Nothing Short of Chic: The Hate Experience

27.7.16

The Hate Experience


Why do people feel the need to be negative online? As a blogger and digitally active person, I receive a lot of unnecessary, unsolicited hate. Why? | Nothing Short Of Chic

Good morning/afternoon, everyone. Today I'm telling a story.

Yesterday was quite the experience. I had my first real run-in with Internet haters (on Instagram, too – I find that they're the most vicious on IG and YouTube) when LookBook.nu, a forum for fashion lovers with 1 million Instagram followers, shared my Modern Flapper look on their page (you can see that post here – it got over 5.5K likes, which is amazing). The initial discovery left me elated, then after reading the comments (a bad idea – a lesson well learned), that elation was deflated a little. I will admit that this negativity stung. Despite having blogged for over two years, I've never had to deal with more that a few trolls here and there, so this outpouring of hate, which consisted of more than twenty horrid jabs, is new to me. This is because I've worked hard to build a community of readers (that's you) who are fantastic, respectful, smart people, and the LookBook feature exposed me to a new audience who don't necessarily have this same decency – although the LB community is usually very positive. Comments included "awful," "worst," "are you serious?," "wtf," and a decent amount of thumbs-down, laughing, and horrified emoticons, among other things (the weirdest one was "I can see a face on your knee," which I now can't unsee).

Just a note: this is an outfit and a photograph that I personally really love and am quite proud of – it's not like I was posting a provocative, disturbing, or even unusual image, and based on their feeds, many of these haters seem to like a similar aesthetic. Once the slight hurt wore off, perplexity remained: why this picture? What's wrong with it, in their minds? Here are some of the comments I received – some people even went so far as to comment on my personal photos:

Why do people feel the need to be negative online? As a blogger and digitally active person, I receive a lot of unnecessary, unsolicited hate. Why? | Nothing Short Of Chic

Here's the thing: I'm not actually very bothered by this at all, except for the initial shock (I have siblings – kidding, I'm kidding). I expect it of the Internet; I'm a millenial, after all. But there are so many people who can't deal with Internet hate and cyberbullying, and they shouldn't have to. It's a major issue and it's as common as it is unacceptable. I don't know why people feel the need – nay, the right – to be negative, but it's so easy to just sit anonymously behind a screen and crush people with just a few words, and people definitely abuse that power. There are suicides caused by cyberbullying. People cut and become depressed and really get messed up because of these angry haters who can't seem to understand that there's someone with real feelings on the other end of those comments. Luckily for me, when I shared this on Facebook and Twitter, my friends and family were incredibly supportive, and the blogger community I'm part of shared similar stories and lots of positivity with me, which was amazing. But I know there are so many people who don't have this amazing group of people backing them and feel alone in their pain.

But the comments were not the funniest (worst) part: when some people (namely @closetvomitfashion, who has great style, is eloquent in her butt-whooping, and likes Morrissey – three valid reasons to go follow her) stuck up for me and clapped back at the haters, they claimed that they were simply "stating their opinion" and asked, "what happened to freedom of thought?" Okay. Wait. Rewind. Haven't you ever heard the saying if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all? Okay, well now you have. Telling somebody that their style is "awful" is completely unnecessary and is not an "opinion" that needs to be stated. Reminding someone that they're being rude (thanks, Ashley) by giving negative, unsolicited criticism is not "restricting your freedom of thought." Also: to the person who told me that it was "nothing personal," in fact, there is nothing more personal than personal style, and what I'm wearing is a representation of who I am as a person. There is no need to thumbs-down that, even if you really, really hate it.

Why do people feel the need to be negative online? As a blogger and digitally active person, I receive a lot of unnecessary, unsolicited hate. Why? | Nothing Short Of Chic

User @grunge_queen_x was one of the worst because they clearly don't have any sense of when to stop. For the record, they're not a critic: a critic would say clearly why they do or do not like something – just saying "awful" is a criticism, not a critique. (By the way, I didn't respond to this person: this was a response from one of my superhero defenders, who ended up taking a bunch of hate for stepping in – sorry, darlings). @nat.free was a lovely person to have on my side, so thank you.

I really did try not to respond, but ended up at a place where I was answering but in the best way I could – sort of a middle ground (oops, I'm still learning):

Why do people feel the need to be negative online? As a blogger and digitally active person, I receive a lot of unnecessary, unsolicited hate. Why? | Nothing Short Of Chic

Thanks to everyone who stood up for me, specifically Closet Vomit. You are the best, you wonderful people. The world (or at least the Internet) needs more people like you.

Why do people feel the need to be negative online? As a blogger and digitally active person, I receive a lot of unnecessary, unsolicited hate. Why? | Nothing Short Of Chic

This is not intended to be a sob story. Like I said, I'm not upset. But there are many people that get so irreparably injured by a troll having a bad day, and it's a huge issue in our modern day and age. I have three final thoughts:

1. Why was the response to this particular image so negative?

2. Why is it so easy for people to be hateful and cruel when there's a barrier of anonymity – especially when the comments are directed towards a celebrity (they have feelings too)?

3. Cyberbullying is a major problem in our technology-filled lives: what can we do to minimize its effects, specifically on youth?

Please comment if you have any theories. "When they go low, we go high." - my new favorite quote

2 comments :

  1. I like this outfit! I feel like it's people who don't know how to speak up in real life get this source of boldness when behind a keyboard. It's like they do it just to be jerks. Focus on the positive people. I just hope I can remember this when it's my turn. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks, Marcelle, I appreciate you saying this! It's definitely true that people gain confidence when protected by the anonymity of the internet. With your attitude I'm sure you'll be so far ahead of all those negative people when your time comes around that you won't even notice them! xoxo

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