“Not another mean comment”: What makes you press send?

The phrase “trolling” is one in which we’ve all become accustomed to since the rise of the 14th district we so lovingly call social media. It’s meaning has seasoned like the funk off some old cheese, tangled in a web of twitter spats and matured through countless blockings on Instagram. It is described by both Wikipedia and the Urban dictionary as an act which see’s people (dickheads) start quarrels and cause upset on the internet by posting “inflammatory and digressive, extraneous or off-topic messages” with the intent to start an argument and provoke a totes-emosh response. Or in simple terms, it’s people being dickheads. But what about when people aren’t saying mean stuff to start arguments or provoke a response? What about when people are just saying mean stuff to well, be mean?

A couple of weeks back I wrote a piece on here about my Life as a Glamour model and accepting your career is over at 25. I dived into the deepest pits of my stomach and laid myself bare for the World- or to the thousand odd people who read this blog- to see. And come thru Miss Worldwide because this led to me being contacted by a Welsh online News site who wanted to run a feature on me about my blog post and what I was up to now. Never one to seize an opportunity to talk about myself (jks my friends, I’m trying to re-brand myself here, a girl needs press) I was more than happy to oblige. Fast-forward to last week and a reporter and photographer showed up on my door. We chatted away casually whilst I overshared my life and once again laid myself bare for the World- or some of Wales – to see. I spoke openly about being a young woman struggling to find my way in life; I delved into being a proud feminist and how we should encourage women to do what they like with their bodies and I boldly discussed how upsetting online abuse and judgement from strangers can be. In fact,the exact words I poured over in the video coverage were:

“The worst bit (about my career), is you do get, you know, a lot of people judging you which people will say well you kind of expect it but it’s one of them things that when people are commenting on you as a person when they’re just strangers, it’s hard to kind of just, ignore it and you kind of take it to heart”

My feelings sprawled across this article as if I were opening up to my closest friends and I eagerly awaited my story to be shared as to find comfort in the hope that I am not the only one out there trying to find my way. But as the post went live this “worst bit” in which I had shared my fears and tried so often to ignore came flooding back in written form.

Shared online without a care in the World was judgement after judgement, comment after comment of unnecessary opinions and hurtful words. I don’t believe you should “expect” people to say mean shit to you online just because your in the public eye of some sort. The job role doesn’t come listed with a mandatory kick in the teeth for every three positive comments you might get. I am not superhuman, and as I told you time and time again in the article in which you’re barrage stemmed from, this hurts. Now, I don’t live in la-la land. Everyone has an opinion and everyone passes judgement. I get that. But what I don’t get is how having an opinion in your mind or bitching amongst your friends (we all do it, again I am not superhuman) has transformed to beholding a sense of entitlement that you can share this opinion so fucking openly online, direct with the one you’re bitching about, with apparently no conscience. Did your mum never teach you that if you haven’t got anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all? Or at least have the decency to say it behind my back? The internet has created a safe space for bullies to share their inner saboteur to the World with no consequence or compassion. If people said this kind of stuff to your face in a public place they would be called out and vilified for being a crappy person. But because these comments are made online you’re expected to take them as part and parcel of the job, or of life for that matter. It’s all part of the game. But neeeeewsflash, playing with somebodies emotions is not a game that entices most humans with a moral compass.

After having an online presence for 6+years, being on the receiving end of mean comments is nothing new to me. Whenever I discuss trolling with people, friends, journalists; I laugh it off and take it on the chin. Everyone tells me I deal with it so well. But the reality is that I don’t have much choice. If I didn’t, I’d be a shell of a person. Being judged and having your flaws pointed out to you by other women whilst the World rides the wave of Girl Power and Self-Love is a beautiful blanket of bitter-sweetness. Comments from men about my looks can relatively be tossed aside with the excuse that they’re just being jerks because they can’t get in your pants, or because they just fucking hate women 🙃. But the remarks from other females seem to cut deeper within, carving out the memories I’ve pushed to the back of my brain of girls in school scrawling my name alongside the word slut on the bathroom walls. These fellow women are all facing similar battles in life as me and yet take the time out of their day to stamp out these words on their keyboards with no other possible outcome than to make me feel shit, or to what, make them feel….better?

