Here I go again, writing a post about something that’s been on my mind and really bothering me lately. Internet bullies/trolls. To keep things simple I am not differentiating between the two for this post, but a very basic difference is this: Trolls will often come onto a site/forum to say something inflammatory and usually don’t return. They don’t really care about the outcome or really even believe in the issue, they just want to annoy/anger people, and are frequently anonymous. An online bully is more insidious. They are often the actual creators of sites/forums and frequently have large followings. They act as a gang-leader. They will say something about someone, then all their followers attack like a group of crazed hyenas.
A lot of this is obvious and has been said a million times before, and more eloquently I’m sure, but it bears repeating. I guess you could call this post an expansion of the one I posted awhile back here.
Bloggers and vloggers (aka YouTube video-bloggers) are human beings with feelings. I am positive that people forget this because there is no other way to explain the extreme hatred I see aimed at us online. I think sometimes we are just seen as “beings” on the Internet, solely there to be judged. And yes, if you put yourself out there, it’s certainly bound to happen that people will judge you. But what really bothers me, and the main thing I think people forget, is that it takes GUTS to get out there and do it. Most of the things that people are judging us on are things that are 100% out of our control – like the shape of our face, or our voice, or a fingernail that grows out crooked.
On one site, which I refuse to name because I don’t want people to even know about it if they don’t already, I have seen many things said about me and about how my nail art sucks, my lips are wrinkly, etc. OH THE HORROR I have lines on my lips! That likens me to Adolf Hitler doesn’t it? Funny how they don’t notice that in half of the photos there are no lines because it’s the product that is the issue, not my lips. They don’t consider the fact that many bloggers/vloggers edit their photos to make things look better. They only see what they want to see.
I have seen things said about other bloggers/vloggers such as they are so snotty, they refuse to wear cheap makeup, they look old, or their dog (their DOG) is ugly! I’ve seen clips taken from videos people made then transformed into gifs with insulting type written on them that the person would never have said. I’ve seen people called liars, drug pushers, sex ring leaders, con artists, abusive to their children and the list goes on. Sorry but WHAT THE HELL is wrong with these people? Are they all 15 and 16 year olds who don’t know any better? Do they think that they won’t ever reach their 30’s or 40’s? I mean obviously if they think a few wrinkles are a huge issue they must not realize that they too will age. So one could only assume they are children with no concept of time and how fast it will catch up to them, right? Sadly though, I think many of these people are actually legal adults.
But even IF some of the things they say are true about people, how is it anyone’s business anyway? Why is it some stranger on the Internet’s business how we live our personal lives? Ok fine, if I am ripping off people Enron-style and you have evidence, then go ahead, make it your business and turn me in. But what is with the obsession into digging into people’s personal lives to try and find out some juicy gossip? Is their own life that abysmal that they can only have fun living through other people? Are they that insecure, petty and jealous?
So yeah, maybe I DO have some lines on my lips and lines around my eyes. You wanna know why? It’s because I have lived nearly 42 years on this earth. Those lines? They are from laughing my ass off with my friends and family. They are from frolicking in the sun on summer vacations on the beach and camping trips in Mendocino. They are from meeting my husband, one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and laughing at all the ridiculous things we come up with. They are from constant giggle fits with my best friend when I was a teenager when all it took was one look at each other to send us into a complete tizzy. These lines and wrinkles are from LIVING MY LIFE. Have you lived a life yet that wasn’t behind a screen?
If you don’t have a single flaw on your face or body well then clearly you’re a miracle sent from above, and this post doesn’t refer to you and your perfection. I would however love for you to take a photo of your lips or your face, then blow it up to 750 pixels wide and post it on the internet with no other editing to smooth out lines, etc. Will you please so that we can judge you? I challenge you to get out from behind that computer monitor that you hide behind. Please send me an untouched photo of your perfection (with a REAL email address) to firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can publish it on my blog and we can all judge you as you judge us. Then you might have an inkling what it feels like to be human and to be hurt.
Maybe, just maybe you want to consider the way you talk about people in public forums. Imagine me saying that your mother is hideous and old. Imagine me saying your sister’s eyebrows are horrific. Imagine me saying your daughter is dumpy and fat. Because you are in fact saying that about someone’s mother, sister, daughter every time you speak your words of hate.
Think about it this way. You are old, have lived a long life and are about to take your last breath on earth. You are thinking about the life you led. Your mother and father. Your siblings. Your spouse and children. You loved them so much. Was it a good life? Do you look back and wish you had been on more public forums and talked badly about more people? Or do you wish you had been a little kinder to other humans, who are just like you?
Lest you think that bullying online (or offline) doesn’t really hurt people, consider all these recent news stories. Most of these stories are about teens but the fact remains – bullying whether offline or online seriously damages people. Would you want your daughter or son killing themselves because of something someone said about them online? It could absolutely happen. Wouldn’t you feel horrible knowing you were the kind of person that could cause that kind of thing?
I leave you with this –
What if everything around you
Isn’t quite as it seems?
What if all the world you used to know
Is an elaborate dream?
And if you look at your reflection
Is it all you want it to be?
What if you could look right through the cracks
Would you find yourself
Find yourself afraid to see?
Lyrics by Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails from Right Where It Belongs, Album With Teeth.
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