Who Says – Trying to Spread Kindness

Anonymous internet hate. We’ve all seen it. Some of us have participated in it. Some of us just read the comments and silently agree. Some of us fight back with even harsher words. It is easy for us to hide behind a username and a fake photo. The anonymity gives us power like no other. There is no consequence for our words because no one has to know they are ours. This is the cyber world we live in.

Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson, founders of the Kind Campaign, showed their documentary to the women of Greek Life last year, and it has stuck with me ever since. Their cause is about ending girl-on-girl bullying. Let me just say that girls can be brutal. To each other and to themselves. I wish I could say I was innocent of gossiping saying bad things about other people, but I am guilty. We all are. When the guilty parties take their bullying online, though, is where it can turn even more sour.

You always see women posting photos of themselves doing everything from hanging out at the beach to skydiving. On any and all of these photos, majorly on the ones of celebrities and internet-famous people, there are hundred of comments. Some are positive, but too many of them tear down the person who posted it. They will say awful things about the person’s body or face or clothes. They are too fat or too skinny. They wear too much make up or not enough. They are being insensitive to some group of people, whether a majority or minority. But you mostly see comments about their body.

We are encouraged to empower each other and that we do not have to be Victoria’s Secret models. We are supposed to be comfortable in our bodies and spread the love to others. Quite often, we do receive positive comments that make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but the hate is all too prevalent.

Recently, I came across a photo set on Twitter compiled of pictures a young woman posted, along with comments from some followers or random trolls who stumbled upon the photos. The girl had posted various “OOTD” pictures. Every comment was about how she was too fat to wear a crop top or not skinny enough to wear leggings. Just awful things about her appearance. All from other women.

Reading what these women said about her clothes and her body stung my heart. It is already us against the world (hello, feminist movement), and so many are pinning us against each other, further dividing us. The more that we split up, the weaker we are as a whole. If we cannot stick together on something as simple as accepting all body types or clothing, how on earth can we come together to prove our equality to men?

Like I said, I am guilty. I am not perfect. But like everything else, I am working on it. Posting anonymous (or public) hate about another person gets you nowhere in life. It does not even feel good. I even typed out an insulting comment to see what it was like, and not that I was going to send it–or that I even meant it–I just felt dirty. I gave myself a dirty look in my reflection in the computer screen. I am grimacing just thinking about it, actually. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

When has bullying ever been a good thing? Yes, we may learn how to stick up for ourselves, but it still feels incredibly shitty until we stop believing what people say about us. We know those things are not true, but they become true the more we look at them. A mean comment about someone’s breasts will only make them self-conscious about them, more aware of them. They will try to hide them. They will try to change the features that make them…them. A person should embrace everything about his or herself.

So please, I beg you, do not send hate to people. It does not matter if you think a girl should not wear a crop top. Keep that thought to yourself, and let her confidence shine. What if someone told you that your favorite article of clothing make you look like trash? Clearly, you would disagree.

I always try to compliment random people I meet. Saying that their dress is cute or their shoes are cool or their sweater looks as soft as a cloud or their speech in COMS today was fantastic. Hearing those things makes me smile. I cannot help but blush. I want others to feel that same warmth. Anyone can appreciate a random act of kindness.

We are all beautiful and we all deserve the best in life. Tearing each other down is not going to help anyone, let’s be honest. I am sorry, I do not want to preach, but I do want to spread kindness. It can create a ripple effect.

I hope you all can say one good thing about yourself and compliment someone else every day. I challenge you.

-Ash

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