Here’s some shocking news for you: people are mean on the internet! I know, I wasn’t very shocked either! The truth is that we’ve allowed online bullying to become so normal that we barely even think consciously about it. We kind of accepted it as part of ‘internet culture,’ and every time we hear about it we sort of think “yeah, it sucks… oh well”. And then move on with our lives. But some people can’t. Some people get their lives ruined by bullies on the internet. And this isn’t acceptable.
This is what plus size model Tess Holliday, (aka, Tess Munster) is fighting for. She became the first model over size 16 to be signed to a major agency, when she got a contract with Milk Model Management in London. She is one of the people currently changing the face of fashion and that means she is continuously facing a lot of backlash due to her size. Even after absolutely killing it on her first campaign with Torrid, she is still the target of body-shaming, bullying and straight up hate from certain online communities, especially on Reddit and Instagram.
However, this has done little to stop Tess from continuing to defy the odds in the fashion industry. In fact, it seems that they only managed to reinforce her motivation. Because even though she is strong enough to laugh in the face of internet trolls and continue being successful in her awesome life, the model is not the only one affected by online bullying. So she set out to shut down hateful communities. She said in a tweet that “Just so you trolls are aware, I’m in contact with Instagram an Reddit and your fat hate pages won’t be around much longer”. That’s right, there are people on the Internet who get together exclusively to hate on fat people. Because that’s productive and not at all sad.
“So instead of bullying others, you might actually have time to work on yourselves and try to be happy instead of projecting your problems on others”, Tess continued. The sad truth is that all this vitriol and vicious, hateful comments coming from online bullies is just a way to cover up insecurities and making themselves feel better by putting others down.
But this doesn’t mean we should stand for it. Tess definitely isn’t. And if she sets her mind to something, we know she is going to get it. “If I can defy the odds in my industry and be the first model to be signed to an agency, you better believe I will shut you all down and change the laws against this kind of bullying and vile behavior”.
It’s time we stop acting like online bullying is less important than the “real life” kind. We live in the future, the internet is already part of our lives. And when we start taking this behavior seriously, then we can start changing it.