I have seen an overwhelming number of hateful, hurtful comments issued towards those who work on the creative side of things; People who cosplay, post videos on the Internet about topics such as female roles in various media, or make humorous videos that can been seen on You Tube. These people have come under attack from individuals who are now referred to as “haters” or “trolls”. I am not sure whether the increased number of attacks means more people are doing it or I have become more aware of this situation.
I am cranky, grumpy and sarcastic. Anyone who has spent more than five minutes with me can tell you this. Even still I would never suggest a person should die, get raped or go through some other physically violent, socially inappropriate behavior. I am baffled by those who think this would be acceptable to say anywhere. Try telling your supervisor at work that you hope one of those things happens to them and see how they react. I can guarantee it will not be positive.
Anita Serkeesian is one such person who has been verbally attacked for daring to point out women are not always portrayed well in games, movies and television. Reportedly the responses included death threats over her Kickstarter project. Her work can be seen at http://www.feministfrequency.com/. These attacks on her represent a clear problem with parts of the gaming society. The negativity has resulted in more people showing support for her and her work.
Another example is one that hits closer to home for me. I like cosplay and while I have never donned a costume at a convention I am fascinated by the amount of work people put into what they wear. Since I do not make costumes I have no right to criticize those who do. Lucid Cosplay crafted a response to negative comments at https://www.facebook.com/notes/lucid-cosplay/dealing-with-trolls/320787894682965.
A lot of time goes into making good costumes; sewing, metal work, fastening, etc. If I don’t like a costume I don’t take a picture of it and I take a lot of pictures. My Facebook page is full of pictures from conventions. My personal feeling is that if I am not willing to try it than I cannot make fun of those who do.
Another things that bothers me is the statement “haters gonna hate”. That is patently absurd. This expression is just another way for people to excuse bad behavior. Haters are going to choose to hate. Nasty comments and threats are not a biological imperative. These statements and comments are not needed to guarantee an individual’s survival. Yes, I have told people that my sarcasm is mandatory, that I cannot help it but my sarcasm never threatened a person’s life and yes, the sarcasm is not really necessary. It is a choice.
There is no way to avoid negativity if you are in the public eye. Posting pictures on any of the many different sharing sites is now part of the public eye. People are not going to like things they see. I do not like reality TV as it does not put people in the best light. I have suggested many things such as the shows do not need to be on the air. I have not and will not ever suggest that the people in these shows should be attacked.
If you do not like something, fine. People are not going to like everything. That is natural. Instead of attacking find a better way to respond. Rape, murder and name calling are not good ways to communicate. Saying nothing at all is better than that. There are critics everywhere. People criticize things constantly. Movie reviews. Book reviews. They are in magazines, newspapers, TV and the Internet. Professional reviewers do not threaten the people they are criticizing. If a critic does not like a movie they do not personally attack the director or cast. They discuss the movie, the performances and technical aspects of the film.
If you feel the need to criticize, fine. People are always going to do that. Do not mask personal attacks as criticism. They are not the same thing. What “trolls” or “haters” are doing is spiteful and not meant to express an opinion but to denigrate an idea or a person. No one will like everything but that does not give someone the right to attack.