Online Trolling: Where Does The Hate Stem From?

Online Trolling: Where Does The Hate Stem From?

I was introduced to the world of online trolling when I first saw Em Ford’s You Look Disgusting Video. I guess I was a little naive about the subject because I’ve never experienced it, or witnessed it first hand until the other day. I was scrolling through Instagram and when double tapping on a selfie I noticed a vile comment, which has since been deleted. Basically, this comment stated that this person thought the woman in the selfie looked “disgusting” and that – due to having lip fillers – “she had no inner beauty left.” I was gobsmacked.

From a young age I was taught that if you had nothing nice to say, you didn’t say it. It’s a moral I’ve always lived by and still adhere to. Yes, I see things online that annoy me, but would I leave a hateful comment? No. Just like I wouldn’t say something hurtful to someone’s face, I wouldn’t send a stranger a nasty message. I don’t understand online users that do. What do they get out of it? It’s totally alien to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a saint. When I’m worked up I’ll have a bitch with my bestie, but if I had a nasty option about someone I certainly wouldn’t voice it on someone’s social media.

When I was taught the mantra above the internet didn’t exist. I’m the generation that didn’t grow up with the internet. It wasn’t until I was about 12/13 that I was introduced to Myspace, MSN, Nokia mobiles with black and white screens and when unlimited data didn’t exist. So, this got me thinking – is it a generation thing? Does growing up with instant internet access change the way the way we view people online? Are we seen as just profiles and not people with feelings?

If I’m honest I thought trolling may be down to age because more and more young people have access to the internet via the latest technology and if they see a lot of trolling online without really knowing what it is, won’t they just think it’s the norm? On the other hand I can’t assume it’s just younger people because in the same breathe – having discussed this with others – they’ve personally found that the hate they receive online comes from the older generation, which just baffles me as they should know better.

It surely can’t be a gender thing? What gobsmacked me the most wasn’t essentially the comment, but that the fact that it came from another woman. I couldn’t believe that a woman was shaming another woman. Like, come on, as women we deal with so much sexism on a daily basis, like focus that energy on something positive like fighting equality not shaming another woman about her lips, ffs. We all have insecurities, so we should know better than to spit nasty comments that could potentially trigger someone to feel even worse about theirs. What’s that Mean Girls quote? “Stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.” Whenever I see girls hating on other girls, I always think of this. We should be supporting one another, not tearing each other down.

Personally, I don’t think gender and trolling sit together, and having discussed this with a friend, who receives online hate herself, we think it might stem down to jealousy. On Instagram we show the best parts of our lives, in some respect it’s an ever-growing feed of aspirational images. You know what I mean, have you ever scrolled through Instagram and wanted something that someone else has? Have you ever felt bad about yourself after looking on Instagram? I know I have and I’m sure there’s a lot of you out there that agree with me. So, jealousy creeps in and it’s a perfectly normal to feel jealous at times, but I think people blur the lines and express it in a way that results in hate and anger highlighting factors that may be they feel jealous about? I don’t know in my head it makes sense. What do you think?

I guess what makes it worse is there’s no authoritative figure online so people feel they can say what they want without any consequences. So, it’s a cycle that continues and I think it always will, which is so sad.

I didn’t intend to write a post like this, but it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while now and I wanted to get it out. So, please let me know your thoughts – what do you think trolling stems from?

Sarah Jayne x

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Trousers c/o Lasula. Images by Zest of Alice.

7 Comments

  1. August 25, 2018 / 6:03 pm

    It’s pretty terrifying really, it must be so hard for young people nowadays growing up with trolling online, at least when we were kids we could see the bullies! It blows my mind what people think it’s OK to say on the internet, there are plenty of people I dislike in this world but I would never dream of writing anything about them or to them over the internet – it’s just absolutely crazy!

  2. August 26, 2018 / 6:52 am

    I’ve never understood how people can write hateful things to someone they don’t even know. It just doesn’t make sense in my mind. It has to be jealousy and I find that so sad that some people look at someones content and instead of feeling inspired they just type horrible comments instead! Love this outfit too btw. The trousers are gorgeous. x

  3. August 26, 2018 / 11:05 am

    I see so much of this online at the moment and I have noticed it more from older women and young girls which seems a little strange to me? I was always told ‘unless somebody can change it in 10 seconds don’t say it’ meaning if they have their skirt tucked in their knickers – tell them…if they have something in their teeth – tell them because they can quickly sort that out even though it may be a little uncomfortable however if you would even think about commenting on an appearance they cannot change or were born with do not say it! there is no need whatsoever I don’t understand why people would tell another human being they look disgusting?

    By the way! You looked BEAUT in these pics!

    Lots of Love!
    Alicia Xo

  4. August 26, 2018 / 12:48 pm

    I think that trolls aren’t just an age-group, sadly there’s a whole variety of people from a whole variety of backgrounds who take pleasure in destroying others – both on and offline. It’s just more obvious online. But it’s horrendous when you’re the victim x

  5. September 11, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    Honestly, I’m so glad that I’m not growing up ‘now’ and that I grew up in the 90s and 00s, trolling is just so horrible and I literally can’t get my head round why people would get pleasure out of it? Just baffles me totally.

    Also, these photos are sooo nice! *heart eye*

    Katie x

  6. September 17, 2018 / 10:06 am

    Trolls I hate them and what is worse some actually come from our own blogging community. It’s sad that this day and age that trolling is a thing. You wouldn’t do it in front of the person so why write it. It’s so sad x

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