This is – well, a lot of things.
It’s normal. Terrifyingly normal. Exist online as a femme and this is what you get on a daily basis. Throw in some opinions as well and you might as well stay away from your timeline forever. So that’s one thing.
I deleted all of the abuse at first. And banned the people from the page. Because it’s annoying and I don’t want any of you lovely people reading it and feeling sad. You might not be used to reading and disregarding these things like I am.
But I stopped deleting it – for two reasons. First of all, you guys were incredibly funny when taking on these trolls. I was laughing at how superiorly intelligent you were and how easy it was for you to make fun of them or destroy their arguments. Second of all, I was busy.
And this is what I want to say and why I post this photo.
Oh hi, this is a photo of me taken from a swimsuit photo shoot in Dubai for a women's magazine. Objectively speaking, I…
There are two kinds of people. Creators and destroyers.
No happy person feels the need to go online and attempt to make a stranger sad. These people who are making these shitty comments wear their vulnerability on their sleeves. No one writes “DIE U FAT BITCH” and then goes out for a nice meal with some friends and laugh and feel content. No one says “Fucking pig kill yourself” and then gets into bed with their soulmate and feels that pinch of true happiness in their stomachs. I am not saying that trolls are all sad men sitting in their mothers’ basements – because as we’ve seen over the years, a lot of them walk among us. Lawyers, accountants (so many accountants), teachers, politicians. What I am saying is: They are so, so sad. So unhappy. So desperately miserable.
Imagine feeling the need to do something like that.
They have groups as well. I was under attack (again) a few months ago and a friend of mine showed me a group online, where they were discussing their attack. Now, I had tweeted that I wasn’t seeing any of the abuse – which was true. Twitter made it so that it filtered out accounts that weren’t verified or that were reported as being abusive before. And the trolls were so *upset*. One was saying, “She is saying she can’t see it! Is this real?!” and the rest were comforting him, “Don’t worry, she can see it.” and then they continued to tell me to kill myself on Twitter. It was… adorable? So much vulnerability, so much fear and self-hatred.
Which leads me to us – the people on the other end of the abuse. The creators. The activists. The people with empathy.
I was too busy yesterday to read or delete the abuse. I spent an hour with my therapist trying to sort out my shit. I then went to record two podcast episodes with some truly incredibly artists and activists who told me things that blew my mind and who enriched my life and my day. I had a lovely meal by myself – with dessert – as I listened to my favourite podcast created by friends of mine. I sat and wrote jokes for a few hours. Then had a lovely phonecall with my friend about his jokes. I then performed my regular gig ‘Sofie Hagen is Alone With Other People’ at the Phoenix Artist Club. And I saw seven of my colleagues just be hilarious and intelligent and happy on stage. In front of a sold out crowd full of *my people*. People were laughing. It was incredible. On my way home, I had a long and empowering chat with one of my best friends. It was then midnight and I was too happy to even care about the fact that a tiny war was happening on my Facebook fanpage.
There are people who spend their lives trying to spread joy or positivity and there are people who spend their lives trying to spread sadness and negativity.
Imagine being one of them. Imagine being that sad. And imagine being that deluded that you actually think that writing “DIE U FAT BITCH” would affect me in even the slightest bit. Bitch, I’m too busy doing swimsuit photoshoots in Dubai to die.
For those of you who take the fights – who write the hilarious comments underneath the trolls’ ridiculous comments – I have a suggestion. If you want to fight online, oh by all means, do. I respect and understand that completely.
But here is a thought: Whenever you see anyone post a vile and sad abusive message online – go find someone who receives it and give them love. For every abusive comment or tweet – send two supportive and loving tweets or comments to someone who deserves it. Or knit a scarf or paint a picture. Do something creative that makes you or someone else happy. Go share a video by a band that no one knows. Retweet a funny tweet. Tweet your favourite comedian that you actually just find them really funny. Spread joy and positivity and love.
Because, by the way, we’re alone in this. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter aren’t helping us. They are, on a daily basis, silencing women’s profiles and ignoring reports about abusive and threats. I want you all to know that. The trolls are part of a system that works to their advantage. We can merely do our best to distance ourselves from the destroyers. And put a shit-ton of pressure on social media platforms to fucking take femmes’ safety online into account.
But as of now: Do something incredibly nice to yourself.
And if you read this whole thing and you’re someone who’s ever left a message online to a stranger, wanting their feelings to be hurt: Turn your life around, mate. Get help. Talk to someone. But not me, because I’m too fucking busy being hot in a swimsuit.