Friday, November 27, 2015

Online Harassment

I'm not really that fond of people who just use news stories as their posts because I think it's sort of a cop out but this was something I honestly found really interesting. http://www.buzzfeed.com/rossalynwarren/a-woman-collected-the-online-harassment-shes-received-in-the

And rather than recapping it I'll just put in my two cents about it. Yes, I think when you willingly put yourself on a public platform you have to expect a certain amount of...trolling and idiocy.  No, I don't think it's fair that there's a disgustingly high proportion of individuals who feel its their right to sexually objectify you and because they are on the internet think that you should therefore brush it off/ignore it/grow a thicker skin/get a sense of humor.  It's easy to say any of those things but it's quite another to DO it.

Last time I checked no one grew a thick skin overnight.  And last time I checked even though there's a lot more education about "internet safety" now no one has definitively given a proper pep talk to young people about what awaits them once they make, say their first online dating account.  Two words. Dick Pictures. As an adult, I think it's humorous that there are people who still believe that's a good way to hook up with a heterosexual female.  As a parent I'd be completely insane with anger to know that one day my daughter will find herself on tinder face to face with a disgusting penis picture.  It's not a "what if" situation, it's an inevitability.

Another whole layer to the proverbial onion is the ethnic fetishism.  The woman in the article happens to be Asian and while I'm not petite and typical in my Asian-ness I understand.  It's just another whole level to the online aggression.  Do people feel safer being cruel towards a race they perceive to be submissive and demure?  I'm older and therefore more weathered and ready to start yelling at people whom I disagree with but when you're building up your idea of self worth and appreciation you're also dealing with a lot of gross dudes turning you into their own version of fetish porn.  It's an odd thing to think about and that's why it's so easy for men to grossly overgeneralize that women are crazy.  Yeah, sometimes we are crazy and it's because it's a very odd burden to bear that if you post a picture of yourself that you feel good about that no less than a dozen perverts will start commenting vile things about you.  We want to be accepted and loved and deemed beautiful but we don't want to be alerted by every over-sharing weirdo that they're jerking it to our profile picture.  It's easy to feel torn about how to approach social media and the people who are on it when it provides such an odd mixture of emotions. I've never been on okcupid or tinder but from the stories I hear its pretty rampant with grossness.  Also Aziz told me in "Modern Romance" and as published book writer now I can only assume he had to spend some time on the platforms in order to discuss them so his publisher wouldn't be mad he made up stuff like that guy Oprah raked over the coals.

In combination with this a young lady whom I suppose had a high following on instagram and youtube, Essenia Oneill suddenly came out and quit all those platforms stating it's all fake, that she was fake, that the images were forced, set up, sponsored and overly sexual given that she was underage at the time she started her instagram account.  This is hardly a surprise given the unusual frequency of these "models" all giving props to the same teeth whitening systems, detox tea and waist trainers however I am sad that she was a teenager trying to live up to the Kim Kardashian model of fame because she perceived that a high number of likes and followers and subscribers meant she was loved and accepted.  I'm sad her parents never felt any desire to intervene and perhaps give her some structure and advice about all the cleavage and skin she was showing at 15, especially once sponsor money came into the picture.  Perhaps the money that was rolling in made them turn a blind eye since she even landed a legitimate modeling contract from all that instagram fame but hopefully now that she's quit cold turkey from those platforms she'll take some time to actually evaluate herself and her life instead of being made to feel like a puppet.  I know her story is not new or exciting but it's interesting that she's gone back and re-captioned all of her formerly cool pictures with their true circumstances like I starved myself all morning and yelled at my sister to take pictures of me until I got it just right. We took at least 100 pictures. And I wore this dress because it was given to me in exchange for money. I literally never wore it again. It's weird how they're not required to disclose when they're sponsored on instagram.  Surely they will be forced to in the not so far future when so many individuals have made it their source of income.

If the numbers are correct, young people are pulling away from social platforms like facebook more and turning to phone apps where they can choose their audience of peers. Of course, even in that case it's not really confidential but nonetheless there is a feeling that it is not a permanent reflection of you to shared with your great Aunt Beatrice.  The average age of active facebook users in North America (if a simple google search can be believed) is 40.5 years of age.  I just can't get into Snapchat and other such platforms but I'm increasingly aware that's the next horizon. Whatever the next thing is will probably be a phone app and my kids will probably master it before I do.  I just hope what they see is something they're emotionally ready to comprehend.