I watched a business degrade and belittle another business through a post on social media last week. Both are Irish owned and run businesses. The first business is a Media based business and the other is a family-run food business.
I queried the post and asked if this post was meant to help or harm the business because it upset me to the core to read the ugly content. I was told by the media business that it was 'satire'.
There are a couple of questions I need to address.
1) Why was I so triggered by this post?
Answer- I owned and ran an award-winning food business that was the love of my life. I was in my absolute flow during this chapter of my life and I loved it with all of my heart. I even loved the struggles (aka lessons and learnings), issues (ability to problem solve like a pro), and hiccups (being able to adapt and pivot) and now, today, I even love the fact that I closed a successful business successfully! My point is that I fully understand and get the costs of actioning a dream and turning it into a reality. So, to be mocked and ridiculed for the sake of 'satire' and public amusement upsets me, deeply. It costs a lot to create a business by design.
2) When is satire bullying or when is bullying satire?
Answer- Satire is a form of expression that uses humour, irony, exaggeration, or RIDICULE to criticise or mock people, institutions, or societal norms. However, there can be instances when satire crosses the line and becomes bullying. The distinction between satire and bullying lies in the intent, impact, and context of the communication.
Bullying involves repeated, intentional aggressive behavior that is meant to cause harm, distress, or discomfort to another person. It often involves a power imbalance between the bully and the victim. Satire, on the other hand, aims to criticize or comment on various aspects of society, often using humor and irony. While satire can be edgy and provocative, it is generally not intended to cause harm but rather to provoke thought and discussion.
When satire transforms into bullying is when it goes beyond the realm of commentary and starts to target individuals with the intention of causing harm or humiliation. This could happen when satire becomes excessively personal, attacks someone's appearance, identity, or private matters, and is intended to demean or belittle the individual. If the humour in satire becomes excessively cruel, it can cross into bullying territory.
My intention for this post is to create more awareness around this space. The word satire can be used as a mask to justify bad judgment, unfair bias, and poor behaviour. Let's not attack businesses because their operational hours do not suit your work-life balance or for creating a business model by design that works with their life situation. This business pays its bills, pays its suppliers, and contributes to our wonderful island. How lucky we are to have brave and bold entrepreneurs sacrifice and risk so much for our enjoyment.
If you run a business that gets flack for being a little different then please stand taller and own how you are brave enough to show up as you decide. The bravery to break the norm and operate a business based on your needs is absolutely brilliant. I for one applaud you.
Food Business Coach