I read an online article* today about a body transformation. Not the usual "biggest loser" type story, but one about a woman who went from being a model (*ahem* - of the Page 3 Girl variety...) to a bodybuilding competitor.
The story itself was fairly innocuous; not judgmental at all, really. Although I have my own opinion about the reason they chose the photos they ran with the story. But it was the large number of comments that the post generated that made me a bit hot under the collar.
I was reminded of the general ignorance surrounding bodybuilding - especially women's bodybuilding. The stupid assumptions were irritating enough, but the bulk of the comments were downright rude. Here are a few examples:
In a word, gross……
But honestly, it’s not a natural look by any stretch of the imagination (steroid use – possibly?). I just don’t see this as an attractive look.
Chuck-a-rama. Not attractive. At all. Yuck !
i don’t know when she looks worse before or after… and imagine all the steroids that she took… yuck
There were many, many more along those lines, but you get the idea. As I said, the ignorant assumptions were bad enough, but the tone of the comments was a whole other thing.
I started to wonder: Do the commenters not understand that they're writing about a real person, who has feelings just like them? Maybe she'll never read their nasty opinions anyway, but what if she did? How would the writers like it if a hundred or so strangers all blurted out their uncensored opinion about THEM?
I thought back to comments I've made about celebrities or other people featured in various online stories and started to wonder if I'd ever been just as rude. I hope not... In future I'll certainly make an effort to remember to be polite.
If you've perused my Fine Print page, you'll notice that I have a policy of not publishing comments I feel are offensive or abusive. Some sites seem to thrive on promoting all-in verbal brawls amongst commenters, but this isn’t one of them.
Perhaps the internet needs Tom Cruise to hang out in comment areas and remind folks who step over the line to put their manners back in.
What's your take on comments? Is anyone fair game? Perhaps celebrities, but not ordinary people? Or should we turn on our "keep yourself nice" filter before approaching the keyboard?
*I'm not linking to the article because they've had quite enough traffic and I'm not about to send any more their way.