, he’s chosen to keep his mouth shut and not comment. Some would say that implies guilt, but let’s face it, whether he denies it, or admits it, there’ll always be some that believe it and some that don’t. But the fact that the media’s reporting of this has been so one-sided has really disturbed me.

If you weren’t interested in the people involved, and you just came across any of the articles written about it, you would assume the guy is a complete asshole. You wouldn’t even question it. This is wrong. We should not be taking what we read as gospel without considering the opposite angle. The two sides to every story thing.

This behaviour from the media is not new, I know. It’s just that this is the first time I’ve seen it so blatantly and it’s the first time it’s made me question my beliefs about what’s right and what’s wrong. And I can’t help but compare it to how childless women are portrayed in the media.

If you only went by what you’ve read, you would assume that every woman who doesn’t have children is either heartless and cold, barren and shrivelled up, or an ambitious career woman. Now, you and I know that’s not true. The problem is, the only people that go looking for articles that disagree with the mainstream ones are the people that already know it’s not true. Not the ones that need to know.

This needs to change. We need to tell our stories. We need to educate the world. We’re childless, not worthless. But the people out there don’t know that. They have an idea in their heads about us, an image that helps to feed our own insecurities and pain about our situation, and that’s just so wrong.

Nothing’s going to change until we start speaking out. Telling our truth. And in telling our truth, we’ll heal too.

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