I’m not someone that typically turns away from expressing an opinion. In the globalized age of social media, making an opinion known about something disagreeable will probably put you in hot water. I saw a cute picture of the first family on my Twitter feed posing for an Easter portrait. I also noticed how short the skirts being worn by President Obama’s daughters were. My first thought was WOW those are pretty short. The style is obviously impecable, but the length was short. I thought about my high school and how those skirts would certainly fall outside of our own dress code. In response I tweeted the photo with the following remark:
What followed was incredible. I became the victim of cyber-bullying after posting about my standard of modesty. It was assumed by the internet masses, which included “professional” journalists from places like Buzzfeed and The Daily Beast, that I was body shaming young girls, and that I was a sexual predator and perv (Because everyone knows how much I like women). I was brutally abused online to the point that internet users where tweeting at my University and the organization I volunteer with, telling them I was a perv and they would never send their kids here, and that I should be fired. After seeing these attacks I deleted my own twitter, and informed my program advisers about the backlash.
I included a few of the tweets here: WARNING- Some include foul language.
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) April 5, 2015
— Sol Robinson (@SolJewasaurus) April 5, 2015
— Soonergrunt (@soonergrunt) April 5, 2015
— Sidi (@sidi88) April 5, 2015
— Chris Miller (@thatchrismiller) April 5, 2015
— deputy president (@rowast) April 5, 2015
— the percolator (@grabmybutstick) April 5, 2015
— DCHomos (@DCHomos) April 5, 2015
— mansion expropriator (@piss_wizard) April 5, 2015
— Shanti Shanti Shanti (@PupsherLive) April 5, 2015
— LibertyALF (@ALFLiberty) April 5, 2015
— Dan (@dankmtl) April 5, 2015
— Bill Dobie (@wfdobie) April 5, 2015
— Tom Earnshaw (@TREarnshaw) April 5, 2015
— Dave Haslam (@Mr_Dave_Haslam) April 5, 2015
— Charlotte ? (@charlotte2153) April 5, 2015
— Daniel Aubry (@Aubs89) April 5, 2015
— Crystal4Obama (@crtconsu) April 5, 2015
— Tim Brannigan (@tim_brannigan) April 5, 2015
— Tots&Beer (@TotsAndBeer) April 5, 2015
— Peter Koltak (@PeterKoltak) April 5, 2015
— (((Dotski))) (@dotski_w) April 5, 2015
@BlakeOakey most see a great family picture. You see the length of 2 teenaged girls skirts.. Seek help..
— Boggsy (@dmboggs74) April 5, 2015
— (((Matthew Kofsky))) (@MKofsky) April 5, 2015
I have fairly thick skin, but I was not prepared for the treatment I received from these people. Almost two weeks have passed and I ran across this article. A 7th grade girl was being teased by another girl in her grade. When the internet found out they treated this girl in a similar way. The crushing blow of the cyber-bullying was so much for this “bully” that she killed herself. In essence, the bully was bullied by the internet to the point of suicide.
Well done Internet.
As I have pondered on my own experiences, which the tweets above show only a smattering of examples, I realize how there is zero place for bullying in our LDS community. The rest of the world teaches against it, and hypocritically commits it. As Latter-day Saints, we should be a prime example of Christ-like love and acceptance. We should be first to love, and last to judge, especially those who are hurting.
We should stand strong for what we believe, and shouldn’t cave to the attacks of others when it comes to things of moral importance, but we also don’t have to be the first to lash out. We don’t have to attack or harm others for sharing a different opinion than us. We ESPECIALLY should not look to harm those we perceive to be harming others. Let’s raise the bar on intolerance to bullying, in ALL it’s forms.
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