Recently I wrote a post about women and social media. I will refer back to that post and some things that a woman I have made the acquaintance of said to me a while ago which was “women will never learn to simply lift each other up.”
Once again I should add, especially on social media. And it continues to be sad and true, no longer merely sad but true.
There was a woman I know whom I will also call a friend who started a local gifting group. She started a local Buy Nothing Project Facebook group.
The Buy Nothing Project operates on wonderful principles. They offer a simple platform of giving people the opportunity to give and receive in their community. They have inspired people to the extent that there is this whole network of these groups all over this country and I believe in other countries. It’s kind of about being neighborly and other often ignored old fashioned principles. It’s a “hyper-local gift community”.
It’s a way to recycle useful items without the whole barter, buy, sell of it all. You give because you want to give. You give to someone who needs it more than you, and they in turn (hopefully) will pay it forward someday to other people who might need something more than they do.
In a jaded world this is kind of nice.
I belonged to this local Buy Nothing group, but I didn’t spend a lot of time in the group. I would pop in when I had some thing to gift. Earlier this week the group seemed different. I didn’t pay it any mind. Truthfully I had no clue. But the group seemed different – for example, I was suddenly on post approval and I think I had posted in the group maybe five times. I had not been on post approval before in this group.
However, life is busy, and I didn’t pay it any mind as I had only popped in because there was something I was going to gift but when I realized I was on post approval (which seemed weird), I just gave the thing to a friend instead. But then as is the whisper down the lane of social media people started to ask me if I knew what was going on. Truthfully I had no clue.
Then I found out what was going on.
Basically a small group of other women whom I wouldn’t know if I fell over them in the grocery store, did a power-play that is something that is reminiscent of fighting over the popular girls lunch table in middle school. That kind of young female coup: nastiness and pettiness and meanness and then not owning your behavior. So you see it really is suitable for the age group of middle schoolers.
This group of three women removed the woman I know who founded this particular local group, and then were systematically removing any and every person who was either close to the founder, friendly with the founder, just knew the founder, or wondered where the founder had gotten to because they didn’t see her on the page.
When I heard about this I was essentially gobsmacked. Not only is this woman who originally founded the group one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, she is very genuine, and she is one of those rare birds who is never about the drama. Even if she’s not pleased with you, she’s kind. So as opposed to a woman like me who can be extraordinarily opinionated and sometimes a bitch about it, I’m listening to the story and I am incredulous.
And I am incredulous for the simple fact that we’re supposed to be grown ass women. I think one of my best friend’s 11-year-old is more mature than these women.
So these women did this for what reason? I don’t quite get it as a Buy Nothing Group is at its core based upon being nice to one and other.
I put a post in for post approval in this local Buy Nothing Group, and basically said I felt what they did was wrong and I didn’t want to be a part of this group anymore and I was leaving. And I left the group. I knew they would never publish my post, but they wouldn’t get the joy of deleting me personally I left because what they did was abhorrent and somewhat morally bankrupt.
Now the Buy Nothing Project says on their website and social media channels that they don’t get involved in issues with in local chapters. What’s a shame is then once this local chapter exists you can’t have another Buy Nothing namesake group. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own hybrid group inspired by with the founders of Buy Nothing originally intended. Those founders would be Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller.
I have read a few articles about the Buy Nothing Project including this one from Huffington Post this past February:
‘Buy Nothing’ Groups: Stop Spending Money And Just Ask For What You Need/ These Facebook groups prohibit exchanging money and bartering, but they reduce waste and build communities.
By Casey Bond 02/28/2020 10:40am EST | Updated February 28, 2020
📌Americans tend to be a wasteful bunch. The United States, home to only 4% of the world population, is responsible for 30% of the planet’s total waste.
You’d probably like to contribute to that problem less. Not only would you help the environment, but you’d probably save a ton of money, too. But the county’s waste problem can seem like such a big issue that it’s tough to know where to start.
That’s where your local “Buy Nothing” group on Facebook can help.
The very first Buy Nothing group was founded in 2013 on Bainbridge Island, a 35-minute ferry ride from the heart of Seattle, by Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller….Clark and Rockefeller wanted to find a way to contribute less waste ― not just as individuals, but as a community. They decided the answer was to share what they already had. And the key, Rockefeller said, was to do it in a way that would build relationships among neighbors who might otherwise never connect.
