The Internet’s power of letting its users become anonymous is one of its greatest strengths, yet it’s also an inevitable weakness. The comments section allows people from different backgrounds and locations to make their views and opinions heard. Through this, a kind of neutral platform was made where anyone can weigh in on any issue. But at the same time, this “veil” of pseudonymity has created a breed of people who tear others down through scathing words, no matter how insensitive or politically incorrect.
Netizens, “keyboard warriors” or “trolls” are so-called because they are empowered by their “facelessness” to spread their often judgmental, baseless and biased claims. Writer Ari Ezra Waldman enumerated the “dangers of anonymity in the Internet” in forward.com, “Things we would never say to someone’s face are more easily said when all you have to do is type, and then hit ‘send.’ As such, online anonymity erodes important norms of social interaction. It reduces the risk of consequences, anonymous online platforms dehumanize victims, and erases context.”
In the Philippines, this is something that’s common especially when it comes to people commenting just to divert or divide readers on a political issue at hand, criticizing celebrities online, and being a prick in general. This weekend, Bongbong Marcos’ social media strategist Franco Mabanta got the ire of the public when he posted about fat shaming with a photo of him and a friend in a bikini. He wrote, “After long and thorough thought, I’ve decided that I’m 100% in favor of fat-shaming. I think the world would be a better place if all these weak minds that are captive to their bad food habits were constantly told to get off their fucking couches and stop little bitches.” Naturally, not everyone agreed, with many people calling him “vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, insensitive,” among many other things.
While it’s really difficult to deal with these kinds of people online, these celebs didn’t simply let trolls get them down. Here are some ways they showed the world how to respond:
The queen of all talk is also the queen of clapbacks. Instead of feeding the commenters with more things they can criticize on, she often replies with positivity. She responded to a commenter who said a troll outsmarted her because she replied at length and therefore indulged more negative discussions.
Kris wrote, “I choose to speak my truth, and because this is my feed, I shall call out the trolls and fake news purveyors.” She then quoted Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high” and instead thanked her followers. She’s also the first to defend her son from people calling him gay. She responded, “Don’t judge a child, and don’t make the decision for the child.”
Actress Iza Calzado isn’t a stranger to bashers online or offline. Growing up, Iza has been overweight and through hard work, she was able to achieve a healthy body and weight, which she is very vocal about. But there’s simply no pleasing everyone, as some people still kept on making jabs about her “flaws.” When she posted a photo of herself enjoying a beach holiday, one pointed out her “skin and cellulites,” to which she simply responded with “Love it! Thanks!”
One even went as far as age-shaming. “Hindi talaga kayang itago ng balat ang edad.” (Skin cannot hide one’s age.)
And Calzado continued to prove that she was simply being honest: “Wala namang itinatago. Maliit na bagay (There’s nothing to hide. It’s a small matter).”
Zsa Zsa Padilla
Veteran singer and actress Zsa Zsa Padilla is considered as one of the most beautiful faces in showbiz even today at the age of 53. But some people kept commenting about her wrinkles and “signs of aging.” One person commented, “Kita na edad mo. Pati po sa kamay kulubot na. (Your age shows, even your hands are wrinkled.) Padilla didn’t seem to mind the remark, replying: “Oo naman! Proud to be old and 53. No shame in that.” She also made a classy comeback to someone who shamed her for wearing too much makeup and getting cosmetic treatments.
“I see my hands everyday and I know it shows my age. Should it matter? Why should growing old be thrown as an insult to women? And FYI, I filmed this with no filter and I’m not even wearing foundation so your idea of ‘too much make up’ is pretty inaccurate. As for Belo treatments, it helps but we never claim to have discovered the fountain of youth.
“Please don’t shame me for aging. It’s a natural process I’d like to enjoy going through. One day, you may be lucky to grow old yourself and realize, it’s not as bad as you perceive it to be.”
On Twitter, Dani Barretto, the sister of actress Julia Barretto lost her cool when she addressed her body-shamers after posting a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a swimsuit.
“Grabe, 2018 na may body shaming pa din? Why can’t you all just worry about your own body/weight? Masarap kumain, at hindi ako titigil dahil natatabaan kayo sa ‘kin,” she said.
“Kung gusto niyo mag-diet, eh di go. Bakit kailangan pati ako? Mag-di-diet ako pag gusto ko. For now, FOOD IS LIFE.”
Actress Jesse Mendiola may have topped FHM magazine’s most coveted title of being the hottest woman alive but that didn’t shield her from fat-shamers. She posted a before- and-after photo of her body transformation, in which she aims to “inspire” and not to “brag.” She wrote, “I’ve always thought of myself as really strong and fit, yes, even on the picture on the left. I worked out regularly (weights and all), ate what I felt was good for me and you know what? It felt good, I was happy. When I won FHM’s sexiest woman in 2016, I thought… finally, people appreciate my efforts and my body.”
“I was wrong. I was bullied, body shamed with bashers calling me names like ‘pata, baboy, taba, etc. while others said I didn’t deserve to win the title cos I’m waaaaaay bigger than the other girls who they thought should’ve won.” She was so affected by other people’s comments that she felt depressed and insecure, making her turn down roles because she was unsure of herself.
But soon, she was able to accept and love herself no matter what size. “I may not be the sexiest for others, but I am sexy and beautiful for myself. Shout out to every ‘pata girl’ out there. Just keep on going. Love your body, love yourself, and it will love you back.”
Nadine Lustre and James Reid
The best way to respond to netizens? “The art of deadma.” Just be happy and carry on. Love team Nadine Lustre and James Reid knows this very well when they posted a selfie pic dedicated to all their bashers.
In an interview, Nadine said, “You can’t please everyone. So why would I let this person affect me because I know I can’t please everyone? Meron at meron talagang magsasabi ng negative about you. What is sexy for me if I see a photo is when you see a girl in a photo na happy siya. Kasi you can see it in the eyes, kahit photo lang yun. I feel like sexy for me is confidence and being in touch with yourself.”
Photo credit: Instagram