Monday, 9 February 2015

The Internet Bullies We All Know

"She's such a slut."
"He's so disguting."
"That skinny bitch needs to eat a sandwich."
"They're just angry because they're ugly and jealous."

This is not what the Internet is for.

The internet should be this: It should be a playground of ideas and digital extensions of the human experience.

It should be where we can educate ourselves, and heal our hearts.

It should be about discovery.

It should be a world separate to the one we live in, a world where we can control the rules. 
Except, that's just wishful thinking.

Because everyone is a keyboard warrior, and we are not friends.

 We're faced with vendettas and revenge porn, and women shaming other women, simply because they can. The truth is that social media gives us power, and it gives us influence. It's just another piece of cheap weaponry, and another way to declare war. It is a minefield of egos and broken voices.

But the internet is a free space, so I suppose you can say what you like.

It's the truth that morals hold no power over the edge of sharp tongues, and that with every passing day we put up walls of bricks and water, until our walls do nothing except tower over us like old skyscrapers. The internet has become a place of shallow laughs and deep cuts, it's another piece of scar tissue.

I've been a bitter slut, sloppy seconds and whatever else someone decides for me.

I've been vilified and exiled. 

I've only ever had an army of one.

Since when is saying something hateful more popular than saying something kind? Why is it easier to be popular by being careless? It's like what your parents always told you, "Kids are mean."

I can't judge another's story without hearing it. Yet, I can judge them when they think it's funny to humiliate a woman's body, or her right to claim her sexuality. I can judge them on their contribution to the prejudice of the world.

I've had my moments, I've let my mouth get carried away with the power of words. I've been the catalyst of a smoking gun. But my personal experiences with internet hate have taught me well. Maybe I'm sensitive about it, and maybe I've been smothered by judgement. 

I won't call you a whore because you like sex.
I won't slander you because you wore a bikini without shame.
I'll be on your team, even if I don't like you.
I won't make your life any harder than it already is.

Do you know how it feels to be laughed at? Or how the shame makes your skin grow cold? Do you know how it feels to nurse the absence of worth? It feels like resentment and guilt, and it feels like ice in a warm heart.

Is that funny, too?

We all struggle, and we all want to find flaws in each other. It makes life uncomplicated and it makes breathing easy. But it stops the breath of someone else. Lungs fill with shame, and faces grow dark.

I guess I'm always astounded by the cruelty of the human race.

When I see women publically humiliating another woman on social media, my immediate thought is this "You are not on our team." There's a reason why people like that aren't on our team, because no one wants them there. They don't see how women fought to be strong, and fought to be equal. They don't see that they are stalling our progress.

I'm amazed at how people throw around hatred like it's paper confetti, and then call out their "haters." The funny thing is that they don't have haters, they are the hater. I'm astounded at how hate grows wings and recruits soldiers. Misery loves company.

We don't have the right to laugh at someone because they're in the spotlight. We are all in the spotlight and we all have our spectators. Your reputation could burn, and you could be next.

Your right to humiliate a celebrity on social media is as non existent as your right to do it to the person sat next to you. Nobody is fair game in this world, and nobody is exempt from criticism. The internet is a utopian wonderland of tolerance, and it's tolerance of idiots is what constructed a war zone.

Laugh because something is funny, not because someone is telling you to. Don't be the person whose legacy is defined by that time they ridiculed someone else. I hope you'll remember me for speaking now and I hope you'll remember me for the words I've strung together and stories I've told. I know you won't remember me for much else, apart from what you've called me. I hope my words are a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

Do you understand now what your legacy will be?