I wrote this blog post in frustration; you should never publish anything when you’re angry, they say. Well, I didn’t. I left the text in a word document, hidden away on my computer, for a few days. Then I rewrote it and decided that it was too “look at me, I want to save the world!”, but that is not what I am trying to say with this blog post. So I then rewrote it again, and sent it off to one of my friends to read it. The person didn’t like it at all; he said it was too personal and honest. That’s when I decided that I had to publish it! The fact that I managed to make someone uncomfortable with my text means that this is a topic that needs to be addressed. I am not trying to preach to anyone about anything, and I am only raising my opinion on a topic that I see as a very current issue.
As a redhead I have grown up with the fact that thick skin is needed. However, despite all the teasing and fighting (yes, I did have the temper of a redhead) I never really developed this so-called thick skin. As I grew older the redheaded, midget champion in me became more controlled, and I learned how to put on a fake smile even when I rather wanted to tear the head off that someone. Is this what thick skin is all about; learning how to socialize with dirt bags? No, thick skin is about not caring about what others think about you. This counts for both positive and negative opinions. Most online platforms have a very scary function connected to it; the comment field. Here you are basically asking people to test the thickness of your skin. Looking at some of my favorite public figures out on YouTube, Facebook or other blogs there is always an irritating skin scratcher luring in one of the comments. To be honest, I don’t think you can be good at this game if you do not listen to people around you, and by listening to others you are allowing your skin to breath in other people’s opinion. In other words, your skin can’t be too thick. It is just like putting in earplugs in order to shut out all the noise from the crowd because you are trying to listen to someone’s important speech. The speech will drown with the rest of the crowd, and you have not managed to capture the important message. The problem is not the skin scratcher, it is the acceptance of allowing these scratchers to cut the skin of others just because they are public figures. Any other person would have been allowed to say “Ouch, that hurt!”, while a public person has to suffer in silence.
There is definitely a difference between constructive comments, negative comments and those who are down right outrages, ignorant and mean. We all have to deal with negativity from others, and some of it can actually be very useful in order for us to improve whatever we might be doing. People have different tastes and opinions, which is essentially what makes a conversation interesting. The feedback we get through online platforms can be as useful as face-to-face interaction. Often it might actually be easier to give constructive feedback in writing, and therefore, the comment field can be a very important information pool. Though, discrimination of any sort (whether it is sexual orientation, gender, age, religious beliefs, or race discrimination) should not be tolerated by anyone! Not even by a thick skinned public figure.
Being a blogger you are undressing yourself in front of so many people you don’t know. Would you feel confident on a stage with thousands of people in front of you and then on top of that getting your clothes striped away. You are naked and you can only hide behind your own hands. I did this myself; I went onto the stage and I undressed willingly. So when I see other bloggers getting slaughtered for no reason, by someone who is not even tough enough to show their real name, a part of me wants to leave the game while it is still fun. Luckily, I have very rarely experienced non-constructive comments on my blog. But if you do a quick click on one of the bigger bloggers or any celebrities out there you can find so much hate. This makes me angry. I don’t understand why ‘public’ people should have to take such shit from others.
For a few weeks ago I got a very inappropriate comment on one of my photos. The photo was of myself, fully dressed. This sexual comment from a 70-year-old man was not something I had asked for, and any other person would have reacted in the same way I did. However, what really made me angry wasn’t the disgusting comment in itself, it was rather the reaction from some of my close ones. When I told them about this incident they just responded “Well, Renate, by being a blogger you are kind of asking for it”. WHAT? Just because you are standing naked in a public street doesn’t give anyone permission to assault you! What the f***!? Yes, there is a dark world out there and some people will do you no good, but blaming it on the victim makes it just ten times darker. We need to get thicker skin, not because of online bullies, but from society’s acceptance of harassment.
Quote Of The Day:
“I am responsible for my own thick skin. You are not responsible for testing my skin thickness.”