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  • Aaliyah Iona

Let's not forget, being kind is free

I had another post in my mind for my next blog entry, but having recently watched Jesy Nelson’s latest documentary, ‘Odd One Out’ I decided I wanted to post this instead. Anyone who knows me will know I am partial to taking the mick out of others as I do myself. It’s the friendly term we in Britain call ‘banter’. However, on the flipside of harmless teasing and scarily as popular is, trolling. To an extent, I don’t think it had occurred to me how widespread trolling had become until I watched the following documentary. I like so many others can recall all the talk of Jesy’s appearance over social media and the news, and not once did it cross my mind that she had seen it too. It didn’t occur to me that someone had to go to bed and wake up experiencing such blatant discussion and opinions on something beyond their control. I fully accept that I've done some questionable shit and not always acted the kindest because children can be cruel. But I own that, and I make a conscious effort to be better than that. It is sickening people can take so much enjoyment in making others miserable, and it shouldn't be encouraged. This isn’t a long post, it’s simply a reminder that knocking someone down never builds you up. Back in 2011 when Little Mix won the X-Factor and memes of Jesy as E.T went around I shrugged it off as a cruel joke. That was until I watched the extent that continuous criticism has had on Jesy’s life. A poignant moment in the documentary for me was when her bandmates describe her being overly critical of her work and losing the passion she once had because of the trolling. Too often when people are in the public eye criticism is considered part of the territory. I strongly disagree with this statement. No one deserves abuse for doing their job or worse still, being themselves. I remember reciting the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” because my grandad told me so following one of many fights during primary school, but sadly it’s untrue. Words do hurt. I remember feeling insecure because of some of the things people said at school about me following a fight/argument, and I was not okay. To my advantage, I have a personality where after a while I think, "Fxck your opinion" and I keep on living because I'm not here to impress or prove myself. I'm only here to be me.  Last month I watched the three-part documentary about Jade Goody. It recalled how the British press would openly call Jade a 'slag' and a 'pig', and I was horrified. On reflection, we can all agree it was never okay. Still, we are living in a society whereby everyday people think it is acceptable to harass and bully others unapologetically. It's crazy. How did we get here? I love the ability social media gives us to be expressive and connect with people across the world but the documentary is a reminder it shouldn’t be abused. If you haven’t watched 'Odd One Out' already, please do as it’s truly eye opening. I encourage anyone feeling low for whatever reason to always speak up as there are more people concerned than you think.

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