There are always people who will want to tear others down. Dealing with such trolls is an unfortunate reality of the internet. After banning one the other day, I posted this to Facebook.
"Anyone who makes rude, cruel, sexist, racist, or otherwise disparaging comments regarding the subjects in my photos gets blocked. No exceptions. I will not tolerate it. Those are REAL people who worked hard to display their passion. They are not mere pixels displayed for your amusement.
"Critique of the photos is fine. Critique of the PEOPLE is NOT." *
This got quite a lot of feedback. Which surprised me. So, I wanted to expand on it a bit.
For the longest time, I tried to stay out of internet "drama." After all, I was only one person. I just posted photos. I believed if I kept my head down that I wouldn't attract trolls. Occasionally, a creep would make a smart-ass remark, but those were few and far, and easy enough to delete. No harm done, right?
Then it happened AT A PHOTOSHOOT. A guy bumped up against one of my clients, made a sexist jibe, and then scuttled off. Unfortunately I didn't hear it. I felt AWFUL that I missed the chance to call him on it and protect my client.
Further more, this is not an isolated incident. Every day I hear another story about this - or, even better, get more of my own. Catcalls from cars. People harassed about their weight, hair length, or shoelaces. People being told because they shouldn't wear what they love because of their race.
And you know what? I am DONE not talking about this.
Making personal, cruel remarks is BULLYING. This is an issue which affects my clients, my friends, my community. I greatly respect anyone who ever has, or ever will, step in front of my lens. You are sharing your passions with me. You're trusting me. I take that seriously.
And I want you to know something -
YOU ARE SAFE WITH ME.
Whether it happens online or in real life - I will stand up for you. I will call people on it. I will go with you to con-ops, to security, to the police. I am one voice. But I DO have a sphere or influence, however small, and I want to protect and help those within it.
Please, TELL ME if something like this happens. I want to help. And if you can't tell me, tell your friends. Tell security. Tell the cops. It is NOT okay. You do NOT deserve this. You deserve to feel safe in expressing yourself.
I hope reading this helps other people feel safe raising their voices, too.
It is NOT okay.
You do not deserve this - You deserve RESPECT.
You are a person, not pixels.
And if I need to THREATEN TO BEAT SOMEONE WITH A LIGHTSTAND, I will do it. **
How about you? Have you had to deal with this?
Want to stand up for yourself?
Here's some resources to get you started.
Cosplay Is Not Consent
What would you do if you weren't afraid?
Did you know that "No" is a complete sentence?
** ONLY threaten. Then we go to con-ops/ security/ the police. After all, too much blunt force will mess up my equipment!