You should free the nipple rather than wear a t shirt saying free the nipple

Nah. How about you first grow an extra nipple eh? Then let’s talk.

This jewel was posted as a comment on one of my Instagram updates. Where I’m wearing a “Free The Nipple” t-shirt. There’s a blog post with the complete series of photographs too. I’m not going to get into the #FreeTheNipple movement and it’s pros and cons here. But I am going to dissect the “jewel” above. Briefly.

No surprise that the comment was posted by someone from the male gender of our species. Sometimes women don’t support eachother too I know but such jewels are almost always left behind by men. That’s just how it is sadly.

After having read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, the idea of not taking feedback from someone who is not in the arena, has been helpful in dealing with Internet Comments. Strangers leave even stranger comments and I used to let that upset me. It was a question of standing up for myself and my beliefs and giving a fitting response. What I failed to recognize, for the longest time, was that it didn’t matter what I said – on the Internet – in response to these “jewels”. The people who generally leave such comments don’t give a rat’s ass about me or my life. They make the investment of leaving a comment because they hope they will receive some form of engagement in their otherwise, usually dull life. No one else in their real life talks to them so the internet is where they attempt to change that.

Gradually, over some years, I have become comfortable with not rising to “bait” in real life and online. It has taken mind-numbing patience with the voices in my head screaming their displeasure. But it has happened and it has worked. It leaves me with more time to focus on the things I actually enjoy doing. Like posting Instagram updates.

The same person who has written that I “should” actually free the nipple instead of wearing a t-shirt depicting it, would also then leave a ridiculous comment if I posted a photo of my breasts. More idiots would crawl out of the woodwork. The justification in their heads being, “If she has posted this publicly, then she deserves my opinion.” “If she is in the public domain, then she should be prepared for this.”

I am. Well-prepared. Only thing is, you’ll never know. Because I will not engage. Comments are always welcome because they make my Instagram profile’s stats look more appealing. So I don’t really care what you’re saying in your comments as long as you keep ’em coming.

I always remind myself about that pig-wrestle-mud metaphor whenever I’m tempted to respond to internet comments. The pig enjoys it, while my whole day is spent pissed off. My day, time, space are sacred. I will not let anyone – least of all a stranger on the Internet – upset that sacred space. Also remind yourself of this each time you’re tempted to leave a comment on a stranger’s page. If the comment doesn’t add anything to what the person has said / shared, and is not complimentary, best avoid. If you absolutely HAVE to share your opinion, email them – it might lead to some fruitful conversation – or it might remind you that you’re being an idiot – because if it isn’t worth writing an email about, it probably isn’t worth leaving as a comment either.

What I could, should or would do is entirely up to me – and to some extent up to the market. If you are not in the arena, getting your ass kicked like I am, your feedback is not welcome.

I might still thank you for it though.

More anecdotes and stories in the #WTFNaina series. ( These are all inspired by true stories. Some written emails, some from face-to-face meetings. They have all been piling up for years now and I’ve decided to put them to use! )

( Image from Flickr. Creative Commons License. )

 

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