Monday, April 9, 2018

On Handling Online Hate & Criticism


Sharing my life online has come with a fair amount of criticism. I have spoken about this before, but it's not until this year that I have really started to see its effects. I'm a pretty strong person and I take pride in the thick skin that I've developed over the years, but watching strong people crumble under petty criticism has really made me realise how damaging anonymous online hate can really be.

That being said, I'm not made of stone and certain comments can get under my skin. There are things about myself that I have become insecure about over the course of several years. I'm not proud of that. I hate that certain topics can make me second-guess who I am and how much ammunition I'm willing to provide to the pure trash human beings that need to make others feel as terribly as they feel about themselves.

I refuse to let anyone diminish my confidence any longer.


I firmly believe that talking about things and reclaiming power over your own feelings and your experiences is the way forward in healing and growing. There are certain questions and comments that plague my social media that I actively avoid and pretend isn't happening. Today I'm addressing the top 3 comments that grind me into insanity.

1. Why do you sound American?


Of course this one had to go first, right? I sound American because, believe it or not, English is not my first language. I didn't live in England until I was 17 and I learned to speak English in school, like millions of other non-English people. I sound American because I watched a lot of American TV and movies while I was learning to speak English. A lot of my teachers had American accents themselves. I will never understand why this is such an incomprehensible concept to so many people. Moving to a country doesn't mean that you automatically develop the common accent through osmosis.

This was never something that bothered me until it became the focal point of every conversation I have with a stranger, and until it overtook 60% of my YouTube comments. Until you can speak more than 2 languages fluently, you can shut the fuck up about what my accent sounds like.

2. Why does your nose still look big after your nose job?


Well, thank you for letting me know what you think about my nose. In fact, in case it wasn't clear, I got plastic surgery especially for you and your perception of me. I'm sorry you feel like my surgery results aren't up to your standards. Let me go and book another surgery... oh, wait - nobody actually cares what you think.

My nose came out exactly as I wanted it to. Sure, it's not perfect, but I never expected that it would be. I didn't get a nose job so that I could have a generic Barbie nose - I just wanted a better version of what I already had. My nose hasn't massively changed the way my face looks, and that was my biggest priority when getting surgery. I didn't want to look like a totally different person, and I don't. Excuse me if I really don't take your opinion into consideration.

3. What happened with *insert name here* ?


This is one of those comments and questions that you will see on every single YouTube channel that's ever had the audacity to showcase a relationship or friendship that later on ceased to exist. The really blunt truth is, whether it pleases you or not, that you're not entitled to knowing the details of what happened.

Especially when a friendship is built on the foundation of a mutual hobby/job such as YouTube, you can't come to public blows or talk shit about each other openly. When friendships end and nobody talks about it, it's because they want to get on with their lives without causing any extra drama, if there's even been any to begin with. Believe it or not, adult and mature friendships can simply come to an end when people distance themselves. Life happens and people develop different priorities and go down different life paths, and that's okay.

So what now?


I take pride in my ability to step outside of my own perception of the world, and handling online hate falls under that too. Of course it can be hurtful to read horrible things about you online and it can be really hard to not feel like you have to defend yourself in the face of what you think is an unfair judgement. I'm not under the impression that everyone is capable of simply switching off and not caring about what is being thrown in their direction.

However, the day I shifted my perception of online hate, I became a much happier person. First of all, there are wonderful features on YouTube that allow you to hide users, block them or simply block out certain words so that any comments containing them get instant hidden. The petty haters will try and call "freedom of speech", but know that you have full control over what goes on your platform. They don't have the right to abuse you if you don't grant it. Do what you can and use all the features available to you to protect yourself.

Another point that I always come back to, is that people are judging without context. Now, we all know that's really dumb, but I never said everyone is intelligent. I find that a lot of my negative comments come from people who didn't watch the entire video or they're simply so close-minded that they can't step into another person's shoes and take their perspectives into account. More often than not, it's a reflection of them and not you.

Take online criticism with a pinch of salt. Most people spreading judgement and negativity are doing so out of pettiness and an inability to see beyond their own horizons. The only opinions you should be considering are the ones coming from people who have full context and your own best interest at heart. Everything else is just noise.
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