Imagine logging into your Instagram account, Facebook page or Twitter feed only to find that your latest #nofilter selfie has received comments like “your face is disgusting,” or you’re like “a monster.”
If you’re a young woman on the Internet, chances are you’ve probably come across cyber-bullying and trolls at some point in your life. In my personal experiences as a writer for the digital age, I’ve received a countless number of negative comments on stories that I have worked hard to complete and feel proud of – and I’m sure many young people have experienced a variation of the same thing. Now, times that small blow to your self-esteem by a few million, and you’ll have an idea of what its like to experience the Internet as a female celebrity.
For some, it may be difficult to view 18-year old Kylie Jenner as a real person just like us who is capable of emotions – just like us, but Kylie Jenner is more than a distant photograph hidden behind a flawless filter. In a video by William Rebein, Kylie Jenner’s makeup tutorial plays backwards, taking her from fully glam to bare-faced and vulnerable, while an anonymous voice reads the mean comments that actual people have written about her online.
A few of the comments include: “Kylie looks like a used blow up doll,” “Kylie Jenner is nothing special,” “Kylie has a hideous plastic face, like a rubber mask,” “Kendall is pretty, Kylie’s face is disgusting,” “Kylie’s face has been massacred,” “Kendall the beauty, Kylie the beast.” Six hateful comments – enough to make any persons self-worth plummet, if only by a small amount, but barely a fragment of what Kylie see’s written about herself everyday.
Here’s what Rebein had to say about the project:
While reading news articles about Kendall and Kylie in Australia, I was shocked and disgusted by the aggressive comments directed towards Kylie. For years, people have cruelly commented on Kylie’s appearance, always pitting her against her sisters Kendall and Kim, and suggesting that her looks are inferior. It’s unreal that people take the time out of their day to write these comments, and forget that there is a real person potentially seeing these things and internalizing them. People used to always criticize Kylie for having thin lips, then when she got injections people tried to tear her down – the public will never be satisfied. People forget that Kylie Jenner is a real person; just a young 18 year old girl. This anonymous hate culture on gossip sites is out of control, and I thought by reading these comments (which were literally just taken from the top comments of two articles) and showing imagery of Kylie makes them seem more real and realize how painful the words can be.
It’s vital to realize that whether you like the Kardashian clan or not, it’s hurtful comments like these that are contributing to a wider issue and reflect the general misogynistic attitude that affects women everywhere.
Many commenters focus on Kylie’s age – “she looks like a good-looking 50-year-old” – forgetting that she is only at the tender and vulnerable age of 18. And while most commenters say that Kylie wears too much makeup, others attempt to make suggestions for how she can improve her looks, just one example of how society dictates and judge’s women’s appearances.
It’s easy for the average Internet commenter to say that celebrities are asking for it, or that it’s their own fault, but the truth is, the blame goes out to people like these who place pressure on those in the public eye to look one way or another. It’s easy to say that celebrities like Kylie should expect negative attention like this, because that’s what comes with being rich and famous. And as easy as it is to assume, it is just as easy for us to dismiss these comments. But whether you have 40 Instagram followers, or in Kylie’s case, 43 million, cyber-bullying can happen to anyone, and it shouldn’t be acceptable in either case.
If you think that with as large a following as hers, Kylie is immune to careless comments like these, the teen has admitted herself her anti-bullying campaign, #IAmMoreThan was inspired by her own struggle. “Almost my whole life, since I was nine, since I’ve been in the spotlight, that comes with so much bullying and attacking. Everything I do, there’s a huge light on it … It has still affected me a lot.” This, along with the realization that she isn’t the only one dealing with online harassment, made her decide to raise awareness to the issue via her own Instagram account.
If we want to take a stand against cyber-bullying, lets not forget that the person we see through a filter on our Instagram feeds is just as much human as those who we see and converse with on a daily basis, and neither should be a victim of unwarranted hate and oppression.
Check out the video below: