A post on facebook caused quite a lot of comments over the last few days and it been been occupying my thoughts far too much, it’s best that I don’t give all the details, but it was all about fashion and style and how a kilt is worn, or more precisely how some people thought a kilt should be worn.
The original poster, who is very proud of his outfit as he had a hand in designing it, frequently posts photographs of himself in various guises – sometimes more formal and sometimes more casual – but largely it’s the same kilt with different accessories. Nothing wrong with that so far, but the photo in question raised the ire of a few people who decided that they knew best. Various comments were made about colour combinations, which while perhaps fair as an opinion were made fairly bluntly, and the kilt wearer took them to heart. As a kilt wearer myself ,I know to expect comments wherever I go, usually favourable but not always and I know that either I try to deal with them in an unemotional way, or simply ignore them and move on. Social media is a little different, many people feel a freedom to say things that I doubt very much they would in person, and unless you are prepared for that, feelings will get hurt, which is exactly what happened. The kilt wearer answered some of the comments in a similarly blunt way and of course things escalated. He left in high dudgeon, deleted the thread, left the group ( he had only become an admin a few days before) and then proceeded in other groups to tell his woes.
I’ve been a member of the original group for sometime, and there are so many unbelievable comments or statements about Scotland, tartan, or kilts that it is almost laughable, and those views are incredibly strongly held, and immovable, if any attempt is made to try as discuss those thoughts the thread disintegrates very quickly. Things like: I’ve traced my family tree to – William Wallace, or Robert the Bruce, or Rabbie Burns, any of which is rather difficult to do, read impossible in truth really, but people do believe the strangest things sometimes. To be fair it’s not all posters in the States, who often have a rather rosy idea of their history, but there are all some very strongly minded people in Scotland as well, so the fault lies with both.
Sometimes I long for a reasoned discussion, often forgetting I’m looking in the wrong place.
But back to the original photograph, I have to say that I’m not so keen on the outfit in question, it’s all a bit much, and the colour combinations don’t work for me, I’m not usually afraid of strong colours or bold combinations, but it this case it didn’t quite work. I’d never have said anything as it’s his kilt,and his choice, and entirely up to him what he chooses. I do think though that if you put up a photograph of yourself in a bold look, you can expect a certain degree of negativity as well, and if you don’t you are being a bit naive really. I’m sure we have all posted things we were especially pleased with, just to feel deflated with some discouraging comment. So it’s up to all of us to be strong within ourselves and not to allow ourselves to be hurt too much, easy to say of course , but I don’t think we can expect, when people on social media are able to post their opinions so openly and directly, that people will necessarily be kind and supportive all the time. Leaving one group and then complaining on another one of the earlier bad treatment isn’t a very helpful solution either.
I would have loved to have ventured an opinion, but I’ve known this poster for many years and I know how sensitive he is to any form of critique, although he is very forthright, and frequent, in declaring his Scottish style, he doesn’t always easily accept reasonable comments, which would be meant kindly, but it is hard to hear a written post in the way it might have been said.
There are some posters who just seem to want to start a row, disagreeing with the smallest of details, I think we have to learn that whilst they have an opinion, it’s not widely shared and should be treated accordingly.
I suppose my thoughts are to whether when I post a photo I should expect nice or nasty responses, either way I should take all of the comments with a pinch of salt, not to act in haste, and just accept graciously that not everyone thinks the same as me, and certainly not to lose any sleep over them!