Curb Your Toxic Online Bullying
It's been a difficult week for a lot of us - we’ve lost a legend, someone that inspired and continues to inspire an entire generation of Black and Ethnic Minority youth. Chadwick Boseman sadly passed away after battling colon cancer for the last 4 years. The films that he starred in and the legacy he has left behind for so many people will not be forgotten. His dedication to the representation of Black people across the world is purely aspirational and something that thousands of us continue to look up to.
Prior to his death, Chadwick kept his battle with cancer private and shared it only with a handful of people - mostly family and friends. During this time, due to his declining health, he lost a significant amount of weight.
And this didn’t go unnoticed by online trolls. Many of which took the opportunity to body shame Chadwick and pick apart his appearance. His weight change across the years became a topic that many thought they could make jabs at and mock, without consequence.
Reading some of these comments feels unbearable and these are the ones that he may have read himself, under his own posts, while battling with his condition.
Memes calling Chadwick ‘crack panther’ and many more were liked, shared and reposted thousands of times. I really hope those people and content creators will now take the time to reflect on the damage they may have caused through their tactless actions.
You don’t know what’s going on in everyone’s lives. Whilst enduring the late stages of cancer, Chadwick had to endure disgusting comments online about his body. And it’s doesn’t stop there...
Chadwick is unfortunately not the only victim of extreme online bullying.
Everyone (and I mean everyone) has been going crazy over the edited picture Khloe Kardashian posted onto her Instagram. And she has received heavy fire from her fans to people that don’t even follow her addressing how edited her face is, compared to a screen cap from Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
But I implore you to take a step back. Khloe has been trolled for years. She has been labelled the ‘fat’, ‘ugly’ Kardashian sister for over a decade. She has been ridiculed constantly for the way she looks by people hiding behind their screens and taking jabs at anything she posts and wears.
The heavy face editing is a serious issue, I agree. Millions of young girls and women see these unrealistic images and set in their minds that this is the goal and the way they also want to look - when in reality influencers don’t look like that either. Khloe was caught out because of the screen cap from the reality show she stars in, but what about other influencers?
Some people only show what they look like - or what they what their followers to see - through their social media channels. So, if they are editing their pictures and selfies too how are we meant to know whether they’ve face-tuned themselves or photoshopped their bodies? We don’t. Taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture is helpful in deciding how to tackle this issue.
The stem of the problem is these online comments, telling us how we should look and posting insults to anyone that doesn’t fit the mould of what they deem 'beauty' to be for both men and women.
Before commenting hatefully under pictures of celebrities and influencers...put yourself in their shoes, they’re people too. Be kind and know that whatever you’re saying isn’t just going to be read by whoever you’re talking about but also by the people that follow them and many that don't.
The people that have extensive numbers of followers have a great responsibility, so let’s take a moment to appreciate their natural and honest posts rather than tearing them down at very opportunity presented. If you don’t have anything nice to say...please don’t say it. Breaking this cycle needs to start from somewhere.
Belittling anyone about their appearance is not okay. Be empathetic and always think before doing.
Be kind. Be mindful. Be safe.