For some, our neighborhood’s Facebook group “Lakewood, Dallas” is a great place for a laugh, to get vacation recommendations or to have a good old-fashioned political fight in the comments section. But last year, several women in the group felt harassed and disrespected by some members. Hundreds of heated Facebook posts later, a new group began. The “Women of Lakewood” Facebook group is an invitation-only community where members connect about business, life, and service. Here, four of the new group’s fans posted their comments.
Why did this group form?
Liesl McQuillan: There were stories about a man harassing women, and I heard one too one many stories.
Annie Smith: We have a modicum of civility that was lacking on the Lakewood page. On the women’s page, you don’t feel self-conscious about bringing something up when you have very vocal men who don’t take women’s points of view. There is heated discussion that is missing on our group, which we kind of like.
Laura Birdwell-Meyeres: It came about over some drama. Basically, a lot of women felt they needed an outlet, so this group was created. It is a women’s network and support group.
Toni Scott: I was in the Lakewood group, but it was becoming negative and stressful. There was a lot of fighting and name-calling. I wanted a benefit and resource as opposed to something that was raising my blood pressure and making me scream. It just became toxic.
What are some benefits of the group?
Annie Smith: It allows ourselves the freedom and forum to communicate. It’s meant to be uplifting and mindful of neighbors.
Toni Scott: I joined the book club, and we read “The Radium Girls.” Then somebody shared a rescue group, and I now have a little foster dog, Jean Claude van Dog. It was one of the things where you need people to pull the trigger, and because members hand-held me through it, I actually did it.
Laura Birdwell-Meyeres: No one gets real catty, and there is a mutual respect. We have women-owned Wednesdays, where we can post women empowerment pictures, and people comment about what kind of business they have. It is a way for us to network and support each other.
Annie Smith: I established a “volunteer connection.” Members pick one event per month that Women of Lakewood volunteers will donate their time to collectively. I co-sponsor a book club for 40 women and formed three separate groups that each meet monthly.
Liesl McQuillan: We are coming together because we are stronger together.
Laura Birdwell-Meyeres: For the St. Bernard’s Catholic School auction, there was an outpouring of support. We received a Gallery Central framing job, The Heights gift card, personal training offers and a wine basket from people in the group.
Annie Smith: Several of us have formed a breakfast club, where we put together some brunches. It has filtered down for anyone who wants to go to brunch, which is fun.
Why will the group endure?
Annie Smith: We set the foundation and hope that people self-moderate.
Laura Birdwell-Meyeres: It is a place where we can converse and not feel like we will get snarked at. It is a place to have a comfortable environment to talk openly.
Annie Smith: As women age, we need to find deeper connections rather than just superficial interaction on social media.
Toni Scott: People help each other. The fact that it is all women means it is less about grandstanding. I hope it stays like that.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
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