call- out cul­ture

Dif­fer­ent peo­ple share how they deal when mobs form on so­cial me­dia and go on witch hunts, even when they’ve got good in­ten­tions

Scout - - IN THIS ISSUE - By RISSA CORONEL Il­lus­tra­tion by NIKA DIZON

A FRIEND ONCE SAID that so­cial me­dia has gone from a way to take a break to some­thing you have to take breaks from The de­gree of power it wields—to con­nect, reach out, have our voices heard by peo­ple any­where in the world—also comes with the po­ten­tial to bring out the worst in us

A lot of us have, at some point, been un­wit­ting spec­ta­tors of per­sonal and pub­lic drama ome­times we watch with an­tic­i­pa­tion, or even add fuel to the ame as celebri­ties and reg­u­lar peo­ple alike are roasted—dragged, ended, can­celed—in 1 0 char­ac­ters or less

ticks and stones may break my bones, but that thought­less com­ment might leave lon­glast­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal scars If you be­lieve on­line sham­ing is not a big deal be­cause it’s “not real, think again In our ef­forts to de­fend our side of the ar­gu­ment—es­pe­cially if it’s some­one we don’t like—we for­get the hu­man on the other side of the screen

It re­ally does a num­ber on the self-es­teem of those tar­geted Mica ex­pe­ri­enced it be­cause of a real-life mis­un­der­stand­ing, and says that it de nitely took a toll on the self-es­teem of those in­volved “ ou’d think you’re only as good as peo­ple say you are

an­dra also ex­pe­ri­enced a cross­over from a real-life ght that even­tu­ally turned into straightup on­line bul­ly­ing It ru­ined her rep­u­ta­tion among her so­cial cir­cles, es­pe­cially when an un­known num­ber claim­ing to be her re­peat­edly ha­rassed sev­eral peo­ple via text “I didn’t even know half the peo­ple who liked the tweets call­ing me out, she says about the or­deal er de­pres­sion reached a point where she ex­pe­ri­enced sui­ci­dal urges—her real friends slept at her condo to make sure she didn’t do any­thing rash

lut-sham­ing will al­ways be of­fen­sive and hurt­ful, no mat­ter the medium oey (see side­bar be­came de­pressed, suf­fer­ing from very low self-es­teem and trust is­sues, with “episodes of think­ing about why some­one would shame [her] for a harm­less post aye ad­mits to be­com­ing sui­ci­dal af­ter read­ing in­sults about her ap­pear­ance It takes some peo­ple a long time to learn how to be com­fort­able with them­selves, and thought­less words can de­rail all that progress

The many mes­sages and threats that univer­sity pro­fes­sor atha­nia Chua has re­ceived ini­tially made her afraid for her safety “I went on a to­tal lock­down in terms of my phys­i­cal pri­vacy and lo­ca­tion for a while he quickly moved past these in­ci­dents, es­pe­cially re­mem­ber­ing that most of the ac­counts were cre­ated by so­cial me­dia ma­chiner­ies just to ha­rass her

ona also quickly tran­scended her ex­pe­ri­ence with on­line sham­ing, con­sid­er­ing it rel­a­tively less se­vere but still an­noy­ing—es­pe­cially since she was at­tacked for sim­ply not lik­ing a lm “I’m used to cri­tiquing cul­ture from a politi­cal and so­ci­etal lens, but see­ing those peo­ple ig­nore my cri­tique and make fun of my points ou can’t help but get an­noyed

Jan­ice , on the other hand, was able to re­al­ize from her ex­pe­ri­ence that sex­ist jokes and gen­der in­sen­si­tiv­ity could push some­one over the edge “ hat I think is just an off­hand or mean­ing­less thing could be the thou­sandth time some­one has heard that in­sult

The in­ter­net has made it im­pos­si­ble to com­mit mis­takes un­no­ticed o much more is ex­pected of us in terms of fact-check­ing, cul­tural sen­si­tiv­ity, and politi­cal cor­rect­ness ur real-world mis­be­hav­iors might even be se­cretly recorded, like what hap­pened to “Amalayer irl back in 2012, when a video of aula Jamie alvosa was recorded scream­ing “I’m a liar? at some­one else on the LRT had made the rounds a few years ago ( he has since used this in­ci­dent as a learn­ing op­por­tu­nity to strengthen her faith and now works full-time for a Chris­tian min­istry

Jan­ice men­tions that peo­ple call­ing you out isn’t al­ways bad “Re­al­ize that they’re com­ing from a dif­fer­ent place than you are, and their thoughts are shaped by ex­pe­ri­ences Lis­ten to what they’re try­ing to tell you

Although there are peo­ple like Jan­ice who man­age to be re ex­ive while be­ing shamed on­line, there are more tact­ful ways to cor­rect some­one that don’t in­volve em­bar­rass­ing them in front of their whole friends list Like in real life, you’re likely not go­ing to lis­ten to some­one’s points if they come at you with hos­til­ity and dis­re­spect Mica points out, “There are bet­ter and more pri­vate ways of han­dling con ict, that won’t in­volve at­tack­ing the per­son pub­licly More of­ten than not, it puts you un­der a bad light as it re ects your per­son­al­ity

This is es­pe­cially true of those who let their prej­u­dices show in their on­line com­ments, like those who slut-shamed oey and aye More peo­ple are be­com­ing aware of the faults of slut-sham­ing, but it still hap­pens Jane , who wit­nessed her re­sult­ing de­pres­sion rst­hand, adds, “I wish peo­ple would let oth­ers do what­ever makes them feel good if it doesn’t hurt any­one else

ona mostly dealt with on­line sham­ing by ex­er­cis­ing her right to use Twit­ter’s mute func­tion he also ad­vises that “a solid, ob­jec­tive view of the con­di­tions you’re be­ing put in helps, es­pe­cially if you aren’t do­ing any­thing wrong If you’re deal­ing with a se­ri­ous case of ha­rass­ment, the re­port and block but­tons have got you nline ha­rass­ment is the main rea­son so­cial me­dia sites have those func­tions in the rst place

atha­nia has a sim­i­lar view of the trolls in her sit­u­a­tion he sees them as noise that dis­tracts from the mes­sages she wants to con­vey “I re­mem­ber all the peo­ple I’m do­ing it for, the peo­ple who [need] some­one to speak out on their be­half er ad­vice to those who ex­pe­ri­ence on­line ha­rass­ment is to re­mem­ber who you are as a per­son, in spite of the in­sults or lies you may read about your­self “ o not al­low them to make judgments about who you are These peo­ple have only judged you by a se­ries of tweets, or even pro­pa­ganda spread against you If you know who you are and what you stand for, the bat­tle will be a bit eas­ier

if cult as it may feel to move out of a headspace where you keep think­ing about your on­line pres­ence, you have ev­ery right to take a so­cial me­dia sab­bat­i­cal when it be­comes too much A few re­spon­dents ac­knowl­edged the fact that we don’t live on the in­ter­net alone At the end of the day, we are not con ned to an on­line space a la Black Mir­ror

het­her your bat­tle is to shed light on so­ciopo­lit­i­cal is­sues, com­ment on new forms of art and me­dia, or prac­tice self-love by post­ing your out ts, “you have to take your tweets to the street, as atha­nia quips “Real bat­tles are won of ine It can’t be all so­cial me­dia, all like, share, retweet lti­mately, your ac­tions have to speak much louder than what a post would say

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