Hello! Just fatting up the Internet again. Today I had a concern troll comment on a recent post on Instagram. The post is here if you want to check it out. You won’t find the comment on the post, because, as usual, I deleted it. It wasn’t anything original. I don’t engage with trolls, and I don’t give trolls airtime on any of my social media.
Trolling is an unfortunate fact of life on the Internet, and fat folks who dare to own their fatness are especially subject to it. Today is certainly not the first time I’ve been trolled, and it won’t be the last.
Trolls love hashtags. Unfortunately, it makes it easier for them to find people to harass. This troll seemed to have found me because of #fatacceptance. I brushed it off pretty easily, but that’s not always the case. It won’t stop me from hashtagging in the future.
There are several ways to respond to trolls on the Internet, and they’re all valid options. Here are a few possibilities:
- Delete, delete, delete.
- Attempt to educate.
- Attempt to dialogue.
- Do nothing.
For me, option one is a form of self care. I don’t want to spend my valuable time and energy arguing my humanity with strangers on the Internet who’ve already indicated that they see me as less than fully human. I also don’t want anyone else to be exposed to their hateful messages on my social media.
If you’d rather engage with the trolls via snark or attempts to educate or dialogue, that’s entirely your prerogative. If you do want to engage, I suggest being prepared and armed with a few links.
- 11 Reasons Your Phony ‘Concern’ for Fat People’s Health Has Got to Stop by Melissa A. Fabello and Linda Bacon at Everyday Feminism
- Five Phrases for Size Acceptance Self Defense by Ragen Chastain at Dances With Fat
- Quick Comebacks to Combat Daily Fat Shaming! by Rachel Otis at Wear Your Voice Mag
- The Complete Guide to Understanding and Dealing With Online Trolls by Ragen Chastain at Better Humans
- Is It Wrong To Shame Shamers? by Ragen Chastain at Dances With Fat
- What Is Concern Trolling? Watch Out For This Subtle Form Of Shaming by Claire Warner at Bustle
- Concern Trolling Is A Real And Painful Thing — From Someone Who Knows by Rebecca Jane Stokes at Your Tango
- 7 Affirmations You Deserve as An Activist Facing Online Harassment by Sian Ferguson at Everyday Feminism
- Need Help Dealing with Trolls? These Feminists Have 5 Ideas by Carmen Rios at Everyday Feminism
And remember, just because you engaged doesn’t mean you’re obligated to continue to engage. You can disengage at any time! Take care of yourself!
(I just got to the scene in the AMC version of “Dietland” where Alicia/Plum’s best friend Steven concern trolls her, so that’s special timing.)
What’s your experience of concern trolling? Do you have any standard comebacks? Feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.