Written by Daisy Leverington

Lifestyle

Motherhood: Read the fucking placard!

Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Five years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week, she reports back from the frontline of a Twitter shitstorm.

Daisy's daughter with her placard“Libtards, snowflakes, leftie losers, terrorist sympathisers, shameless parents, feminists, hypocrites, pathetic morons, brainwashed, clowns, fucking idiots, Nazi-lovers.”

“These people should go and suck Trump’s dick.”

“Stop hiding behind your child and show your faces.”

“You probably don’t pay tax so you’ve no right to protest.”

“I can’t believe I live in the same city as these embarrassing pricks.”

All the comments above were aimed at my daughter, my husband and me on social media this week. We went to an anti-Trump demonstration and our daughter made a sign which read: “Please don’t be mean. We really don’t like it.”

And her words apparently warranted hours of personal abuse, messages of hate, horrible comments about our kind, polite five year-old little girl.

It’s been a few days since the demo and the odd message still pops up. Twitter eggs with four followers questioning our competence to have a child; people with motorbikes for Facebook profile pictures accuse us of abusing our daughter for our own ends.

A regional news story featuring a photo of our little lass and her handmade sign had to be deleted due to the level of vitriol we received. It’s been one of THOSE weeks.

Our daughter knows a bit about rules, about who is in charge and what their job is, about refugees and about laws. She knows because we talk to her, and she discusses it in basic terms at school too. Most importantly, she knows to be kind. It’s the one thing I say to her before school most days, along with “Get your shoes on,” and, “I can see those crisps in your pocket you tiny little smuggler.”

She is more intelligent and aware than people give her credit for, and my husband and I explain anything she asks us about, in terms she will understand. Whether it’s anatomy, the Big Bang, religion, cats, what the frig Shopkins are, we take the time to talk things through and allow her to develop her own thoughts.

She’s decided that Trump is being mean to people who are looking for a place to live. I can’t fault her logic. So, when my husband and I decided to attend the demo we asked if she would like to come along and see it for herself. She thought it would be “a good way to make Trump listen to people who want to be kind, and maybe that would make him more kind too.”

I showed her photos and videos of previous marches, and she then studiously spent an hour making a placard to carry, and as a treat I let her use my Sharpies which, in honesty, was probably the most important part of the whole exercise to her.

“All this because a child made a sign which told people not to be mean. Hours of hatred because of a five-year-old’s desire to make the world a kinder place.”

Two hours later, one hastily snapped photo of her by a local reporter made it onto a news social media page, and the shit started flying almost instantly. For a while we just watched as people berated us as parents and took the piss out of her for taking part.

The initial shock of having your little girl trolled online wore off and anger set in, so we replied to every single comment with a brief message of positivity and context, which apparently just riles up the anonymous Derby-based Trump activists out there.

The comments got worse, and personal.

Facebook comments

After the first accusation of child abuse, I offered to buy the guy a coffee and chat with him about our reasons for attending the march, but he declined. Probably a tea drinker.

In the end, I contacted the reporter and asked him to remove our daughter’s photo as the level of hatred underneath her happy little face got too much for me. He read the entire thread and deleted the article, which lowered my blood pressure slightly.

All this because a child made a sign which told people not to be mean. Hours of hatred because of a five-year-old’s desire to make the world a kinder place. The irony of people’s reactions to a child’s sign about meanness wasn’t lost on anyone – and to my friends who stood up for her and for us online, and put themselves in the firing line of shite, I will be forever grateful.

I’ll happily admit to being absolutely horrified and upset by the abuse we received, but I’m not writing this column to justify taking our daughter to a protest for something we believe in. I’m writing it to give her something to read when she’s older which supports her, and isn’t a piece of racist bullshit.

It’s easy to argue against racist bullying online, but like shooing a persistent pigeon away from your chips, they always come back with the same cocky manner and gammy leg. We won’t let the online bullying stop us from teaching our little girl not to be mean. We will still attend demonstrations. We will teach her to look for goodness and consider other people’s views, and not to be horrid in response to a bully.

Perhaps these people weren’t taught to be kind when they were little. However, I will make sure she knows how to report and block personal insults and deal with life online when you have opposing opinions. I’ll also make damn sure she knows all the best swearwords when she’s older, as a well-placed ‘shit off’ can’t be beaten.

In the meantime, a message to our online adversaries – READ THE FUCKING PLACARD.

Read all of Daisy’s Motherhood columns here.

@daisyjoy

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Written by Daisy Leverington

Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.