First things first, cyberbullying is just plain wrong. You absolutely should not the internet to harass and demean other people who are different than you—or even those you just don’t care for. It is also extremely nasty to bother strangers who are just trying to enjoy their lives and share their stories with the rest of the online community.
Many of us use the internet solely to look at pictures and videos of cute animals do adorable things, along with maybe a bit of emailing in order to keep in touch with family and friends. Melissa Gibson uses the internet to blog and engage on social media, which are pretty common past times for a lot of us. The woman, who is pictured below, posted a picture of herself with her boyfriend, who is clearly pretty happy with his choice in a girlfriend.
So what’s the problem? Well, none that we can see. Other people—internet trolls, to be specific—did see a problem. When she posted the image below on New Year’s Eve, she founded herself on the receiving end of a lot of hate.
All Ms. Gibson was doing was wishing her friends and followers a happy new year, which is nice, right?
Indeed, it was nice; many of the comments she got, however, were the very opposite of the word “nice”. They were straight up cruel comments. One person instructed her to go to the gym, claiming he or she would rather smoke than be Gibson’s size. Apparently, in that commenter’s mind, smoking would be healthier.
Another person stated that Gibson was undeserving of her boyfriend because their body sizes are too different; that person also suggested the boyfriend might have a fat fetish.
Yet another person suggested Gibson was unhealthy and should take better care of herself because is ‘blessed’ to have a healthy partner. That person tried to make the case that obesity is a result of lifestyle choices.
Here’s another nice picture of Gibson in a nice dark purple dress.
Sadly, many women get depressed over cyberbullying, which can lead to truly tragic results. Happily, Gibson took the whole thing in stride, and she was actually brave enough to respond to the people who were nasty enough to spew forth vitriol towards her.
As she put it, when posting a picture of herself in a nice dress with her boyfriend prompts comments about her body, there’s a problem. The relationship, she says, is right and natural, and she and her boyfriend intend to keep fighting for their love. They are, as she stated, exactly what one another want.
She’s right that it is quite silly for people to be so very bothered by a very happy looking couple. She’s also right not to play the games of people who have nothing better to do with their lives than be mean to people on the internet.
Fortunately, not everyone on the internet is a bad person, and Gibson received a lot of emails in support of her relationship and her love.
They certainly do look like they’re having fun, so what’s the problem?
There is a problem, though, and that problem is the fact that cyberbullying can and sadly often lead to devastating results. Recently, a 14-year-old girl from Australia committed suicide after being cyberbullied, which absolutely devastated her family. The aforementioned young woman, a former child model who went by the nickname “Dolly”, had been featured in an Australian hat company’s advertisements years ago; she is far from the only victim of cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying can and often does lead to increased levels of suicidal ideation, which means that a person is preoccupied with thoughts of taking their own life. Children have killed others, and children have killed themselves, as a result of cyberbullying. Fortunately, in the United States and many other countries, there are laws on the books about cyberbullying children; unfortunately, those laws don’t apply to adults.
Perhaps surprisingly, girls are actually more likely to engage in cyberbullying than boys are, and girls are the ones who primarily make body-shaming comments using social media.