monica byrne

Self-care on social media.

I posted this on Facebook a few months ago, and wanted to repost it here, because I think it’s extremely important, especially for women, people of color, and other persons often put in the position of having to explain or defend their life experiences: You can set your boundaries on social media. If people don’t observe them, you have no obligation to engage them further. And if you want to borrow my words to make this clear to your own social media circles, feel free to quote me. Love.


“Since I’ve now lost two (male) friends who posted argumentative comments on my thread about Hillary, after I stated explicitly that I was not looking to engage in debate on it, then reiterated that point to them privately and respectfully after I deleted their comments, to which they responded badly, let’s make something perfectly clear:

My page is not a public forum. It is my forum that happens to be in public. It is not a newspaper that needs to be “balanced.” It does not owe anyone else space. Facebook currently does not allow posts with comments disabled; if it did, I’d have used that option for the latest post, as bloggers do all the time when they don’t have the mental or emotional energy for debate. In the meantime, I have every right to curate threads—for whatever reason I want, because it’s my space; but my overriding concern is protecting myself, my time, and my energy in a patriarchy that is hostile to women. This isn’t some flippant thing I decided overnight. It’s a conscious choice after years of dealing with men on demand, on their terms, for their edification.

So if I see a argumentative comment on a post where I’ve explicitly asked for no engagement, I don’t read it, and it takes me half a second to delete it, regardless of content. Unfair? Censor-y? Whatever. I’ve seen women in public space burn out over and over because they feel obligated to give everyone their time, and are attacked when they don’t. We can’t afford more women burning out. Guess what: I choose to get back to my wonderful life instead of indulging you. I choose to be happy. A woman serving herself and her own needs is a radical act in our society, and it overrules your compulsion to express your pet digs. If you want to call it “censorship,” be my guest, except that there are literally thousands of social media opportunities any person in the U.S. has to express their opinion, especially if they’re white men. What you call censorship, I call curating a microcommunity that reflects a world I want to live in. One wherein—at the very least—when a woman states her boundaries, she is respected.”


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