Peeking Under the Trollbridge

TW: misogyny, racism, sexual violence.

Just like last time, it started with a poster and a picture.

stand up to racism

Bones aching after a day at a Stand Up to Racism march, buoyed by the incredible, passionate voices that rung out throughout the day, thoughts very much focused on the vodka and lemonade awaiting me in the pub and my (erroneous) hopes that Scotland might beat Ireland in the rugby, I tweeted a photograph of me holding a Refugees Welcome placard.

My Twitter had been a relentlessly lovely place for a good few months, so I didn’t think much of it when my phone buzzed. And then it buzzed again. And again. And again. Not only were Scotland getting absolutely gubbed in the rugby, my mentions were suddenly gushing with racist, misogynist, violent abuse.

I was told that I was a repulsive person because I haven’t personally invited any refugees to live with me.
I was told that I must want to be raped.
My photograph was retweeted with an invitation for white men to rape and impregnate me, so I could continue the white race.
I was asked to post my address so that men would know where to come when they wanted to rape me.
I was sent photographs of beaten and bloodied women.
I was told that there was blood on my hands because I sleep in a warm bed while others freeze to death.
I was told there was blood on my hands because of the explosions in Brussels.
I was called precious. I was called naive. I was called a hypocrite. I was called a bitch.

The trolls, ladies and gentlemen, had descended.

As somebody who’s pretty vocal on the internet, particularly about the fact that I think women are people and should have rights, I get trolled a lot. Sometimes, for a few hours, I think the trolls have ruined my day. Sometimes, they make me cry.¬†Sometimes, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of the sea, wave after caustic wave of hatred battering over me. Sometimes I feel as though I’m drowning.

Sometimes, I feel like Dorothy, peeking behind the curtain in the Emerald City. I remember that this huge mass of rage and venom isn’t born of some unfathomable, mysterious monster. There is no Wizard. And when I peek under the troll bridge, I find only people.

When I really think about it, I wonder what kind of lives these people must be living, to make them hate like that. I think of the little boys, high on the illicit thrill of saying the forbidden. I think of the young men baffled and frustrated that I would present my face and my body to the world and not invite their comment. I think of how society teaches our young men to express themselves through violence and anger. I think of the poor, terrified, lost boys, who don’t know how else to feel powerful. I think of the girls, so broken and battered by this messed up little world of ours that they step on other women as they reach for the approval of the lost boys. I think of the dinosaurs, the relics, clinging with their fingernails to a world that no longer exists, stubbornly refusing to see that history will not remember them fondly. I think of the panic that lashes out and escalates, rather than admitting it was wrong. It is easier to hate than to understand.

These voices, so huge, so loud online…how small they become in the real world. How small in comparison to wrapping myself in my boyfriends arms at the end of the day. How small in comparison with closing down my laptop in favour of drinking ginger beer in the sunshine or losing myself in a book. How tiny compared with the texts from my sister that say “I’m really proud of you”. How insignificant in the face of my full, beautiful, silly little life.

Their hate might be an ocean, but my love lets me float. And I hope that someday, they find that too.

12794522_10154125381847868_7022273338768560481_n

Twitter for Success With Antonia Mariconda*

Having worked in social media for a year, I consider myself to be pretty Twitter savvy. I know my #ffs from my #tbt, and I’ve got retweeting totally down. I also know a little bit about how to build a following and what kind of content to be posting.

But I have got nothing, NOTHING on Miss Antonia Mariconda.

(I hope you all have I Have Nothing by Whitney Houston stuck in your head now, because I certainly do.)

I met Antonia at her Build A Beauty Blog workshop last month and she was lovely enough to ask me to come review her Twitter for Success workshop.

antonia mariconda workshop

Note to self: learn how to pose to avoid enormous moonface.

Stop licking your screens, I’m not giving you her mobile number.

Say what you like about Antonia (although it better be nice or I’ll fight you), but she puts on one heck of a spread.

antonia mariconda twitter workshop

I arrived at half past nine to a table laden with baked goods, colourful fruit and delicious raw juices. Take note everyone, feed me and I might get out of bed for you too. The room quickly filled up with people and chatter, everyone excited to hear the holy grail of social media marketing revealed.

antonia mariconda twitter workshop

The workshop soon got underway and the three hours absolutely flew past. Ranging from hilarious anecdotes to tips that we could immediately put into practise, Antonia’s presentation was a whirlwind tour of everything you ever needed to know about Twitter. We found out how to grow an audience, how to post 100 tweets a day, why you should never get involved in Twitter mudslinging and so, so much more. Despite having a massively diverse audience in terms of Twitter experience and ability, she catered to every single one of us and managed not to alienate anyone. Whether you were trying to get your head around retweeting or trying to get more engagement from your ten thousand followers, her advice was relevant, useful and instantly implementable. Sadly, this was Antonia’s last workshop of the year, but a little bird told me that she has very exciting plans for the New Year and I’m hoping to be learning more from her again soon.

*Mushy music*

On a personal level, I am so, so grateful that somebody as successful as Antonia is taking the time to care about a little startup blog like mine, just because she likes the way I write. She knew a huge number of the workshop attendees by name, greeted all of us like old friends and repeatedly stressed how happy she was to offer help and be used as a resource. Technical wizard Mark and PR guru Jenny were equally awesome and forthcoming, and Mark has been extremely lovely despite receiving an email from me regarding self hosting that essentially amounted to “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING OH GOD HELP ME”. Instead of casually issuing a restraining order, he has taken the time to help. Seriously, the world needs more people like that and I feel really lucky to have met them.

Just like the last workshop, I left feeling excited, energised and with a to do list as long as my arm. If you get the chance to see Antonia speak, please, please do go along. It’s not even an exaggeration to say that in two workshops, she might have changed my life.

antonia mariconda twitter workshop

Have you been to one of Antonia’s workshops? Who inspires your blogging? Get in touch in the comments or at¬†@EscapologistGl.

*I was gifted a ticket to this event for the purposes of review. All opinions are completely my own and completely truthful – promise!

#YesAllWomen: Yes, All Men Should Read It

Today, in response to yet another horrifying act of violence against women, women all over the world took to Twitter to tell their stories of misogyny and inequality. Their tweets range from the genuinely tragic to the depressingly everyday, and I struggled to find a single one that I didn’t identify with on some level. It often takes extreme events like today to start real conversations about gender based violence and discrimination, but the trend #YesAllWomen showed just how much women’s everyday lives are steeped in it. Yes, all women.

The Women Who Spoke Out

Capture5 Capture7

Capture8 Capture9 Capture10 Capture11 Capture12 Capture13 Capture14 Capture15 Capture16 Capture17 6 Capture Capture2 Capture3 Capture4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those Who Missed The Point

Depressingly, some of these are women.

Capture5 Capture6 Capture7 Capture8 Capture9 Capture2 Capture3 Capture4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those Who Proved The Point

Even more depressingly, so are some of these.

Capture7

(Seriously, what even is this one? How about “You can’t hit me, I’m a person, and that’s illegal)

Capture6

What a catch.

Capture9

Super original. Did you come up with that yourself?

Capture Capture3 Capture4 Capture5 Capture8 Capture10 Capture11 Capture 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Men Who Nailed It

Just in case all that has left you despairing for humanity, let’s hear it for the guys who got it.

Capture10

This guy is my new personal hero.

Capture Capture2 Capture3 Capture4 Capture5 Capture6 Capture7 Capture8 Capture9