Don’t believe the hype

Cyber-bullying

by: Ainsley Hutchence

6 Gifs & photos
Words: Subcutanea

Don’t believe the hype

If you use social media, there is a very high chance that at some point you have fallen victim to cyber bullying. Thanks to these assholes I have to spend time each day looking through every comment on my insta feed & delete anything negative. Call it censorship, but fuck it, this is my platform & I have the right to keep it positive. My cravings for a supportive & loving (cyber) world trump the desire for freedom of speech, when the speech is so fucking fucked & unnecessary right? poeple seem to view the internet as a running ‘Burn book’ for the whole world to read & no one is truly accountable.

Here are some examples of comments that I deleted just a few minutes ago; “That girl needs to eat a cheeseburger”, “He looks like he smells bad”, “She needs to fucking shave!”, “How is that girl even a model?”. These were all left on beautiful photos from amazing artists & I can’t help but feel protective over them & especially the poeple in the photos.

Sebastien & I felt the brunt of some pretty angry trolls too, when our wedding photos went viral at the start of last year. Scroll to the bottom of this Buzzfeed link for some prime cyber asshole examples; Sticks & Stones wedding on Buzzfeed.

On that note, I wanted to introduce you to a love spreading journalist friend of ours called Thomas (Subcutanea), who is here to offer further thoughts on the topic. He writes good & we will be sharing his work regularly 🙂

Don’t believe the hype by Subcutanea

Social media has changed our world. It’s changed the way we share our experience, voice our opinions, connect with friends & discover pretty much everything. It’s fucking awesome & we’d be lost without it, even if we’d have a hell of a lot more time on our hands.

But even the sweetest things turn sour, & despite all the perks of InstaTwitBook, the few fuck it up for the masses. Smug behind the sanctuary of their screens, their sneering, smirking faces unslappable, their shrivelled, unused scrotums unkickable, they hurl abuse at whoever they choose. Social media has flung us into this arena of vulnerability &, for all its positivity, this online monster is turning back around to bite us on the ass.

Trolls are jerks – that’s a given. Whatever their motives, anyone who trawls the internet looking for arguments, shit-talking anyone brave enough to put themselves out there, is a fuck-head. But that doesn’t lessen the sting of their blows & it doesn’t mend the fractures in our self-esteem. It’s a dangerous world we are diving into, a place that encourages the unprotected openness of selfies, ripping our chests wide open to expose our hearts, our souls & our pink bits, freckles, scars, cellulite & all.

A bit over a year ago, headlines were filled with the tragic death of former model & television presenter, Charlotte Dawson. A long-time victim of crippling depression & broken ego, she had already tried to take her life once due to cyber-bullying. She bravely called out her online attackers, declaring, “If you’re going to express those points of view, you should do it with a face & a name so that you can be accountable.”

On 22 February 2014, despite such courage, Charlotte Dawson gave in, taking her life. Whichever way you cut it, that’s fucked, & you can pretty much guarantee that horrific outcome was never the intention of the pricks that pushed her so far. So why would they do it? It could be that they were just trying to get a rise out of her. It might be they were jealous. Perhaps they felt so shit about themselves that they had to shred someone else, dragging them down with their clawing, tearing comments in a hollow hope that they could feel better about themselves.

The truth is, no one really knows what motives lie behind the words. There’s always going to be someone pissing in the pool, someone spiking the punch, someone ruining the world for everyone else. We can give as good as we get, throw up the defences, grow a hide as tough as an ox, but as long as we expose our souls to the universe, there will be someone to piss on our parade & there’s nothing we can do about it. Well, almost.

First up, if you can’t take the shit, get out of the sewer.
Social media’s great & all, but it can be a fucking brutal cesspool of degradation. If you put yourself out there, in words, opinions or glorious Technicolor, you’re opening yourself up to whatever anyone wants to throw at you. Learn discretion, keep things private – if you wouldn’t say it or do it in front of a crowded room of strangers, then why would you do it in the access-all-areas realm of social media?

Second – & here’s the gold – get clever.
Clementine Ford is not a girl to be fucked with. Outing the misogynistic perspectives of Channel 7’s Sunrise program, Clementine posted a topless, though nipple-free shot of herself on social media, ‘#Sunrise get fucked’ pasted across her proud, bare chest. In a deviation of her message, trollers jumped on board, flinging sexist remarks, graphic images & aggressive statements at her. But, rather than let these childish antics gnaw away at her self esteem, she fought back with her mind, investigating the trolls’ profiles & publicly exposing their behaviour to their large & reputable employers. The retort sent shockwaves through social media circles & Clementine stood proud, the world’s first anti-troll.

If you put yourself in the line of fire, you’ve got to be able to dodge the bullets. Trolls suck, plain & simple, but, like it or not, they are a part of the social media world. Think before you post, & if you do cop the flack, fight back with your mind.

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