How I deal with online hate (as someone with 20k+ followers)

March 1 | Guest post by Minerva Siegel
@Spookyfatbabe's Instagram page.
@Spookyfatbabe's Instagram page.

I started my Instagram account purely as an indulgence. The whole account is almost all selfies or words of self-love and empowerment. I was shocked when, after only a few days, I had hundreds of followers. Suddenly, that doubled, and doubled again, and now my account has well over 20k followers. I have thousands more on tumblr, and my blog, Donuts & Dissent, has thousands of followers, too.

I get a lot of messages of support and kindness every day from people, both men and women, who say that seeing me, a fat babe, being so confident and at home in my skin is inspiring to them.

I also get a lot of hate messages every day from trolls who tell me to kill myself, send death threats, and tell me I'm ugly using every kind of language imaginable. Hate accounts regularly launch hate-campaigns against me, during which a lot of trolls go through all my photos at once and comment hateful things in a big wave.

I'll admit that, at first, I was shocked by how hateful people were. It used to get to me. Their cruelty made me question what I was doing and whether or not I'm beautiful enough to be putting photos of myself on the internet for everyone to see.

So, how did I get over it? How do I not let the hate get to me?

Firstly, you have to realize a few things about the trolls spewing the cruelty:

1. They're projecting

Strong, secure people don't tear others down like that. The trolls obviously have very deep-seeded self-loathing that they're projecting by calling me names and ridiculing my appearance. They're unhappy, insecure people who want everyone else to wallow in self-hatred with them.

2. They're pathetic

You have to realize that these people are literally taking time out of their day to sit on the internet, peruse body-positive hashtags, go through my account and spew hate at me. What sad lives they must lead! It's truly pathetic that anyone has the time or level of self-hatred to be that committed to trying to bring other people down. They're obviously not doing anything productive, fulfilling or worthwhile with their lives.

3. They're cowards

The people commenting hateful things on my posts are almost always doing so from behind anonymous or fake profiles. They're absolute cowards. They don't have the courage to stand up and sign their name to their actions. I realize that I'm brave for putting myself out there and open to public ridicule — realize that they're cowardly and pathetic for not fighting a fair fight by making themselves public, too.

I don't engage trolls, and I recommend that you don't, either

In the beginning of having public accounts, I used to try to fight back against the haters, and that was stupid of me — it just fueled their fire. That's what they want. The best thing to do is to report their comments and profiles, ban them from your life and move on.

You're glorious

There is so much to celebrate about ourselves and our unique diversity. There's no one, set type of beauty — we're all beautiful and lovely in our own ways, so don't waste your time trying to conform to one narrow-minded scope of someone's idea of beauty. Revel in your own uniqueness and be proud of who you are and what makes you special.

Don't let the bastards get you down

Remember points 1-3 — that trolls are just pathetic cowards with huge amounts of insecurity and self-loathing that they're trying to project on to you, because they're threatened by your beauty and confidence. Don't engage the hate — just report and block them. If you get fired up about it and fight back, they win.

Stay confident, hold your head up high, and proudly show off that beautiful selfie!

  1. What!? Zero comments on this? I'm not a very public internet person, but I still think this is excellent advice for simply living a good life!

    7 agree
    • 0 comments but 75 shares. Don't worry, plenty of people recognize the good advice. They just don't have anything to add.

      11 agree
      • Exactly this. The points she laid out about internet trolls was 100% accurate.

        16 agree
  2. Thanks for such a great post! I'm not quite sure how such the internet developed into such a hate fueled culture, but it's great to step back and think about how to react. I would like to add one more note:
    There's not as many of them as you think. For all of the people on the internet, only a few of them are mean and nasty, but the mean comments seem to stick out more. I've also found that people who are really angry will take the time to post multiples from different accounts. Those of us who are just happy or inspired, will usually just "like", "share" or post one nice comment and move on. The raging horde seems a lot bigger than it is 🙂

    7 agree
  3. In 2012, I made a YouTube video that made its way to a 4chan board and people were . . . not kind. Ironically, I was getting all these hateful messages on Valentine's Day, so I just put my phone away and spent time with my husband. The advice in this article is SPOT. ON. Getting trolled on Valentine's Day really drove the point home that these people were insecure and pathetic–people in happy, healthy relationships or confident, secure single people aren't spamming a stranger with hate ON VALENTINE'S DAY.

    5 agree
  4. My first serious internet troll found me in 2002, and I had a period in 2005 – 2008 where I dealt with both a persistent hateful troll who followed me all over the web, as well as an obsessed internet stalker who went so far as to email my friends to say fucked up things about me.

    Back then, very few people understood what it was like to deal with trolls… back then, it was seen as weird if online hate had real-life emotional impacts. Almost 15 years later, we've all read about real-life suicides that have been happened because of trolling and online bullying.

    I hate that something so awful is common enough now that more people understand (I'd rather no one understand how awful it is!), but at the same time it's also weirdly reassuring to know that so many of us deal with this kind of thing.

    3 agree
    • That's so sad. I'm so sorry you've had to deal with that! I've never dealt with actual stalkers on any serious level- just frequent anonymous trolling & some death/rape threats. People can be so awful!!

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