Aug 25, 2015

To the Person Who Called Me "The Ugliest Person They've Ever Seen"

UPDATE: Thank you all for the kind words, but please know this wasn't a ploy to get compliments. I truly want everyone to start thinking about what they'e saying online, whether it's to someone they know or about Kim Kardashian. I felt petty that my emotions took over, given the comment is superficial. It shouldn't have affected me like that. But it did! #WorkHardBeKind -- KJ



The comment section is essentially the joke of the internet, where many say the uneducated, ridiculous people of the world go to sound-off about a myriad of topics. (Usually including the incorrect use of "your/you're" and "there/their.") And yes, I know: "Don't read the comments." Sounds easy, but my interaction with people online helps me to develop a relationship with the viewers. Every digital content creator or host does this. So avoiding the comment section isn't something I can do. And usually, commenters are spunky, fun and offer their own tricks, so it's sad when people take a turn. 

The unfortunate part of my job is that people will have an opinion of me without actually knowing me. That's okay. This isn't the first comment I've received about my looks — I have a Rolodex in my brain where all these mean-spirited opinions are stored and hidden (for the most part). And you know what? I never really cared. Beauty is subjective, that's my motto. While I might not be attracted to someone, that doesn't mean they aren't beautiful. (And vice versa.) Who cares if I don't look good to someone? 

But Sunday was different. I got online to follow up on comments and came across this on one of our Youtube channels. 


And you know what? I cried. A lot. 

I'm annoyed and embarrassed to admit that, even though I shouldn't be. I'm human.  But I'm 28-years-old, and the last thing I should be doing is letting an unknown troll on the internet affect my emotions like that, like I've gone retrograde and am responding to getting called "Moose Lady" in elementary school. 

I don't know if it's because it was essentially the "last straw" comment, the one that threw me over the edge and made me burst into tears, or if I was just hormonal, or needed more sleep. And I can't decide if the comment itself is what hurts, or the 10 likes it has, or the additional comment made: "I thought I was the only one." 

But what I do know is this: it's not right. You wouldn't walk up to a stranger on the street and say that. You wouldn't say it to an acquaintance. Hell, you wouldn't say it to someone you know. So why am I expected to turn a blind eye to these comments and pretend they aren't there? 

I take the Chrissy Teigen approach to social media in that I address everything, including my own shortcomings and missteps. I don't take myself (too) seriously and use it as a way to connect with people. So in the past, when I've received rude comments, I've called people out on them. Cool, you think I'm ugly, but did you learn something from the video? I slaved away on delivering useful information to help you. Did it? It did? Great. 

That's the whole point.

After reading this comment a few hundred more times, I pulled myself together and went to that user's Google+ profile and found out, apparently, it's their life's work to ridicule others, deliver backhanded compliments and generally terrorize people like myself. 

I called my mom to talk to her about it and she actually laughed out loud — not at me, but at the fact that I was taking this comment so seriously. She also told me not to respond to it. (Too late.) "But it's not right. Why should they get away with it?" And what she told me is why I will stop responding to rude Youtube comments moving forward:

Calling somebody out isn't a reflection on them, it's a reflection of myself. 

She was right. I'm not feeling 100% about myself these days. (We've all been there.) I need to pull it together. She also expressed that I couldn't change that person. And truth be told? I don't like that piece of advice one bit — I'd like to think that maybe I am going to help change how a person acts moving forward. But the truth is, I'm not. I can't. I won't. People who comment in that manner don't have empathy for others, and they're not going to stop. They can get away with it because they can't be tracked and they can hide behind a computer. I'm not saying that for sympathy, I'm saying that because it's the truth. 

Wouldn't it be awesome if when you applied for a job, they were able to pull up you entire comment history? I'm sure many people would think twice about what they said to others on the internet if they knew their future employer wouldn't hire them, based on their comment history. 

Granted, I am not in Taylor Swift territory and don't have millions of people projecting their opinions of me in the headlines on a daily basis, but it still hurts. Maybe I'm weak for admitting that, but I'm only human! I can't imagine that celebrities see terrible comments about themselves and manage not to feel anything about it. 

So I say all this not because my feelings got hurt (update: I'm just fine now), but because we have to do something about the way we treat people online. It's not okay. The courtesy we give people in real life should be extended into our online life. Not everything you say or think needs to come out of your mouth, or in this case, be typed into the comments. And if you'll let me, I'll quote Tina Fey by posting this:



Different context, but same message. Stop criticizing others just because you can. And next time you go to make a rude comment on Facebook, Twitter or Youtube, take a minute and think: this could be someone's child, sister, brother, wife, husband, etc. How would you feel if it were yours?

PS: I need to re-read this one again, apparently. 


5 comments:

Caroline Hirons said...

OK so we know I have a lot of experience in this area. Not trolling, receiving the trolls LOL.
You HAVE to ignore, brush it off, and move on.
I am so sorry that someone as fabulous as you is being targeted in this way but to quote Drake, FOR LITERALLY THE ONLY TIME IN MY LIFE:
'I signed up for greatness. This comes with it.'
You ARE 'great' Kirbie, and it is entirely their loss that they cannot see that.


Also: SCREW'EM.

Kirbie Johnson said...

Thank you, Caro. And you know I appreciate the Drake quote! lol! xoxo

Karen Kelly said...

Wow! Not only is that person mean, he/she is blind! You are one of the most beautiful ladies I know. I'm sorry they hurt your feelings but at least you have some! Haters gonna hate! I think you're gorgeous!

Matt Svirsky said...

No shortage of idiots out there. You know who you are and that you're beautiful. (I had the biggest crush on you in 3rd grade haha, and you have only gotten prettier since then :). The problem is hiding behind a keyboard gives these sad people the "courage" to make these comments without thinking about the person on the receiving end or the consequences their comments might have. And I say "courage" with the biggest fattest quotes because really, commenting in that manner is a huge indictment of their character and a display of their true cowardice. You seem like a great and intelligent person to me that has it together and I hope that at least a few people will read what you wrote and that you CAN in fact change a few people and discourage them from making ugly comments towards people for no reason, because you are 100% right when you say comments sections are the joke of the internet. It's too bad really. Anyway, really nice post I enjoyed reading it.

Anna Livingston said...

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