Posts Tagged ‘the internet’

[Image of troll dolls] Not these cute ones, but I’d rather use a photo of some cute dolls than anything more on topic.

I check out various hashtags on instagram from time to time though I don’t follow any religiously, but it was brought to my attention by someone that there were a bunch of trolls posting using various body positive hashtags and curiosity got the better of me and I checked them out. And sure enough the hashtags were overrun with trolls. Photos mocking fat people, photos of literal shit and vomit, and the usual jokes about fat people being lazy. All apparently from a subreddit called “fatpeoplehate”. Well, at least they are being honest about what they are about! No faux concern or attempts to call the hate anything else to make it sound more palatable. Their purpose is hating a group of people pure and simple. Their message is hate,end of story.

After that I kept checking back on the hashtags. They were still being overrun by these hateful messages from troll accounts that instagram keeps around despite the fact that they are very open about their sole intent being spreading hate, bullying, and harassment.

It really suck being reminded that there are people out there who even though they’ve never met you, straight up hate you because of some characteristic that has no impact on them. To be reminded that these people see you as less than human.

But despite that negativity I noticed a few things,

(in no real order)

  1. All these hateful images and messages were coming from just a handful of accounts. They were overtaking the hashtags but not due to numbers, there were far more people using the hashtags as they were intended with the occasional real photo shared here and there.
  2. The only reason these trolls were able to seem to dominate the hashtag despite being far outnumbered is because they posted constantly. What sad lives to spend so much time posting hate through a troll account.
  3. The troll accounts were just that- no name of the person behind it, no photos of who they really are, none of the normal instagram photos normal accounts have- selfies, stuff they do, friends, family, nature, their city, whatever else. There is none of that because people who spend so much of their time online hating and harassing other people do not want actually want that hate, that bullying, associated with who they really are. At the end of the day, they know they are wrong and that their behavior is unacceptable. So they hide. My instagram is on the side of this blog filled with selfies and pictures of my boring everyday life. That’s because I am not ashamed of anything I say here or there. I don’t need to hide who is behind these words.

And at the end of the day, despite all that hate, these are my take home points from this. As disgusting as these trolls are, they are a small group of people. They do not represent they views of most people. They are a few sad, pathetic people hiding behind the anonymity of their computer screen, in fear of their real identity ever being outed, because they know most people would not condone their hate and bullying behaviors.

I just want to encourage others to remember this, and don’t let a small group of hateful people bring you down.

For some reason there is something… or somethings… about me some people just really hate. I mean, I never expect to be everyone’s cup of tea. But honestly I am surprised at times the amount of obsessive hate I get directed at me. Particularly the obsessive part. Like the folks who obviously disagree with me and clearly straight up do not like me, yet still apparently read everything I write here and on other websites- and check all my workouts I post online. I mean, I have a blog specifically identified as being about feminism, I expect the random nasty comments. That some people really get so obsessed though that they don’t just say “haha fattie!!!!” (<- real comments I get often) and move on but keep following all my activities across various websites- that was a bit unexpected.

But I guess I should have expected, I’m fat, I’m a woman, and I’m queer a dyke, several characteristics that mean a lot of people are very bothered by my mere existence on the internet. I actually try not to venture too far away from certain safe internet spaces usually (my facebook that is limited to those I have friended, and a few forums that restrict membership and are heavily moderated against hateful or harassing comments). Though I’ve branched out recently. Though I still won’t go on reddit. But I have this blog, and another, I use twitter now and then, and I started posting on instagram a lot and even made my account public, and I’m active on this fitness website called fitocracy.

The latter being the primary source of most issues I run into.

None of this should surprise me. I stayed out of #gamergate and mostly out of #shirtgate but I read about both and I know women who actively posted bout them. I know about the rape threats and misogynistic comments that followed those who did. I know about the doxing and many women who had the harassment go beyond the internet resulting in being stalked and threatened IRL. Women who no longer could feel safe in their own homes all for speaking out on the internet against sexism and in support of other women.

Misogyny on the internet isn’t news to me. But I stayed largely uninvolved in both of those precisely because I have limited energy to deal with bullshit. I have more than enough stress in my life already, and I do research that revolves around violence against women- when I want to relax and get away from that, I don’t want to get away from it by reading a bunch of rape threats.

And it shouldn’t surprise me running into so many issues on a fitness based website, it should be no surprise that a number of men who are interested in lifting feel the need to fuel that interest with misogyny and homophobia. Because it’s all about proving one’s masculinity which apparently means tearing down women and gay men.

And even though this is titled “haters gonna hate”, I wish I could sit here and say that it hasn’t changed anything for me and I just ignore it. I do my best to, but sometimes, it doesn’t work. I’ve deleted a number of workouts after just downright mean comments (not advice, just mean for the sake of being mean.)  I’ve started not tracking a lot of workouts online- not for the reasons I hear others use about just not caring about points anymore, or because they track other places instead, no- for me when I choose not to track something online it’s because I just don’t want to deal with comments from folks about how they are laughing at my workout.

I want to connect and talk to folks who have a similar interest and I want to celebrate progress, but I can’t do that without also opening myself up to all number of rude comments there, and here, and probably soon enough other places as well as a small set of people follow me around from site to site.

Part of my inspiration for this is when I see folks say this doesn’t happen, they don’t see it. Well, you wouldn’t if it’s not directed at you. Many of these exchanges have not happened in the open. I’ve deleted them on other sites, on this site comments need to be approved so if I delete it without approving it no one except me knows it happens. And so that’s part of why I’m writing this. To acknowledge that this happens, even though if you looked through comments here or elsewhere you would find no evidence of it.

And a big part of my inspiration in writing this is just how exhausted I am with it. I’m exhausted at having to put my guard up if I venture over to certain sites. I have to prepare for the backlash if I do something as radical as suggest that folks should maybe not use homophobic slurs. And it’s just fucking exhausting and there are so many times I just want to delete all my accounts, block everyone, and hide from the whole world because of this. Usually I get over that. I get some rest, get my strength back up, but the mental armor back on, and venture back out to deal with it all again. But god damn it blogging, tracking workouts online, and wanting to talk to other people about lifting should have to feel like that.

And it’s on a totally different topic but I am somewhat reminded of this article I read recently about Lena Chen’s experience blogging about sex. There are a number of parallels, plus it’s a great piece and worth reading so I’ll take any excuse to link to it.