By Dana Zillgitt, Regular ContributorOctober 30, 2015
image via cosmopolitan.com
It’s always surprising to me that women need to justify why they shouldn’t get harassed online, or why comments explicitly detailing gruesome acts of violence, even in online forums, are actually detrimental. It always seems like inappropriate comments get responses such as, “Oh, that’s a one off situation” or “Don’t overreact, it’s just the internet after all.” But when online harassment has real life consequences, it doesn’t feel like just a bunch of zeroes and ones anymore.
Those hiding behind a computer screen can have a real life effect on somebody else’s life.
we all like showing the highlight reel on our blogs, Facebooks, Instagrams, and Tumblrs, right? But nobody likes being truly vulnerable on the internet, because it opens the door to feelings. But sometimes, it takes a whole lot of evidence over the years to make us realize that yes, this is happening, and yes, it is actually real life.
Mia Matsumiya has collected 10 years worth of evidence, documenting the online harassment she’s received over the years since she first started blogging in 2003, and she’s begun posting the comments on Instagram. But why would she want to hold on to any of this? It’s pretty alarming stuff.
She responds by saying, “I didn’t deserve to be treated this way and neither did other women. I decided I needed to do something about it, so I created the Instagram account.”
Moreover, she wanted to screenshot these interactions, because they created such a strong emotional reaction. She wanted to analyze them later to see if any sense at all could come of it.
In regards to the Instagram account, the followers are growing daily. As with anything online, the commentators were mixed but mostly supportive. It’s endearing because most of the women are expressing that they’ve experienced similar methods of online harassment, and it’s a great way to showcase that this is often a daily pursuit to ignore if you’re a woman online with any form of following. Because after all, it’s not easy to be vulnerable on the internet. It’s far easier to hide behind a few keystrokes and a pseudonym than to actually create change. But because of that, the internet can be the perfect place for it.
Have you or anyone you know ever experienced online harassment? How did you handle it? Tell us below!
Dana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.