Have you paid a visit to social media recently? Taken the chance, posted a bikini photo and been shocked by the crass responses you've received? You're not alone.
The internet may have fostered incredible connectivity and plenty of charity-oriented movements, but it's generally not known for kindness. In digital writing, the first commandment is never to read the comments. It's not because we don't care what readers have to say but rather because the majority of the feedback is probably hyper-sexual or rude.
News flash: Even if it feels like you're just hurling insults at a computer screen, there's a warm-blooded human being receiving them. The same applies to body image comments and fat shaming, both of which are entirely too prevalent on the web. Dozens of self-acceptance campaigns and hashtags exist to put an end to weight-related hurt.
According to a 17,000-Tweet strong data project from Elliptical Reviews, there's a distinct state-by-state variation in digital hate. Somewhat contrary to its superficial reputation, Californians were least likely to fat-shame on Twitter, as were Texans.
On the opposite side, however, were the judgy states: Wyoming, Vermont and North Dakota, in that order. Interestingly, the team notes Vermont has one of the lowest obesity rates in the country, placing sixth.
When they choose to pick people apart, trolls favor the phrases “lose weight,” “fat ass” and “stop eating,” though the list of popular phrases numbers 30. Let that soak in: 30 separate and frequently used ways to tell someone you don't approve of his or her physical presence in the world.
When trolls fat-shame, they're not doing anyone any good. Bullying can lead to depression and harmful disorders like bulimia. Moreover, there's research to back the fact that shame doesn't make fat people any thinner.
Next time, think before you tweet.