Or, show your class, not your ass.
Earlier today, a professional blogger tweeted, “Hired some drywallers for a project. The pregnant lady in flip-flops on a ladder & smoking? Yeah. She’s with them. #Really #NoReallyReally.” Then, a bit later, “I agree with you guys: perhaps we could coax her off the ladder with a stiff drink. 😉 #RethinkingOurHiringStandards.”
Yes, smoking while pregnant is not the best choice one could make. Neither is climbing ladders while pregnant and shod in flip-flops. No one is disputing that it’s a less-than-safe idea. But you know what else is a bad choice? Making fun of a stranger who’s trying to make a living in front of 1,216,469 followers. And you can justify your comments all you want by expressing concern about safety and lawsuit issues, but once you start making cracks about enticing a pregnant woman with a cocktail, you’ve crossed out of “concern” territory and into mocking someone you consider to be beneath you.
Let me break it down further: I think we can all agree that if you’re drywalling someone else’s house the day before Thanksgiving and you’re wearing flip-flops (and you live in Florida, ZING!), you’re probably not rolling in cash. You’re probably doing what you need to do to keep the lights on and maybe finance a box of Stove Top and a turkey for tomorrow. And if you’re a professional blogger who has access to the funds to hire a team of people to come drywall your house, and you then take to Twitter to make fun of those folks you’ve hired, you’re probably extremely blind to your own privilege. Which you will then, of course, deny (even though you’re not a dude!).
Again, my issue is not with expressing “concern” over a pregnant woman’s (fetus included) safety; rather, it is using a platform such as Twitter when you have a following in the seven digits to perpetuate the hegemonic construct of the woman’s body as public property, available for any- and everyone to comment upon, not to mention perpetuating classist attitudes about working-class individuals. Which, invariably, takes us straight to Eugenics Land.
Of course, if you dare call said professional blogger out on their tackiness, you are of course, branded as the stupid pariah feminist who “us[es] feminism to excuse the woman’s behavior.” Or, when you initially express your frustration with the commentary, you get told you have an unwarranted sense of entitlement. And she’s right, this blogger owes me nothing. But I do think that when you’re a public figure who blogs about silly desserts, and you have 1.25 million followers, you do bear some responsibility for what you put out there. You help set the tone. And it’s not about feminism, it’s about being a decent human being.