Lack of bravery
After reading a post over on the Independent Fashion Bloggers site, it got me to thinking about a whole new topic. Online bullying, As anybody who follows me on Twitter or is friends with me on Facebook knows, I love to use social media. Whether it be to share something I found interesting, to keep in touch or just to touch base and promote my work, I’m constantly on the go tweeting and facebooking whatever my heart desires. But I, for one, can’t stand the whole new social media culture. I like to call it Social Cowardice.
I can’t count on even two hands the amount of horrible comments I’ve read on YouTube video blogs of the lovely beauty bloggers I follow, or the amount of abusive one liners directed at celebrities I’ve seen whilst I’ve been scrolling down my twitter feed. It’s sickening. Since when did it become okay to cyber bully? It seems to me that we’re living in a world full of bitterness and jealously. It has become customary to slate our friends and even strangers’ successes instead of celebrating it with them as we once would. This is a form of bullying – just because it’s online, it doesn’t make it any less severe. It seems harder and harder to find the more genuine people, and easier and easier to find the fakers and the backstabbers. And with a laptop to hide behind, the keyboard warriors are out in full force.
I read an interesting piece online the other day about whether fashion bloggers, or any bloggers in actual fact, have to have a thick skin. It got me thinking about my own experiences in writing, and in my opinion, I believe so – I’m not one who’s new to critics – but then again, I feel that life in general requires a thick skin.
It’s all too easy to be the centre of ridicule these days, what with total strangers having such easy access into your personal life through social media. In theory, you are letting the world in on a little piece of your being each and every time you decide to share something online. So what should you do about it? Hide away, make all your accounts completely private and highly censor and angst over each tiny status update you decide to type? Of course not. What we need to do as a collective is learn to rise above it and accept that we can’t please everybody, no matter how hard we may try.
Remember when you were little in the playground and would get picked on by another little girl or boy? I’m pretty sure the answer your parents gave to you about this distressing behaviour was one of these: ‘they’re only picking on you because they’re jealous of you.’ Or, ‘they’re picking on you because they fancy you!’ The second part I’m sure was said a little tongue in cheek, but the first part I firmly believe to be true. It’s a known fact that if somebody is jealous of you, they’ll do all they can to ridicule you and put you down as a way of making themselves feel better. Maybe they suffered bullying once in their lives and remembered how it made them feel and wanted to transfer those feelings onto you in order to make you feel like the weak one. I don’t know that for sure, but what I do know is this: you are much better than that.
Amazing isn’t it, that they can only ever confront you from behind the comfort of one little QWERTY keyboard? You’ll find that the majority of these people – if you are unlucky to know any of them in real life – will never have the backbone to come and have a civilised conversation with you to explain what they find so amusing. So what if you write something that others ridicule? So what if you aren’t the flavour of the month? At the end of the day, we are all individual. We are all unique. And we all have this wonderful thing called freedom of speech – some of us just know how to use it more responsibly than others.
It’s a sad but true fact that in life we will all encounter a bully. Whether it be online or in reality, the only thing we need to worry about is how to handle it. So if you find yourself the centre of somebodies bitching this is what you should do – turn around and thank them. After all, they’ve made you the centre of their universe, and that’s one hell of an achievement. Countless times myself and friends have been the centre of snide remarks and inside jokes, and each time, I’ve found the best way to deal with it is to turn a blind eye. And as for the worst thing you could do? Quit what you enjoy just to fit in with their narrow, ignorant point of view.
As the quote goes: ‘Sometimes you don’t realise how far you’ve gotten until you look around at the people who are still trailing behind you.’
© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2013.