Mid-Week Musings: Don’t Read The Comments

Maybe you have or maybe you haven’t heard people say, “Don’t read the comments!” when it comes to online articles, forums, etc. But like most “bad” things, even though you know you shouldn’t, you almost always do.

The comments section online can sometimes make me giggle, make me think about whatever opinion I first thought on the topic, or make me angry. Unfortunately, it’s mostly always the latter.

Last week, Arizona was put on the national spotlight again for not a very good reason (again). Six high school students decided it would be funny to position themselves forming a pejorative word that should never be thought of as funny. Their letters were from a larger phrase (with more students) used for their senior yearbook picture.

When I first read about this, I thought to myself, How in the brains of these six girls, did they think it was okay–funny–to do this? (In a picture where the girls’ faces are not blurred, they can all be seen laughing.)

Then I went to the comments.

I expected the girls to get lashed at. In many ways, I felt they deserved it. But what I read was quite horrifying. Most of the comments were targeted at the punishment the girls received, a 5 day suspension, that most felt wasn’t “hard” enough but there were quite a few people who didn’t think it was a big deal.

The story went viral and wherever I turned, I was reading about this story. And I couldn’t help but read the comments. I was disturbed by those excusing the girls, but I was also disturbed at the threats the girls were receiving–It was as if I felt the girls should be punished, but I wanted to step in when people began posting their home addresses.

Similarly, I read/saw Cassey Ho’s (YouTube fitness Guru) vlog on her personal struggle with anorexia. She posted a picture on her Instagram and Facebook of a time in her life when she participated in a bikini/figure competition. She shared how despite how she may have looked on the outside, she was incredibly unhappy (and unhealthy) in the inside.

“>Cassey Ho

I ventured to the comments and it was overwhelmed with people who had similar experiences with eating disorders. Comment after comment was a personal story of a struggle with weight and body image and it made me so sad to see how so many people live with this.

And it made me think of how there are so many things (Social Media, T.V., Magazines, Advertisements, etc.) that contribute to it. There was even one commenter who said she looked better in the bikini pic than she does now. 😦

The comments section in many places can be a sad and scary place.

–Do you read the comments section or do you avoid them?