….As the name implies, you can’t buy or sell anything in these groups. Trading or bartering is also prohibited…Members are also encouraged to participate as individuals and not as representatives of a business. “There’s no marketing,” Rockefeller added….As of now, Buy Nothing groups only exist on Facebook. The goal of the groups is to remain hyperlocal so that members connect with their immediate community. If a group becomes too large ― usually more than 1,000 members ― it gets split into smaller factions in a process called “sprouting.” Members are only allowed to belong to one group that serves their precise geographic location…..Though the project was founded out of purely benevolent intent, it’s not clear whether everyone who participates holds the same values….📌
So this is a great idea. But human nature is human nature. I have seen the seedy side of people with situations like this before who always just seem to have their hand out, they’re not offering a hand up.
And then of course there are the people who want free stuff so they can turn around and sell it for a profit. That bothers me as well because you think of the fact that this is supposed to go to someone because they need it not because they want to make money off of something. I think it should go to people that actually have a use for it or really need it.
These Buy Nothing Groups are also in my observation, more women than men by percentage of membership. When you get too many women together there are some who want to be in charge because they’re nurturing and they’re trying to do a good thing, and then there are the women who want to be in charge because it’s a whole lot of power tripping, condescension, and nonsense. And I think what happened in this local group was a whole lot of power tripping and nonsense.
The amusing thing is, anyone who asks what happened to the founder of this local chapter get removed. If you private message them because this group is on Facebook I have read conversation threads of these new women in charge so to speak leaving the conversations versus telling people what happened. I’m sure finger-pointing will be next. And I am told that it is not the only problem with these Buy Nothing Groups. I was told just today about a group about an hour away that also has been having issues. I think sometimes it boils down to people forget why they’re in this group or a group like this in the first place.
But it also goes back to my whole premise of women not lifting each other up which is kind of sad. Especially on social media. It is in the nature of women to be competitive. And for every woman who wants to do something because it’s the right thing there’s a woman who wants to do some thing for whatever attention they might get out of it.
And that whole doing something just to get something out of it personally but for the wrong reasons is something I really just don’t care for. This is the reason why I always tell my readers that I am not a monetized blogger. I just want readers to know that if I like a store or a restaurant or a nonprofit it’s based on my own personal experience enjoying whatever it is not because I’ve been compensated to say nice things.
I heard another example of it this week where woman who seems to spend her life running Facebook groups basically wanted to poach a post from a group she was part of and post in one of her groups. This woman does nothing unless she is indeed going to literally profit from it. And she is not someone who is share and share alike. Anything they do is to raise their personal profile, and I see that as sad and kind of lonely.
I don’t pretend to be perfect or lead a perfect life. At 56 I have made plenty of mistakes. Who hasn’t ? It’s part of life. but for me it’s the same from when I was a teenager: I don’t get how women treat each other at times. The way supposedly adult women treat each other and use each other on social media is astounding to watch.
I would say why can’t we all just get along, except I know that’s super trite and goes against human nature. I think I would settle some days for women just not being so bitchy to each other. I think that’s why I like the concept of Buy Nothing so much – it’s a simple way for us to lift each other up and pay it forward in our communities and try to be nicer in a world that is not so pleasant right now.
Thanks for stopping by.
Nice article. Thanks for your insight and views.
You are welcome Jimmy
Dear Carla, I was thinking yesterday about how much I enjoy (as a blog reader) your ‘presence’ in my life. I feel I am sitting at the kitchen table at the farm in Chester County that I was raised on hearing my father and mother and family friend talking. I now live in the UK and so welcome these happy memories. I feel you are spot-on in your assessment here. In the 1970s when I was in college I bought a book by the anthropologist Helen Fisher. The book’s name: THE SEX CONTRACT: the evolution of human behaviour. I see it is available for sale on book websites. I still refer to this book when I teach menopause courses here in the UK. It addresses the issues you raise here. It seems there is some ancient protocol of women not supporting other women that has to due with the fear that we will not be able to ‘eat’ and ‘live’ without bringing notice to ourselves and stomping on each other. In the recent book by Kate Manne DOWN GIRL it is clear as to how and why women keep putting each other down. I resonate with each of these points of view as I see them ‘alive’ in our cultures still and we women need to understand and change how we are with each other for the new world we want to create to be born. Thank you for keeping on keeping on. Isabella
Isabella! Hello! I haven’t heard from you in ages and it is such a treat! I hope you are well
Hi Carla….thank you…. I am well. All the best to you…Isabella