They’re just jealous” is a saying in which many have tried to comfort me with over the years. But I don’t believe this is ever really the case. I have scoured the internet for some “professional” explanation of trolling, some sort of psychological justification in which to prove their actions anchor from deep within. But I can’t really seem to find any. Joe Boyd, a writer for Huffington Post describes it as a “virtual road-rage“. You feel safe to say whatever you want within the comfort of the four doors which armour you, but would you really go that extra-step of getting out of the car and saying something to them in person? Some of the other reasons he gave where that it is comforting, it is free entertainment, it is power, it is boredom, and ultimately- it is natural. For unfortunately, some people just can’t help themselves from being dicks.

A comment I received on one of my blogs recently.

A few weeks ago as I was trying to relax in the the bath with a glass of red and £4.95 Lush Bath Bomb (I had planned this bath for days honey) I was interrupted by my phone and the sweet sound of a notification. I opened up my emails and was confronted by the comment above staring back at me. As I sat there alone in my flat, I honed in on this attack of my body, my personality, my feelings that I had so honestly shared with the World. I read them over and over again until, I just cried. These words had invaded my personal space and I had no option but to engage with them. I tried to salvage what was left of my relaxing bath plan- thanks a fucking lot those bath bombs aren’t cheap- and attempted to pull myself together, sending the email to my junk mail and disapproving the comment on WordPress. But as I settled back in with a much needed sip (gulp) of merlot, my phone pinged again with another infringement on my inbox and those words greeted me once more as the poster so desperately attempted to make his feelings known. This time I sent the comment straight to the trash, only for my phone to be infiltrated once more, forty-five minutes later with a third attempt at leaving the same comment about my (once) very fat tits. But now I just laughed. Your life seems great, hun. Best of luck.

All it takes is a simple scroll. A scroll in which would preserve your dignity and keep my emotions intact. But so many people choose not to scroll. Why? The internet has become a thief of reality for those who are lost and those who are lonely. Their boredom lines their hateful words which acts as a coat of arms to their inner collaborator of unhappiness. They spout about freedom of speech as if these three words give them a get-out-of-jail-free card for having the human right to comment on how your weight loss has made your tits saggy. Well guess what Karen* (insert standard ‘Can I see the manager’ name to fill this role) the Freedom of speech isn’t there so you can spend your lunch break spouting shit online to make people feel bad. I don’t know what else I can add, but it really isn’t rocket science folks. Mean comments hurt people’s feelings and there is a human being behind your screen who will carry those comments with them a lot longer than the thirty-seconds it took you to write it.

I’m going to leave you with this inspiring comment which unfortunately *cough* was not made about me but one of my friends, because trolling does not discriminate, we are all fair game to these people. I’m all of a sudden peckish for some pudding, you in?

11 thoughts on ““Not another mean comment”: What makes you press send?

  1. Some people are just assholes. There’s no rhyme or reason, they just are. There’s no logic behind their venom. It sucks, especially as the assholes are a very loud minority, but there’s not really anything you can do about it.

    I wish I knew some secret to having a thick skin, or some helpful advice, but I’m coming up blank – sorry.

    I don’t think jealousy is the right word to use when it comes to women attacking you like that. Sure, there will be some who are jealous, but it’s more than that. There’s spite and real loathing there. I don’t understand it. How does that saying go? Opinions are like assholes; the shittier it is, the bigger the asshole.

    People in the spotlight – men and women who have any kind of fame at all – shouldn’t have to harden their emotions to deal with the haters and dickheads. Fame and the pursuit of dreams shouldn’t come at the cost of emotionally numbing yourself.

    I’m sorry for the shit you, and anyone in your position, have to deal with. It’s not fair and it’s not right. For what it’s worth, try to remember that it’s a tiny minority of people who troll and spew venom and idiotic opinions. The vast majority are silent followers – many, I’m sure, waving you forward unseen and hoping the best for you.

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  2. Touching. People have nothing better to do, other than to comment on peoples appearances etc. In one way the internet has given bullies a safe haven to talk shit. Social media should never have been invented.

