By: Victoria Ellis
I think most of you will agree with me when I say social media has taken the world by storm.
It has given each person the power to voice their praise or disapproval of people, politics, businesses, and much more.
The barrier of interpersonal relationships enables people to voice objections and opinions they at one point or another may not have voiced in fear of confrontation or personal accountability.
We share comments and images of every aspect of our lives including our families, life milestones, and our most treasured experiences and passions. For many of us this includes vehicle builds, automotive events and for many, industry businesses. All these things meaning the world to us.
When we give people the power of judgement, we expose ourselves and our lives to the unpredictable. In a media world where there are no rules, the simplest of comments or images may go viral. These items have the power to make or break you, define the future of your builds, businesses, and impressions across the industry.
But at what point are the negative comments enough? Bullying, bashing, trashing, sharing humiliating memes of others exploiting their dreams, desires, and accomplishments? Traditionally, when faced with a male dominated industry, the assumptions are apparent of who approaches us in this manner. But what if I told you some of the most inappropriate comments were not from the gender to which we are trying to prove our worth, yet our own?
Here Krista talks about her passions in the automotive industry and how we can all take charge to put an end to the bullying within it.
What are your interests within the auto industry?
My interest in the auto industry are Jeeps, specifically Wranglers. From the Civilian Jeep to the JK, but my passion lies with the TJ.
I also started a Facebook page back in 2011 called Michigan Jeep Girl. I started it to blog my jeep build process. I ended up finding that my page was an alternative to jeep forums. Forums can be very brutal on newbies and simple asked questions can be judged harshly. I gave people a outlet to ask questions that would other wise be judged and made fun of. Somehow I gained a following of jeepers who have the same attitude as me. We push strongly to keep the bulling out of our community .
I wasn't quit aware of how big of a following until I showed up at a few events and people came up to talk to me. I even had fellow jeepers ask to take photos with me. It was a very humbling experience. I was also told a lot of fathers let their younger daughters follow my process. I even had a special request to sign a Poison Spyder flag for a friends daughter.
When did your interest for Jeeps begin?
I was driving a 99 Pontiac Grand Prix and a huge lifted truck pulled up next to me. I had never seen anything lifted before. I couldn't help but notice the more I saw them the more I noticed it was a guy. This just made me want something lifted to prove woman can drive them also. I settled with a jeep because it's versatile. I can change everything about it within my budget. After a trip to the mounds and seeing other people's Jeeps, I started researching and building.
What are your goals within the industry?
My goal is to be able to obtain a job involving jeeps or jeep related products and being able to show people that woman are just as capable as men. I love talking to other people and listening to what they're doing and being able to assist them.
What would you like to see in regards to women's involvement in the industry?
I would love to see more women doing their own work and being involved in their entire build. I would like to see the stereotype of woman staying on the side lines broke. I am a strong believer that if you take it out and play with it, be ready to learn how to fix it.
Also I would like to see less female bullying in the industry. I strongly believe you're suppose to help your neighbor, lend advice and support each other. Instead of waiting for a opportune moment to bash anyone that speaks or asks a question.
I understand that in a male dominated industry being a woman can present it's challenges and difficulties. I may not know everything but I'm willing to learn. A lot of times I've gone up to a product display booth and was ignored. I've actually had one company I asked a question and he ignored me and spoke to my male friend. In a sense I feel like you have to prove yourself. However, I didn't expect to have to prove myself with other woman though. I've had my fair share of run ins with woman bullies but for every 3 bad experiences, you have more positive experiences.
What Type of encounters have you experienced?
One time someone made a meme about me using my photo. It said something really sexual & crude. A female administrator posted it on a very large female jeep page and instead of the woman telling me,she posted it live to 30,000 followers. It then blew up and was shared a ton of times. She joined in with the bulling mob and fueled their fire. She deleted it and sent me an apology, only once several people complained of the post.
As a woman in the same industry, I would have never thought to post something like that. . All I want is a few woman friends who share the same interest as me, I did not expect to encounter so much negativity.
Why do you think women bully other women in this industry?
I honestly cant even think of why woman bully each other. When I got a jeep I assumed since the woman population was so small, we would all be best friends. Instead at every turn I had a handful of woman just bashing me and calling me stupid. Or they talk about how I look.
I feel like people assume that girls that like trucks,cars,and jeeps have to look a certain way. If you don't fit into this " look", people like to talk about you.
I even had women team up at an event and talk about me. Its the same women I've gone out of my way to help. I've never done anything to them. So instead they made up reasons to hate me.
If I could answer this question with a 100 percent answer, I would. I honestly feel like it's one of those questions along the lines of "do people really disappear in the Bermuda Triangle".
I believe social media and how we interact with people plays a big part in it. No longer do people have to meet someone to judge them. People are judged based off how they come across on the internet. I think this goes for men and woman.
How do you think this effects women's involvement in the industry?
I think everyone fears being judged by their peers and when social media is involved it makes it harder for people to open up.
I believe strongly we would have more woman in the industry (not just the jeep industry) if we started supporting each other. We could all come together and start educating woman on how to do simple maintenance and build their confidence. Which is why I support fully the goal of your website.
What Advice would you give another female going through a bullying situation?
The best advice I can give to another female who is being bullied, and this goes for your everyday life also. Kill them with kindness, and smile at them when you see them. Never speak about them behind their backs because you are no better then them.
Never stoop down to a bullies level, at the end of the day they are alone.
What do you think can help put a stop to this bullying?
I see and hear people talk about others all the time. Not just female but males also. If one person stood up and said they wanted no part of the negativity, that leaves the person with no one to talk to and no one to bully. A bullies function is to gain attention of their peers and turn them against one person. If said, peers didn't allow it, the bully wouldn't exist.
Everyone should learn to treat everyone with respect and to keep their negative comments to themselves. Nothing good comes out of bashing others.
People need to understand that just because you own something does not make you better. The guy who worked his butt off for his build doesn't need to be talked down on. The family who bought a vehicle to spend time together doesn't need to be "bashed" because they're stock.
People need to remember we all started out stock with nothing and no direction.
I pride myself on being honest and loyal. I stand up for people and put a stop to wrong doings. Why are the rest of you allowing people to say the negative things they do? Why are you not stopping the negative? Why are you allowing them to proceed with bashing? The fire can be put out. People need to stand up and stop bullies from bashing others. Saying nothing is adding to the problem, saying something is adding to the solution.
Though many of us may experience times of defeat, do not let it be on anyone else's account but your own. Believe in yourself and your passions. Some people may not understand you or your decisions but they do not have to. Pursue your dreams for you and understand that the act of instilling negativity onto someone comes from negativity from within stemming from various insecurities. Next time you see something, do something about it. Support your fellow enthusiast.
Build on ladies...build on.