An Open Letter to Open Letter Writers-
The newly aquired taste for "open letter writing."
Dare I admit that I hate such entries into the virtual world with a passion that pulsates purple?
In fact, I now refuse to read open letters of any kind.
Why should we stop writing open letters to those who have somehow offended us?
1. Writing an open letter is passive-aggressive.
If there is anything offensive, it is the shameless wielding of passive-aggression. I know we will all be someone's mother-in-law someday, but it doesn't mean we need to start practicing now.
If someone does something you find offensive, rather than writing a very public and very open letter after the fact, why not put on your big girl panties and actually SAY SOMETHING at the time?
For instance, if someone tells you to stop nursing in public, to cover yourself, or has the unmitigated gall to say you have your hands full while you struggle with your horde of children, just respond to them at the time. You know, like a grown up woman with a mouth.
Really, no need to write an open letter to said person that they will never see. Why not handle it like an adult and speak up for yourself and your rights, right then? If you can't manage to do it, pretend you are a man. They seem to have no problem speaking their minds and getting it over with already.
2. Writing open letters is a step back for feminism.
Did I just say that you should pretend you are a man? I did.
I don't actually mean that. I don't think women should pretend to be men. I don't think they need to do that in order to be strong. I think women are strong all on their own. And I mean that.
That is why I think they should stand up for themselves directly and immediately if they feel that they have been done wrong. Hiding, crying, stewing, and waiting for a later and non-confrontational moment to publicly confront the offender does not make you powerful. In fact, it has the opposite effect. (Was that effect or affect? So confusing.)
No, the open letter (which I always see being written by women) takes women OUT of the arena. This ends their communication with other players. It removes them from the change, the conversations, the decisions that need to be made.
Rather, the open letter writer is removed, silent when they should have a voice, and communicating indirectly rather than directly. Frankly, we are better than this and we should start participating rather than waiting to say our piece until later. Stop it. Just stop it.
3. Writing open letters makes you sound like a whiner.
Seriously. It does.
You have a problem? Deal with it. Right then. Like a grown up with the right to vote and drive and all that jazz. Handle it because you CAN handle it.
If, you find yourself in a situation where you don't stand up for yourself and you realize it later, then go back and have a conversation with the person you need to have a conversation with.
Communicate. Talk. Be clear. Go to the source.
Don't lurk behind the scenes, complain publicly when you are out of reach, and basically act like you are complaining but afraid to handle it like an adult.
We are strong women. We are not four years old. We do not need to whine. We can handle this stuff!
Stop writing open letters. Be a grown up. Put on big girl panties. Speak up. Remember that you have all the rights and privileges granted to an adult in our country and there is no need for open letter writing.
Maybe you are wondering if I noticed that I just wrote an open letter about how much open letters suck and how people should stop writing them.
Uh, yeah. I totally noticed that. And I think it's hilarious. Plus, I didn't want to go comment on every "open letter" post I have seen in the last year. I might hurt someone's feelings. And I'm nicer than that.
Sincerely and ironically yours,
Photo credit: Caro Wallis / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND