New column: Michele A’Court’s advice to girls
Comedienne Michele A’Court has some wise words for girls
Idid some stupid stuff when I was 18, but no-one knows just how stupid because no-one took a photo.
When my daughter Holly was growing up, the worst thing she knew about me was an embarrassing haircut I had in the ’80s. It was the least of my sins.
But now, dear daughters, everyone photographs everything and it all stays on the internet forever, which means we are all going to have to learn to forgive each other for the dumb stuff we do when we are young. Start practising that with your friends.
That’s not to say I don’t love social media. I’ve met some really good people on Twitter – some of them are so nice, they are friends now in the real world – and on Facebook, I’ve reconnected with friends and I stay in touch with family. It’s also a useful work tool – terrific for promoting stuff I write and shows I do to wider audiences.
But I also hate social media – the time it sucks out of my days and the occasional nasty business where people shout at each other in ALL CAPS.
So I’ve invented some rules for myself to try to keep it a happy and safe place.
I like to imagine that Facebook, for example, is a virtual “town”. I use it like a “library”, with links to articles and stories I might like to read that have been recommended by someone I know who has good taste. And there’s a “town hall” – posts where you can listen to and talk about the things that interest you.
And there’s “my house” – my own Facebook page, where people are welcome to come and chat, but only if they’re polite and don’t make a mess on the carpet. I like a bit of robust debate, but if you say the kind of stuff I wouldn’t want to hear at my real house, I’ll ask you to leave.
There’s a nifty little “delete” button that lets you make anyone’s unpleasant comments on your own page disappear, and I’ve learned to be swift with muting and blocking the kind of people I wouldn’t ever invite over to where I live.
Instagram is like photos of your school ball – no-one really looks that good all the time. Take a photo of yourself first thing in the morning (no filter) and compare it with the ones from your pre-ball. Your life isn’t a permanent party, right? And neither is anyone else’s.
If I ever feel scared, I’m pretty quick to report it to admin. It’s not as instant or effective as dialling 111 in a real-life emergency, but the more people do that, the faster they’ll learn to make these spaces safe for us.
When someone tells me a secret (we all share secret stuff – that’s human), I keep that secret, even if they annoy me later. I’ve never sent a nude selfie because nude selfies weren’t a thing when I was young enough to think I looked good in a nude selfie, but I swear to you I’d never pass someone else’s on to anyone else and neither should you. I don’t know why anyone sends ends dick-pics. I really like my partner, and I have lots of photographs of him, but everyone looks their best in pants.
Now and then, I do a really simple thing – I log out of all my social media apps. That extra step of having to log back is enough to encourage me to do something else for a bit. It makes you feel dizzy for a moment, but it often turns out the real world is way more fun than you remembered.
Michele A’Court’s advice for young women in Woman’sDay follows on from her best-selling book Stuff IForgottoTell MyDaughter,HarperCollins, rrp $34.99.