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  3. I read the comment above and I do think they say it really well. I just felt like I should say something nice, after all manners cost nothing.

    Your right you shouldn’t have to just put up with it or have a ducks back, but at the same time this world has created a platform for people to spew their hatred without consequence and their is no way to police it. People have lost that little voice in the head that says “woah woah, hang on, should you be doing this?” Before they hit that send button.
    I still fail to believe that people send you hate, I think your one of the most beautiful women out there and not just on the outside. I’ve seen your charitable fundraising for help the heroes and I even sponsored you on you big ride you did last year (or was it this year, I forget lol)

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    1. I don’t think people have changed, I don’t think they’ve become bullies, I think they are bullies, and have always been so, now though the subject of it can hear it through comment pages.

      I think most people make ill thought out negative comments, like they don’t spend any time thinking about them nor believe that anybody (let alone the subject) will really be upset about them. There’s a reason people don’t say this to your face, because thats human interaction, take the human out of it, and it could be two computers interacting, it doesn’t feel real, so it isn’t.

      The the negative comments draw attention/focus, if you see somebody going off, its normally because somebody has said something negative. In my experience online I could tell an artist they’re great a million times and I love their music, but the time I say something negative, and thats what gets the response! It must be something in our nature to respond to negativity.

      For example, I wonder how many positive comments you get? I wonder how many fans you have of your previous career that supported/still support you, but the focus gets drawn to the negative. To quote an old proverb, there are two wolves, fear and hope, which one dominates, the one you feed.

      I guarantee that if we responded to positive behaviour, and only positive behaviour that would be more prevalent, because we can all learn what gets a response, its no different than a baby crying and getting fed, thats what negative comments are.. we can change it.

      Nobody has a road map, Social Media jumped up on us over the last ten or so years, it connects us in seconds, to quote Jurassic Park, “people were so concerned with seeing if they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should” as is much of human development, we give little thought to the impact of our creations.

      A is a lot of sites are now disabling comments, so you can choose what you want to see, if you put a pic up on Insta, you have a choice, comments or not, now if you seek the comments saying you look great, or you’re having a good time, you also leave yourself open for negative comments as well, so why don’t people turn them off? That could be a bigger question. Why are we seeking approval from strangers who know little about us?

      I think we’re also taught like/don’t like also as good or bad, and that isn’t strictly the case, if I don’t like fried eggs, it doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means I don’t like them.

      To directly address Benji, this is part of the modern worlds “do what you’re paid to do” mantra, and it’s stupid. Nobody is just one thing, one dimensional, but you see it everywhere, “stick to your lane” , what you want to be three dimensional? You want to spark debate? No, just keep getting your tits out , because that’s what I like, I don’t want to think of you as a person, it puts me off my stroke….

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  4. Great honest read. I used to think keyboard warriors only posted from behind the safety of a screen but more worryingly I think some of society think free speech, opinion and rudeness is acceptable in life too and means they can shout loudly their opinion and push it onto people like it’s gospel.

    I have no issue with feedback but whether we want to listen and accept it is our choice and the Internet is taking that choice away.

    I use Instagram a lot and at times I post a pic and then cringe knowing someone will find the time to tell me their thoughts, normally sarcastically or with an air of patronisation. However last week I realised I can post and stop comments which is a great feature. Imagine a social media world with a like button and nothing else.. where people are just nice and they make a simple choice, click like or simply don’t. Perfect in my opinion.

    In closing my babbling I remember an old Yorkshire saying, which I hold true to my heart and live my life by, it goes like this “If tha’s nowt good to stay, say nowt!” After all, nobody ever made their bubble better by bursting someone else’s.

    Keep being you and read less feedback with a smile 😊

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  5. You’re in the public eye so people assume you’re rich and fair game for ridicule so should put up with it. These same people are cunts, plain and simple.

    You’re beautiful, smart, business savvy, astute and that’s just what I get from your online presence. I’m sure you’re all that and more in person. I really hope the positives online far outweigh the negatives for you.

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  6. Sorry you have to put up with this! I hope you’re OK. The internet is a lawless place. There needs to be proper regulation and prosecutions for harassment, because these trolls are really criminals and harassers.

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