Gossip Mags & Small Town Rumours

I was standing in the grocery check-out line, surrounded by the usual, gum, chocolate bars, and gossip magazines.  I haven’t purchased a gossip rag in many years. In fact, I rarely ever have. I’ve never been one to care about celebrities in general, but occasionally, reading about their lives has entertained me. This week’s smut was particularly relevant to me at the moment for more than one reason. The title read “Best & Worst Moms!” This got my attention. I’m a mom and a person who has known the wrath of the rumour-mill.  Seeing celebrity pictures with a rating score beside them, really irritated me. I couldn’t particularly name the reasons at the time (I was frazzled by kids circling my legs in anticipation to get out of the store), but I knew I had an issue with this magazine. I bought it (against my better judgement), with my groceries and put it on my list of things to read and think about in the upcoming days.

The reasons for disliking this magazine are very evident. 1. Who the hell has the right to grade someone on their mom skills? Really? You have no idea what lives these women and children are actually living. You are journalists who are coming to conclusions about someone’s parenting skills based on gossip and pictures taken out of context by nosey paparazzi. 2. Why are we buying into this gossip? How does it serve us? Perhaps by making us feel like better parents because we tuck our kids in every night, instead of having our nanny do it? Why is this better? Who decides what makes a good parent? Are we just jealous? 3. The entire focus of 4 pages of this rag was putting moms down. Proof through pictures and rumours from people who know them, (even if they are merely on the outskirts of their lives) that they aren’t working hard enough at being a mom. They are selfish, unfit, etc. etc. It was all so biased and completely irrelevant information. The parents who earned good grades just happen to be celebrities who are in the limelight right now. People who earned poor marks were moms who have been victim to all sorts of other negative press in the last little while. It disgusted me. I was ashamed that I spent money on it. But at least it got me thinking.

I’m not a stranger to gossip. In fact, I have taken part in it for many years. It comes with the territory of living in a small town. I’ve often been the target of gossip. In my school years I had many people who for one reason or another, disliked me or felt they had something of importance to say about my life to others. In most cases I brushed it off. We were young, everything changes rapidly. Friends today, enemies tomorrow, and back again. It was part of life. As I grew older, I chose mainly “gossip free” friends. I will never be a girl in a gaggle of catty women, who laugh to your face and rip you to pieces behind your back. I learned early, and I’m thankful for that.

I often wonder what makes some people more susceptible to gossip. Is it that their lives are that much more interesting than others? Or, is it because they put their lives out there, open for discussion and interpretation? I’m guessing it is the latter. Celebrities are gossiped about because they live very open lives. They become interesting to us, because they are out there, we see them, and hear them and sometimes can’t escape their presence. They are fascinating and so we feel that we are free to interpret their situations for entertainment. When you think about our own lives, outside of hollywood films and the music industry, it’s a very similar situation. People who become victims of malicious gossip are often the ones who are open with their lives, their flaws and their successes. They become prey for the insecure, boring types who closet everything. Girls who dress a certain way are labelled sluts and whores, man-stealers, family-destroyers. Sometimes it is true, but for the most part, I’d say that isn’t the case. I’ve learned that the worst kind of person is the one who holds it all in. The ones who have learned to be two-faced and fake to mask their horrible behaviour. 

In my personal experience, rumours are in fact started by people who are scared shitless to ask the important questions, or confront issues. They come to their own conclusions about things, and instead of asking for clarification to soothe their wounded egos, they decide that it is justifiable to start rumours, spread lies, and talk shit about people they know absolutely nothing about. I know this as fact, because I’ve lived it. I’ve been called a wide range of things. A bitch, a bad mother, an alcoholic and even a patient in a mental institution. Seriously, I kid you not. The vivid stories I’ve heard about myself really astound me. It seems I’m far more interesting that I thought. I’ve had my fair share of anger and sadness over these horrible lies, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t get me anywhere. I can rage all I want, but it doesn’t change a thing. What matters are the people who stand beside me and call bullshit on behaviour like that. The people who know right and wrong and aren’t afraid to say it. These are the people we need in our lives.

I wonder how these celebrities take all of this negativity. I know I could never do it. Imagine going shopping one day to see a picture of you and your kids on a cover of a magazine with a giant “F” as your grade. I can’t even fathom the amount of anger that would bring out in me. I found it hard enough to face the person in the grocery store who asked me how I was feeling after my stint in the padded cell. Embarrassment mixed with an intense rage like I’ve never experienced before. I’m not a person who forgives or forgets easily. I try to listen to all those preachy quotes about karma and being the bigger person. One day I’ll get there. But right now, I’m a firm believer that sometimes the high road is for bitches. 

All of this gossip talk has taught me one very important thing:

Some people will always eat the shit they are served. To them I say, BON APETIT!  (I just watched Julie & Julia so I said that in my best Julia Child voice)


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