Bullying, Free Speech, & the Internet

Recently I’ve been toying with the idea of posting more opinion based pieces on my blog. This blog is mainly intended to be a place for me to muse about daily life, past relationships, and beauty buys. However, I feel like I would be doing myself (and the public) a disservice by not discussing current events and social issues. These are things that affect our everyday lives, and while I would never want to alienate someone who may not feel the same way that I do, I also feel like it’s important to speak about these things.
One of the most controversial conversations is the one about free speech and online censorship. The internet has become a place where people can say whatever they want to whoever they want. I’ve always been angered by this, but two recent events have startled me so much that I had to say something.

Cristina Toff, a blogger, threw her child a Moonrise Kingdom (a film by Wes Anderson) themed birthday party. The party looked great and Christina made a post about it on her blog. When the blog post went viral, people attacked her parenting skills, her sanity, and her motives – people thought she was making money off the post, which she says she didn’t. But even if she did, who the hell cares!? The comments ranged from comparing her child to Hitler to chastising Cristina and her husband for throwing such an extravagant party for a one-year-old. I was saddened even more when I learned that Cristina’s father had passed away recently and she had been blogging to help heal. The fact of the matter is, your two cents is not necessary in every situation. When people choose to share parts of their life online, you don’t have to comment.  Cristina did what she wanted for her child, and all that matters is that they’re happy.
The other incident that shocked me was the incessant bullying of actress and comedian Leslie Jones. Leslie is a cast member on SNL, and starred in the all-female Ghostbusters remake. Leslie has gotten more hate than any of her co-stars, and I do believe it is because she’s black. Leslie was bullied off of Twitter with racist memes, name calling, and endless harassment. The person who started the bullying was eventually banned from Twitter, and all seemed well. However, earlier this week, Leslie’s website was hacked, and her private information and photos were shared with the world. I can’t even begin to imagine how she feels at this moment.
Being a woman on the internet requires a certain amount of bravery. This kind of bullying mostly happens to women; we pick on women for how they look, how they dress, how they talk, how they parent their kids. The bullying only intensifies when it comes to women of color, LGBTQ+ women, disabled women, etc.
I just want everyone to remember that our words to do hurt. Before making that nasty comment about someone online, take a second and ask yourself if what you’re about to type is truly necessary.
Cristina and Leslie, I’m so sorry this happened to you. We all need to do better.
Xoxo,
Témi
Check out my other op-ed pieces about soul ties and cultural appropriation.
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