This time, the message was from a parent who was angry and confused that their child had asked for a binder, an article of clothing used to flatten one’s chest. Dove stayed calm, prompted the parent about their reasons for feeling that way, and managed to turn it into a teaching moment by appealing to concern for the child’s well-being.
Dove makes a strong point that binding with whatever materials you can get your hands on instead of a professionally made article of clothing is dangerous, and suffering alone with mental health issues that you feel like you can’t tell your parents about is also dangerous. When you want your child to feel like they can tell you everything, providing them with an environment where they feel like they can safely explore their identity and go to you for help is crucial.
Commenters are inspired by Dove’s approach of being relentlessly kind to the people who message them, trying to get to the bottom of their concerns and find a human side. Not everyone can do what Dove does, and it’s undoubtedly not easy—some of their posts and stories show that not everyone is moved by the tactic. It’s understandable not to want to respond to someone who is sending you angry accusations or calling you names online, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to.
But, amazingly, Dove’s posts show that sometimes anger can be hiding worry about something deeper, and a little bit of compassion can encourage people to see things in a different way.