Heather blogs here and on tumblr. She runs so many Facebook fan pages and groups that I've lost count. In at least one, she lists herself as a public figure. Her two main niche groups, though, are military wives and teen moms.
So, why is my internet angry? I'm not a military wife, and I wasn't a mother during my teenage years. But I know many people in both groups, and they're pissed.
You see, when you are on the internet a lot and you say a lot of stuff, some of that stuff is inevitably going to be stupid. Trust me, I've been there. So apparently, Heather has said some insulting things, and now she is on the receiving end of quite a lot of ehate. Is it right? Absolutely not. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
So here are the bare bones from an outsider: Heather Clouse runs many pages of support for military wives and many fan pages for teen moms (particular to the MTV show). She says military wives hate her because she's not married to her National Guard member, police officer boyfriend. Military wives say they hate her because she says things like, buck up and stop whining, you knew what you signed up for (I was going to link this, but the post has been deleted), and oh, hey, I hope your man comes home in a box. (NOTE: I have no evidence of this comment. It was given to me by a source close to her who prefers to remain anonymous.) These hate pages grow. So, Heather goes to...the police? I don't know. You would think so, since her boyfriend is a cop. I do know that she went to the news. And the news told her, sorry, people have a right to their words.
And they do. Her haters have the right to their opinions, even if they express them somewhat violently. Just as she has the right to hers (and whether or not to delete them). Just as I have the right to come along all Johnny-come-lately with it being no business of mine and blog about it as if I knew something.
A perfect example of this very thing is here on one of her blogs. "Think you're ready to become a teen parent?"
In it, she generalizes an entire subset of people, trying to scare them. I'm not sure which is worse, that she generalized an entire subset of people, trying to scare them, or that she did so on purpose. She lists off a bunch of random prices for things that aren't accurate. She doesn't take into account living costs in certain areas, independence and maturity levels of certain teens, love, affection and support of certain families...the list goes on. My least favorite part is that she assures the teen mom that other people will find her pregnant belly disgusting. None of these things are inherently true. All of them, though, hold some intrinsic value, and her intentions, as ill-applied as they were, are good. As are mine.
Actually, I lied. This is my least favorite part: "Why would you have a baby with someone, who won’t marry you first? That doesn’t make much sense, does it?"
Um, hey. Yes, it does. First of all, who said he wouldn't marry the girl first? And if he doesn't...and they're teens...perhaps remaining unmarried will give the woman and her baby insurance coverage through her parents that she would be unable to get if married.
But, it's posts like this and the deleted one that show me why people might perhaps be a bit upset with Heather Clouse. She writes for the Examiner and published an article entitled "Young Marriage in the Military: How Young is Too Young?"
In this article, you can find many such gems as: "While many young couples choose the military as an escape from their community or their situation like a teen pregnancy, or simply being in love and not wanting to have to deal with the hardships that a long distance relationship can bring. Is marriage the right chouse? Lets take a look."
Okay, so avoiding the grammar snark, which is very hard to do (but it would take me an extra thousand words just to get through the first sentence, let alone the paragraph), lets get to the meat of the matter (okay, couldn't resist one small one). Not only does the paragraph make no sense, it completely minimalizes the stress and emotion a teenager is going through at the time this situation might occur. She has no facts or statistics to back up her oddly chosen reasons of marriage for a young military couple, and she again generalizes a huge number of people, insulting many. One of whom proudly and rightly states: YOU DON'T KNOW ME. It's true. She doesn't.
But she can say these things and say them badly.
I'm not saying I even necessarily disagree with her intent or purpose, though I do think she bumbles it quite awfully, and I do disagree with a lot of what she actually types out. If I thought the way she apparently does, I'd probably chalk it up to her age, but that's a generalization I don't quite feel comfortable with.
There's nothing illegal about saying what you want or what you feel on the internet, barring actual, physical, specific threats on a person. She's free to spout off any advice she wants. She reminds me of Bill O'Reilly, in fact. She spins a hard "truth" that's not really all that accurate, in layman's terms, edgy in her apparent sincerity. She's playing the internet base like he plays Fox News' fan base. But you know who has a lot of haters? Bill O'Reilly. It's part of the game, Heather. So, I guess I would say, "lol, suck it up, you knew what you were signing up for." And then I could delete it, but I probably won't.
Anyone who is trying to be a public figure on the internet is going to get hate. Especially if they don't couch their words and expect people to "get their point," and ignore the details for the greater message. Because sometimes it's the details that are the most hurtful. Sometimes it's the details that are someone else's life. Words mean things. People can and will use them as carelessly as you, and I, and your haters do, but that doesn't detract from their meaning.
Right now, you can do just about anything on the internet.
The biggest thing for Heather, and the people she's offended and myself to remember is that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
If you enjoy this blog, please vote for Tales of an Unlikely Mother on Babble.com. We're number 13, just scroll down and click on the thumbs up!