Trolling is behaving in a deceptive, destructive, or disruptive manner. Practised on the internet for absolutely no purpose at all. It has changed the culture, both online and off. The word is now used to categorise a wide and varying behaviour, from absurdist contrarian comment posts to harassment and abuse disproportionately aimed at everyone who has something to be trolled about. The logic and the psyche of the troll maker is still a misery. One common feature is that women are particularly targeted and abused by troll makers. They are abused in the most ruthless way possible. They are trolled in the harshest language possible.
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This language is unique to the troll makers. The language pricks one’s heart, to say the least.
There is a clear difference in the way men and women are trolled and bullied. Sadly, in the past few days, an 18-year-old from Bangalore, committed suicide after being bullied by a set of students at a college. A lot of women have been facing the hard side due to the unapologetic language used by the troll makers. The language is so bitter that women find it better to die rather live with echoes of such words and sentences. Acerbic abuses, slut-shaming, bitch-shaming, body-shaming, catcalling, using sexually explicit words, rape threats, threats of acid attack and finally death threats are the ordeal women face when being trolled and bullied. Troll makers have realised that character assassination breaks a woman into irreparably broken pieces.
A 19-year-old girl, who wished to maintain her anonymity spoke to SheThePeople.tv about her horrific troll incident. She says, “A classmate of mine liked me in school days and asked me out for a relationship. I was not interested and politely refused it. He was persistent but I denied every time. I distanced myself hoping for the better but it backfired. An anonymous id (he) hacked and froze all my social media accounts. Various screenshots of different conversations and pictures were then posted on our school’s trolling page. My name was mentioned in every post and the harshest of words were used. The kind of words led me to hurt myself physically. Till date, I have no social media account. I had to shift my school and locality and start afresh from the horrific impact of the words used for and against me.”
An old age adage that still rings true till this date is that “Choose your words wisely as you cannot take it back once spoken.”
Simran Chatrath, a sophomore pursuing psychology mentions that trolling has pushed people to the periphery. She says, “I’ve worked in clinics, NGOs and schools as an intern and a lot of teenagers are facing depressing due to internet trolling. The usage of language like ‘fat’, ‘gigantic’, ‘you look like a pig’, ‘you are dark’ and ‘your hips sway too much when you walk’ affect teenage girls who then become intimidated and lose confidence. Though words like bitch, slut and prostitute has become too normal, the usage of such words affects women profoundly. One such case, the boy said that he had said it just like that while the girl was depressed and isolated because of those words.”
In fact, giving rape threats have become a separate strand of trolling. Women are directly trolled by sentences like “You are just worth being a sex doll” or “Your only purpose is for us to be used.” Such sentences have become a part of one’s colloquial language. All of us know about the kind of language used against women, it’s indecent, unparliamentary and cheap. It’s dirty, decadent and destructive. It needs to be stopped. To stop it, women need to speak up and against those who use such uncalled-for language. Speak up, to put an end.
Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV