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I've Been Trolled!

October 24, 2019

I've Been Trolled!

Well who thought that would happen at the age of fifty-six?

I can think of a whole load of flippant things I could say which might be quite funny but actually, this isn't a funny matter.  Social media is going mad with some of the things people think they can say to you because they never need to look you in the eye as they utter the words.

You and I grew up in a time without social media and - as our mums (and Thumper in Bambi) - said "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all".

Jesy Nelson has recently admitted that she's had a terrible time with online trolling and she is a beautiful woman.  I'm a middle-age no-one-really who people hadn't even had the benefit of seeing a photo of before they decided to judge me.

It started at 12.30am (yes, I was awake) on the day that the Daily Mail ran the double page spread on my book.  I was thrilled that they loved the book enough to cover it.  The section in the paper runs once a week, so of the 52 issues of this bit of the paper each year they chose to have my book as one of the fifty two they would cover - amazing.

I knew the piece would run at some point, but at ten past five on the Friday before it did the Mail e-mailed to say they wanted to run a "fun quiz with it".  I had no objection because while I'm deadly serious about what I wrote in my book, how could a bit of fun hurt?  Well, as my husband said "There are men in America who yesterday, had no idea who you were but today, they hate you" and that's about the sum of it.

In total there are two hundred and forty four comments before the Mail stopped accepting them, mostly, they seem not to really like the piece.  

Mandy4 said, "What a load of old rubbish", while TweedyPie said "Utter drivel".  "This is aimed at middle class women with too much time on their hands" said ITFC (I hope that doesn't mean something like WTF and I just don't know about it).  Woah!  She definitely hasn't read the book!  Some were a tiny bit more personal but I don't think we need to see the full details here.

My favourite one was, "Not if the Labour Party has anything to do with it" and that was it.  Very abstract.

There were some positive ones.  Mrs Heckles (I don't think it's her real name) said "Good for her. All the negative comments on here are from those who can't be bothered to even take stock, let alone make a few small plans to change things up" and Natalie in Manchester said, LOVE this! I am 29, had my first child at 17 and now have a 10 month old! I love love love my life but have never really had time for myself and look forward to doing things like this with my other half when our children are grown and dont need us so much anymore xx".  Good girl, she got what the book is about.

The thing is, it is really easy to take these things personally.  I spent months, almost a year, writing that book when everyone else was out having fun (or doing the ironing, not much got done round here for a while) and a book is a deeply personal thing, which none of the commenters had read.  It must be even harder for people who are judged on their looks and then see nasty words across the internet.

Something, at some point will be done as it is just so unfair - not for people like me who are a bit longer in the tooth and it was a one-off because I'm now no longer in the Daily Mail - on those who are regularly in the public eye.  Why don't we midlife women lead the way, only speak if we can find something supportive to say to others and stop trolling if we know anyone who does it.  Jesy Nelson attempted suicide over this and that's just not funny.  Why don't you and I see what we can do to sort it?

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