People often ask each other what to watch on Netflix. I find that I tend to gravitate toward movies that are off the beaten path, foreign films, highly rated and not the usual North American high profile movies. Today, I was fortunate to find a movie that was women centered and had great societal value. This is one to show your daughters and your sons and maybe even discuss. For me, though, it was so needed after a heavy week of watching women duke it out online. The film was all about women supporting women, women working together for a common goal, women uplifting each other and generally feeling for each other. Sure, there was a woman who was not ‘with’ the group in body or spirit, but the group still showed her kindness even when she did not return the sentiment. That’s what community is all about, lifting each other up and coming together on important issues.
Almost two weeks ago, a very active group on Facebook was shut down after an offline incident and the group was subsequently removed by a new set of admins. The group was primarily women based and the former admins were all women. The group was comprised of over 12000 women supporting each other, virtually, through conversation and opinions much in the way communities did over a hundred years ago. They did not always agree but they were respectful and supportive. This group, though, was an online community that was bigger than the town that I live in.
As the group disappeared, very quickly, a new group appeared and I joined it believing that it was very much the same as the last: women supporting women. It took all of ten minutes to realize that it was not at all the same. The women in the new group, lead by a very vocal group of admins, claimed to support and enlighten fellow members through evidence and research. What I found was a group of women who belittled those who did not think the way they did, who hid behind evidence that supported only their own cause and could not fathom two or three sides to an argument and who used horrid cyber bully tactics to validate their arguments.
I stayed in the group for a week. I felt like perhaps exploring other viewpoints and other opinions might deepen my understanding of yet another side, another stance. I felt I had something to learn from them. And I may not have learned but I was reminded:
Intolerance breeds contempt.
Judgement is not just about choices other people make, it is about the threat to our own belief system.
We start wars by degrading, demonizing and disempowering the perceived threat group.
Cyber bullying is not age or gender defined.
The movie, though, also may not have taught but it, too, reminded me of life lessons:
People generally want the best possible outcomes when looking for solutions or helping others to find this.
We depend on truth in the moment to make the best decisions.
Love and tolerance build trust and friendship.
Controversial topics often have many sides to explore and that is a good thing.
Oh. And the movie? La Source Des Femmes. Netflix. Definitely put it on your list. Let me know what you think.