Don’t look at the comments, don’t feed the trolls, don’t give them the satisfaction.
That is the mantra of anyone who makes anything on the Internet. Sometimes the comments are full of support and helpful feedback but other times they’re a shark tank where people rip you and your work apart. When we discuss sensitive topics the comment section has the potential to get way worse. These comments can range from the simple slight about your looks to a death threat.
Even women who aren’t making a political statement at all are submitted to hateful comments. Go to any beauty channel on YouTube and scroll down. For this reason, a lot of people choose to skip the comment section altogether which sucks because the comment section is good for creating a dialogue. You should be able to get feedback for something you’ve created without Josh2004assman commenting to tell you that your nose is too big and sexism doesn’t exist.
In 2013 Emily Graslie of The Brain Scoop channel on YouTube posted a video labeled Where My Ladies At?
The video is about the lack of women in STEM YouTube channels. She also talks about the one part of her job she does not look forward to and no surprise here, it’s reading the sexist, negative comments that are posted and sent to her on the Internet. Her video goes into depth about how these comments might even hold women back from starting a channel at all when they are so personal. Emily says that this problem is especially bad when she appears on someone else’s channel and their audience isn’t familiar with her or her work.
The audiences often comment on her appearance, having sex with her, and crediting her lines to a male colleague.
On Tuesday Field Day posted a video on their channel entitled Hollywood Solves Sexism written and starred in by Just Between Us Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn. The video touches on how much Hollywood just doesn’t get it when it comes to more female lead movies in broader genres. The video is a trailer for an over the top movie with two female leads, a female director, and orange power suits. The video targets sexism, which, unfortunately, puts a red target on the video.
Gaby and Allison’s Just Between Us channel is a comedy show and most people who watch know their comedy style so the supportive comments often drowned out the negative ones but when the video was posted on a different channel, hate started flowing in fairly quickly. Just as it had with Emily.
Within the first couple of hours of the video going up male viewers started crowding into the comments posting recycled sexist jokes, misinterpreting and explaining the video to everyone else as a joke about “overly sensitive feminist”, and calling it the dumbest thing they’ve ever seen. Sprinkle that with attacks on the actresses, the channel, and women in general.
Allison and Gaby have both worked for Buzzfeed and have been in several videos discussing the topic sexism before. They are no strangers to the comment section. Gaby can’t post an article or appear in a video without the comment section being overrun by people aiming insults at her no matter what the video is about. After working hard on this video and having it met with negative comments so fast, Gaby decided after quite a few of these comments had been posted to turn to twitter asking Just Between Us followers to take over the comment section with positive comments. Which they did.
Positive comments started pouring in. Comments discussing the video, how funny Allison’s slide over the hood of the car was, and people fighting the sexist comments. Often it’s viewed as childish to argue in comments or a waste of time. More than that I would say that the reason for not commenting would be fear.
No one wants to be attacked, no one wants to be called names, or threatened. However, when we don’t say anything at all we leave the creator to the sharks for making a video about something we’re passionate about.