You wouldn’t walk down the street and scream at an overweight girl, “Go to the gym! You are disgusting.” You’d be thought a total piece of shit if you walked up to a table of two and told them, “You really eat dairy? Don’t you know how many hormone disruptors are in that? You are destroying your chances of having babies. Literally, killing your future children.”
But on the internet, this happens every day. We all become so brave and empowered when sitting behind a keyboard. After all, you can just drop your negative judgements and unsolicited opinions, and then walk away from your screen and go drink your lactose free chia whatever.
You literally have no responsibility to be a good person on the internet.
And in a world of overexposure, where opinions can spread like wildfire with the click of share button, it’s easy to feel important and relevant.
Where does free speech and expression cross into the loss of respect and human decency?
Newsflash: Just because you have internet access, doesn’t make you a scholar. Don’t get me wrong. I greatly appreciate the availability to different views and opinions. There is significance and importance in opposing opinions and viewpoints.
I, in fact, very regularly voice my opinions on social media.
But where does free speech and expression cross into the loss of respect and human decency?
I think of it like this: I have a neighbor. She has a hideous hair cut and frequently gardens without a hat and already has a mole on her neck that quite frankly could be cancerous. Although I hold those opinions of her hair, and have concerns about her dermatological health, I am not going to walk over onto HER yard, and tell her those things.
Sure, I may or may not be right about her ridiculous haircut. I might be justified in telling her about her mole I have seen. But just because I feel I am justified in my opinions, I am not going to force them down her throat. Besides, she already dislikes me and would probably call the cops for trespassing.
Don’t trespass onto people’s internet lawn and shit in their green grass.
I got a comment last night that accused me of “Not caring about women who aren’t ready to love themselves” and told me “ you are going to lead to a woman to kill herself because you don’t care about them. Their death will be on you. You are the most hateful negative person I have ever met and I hope everyone knows it”
You would think that I wrote some political, controversial, hate-filled content. No. She didn’t like something I posted on Facebook.
I can’t lie. I cried my fucking eyes out reading that. I lost my aunt to suicide, and I, myself, have dealt with depression. I didn’t want to carry that weight. I rushed so quickly to fix it. I drafted up an email to try to repair this non-existent life I was killing. I had a full fledged panic attack thinking of how I am destroying people by being a social media presence.
But then I got my sh*t together and realized, that’s just her opinion.
I could have fought back. I could have told her she’s wrong and defend my opinion. After all, she came on my internet playground and forced her views on me. She attacked me on my home base like most internet bullies search out to do. I’m sure I could of come up with or searched some really big adjectives to describe her shitty behavior and lack of respect.
[Big girls] know their worth and value aren’t decreased because someone tells them their thoughts and feelings are irrelevant.
But instead, I kept scrolling. Because that’s what big girls do. They respect the rights of others to have opinions. They know their worth and value aren’t decreased because someone tells them their thoughts and feelings are irrelevant. And then they go write a seething blog post about respect on the internet.
Because, after all, social media has made us all self righteous assholes.
If you — or someone you know — need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for theNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.