Think about this question for a moment, friends: When was the last time someone made you feel less than or unworthy?? And also, why is it that online trolls seem to come out of the woodwork in spurts lately??
You all know that I’m no stranger to trolls and their sad, pitiful, pathetic shenanigans. Heck, I even got a viral tweet because of their behavior. But even though I’m no stranger to their taunts and tormenting, their words still sting. I don’t like to admit that; I’m not proud of the fact that sometimes, I let their words get to me more than I probably should.
Lately, though, these trolls have seemed to be around more than usual. Maybe they’re bored in quarantine? Maybe they’re just unhappy with their own life? I’m not sure what their reasoning is, but lately, I’ve seen such ableism when it comes to their taunts.
So, as a disabled person, I’m just here to remind those trolls that people with disabilities don’t exist for their chuckles. A couple weeks ago, I got several messages from people who were excited to let me know that my viral tweet was featured on some humor site.
Over 3K comments and it’s obvious whoever posted it did so as a joke. Not cool and not funny at all. I saw the word ugly over and over, along with these other gems. Y’all seriously need to check yourself and your ableism.
It was disheartening to read those comments, but it reminded me that even in 2020, the disabled are still considered less than. People to mock. And sometimes, we’re not even considered people in the first place.
And don’t even get me started on what it’s like being a woman writer on the internet. File under The Cost of Being a Woman Writer on the Internet: When I got this “fan mail” in my inbox once, my first thought was, “Oh, like I haven’t heard this one a million times already! Maybe try something a little more original next time?”
Really, though, the joke’s on them because blobfish can live up to 130 years!!! I’m not going anywhere!!! Thank you, next.
Seriously, though, this is the reality of being a woman — and especially a woman writer. This is how women are treated and it’s not OK. When was the last time you saw a male writer criticized, mocked or taunted for their appearance? Spoiler alert: They’re usually not. Not nearly as often as women are.
Over the weekend, I got to thinking about all those cruel words I’ve heard lately — words like ugly, whale, fat and, yes, blobfish. What did I do, you ask?
I made that graphic above — my photo surrounded by actual comments trolls have left about me. I’ve got quite the collection, as you can see here! This is a reminder that we’re NOT the labels people place on us. People will talk. People will say things. But guess what? We don’t have to listen. They don’t get to tell us who we are.
Many of you have commented that I shouldn’t have blurred out the names of those trolls. Here’s the thing: I don’t need to reveal their names to call them out. I think it’s more important to focus on what they said as opposed to who they are. After all, who they are doesn’t matter.
I’m going to keep calling them out too. Not all of them because, let’s face it, there are a lot and only 24 hours in a day, but I make a point to call out the most horrific ones. That’s always been important to me and just one of the ways I speak up.
One more thing worth noting about trolls: I’ve been on social media for more than a decade, so I’ve seen A LOT. But I’ve never seen (and experienced) as much toxic ridicule and straight-up bullying as I have in the last four years. The fact that this coincides with Trump’s presidency is no coincidence. It’s telling. I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it: He’s encouraged and emboldened this disgusting behavior.
In the end, the trolls may say that I’m “ugly as hell,” but the joke is on them because I’m feeling GOOD AS HELL. And come on, “Ugly” looks pretty darn cute in a flower crown too!!! xoxo
Ramona Puckett says
You are a strong woman ❤️
Barbara Dimmick says
I always remember that when attacking others, the attackers are actually revealing what they fear—and more importantly what they feel—about themselves. No healthy, well-adjusted person would even think of trolling. By definition, trolls are the wounded, the maimed, and twisted.
And you’re right that Trump has been Troll-in-chief.
Linda Fitzgerald says
Melissa, this type of harassment makes me angry. Bullying is NEVER acceptable and yes, of course, it can “get” to you (to anyone who is bullied)! Ramona and Barbara are right in their comments — you are a strong woman and those obnoxious and hateful people who hide behind the screen are usually fearful. They DO have “issues” and they clearly have NO writing skills at all. You on the other hand ARE an accomplished and talented writer! I always enjoy reading your articles, stories, and pieces. Maybe if the ugly comments are showing up on any specific site you should direct your talent to other sites…sites that are frequented by mature adults who love your work and just leave the immature socially inept trolls behind. The things they say, the names they call out are NOT you…you are an amazing, kind, and caring woman who is always looking out for others! You are a friend to all of us! Thank you for sharing — your honesty and openness (and you) are beautiful!
You are a fabulous writer. You have a heart the size of Asia and it’s full of pure love. If these f***tards have nothing else to do, then all you can do is pity them for they have nothing in their life. Nothing. They live in their parent’s basement, no job, no girlfriend, and the closest they get to having a human relationship is with a Japanese Anime blow-up doll. I feel sorry for them. You, my dear, know what life is truly about and you exemplify it every day. Remember, it’s only ONE “person’s” opinion and yes, I meant to put person in quotes. Keep writing. Keep loving. Keep doing what you’re doing. You are loved, I promise.
Melissa, I am sorry that you have to endure such bs. Frankly, their comments say much more about them than you. When I was feeling depressed by something that was said to me, a friend asked asked if the people that I admired and respected would treat others like that. I have a feeling that your friends and family wouldn’t. You are a beautiful soul. Many blessings to you.
I really enjoy reading your blog.I started reading it maybe a year ago after I read an article you had written in Good Housekeeping magazine about your Dad.. It really moved me..
As far as the trolls ,what can I say , they are people without empathy. They are people of iignoranceI. I could never understand bullies. It’s sad to think that some people get some sort of enjoyment at laughing and making fun of others.
But your writing brings enjoyment and insight to so many people.
“After all, who they are doesn’t matter.”
Hell YES! Don’t give any power to their names or egos.
Thank you. I deal with this issue on a regular basis too. I’m not even safe from comments about my weight at work. Recently a coworker tried to take a photo of me in a bathroom stall as a joke. I was not laughing. I don’t yet have the courage to call them out but you inspire me.
Dawn Cumia says
Thank you Melissa, you’re an inspiration to me and my family. We regularly get criticism for our appearance. My brothers get compared to simple bovines on the one hand, and ghoulish vampires on the other. We need to stand strong against cyberspace meanies.
Danette Butcher says
It shouldn’t matter what others think, but for the record—I think you’re beautiful.
Stellan Clausen says
Hi wonderful Melissa!
Do not let evil trolls prevent you from posting pictures on you cute face, Melissa you are a human being, Melissa you are a wonderful woman, Melissa you are an important person, Melissa you are a very important female writer, never stop writing, never stop posting pictures of yourself, you are a wonderful woman Melissa… unfortunately have trolls have a sick brain therefore do never let trolls control your life Melissa… you’re a cute girl, I love your sweet face and I love you for the wonderful woman you are, when I see pictures of you I want to hug you.. I wish you a wonderful life! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Sincerely Stellan Clausen from Sweden.