Cyberbullying 101 –

As a constituent, I have every right to comment on the social media posts of the officials elected to represent me.  This goes for candidates running for office as well. Who better to tell where you stand on the major issues than the people tasked with making decisions about said issues? Makes sense, doesn’t it? Obviously, not everyone thinks so.

On a post from one of the front runners in my state’s gubernatorial race, I stated that I was in favor of an assault rifle ban. My comment prompted a reply from a man with an opposing stance on the gun control debate.  I’m not really the one he needs to tell what he thinks, but, that’s okay. I don’t mind a healthy debate. But, apparently, that wasn’t going to be enough for this guy. First, he checked out my Facebook page and pics so he could take his reply one step further and include some good old fashioned fat shaming.

This total stranger let me know that he thinks I’m fat and need to eat less (Hello, Captain Obvious), and believes someone should “restrict how much food I’m allowed to stuff down my gullet”. He also went on to tell me he would “fight one hundred and ten percent more (to keep his AR-15) than I do to keep my place in the all you can eat buffet line”. Classy, huh?

I won’t relay exactly what I said in my “reply to his reply”.  I started it by telling him I was having trouble reading what he said because it’s hard to scroll when you have a hamburger in one hand and a piece of fried chicken in the other. You can probably imagine the rest. I didn’t stoop to his level.  I just made a joke out of it so he’d know what he said didn’t bother me. I did, however, click on his page afterwards. Not to gain ammunition for rebuttal, but out of curiosity.  I mean, “Who does shit like that?!” Well, according to his bio, it’s a person who (and I quote):
“tries to do the best I can to do the right things and treat others the way I want to be treated. I try to find the good in things rather than the bad.”     For real, dude?!

Luckily, I am an adult and very well aware of my weight issues. If I were a teenage girl, or an insecure adult, I’d probably be more sensitive. We’ve all heard cyber bullying stories that ended tragically. There are all kinds of ad campaigns programs aimed at educating our youth on the dangers of that kind of behavior. How can we expect them to take the warnings seriously when they see parents, older siblings, or even adults they don’t know engaging in the same activity? It’s something we should all think about.

Let me conclude by saying that anyone who gives an opinion in a public forum, especially if it’s political, should know they are opening themselves for scrutiny and criticism regarding said opinion. Expect it. But, in no way does that make it okay to attack a person’s physical appearance or anything else about them personally. There could be consequences you didn’t intend to cause.

Today, it didn’t happen; good thing I have a thick skin. (PUN VERY MUCH INTENDED!)



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