January 31, 2015
Selena Gomez branded "Fat Pig" by Comment Trolls.
We are no strangers to internet trolls slamming our fitness trainers. Not a day goes by when people feel the need to label our athletes "anorexic" or "unhealthy." The apparent anonymity that the internet provides seems to unleash the nastier side of people's personalities. It happens. We've all had to develop pretty thick skin to deal with it, and even then it's possible for a comment to cause real hurt. This week an article caught our attention that was particularly nasty. These candid photos of actress and former Disney Star Selena Gomez on the set of her latest film caused a firestorm of outrage when commenters began trolling the 22 year old for her apparent weight gain. As you can see from a selection of the comments above, people essentially started shredding Selena apart based on nothing more than her appearance (we think she looks great) . We get that there are a lot of incredibly negative, hateful people out there, but the trolls in this particular case could smell blood and launched one of the worst online bulling attacks we've ever seen. It's shameful and disgusting and sends young women (and men for that matter) the wrong message. For all of the anti-bulling rallies of 2013-2014, the sad reality is that too many people in our society feel that it is entirely acceptable to tear other people apart. The most common justification is that "she is putting herself out there, so she should expect a certain amount of criticism". First, criticism and abuse are very different - criticism properly expressed is constructive. Abuse is just that, and there is no justification for abusive attacks. There is also a misconception that the target persons fame, wealth or popularity somehow insulates them from the negativity. Let me be clear - no matter how many followers someone has or their relative degree of influence, these types of comments still wound. This kind of behaviour has to stop. We don't tolerate it here, and you shouldn't either - but how do you deal with internet trolls? Getting into a flame war is not necessarily the answer (although we do love reading a good troll slam now and then). So we are putting it out to you - what is the best way to deal with Internet Trolls and Bullies?