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  • Gareth Ellis

Kindness Costs Nothing

Have you ever gone to post something online and then thought better of it? Maybe thought that someone wouldn’t like it or even worse that you were scared of the backlash it would create?

And by backlash, I mean that it would cause people to write something bad back to you. Now, there’s two things wrong with that sentence, and that sentiment. People shouldn’t EVER fear putting their feelings out there – as long as it isn’t offensive for no reason.

Secondly, you should never be scared of negative reactions to your pictures/articles/rational thoughts – because it shouldn’t bloody happen.

I’ve often thought about posting more selfies but I hate the dead tooth I’ve got, which I notice in every photo. And I’m scared that people will either highlight it or use it against me, always have. It’s the reason I pull my belly in constantly when I walk around and hide any other flaws I think I’ve got.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a cry for help or me fishing for compliments, but what I’m saying is that a lot of people, when they put a picture or their thoughts out online, they are exposing themselves. However, not always. Sometimes people will put out a picture they like; it may be of themselves; it may be of someone they love, or it may just be so that they get some love from their friends and family telling them that they are beautiful.

The point is, you never know what is going through someone’s head at any given moment. A seemingly perfect life – on social media at least – can sometimes be a cover-up, or an escape from something else.

Just recently we saw a seemingly happy and beautiful woman in Caroline Flack take her own life. She was an accomplished presenter, and Jess would agree with me on this point, she was stunning. Looking from the outside in you would assume that she had the perfect life (of course, if you look past her recent troubles.)

However, she felt that, for whatever reason, she was so desperate that she took her own life. I’ve heard a lot of people say that it is the fault of the media for her feeling that low and whereas I don’t disagree, I think there are so many factors behind it.

Firstly, the media does have a lot to answer for. I get that there is a public interest in celebrities and that (some) people want to know absolutely everything about them, but you’d think the way that they went after her in the press that she’d killed someone. Don’t believe they know they’ve fucked up? Go and check the past stories they wrote about her, the negative stuff, oh wait, you can’t because the cowards have deleted it all. Shameful.

Secondly, the internet trolls – in my opinion the lowest form of sub-human scum free to walk this earth. Whether it’s anonymously behind a made-up account or even directly, behind your keyboard, these people are cowards.

Why isn’t more done to stop these people? Why is it that a Love Island ‘banter’ group could post an image of a sad looking Caroline Flack with the caption ‘That moment you realise you have to watch Love Island in the dark because you broke your only lamp.’ That same account then wrote ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family’ – fuck off with your fake shame/grief.

Now I’m not saying I’m whiter than white. I’ve said things in the past that I’m not proud of and I work on being a better version of myself every day. But I have never publicly called someone out and criticised them for the world to see.

Recently, Jess showed me a series of tweets and Instagram posts relating to Shaughna, a young lady taking part in Love Island this year. They were all criticising her for having fat legs, being chubby, and a lot pertaining to the size of her lower half really.

Now, again I’ll have Jess’ support on this, but she is another stunning girl. She’s funny, she’s pretty and she’s certainly not fat, and even if she was, she’s still a person, who doesn’t deserve that abuse.

The point I’m getting at is that if you not only give these wastes of space a platform (social media) to interact with the public and celebrities and then don’t govern it properly then these things will continue. The blood isn’t just on the hands of the media, it’s on the hands of every troll, bully and absolute lowlife that doesn’t think before they tweet.

Things need to change, and fast.

In the words widely associated with Caroline Flack just recently: “If you can choose to be anything, be kind.”

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